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Jan_2019_CS_web_post_opener_Story_2.jpg Frank Veronsky

Risk 360: The Contract

Get your reading glasses out! Contracts must be tailored to each event and you always have to read the small print.

While your attendees’ safety is paramount, risk management includes ensuring your organization is protected, as well as your guests. The best way to do this is to know your legal responsibilities and liabilities and make sure the contract is suited to the type of venue, location, and event. Tyra Hilliard, Esq., CMP, noted during her presentation at MeetingsNet’s Risk360 conference, “The legal aspects of crisis management tend to be the motivating part. Bringing up legal liability issues may help you find the money.”

 Unless your event is in the same venue in the same location during the same season, tailor the contract for every single meeting you plan.

• Force majeure is when your meeting becomes “impossible, illegal, or impracticable.” Fear does not constitute force majeure. For instance, travelers may be afraid of the Zika virus, but it won’t get you out of a contract.

• With an indemnification clausealso known as a hold harmless clause, contract language can protect your organization from being held responsible for unsafe conditions at the venue.

• Look at the details of your cancellation insurance. While it usually compensates groups for revenues lost or expenses incurred from a canceled meeting, it can also be used to prevent cancellation, e.g., for things like fixing a hole in the venue’s roof so an event can go ahead.

• Assess the time-frame on your cancellation clause. Your clause may only go into effect if a venue cannot be used, so if a hurricane is forecast to hit during your event, you could be in breach of contract if you cancel when the venue is still open.

• Your organization’s general liability insurance might not cover unplanned elements. Did one of your attendees bring children to the event? Is the venue nontraditional, like a farm or vineyard?


This is one of five articles on actions you can take to make your meeting more secure. Also read:
Risk360: Do One Thing
Risk360: Choosing a Location or Venue
Risk360: Communications Policy
Risk360: Developing an Emergency Plan
Risk360: On-Site Safety

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