With the full-on return of in-person events in 2023 a most welcome development—especially for associations who rely heavily on revenues from their annual meetings—one issue has gotten trickier for meeting hosts: event-cancellation insurance.
According to an underwriter who handles event-cancellation policies at one of the large insurers that offer such coverage, “insurance companies paid out huge losses for cancelled business events due to Covid, which is why communicable-disease coverage is basically not offered anymore.” Combined with the firms seeing very little event-insurance business between 2020 and 2022, “those losses reduced the number of companies writing event-cancellation policies while forcing the others to raise their base premiums for events, regardless of their location.”
However, for areas such as the Southeast and the Midwest, the seasonal probability for hurricanes and blizzards further complicates those rate calculations. As a result, it’s best for meeting planners to obtain cancellation insurance right after they sign their venue contracts for events set to happen in a destination’s storm season.
“Getting coverage a year or more ahead of an event is not too soon,” the underwriter told MeetingsNet. “The problem is that some meetings happening in the fall in the Southeast and the winter in the Midwest will contact us two or three months ahead of the event looking for coverage, but by that time we have written a number of event policies for those areas and don’t really want to take on more.” The result: Coverage is still available but at a rate that is significantly higher than it would have been months before.
Said the underwriter: “Covid changed the insurance market, and the changes aren’t done yet.”
Some of the largest insurance companies that offer insurance for meeting, convention, and trade-show cancellation include Alliant, Aon Affinity Nonprofits, Association Member Benefits Advisors, and Tokio Marine HCC. These firms and others are most often engaged by meeting hosts through commercial insurance brokers.