A series of tragic and disastrous incidents have shaken the nation, and the event industry is not immune. Luker Rowe director Peter Tilsed highlights the importance of insurance, education and best practice.

I need to listen to the news less.

I try hard, but I cannot stop myself doing it. Having been an insurance broker for what seems forever, I listen to a news item and think of the insurance consequences. I shouldn’t do it – but I can’t stop myself.

The recent fire at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel occurred when they were due to host a dinner with Princess Anne that evening. I start to think about if they had arranged appropriate cancellation insurance.

The tragic Grenfell fire, I wonder why combustible cladding is fitted when the insurance industry have been advising against this for years.

Drug checking at festivals which is highlighted later in this magazine (p54) also brings some interesting considerations due to the different attitudes.

Bestival have announced that they will be providing drug-testing whilst Reading and Leeds have the opposite approach saying that there will be none.

Whilst it is initially not an insurance issue, I do wonder how long it will be before it gets brought into the conversation.

When actions are taken which others do not agree with, there has been a tendency for one of two reasons to be given:-

  1. It is for Health & Safety reasons.
    2. It is an Insurance requirement.

So much is blamed on Health & Safety that the HSE have added a Myth Busters page to their site (HSE.Gov.uk/myth). This lists over 400 cases where Health & Safety reasons have been quoted and the HSE have explained why the reason was not relevant. They even list at least 15 examples directed solely at events.

The Insurance Industry has not been so robust in replying to comments which in many cases are also myths or are where the insurer is just trying to enforce good management practices.

This brings us back to the drug issue at festivals. No doubt either action or non-action by organisers will at some point be passed back as an “Insurer requirement”.

Any accident at a Festival is possibly going to be a future insurance claim. So will insurers be required to deal with claims because either:-

A. A Festival has offered a drug-testing facility but it has failed to recognise a bad batch of drugs or

B. There have been deaths or illnesses because no drug-testing was in force.

Whilst the phrase volenti non fit injuria may not be in daily use, it is very relevant when someone is injured from undertaking something that is known could cause injury. This could reduce the duties of the organiser but wouldn’t take away all their responsibilities. A claim may therefore still succeed under public liability insurance, although organisers need to be aware that sometimes a drugs exclusion will be added to an event organiser’s policy.

I am sure that the discussions will continue to develop but on this occasion it may be a one that does not claim to be due to Health & Safety or Insurance reasons.

Must go now, the 10 O’clock News is about to start!