Event Liability Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide for Event Planners in South Africa

Events are exciting occasions that bring people together for various purposes, but with the thrill comes the responsibility of ensuring a smooth and secure experience. Event planners in South Africa understand the importance of safeguarding their endeavours, and one crucial aspect of this is event liability insurance. 

In this guide, we’ll delve into the responsibilities of event organisers and how event policies work, shedding light on the intricacies of protecting your events in the dynamic South African landscape.

Organising a successful event goes beyond the logistics and planning; it involves shouldering the responsibility of creating a safe environment for attendees. 

Event planners must adhere to the requirements set out by the relevant municipality’s Joint Operations Committee (JOC). These requirements include submitting floor plans, obtaining certificates of approval for temporary structures, implementing security plans, having emergency assistance provisions on-site and more.

Compliance with these regulations is a crucial aspect of risk management, and insurers will carefully consider it in the event of a claim. Working closely with an insurance adviser is recommended, ensuring that all aspects of the event are covered to mitigate potential risks and financial pitfalls.

Evidently, event organisers play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and success of the occasion, and we’ve created a breakdown of the key responsibilities that are placed on event organisers in the legal world.

Strict Adherence with Municipality Regulations

Event organisers must adhere to the regulations set by the relevant municipality’s Joint Operations Committee (JOC). This includes submitting detailed floor plans, obtaining certificates of approval for temporary structures, and developing security plans to create a safe environment for attendees.

Effective Risk Mitigation Strategies through Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with these regulations is not just a formality; it’s a crucial aspect of risk management. Insurers closely examine an organiser’s adherence to these requirements in the event of a claim. 

Demonstrating a commitment to safety measures can enhance the likelihood of favourable outcomes in insurance claims.

Optimising Event Success: The Power of Collaboration with Advisers

To navigate the complexities of event planning and risk management, event organisers are advised to work closely with professional advisers. 

These advisers can offer guidance on tailoring solutions that meet specific needs based on the geographical location of the event, the number of attendees, contractual obligations, and vendor relationships.

How Does Event Liability Work in South Africa?

Event liability insurance serves as a safety net, covering the costs of operations if an event is postponed or cancelled. It’s imperative to secure this coverage before the event, tailored to either the business as a service provider or the individual hosting the event. 

These policies are designed to address the unique risks prevalent in the event industry, providing an extra layer of protection beyond standard commercial insurance policies.

The cover options are diverse, ranging from policies specified over a 12-month period to those covering a single event on a predetermined date. Some insurers offer open annual event insurance policies, providing coverage for a year of events not necessarily specified at policy commencement.

The structure of policies is influenced by the insured’s business model and event details. For instance, organisers hiring equipment like tents may need specific coverage for the liabilities associated with temporary structures.

Understanding how event policies function is essential for event planners seeking to protect their business:

  • The Role of Event Insurance: This coverage is designed to address risks unique to the event industry that may not be covered by standard commercial insurance policies.
  • Tailoring Coverage to Your Specifics: Event policies can be customised to cover either the business as a service provider or the individual hosting the event. 
  • Open Annual Event Insurance Policies: Some insurers offer open annual event insurance policies. This flexibility can be advantageous for event planners organising multiple occasions throughout the year.
  • Liability Coverage for Specifics: Depending on the nature of the event, organisers may need specific coverage for liabilities associated with temporary structures, such as tents. Additionally, adequate liability insurance is crucial for unforeseen accidents or injuries during the course of the event.

Event Liability insurance and liability

The Role of Event Liability Insurance

In order to establish the importance of event insurance, it is valuable to first consider the premise of Joint and Several Liability. This is as it gives you insight into the legal framework that holds all parties involved in an event, collectively and individually, responsible for civil liability.

And in the realm of event planning, Joint and Several Liability dictates that if an incident occurs at an event, resulting in injury or damage, all associated parties can be collectively and individually held responsible for any resulting civil liability. This legal principle allows an affected third party to seek compensation for the entire judgement from any party deemed jointly and severally liable.

Joint and Several Liability highlights the critical necessity for comprehensive event liability insurance. Sponsors, especially, should ensure that their insurance coverage extends beyond the standard business public liability policies. 

This legal principle highlights the importance of a proactive approach to event planning, vetting, and compliance with safety standards. And above all else, having the right insurance policy active and ready to protect your business. Having adequate coverage is vital in mitigating the financial risks associated with potential civil liability claims.

Thus, understanding Joint and Several Liability is imperative for anyone involved in event planning. It emphasises shared responsibility for safety and risk mitigation, urging stakeholders to adopt proactive measures and secure the right event liability insurance to protect their business from the complexities of the legal landscape.

SASREA and the Implications For Event Planners in South Africa

The Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA) aims to establish comprehensive measures to ensure the safety and security of individuals and property during events at stadiums, venues, or along routes by regulating the accountability of event role-players. 

Sponsors, suppliers, advertisers, and event organisers should proactively vet event planning to meet minimum standards and comply with SASREA. Moreover, SASREA places and obligation on the organiser, to ensure that all parties who attend the event are considered and assume liability for them, whether it may be employees, attendees, and subcontractors.

SASREA’s effect is akin to the Consumer Protection Act, allowing injured parties to seek recourse against any stakeholder in the event, holding them jointly and severally liable for damages and civil liability. 

Here’s a breakdown of the impact that the introduction of the SASREA has on event planners in South Africa and why having a robust risk mitigation plan has now become essential:

  • Joint and Several Liability In the context of SASREA: Joint and several liability means that all parties involved in an event are collectively and individually liable in the event of any civil liability arising. This form of liability allows affected third parties to seek payment of the entire judgement from any of the parties deemed jointly and severally liable.
  • Proactive Approach to Safety: SASREA places the onus on all entities involved in an event to ensure safety and responsibility. Sponsors, suppliers, advertisers, and event organisers must take a proactive approach to ensure compliance with SASREA.
  • Role of Event Liability Insurance: Event liability insurance becomes the first line of defence for all parties involved. Sponsors are particularly advised to have adequate coverage that goes beyond standard business public liability policies. Professional insurance providers can play a crucial role in evaluating business exposure, ensuring contract compliance, and recommending appropriate liability insurance covers.

Our Conclusion

When you gain a deeper understanding of how event liability insurance works, event planners gain a nuanced understanding of their responsibilities, the mechanics of event policies, and the implications of joint and several liability.

This heightened awareness becomes a powerful tool, empowering event planners to navigate the dynamic roads of event planning and risk management in South Africa with confidence.

*This is general information only and does not take into account your financial situation, needs, or specific objectives. As with any insurance, the cover will be subject to the terms, conditions, and exclusions contained in the policy wording.