March Madness means Insurance Madness

Rowdy crowds, cyberattacks, and the odd stray basketball are all risks for insurers to consider

March Madness means Insurance Madness

Insurance News

By Alicja Grzadkowska

Basketball fans rejoice: the 2018 March Madness semi-finals are set to take place on March 31 with the Kansas Jayhawks squaring off against the Loyola Ramblers in San Antonio.

The Alamodome, where the tournament’s championship game will play out, has a capacity of 64,000 spectators. With this many fans, and the high probability that many of them will be drinking, there are many layers of risk to consider.

“Like any large gathering of people, there are always issues of crowd safety, crowd control, making sure that people come into the event, enjoy it, and are able to go home,” said Susan McGuirl, head of North American entertainment at AGCS. “Crowd control is certainly an issue – being able to make certain that the venue has the appropriate security, making sure the venue has the appropriate medical and security measures in place so that it is able to monitor the crowds.”

Rowdy crowds are sure to bring many hazards with them, but the basketball players themselves can also add a level of danger.

“It’s slip and fall, trip and fall, people walking down the stairs or walking in the venue – those are the most common risks that come from these kinds of things,” said McGuirl. “And, of course, in a sports event like this it could also be being struck by the ball as far as spectator liability is concerned.”

Terrorism is another consideration for events that draw huge crowds, as are cyberattacks that could affect telecommunications systems in the venue. That’s why it’s important for the venue and insurer to work together with the security team, as well as local, federal and sometimes state authorities to make sure the right measures are in place to protect attendees, according to McGuirl.

Venues can mitigate risk by being proficient at crowd control and having teams, from plain-clothes police to custodians who are quick to wipe up a spill, monitoring the area.

As far as insurance offerings go, several products go into putting together the right coverage for this kind of event. AGCS is in the business of insuring festivals, too, and works with clients to build the right insurance package.

“When you have a large gathering of people, there are a lot of different components that an insurance broker can put together, everything from event cancellation to general liability to workers’ compensation to terrorism coverage, if necessary,” explained McGuirl.


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