by Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM | February 01, 2007

Are you and your events properly insured? Following is a rundown of the insurance must-haves all meeting and event planners should consider, in addition to your traditional meeting contracts/coverage (check with your legal counsel for the latter).

Health Checkup

Four- and five-star properties often have agreements with on-site or local physicians to handle guests’ health problems and emergencies. Are these covered in the contract or by your company’s health insurance underwriters? If not, who pays? What is your plan? What hospitals accept the insurance plans used by your company or your client’s attendees?

Venue Coverage

Traditional event venues, such as hotels and convention centers, typically have several million dollars in catastrophic coverage, while private venues, such as unique homes or historical landmarks, typically do not.

When it comes to private venues, check to see if the coverage falls under your firm’s (or your client’s) corporate insurance policy. If not, you might need to add an addendum, or rider, to the current policy.

Also, make sure that you, as the planner, are protected under the company policy and/or a rider. If not, you might want to discuss this with your personal insurance carrier. That way, in the event of an accident at the meeting venue that results in a lawsuit, you and your personal assets are protected.

Trip Insurance

As travel becomes more complex and litigious, it is essential to get trip insurance, which covers a specific event or program, for you and your attendees. These policies often cover hotel stays in the event of delays or cancellations, or if you are stranded in a foreign country.

Most firms of 100 employees or more have trip insurance in place. Get a copy of the policy and learn it inside and out. Include a copy in your event binder and have it handy to access online.

Some policies only cover cancellation; some include the overbooking of venues, while others cover temporary emergency-room coverage.

For air transportation, there is specific travel insurance you can buy per flight. Most corporate travel departments have negotiated blanket travel insurance policies that cover flights; check to make sure yours or your client’s does.

Safe Shipping

How secure is your or your client’s intellectual property? This can include financial information, blueprints, reorganization details, and information on acquisitions that is proprietary but can also include computer software and/or hardware.

Event planners often ship binders or electronic equipment containing highly sensitive items. Product launches often require planners to ship exclusive prototypes -- one-of-a-kind items that have not yet gone to market. In the wrong hands, such materials can prove costly, if not deadly, to a company. (And don’t forget: Virtually all packages get opened and inspected today, even locally shipped parcels.)

If you decide you cannot carry these important items, protect against lost or late materials by purchasing extra insurance from Federal Express or any carrier you use. Other questions to ask the carrier: What are the arrival guarantees? Is damage insurance included?

Your Value

Beyond traditional insurance coverage, consider yourself a vital asset requiring coverage. Establish backup plans, backup people and cross-training. If you or someone above, lateral or subordinate gets sick or has an emergency, how are you and your job covered? Have a plan.

Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM,is a marketing event consultant based in California’s Silicon Valley.