As the world returns to some sort of normality, venues are preparing to open their doors and enjoy live events once more. We all missed concerts, festivals, and trade shows, but it is the companies who provide these events that have been worst hit - enduring a long period of financial instability with more and more insurers pulling back from this specialty line of coverage.
Maggie Beattie (pictured), head of entertainment and contingency in Canada at HDI Global Specialty, spoke to Insurance Business about her strategies for promoting recovery and growth within a segment that was hit hard during the pandemic.
With a wealth of experience in entertainment and contingency cover, Beattie noted that one of the best strategies for promoting growth in a niche market is to establish and develop trusting relationships between brokers and clients.
Communication methods are starting to pivot away from the video conferencing environment and back towards making personal connections. Beattie mentioned that constant engagement and communication is vital for brokers, to reassure clients they have their support for the long haul.
“The key in entertainment is having strong relationships and being there for the long term,” she explained. “A lot of clients have undergone the most stressful time in their careers, where they were unable to do their jobs.
“We can’t be a market that comes in and out of the business, so the main thing to keep top of mind is long-term commitment.”
Many insurers exited the business area as rates and exposures increased during the pandemic. Clients, of course, need longevity and want to have faith that their insurer will continue to be there for them when they are needed the most.
“I’m specifically speaking to the entertainment and contingency space,” she explained. “Film and television has been running smoothly throughout the pandemic - they struggled at the beginning, but business has been booming as they had great protocols in place.
“If we focus on live events, the challenges that are going to be faced moving forward are not just about capacity and higher rates,” she added. “Venues are going to be more expensive and there’s going to be financial burden for live events moving into 2022. Not only will everyone want to be booking venues, but premiums will also look different than pre-pandemic - so it will be an issue to work through.”
Communicable disease exclusions will still exist, and Beattie explained that there will be buy backs on a case-by-case basis - but after the millions of dollars that companies have paid out for these communicable disease losses, there will be many new risk management strategies to consider as live events pick back up.
“We still have a ton of unique exposures in the entertainment space, it’s about taking all risks into consideration and still looking for solutions even though there are issues at hand,” she said. “The exciting part for HDI is that we’re here to stay and build relationships with brokers and help them best support their clients.
“Everyone wants to go back to normal life and when we build strong relationships with brokers and they build strong relationships with clients, it provides some stability and fosters a better understanding that with the right protocols in place business can go back to normal.”
Beattie also noted that it’s easier to have tough conversations when there’s a partnership in place. This can also be part of the rebuilding process by helping create more comprehensive solutions to mitigate any exposure a client may face in this rapidly evolving climate.
“We want people to have a great time at these events, and make sure they’re safe which is why we work in tandem with clients and prepare them, so their business isn’t at risk,” she said. “The reality is we have to look at exposures, be prepared and be agile. We’re still in uncharted territory, there’s a lot of unknowns and things are still changing but it’s about being able to evolve with the change.”