The event industry is one of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – and, more than a year since the pandemic began, event organisations continue facing insurance troubles.
Longreach, Queensland, for example, is known for its inflatable duck racing event. However, event organiser Prue Button, who is also the director of iButton Events, admitted that the company almost cancelled the event because it struggled to secure insurance in the weeks leading up to it this month.
“Insurance was a bit of a nightmare,” Button said, as reported by ABC, adding that insurers deemed water events “a big red flag.” Therefore, the event company ended up sourcing insurance through a paddling organisation to cover paddlers for water events.
“We had to get event insurance for the rest of [the] event. However, there [were] lots of exclusions,” she continued. “All of the contractors we dealt with for the paddle regatta, they also had a lot of trouble securing insurance.”
Outback Festival event organiser Robyn Stephens warned that events would most likely be jeopardised if taking out insurance becomes more challenging.
“When it comes down to the public liability side of an event, I am finding it now very, very difficult,” Stephens told ABC. “There [are] a lot of insurers out there that don’t want to look at events. They seem to think that [there are] risks in a lot of our events where we don’t see them. Some [insurers] I don’t think understand what some of these events are.”
Since last year, the event industry has been calling on the government to establish a business interruption scheme to help event organisers plan future events amid the pandemic, with the scheme acting as an insurance fund for event companies planning events while up against public gathering restrictions and other issues caused by the pandemic.
In Queensland, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) is advocating for the federal government to help community event operators secure insurance.
“Perhaps we have to come together as an industry, with government, to establish insurance pools for certain activities like events,” said QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind, as reported by ABC.
“There are options, but it’s a really concerted effort that’s required here with particularly federal government and industry [assistance],” he added. “We are certainly hoping we will find some solutions.”