PAL Insurance: Everything you need to know
Offices: 2 (Calgary and Simcoe, Ontario)
PAL Insurance Brokers began life under its current president Bob Morrison, who saw a need in the marketplace to help cover hard-to-place risks that brokers were often stumbling across. PAL was then founded in the 1980s to address that need as a specialty insurance broker.
Some of its original programs included commercial general liability and host liquor liability as well as personal contents in storage insurance, which later expanded to include other specialty programs, such as wedding insurance, server insurance, graduation event insurance, and exhibitor liability. In recent years, PAL has also crafted niche commercial programs, such as ATM and VLT insurance, event cancellation, and prize indemnity insurance.
PAL is headquartered in Calgary, where all events that take place in western Canada are underwritten, in addition to the storage and ATM-VLT programs. Its Simcoe, Ontario branch underwrites events for eastern Canada, including its Weddinguard, server, event cancellation, and prize indemnity solutions.
Wedding alarm bells
PAL’s wedding insurance solution provides financial protection against anything that could go wrong with wedding plans, subject to policy wording, such as bridal attire, rings, photographs, cake, and rented property. Liquor liability and cancellation are, however, the most common sources of claims when it comes to weddings, according to Amber Morrison-Givens, marketing director at PAL.
“Wedding cancellation claims occur for many reasons. It usually happens if a close family member falls sick or has an accident and, as a result, the wedding is cancelled,” Morrison-Givens told Insurance Business. “PAL’s Weddinguard package actually started out mostly as wedding cancellation insurance. We cover wedding and honeymoon cancellation for a variety of reasons – but not cold feet.
“We soon noticed there was a need in the market for an insurance product beyond just wedding cancellation, so we expanded Weddinguard to include coverage for things like bridal attire, flowers, gifts, the photos, the rings, host liquor liability and the rented property.”
Liquor liability is the centrepiece of many wedding insurance offerings. An open bar, while a welcome feature of weddings for many guests, could lead to an accident or costly liquor liability claim.
“Most wedding venues require the event host, whether it’s a wedding or not, to carry their own general liability for use of the premises along with host liquor liability insurance if serving alcohol,” said Morrison-Givens. “The venue should carry their own policy, but we see more often that the venue’s insurance carrier will not extend to cover the host of the event if the host was named in a lawsuit. Pretty much any wedding venue requires hosts to have this, whether it’s a hotel, a community hall, and it’s even available for your own back yard.
“A lot of people don’t realise they need liquor liability insurance until the very last minute when the venue springs it on them. This then leads to last minute scrambling for liquor liability insurance that most people have never heard of and don’t know where to find it.”
As the insurance industry sees a wave of retirements hit companies from coast to coast, PAL is recognizing the need to showcase up-and-coming talent in the industry by sponsoring an award at the annual Insurance Business Awards gala.
In 2017, Morrison-Givens explained that the brokerage wanted to put its name to the Insurance Business Young Gun award “because we know the great value that young people coming into the industry have.”
“We try to invest in the future of our community as much as possible,” she said, “and supporting ambitious young people in key roles in insurance seems like a great way to invest in the future and in the community.”
Morrison-Givens’ advice for the industry’s young champions is to stay in the know and be open to new developments that come your way.
“For young brokers in the industry, PAL’s advice for them to be successful would be to always educate themselves on new products, new technology and new innovations,” she said. “By being open to new technology and new methods of business, young people will advance the industry and not only ensure the industry’s long-term success, but also ensure that the needs of clients will be met in the best and most efficient, innovative ways possible.”