Risk management is a key component in the success of any event. Too often it can be put in the ‘too difficult’ pile of things that the event planner has to consider. Too often it can appear complicated. But it doesn’t need to be.

To ensure that everything runs smoothly and your event stands out from all the other events on offer, here are some thoughts to help with your event risk planning.

For ease this post looks at event risk management in three key areas. These are the risks to People, Kit and Money.


Are You Looking After Them? Do you know who the ‘people’ are that you are responsible for? It’s not just the delegates but everyone else that comes into contact with your event. Let’s not forget, speakers, press, exhibitors, sub-contractors and more.

Many planners believe that the venue they are using will automatically have insurance for injury or damage that will cover them. Whilst the venue should  have its own insurance in place it is likely that will be for its own accidents and not those that you as the event organiser could be responsible for.

Therefore if there is an accident at your event and one of your delegates becomes injured the problem will end up on your desk.

Of course, the issue of insurance for your event and the relationship with venues varies across the globe. There are different legal systems that operate and to establish what insurance protection you need for your event you need to check with an insurance broker, insurance company or advisor.

Once you have the insurance I suggest that you act as though you don’t have it. This will mean that you take more care with the way that plan your event.

Put yourself in the place of your delegates and go through their ‘event delegate journey’ – this will ensure that you understand exactly what you are asking them to do. Is there anything dangerous in there? A ‘trust fall’ as part of a training exercise could seem harmless enough but is it? If in any doubt always let your insurers know what you are doing? At the same time ask yourself how you can make the activities work whilst keeping your event free from harm.

And to re-iterate the point, Don’t forget to tell your insurance company or broker about anything hazardous as they will need to know.


Now that you have your venue all lined up and the “people cover” in hand it would be wise to know if you have any responsibility for the equipment of the venue that you are using? Is it Your Responsibility?

Do not make assumptions. Always check your position. Ask the venue. If they have expectations that you will be insuring the the kit then you need to take action and find some insurance.

This advice also applies to any kit that you may need to hire in for your event. Equipment hire companies will no doubt wish to see evidence of insurance before they release any kit into your control. They would be mad not to.

Remember also that you may need to insure the kit for the travel to and from the venue from the hire company so arrange for this to be covered.

Double check any equipment hire contract for any small print. What would happen for example if the kit you hired was damaged or stolen whilst in your control?

How much money could you end up having to pay out if that were to happen? Find out at the outset and make sure you understand all the contract conditions.



Money Money Money

Now it is time to have a look at the third of the key risk areas which is all about the money.

With any contract that you sign especially the venue one make sure that you understand what you are accepting responsibility for. I have lost count of the number of times that event planners said they were ok because they can cover the deposit if it all goes wrong.

Well that may be the case but the deposit is only the start. What you need to be looking at is the overall amount payable that you have agreed to. In addition to the venue costs you wold need to add in everything else from other suppliers (Audio Visual, speakers, caterers, security, registration suppliers etc) and then establish what overall event costs you have.

Have a look at the figure (overall event costs) and make the calculation as to whether you can comfortably pay this from your own funds if you need to. If you cannot then you might want to consider taking out a Cancellation Insurance policy (seek specialist advice from an insurance broker, advisor or company).

The (Cancellation insurance) money cover will help you but it is not there as a financial guarantee.

For example, if you don’t have enough people attending your event the insurance policy will not make up any shortfall in monies you have to pay to suppliers.

You might also want to think about how you are going to be paid if the event doesn’t go ahead. Keep thinking of the money to reduce your overall risk exposure.


This has been a brief overview of the three fundamental areas of risk planning your event.

Remember, that whilst insurance is useful it is not there to alleviate the event risk planning that you need to consider. These tips will trigger other questions that will help you manage your risk.

If  you want a quick easy to read book on risk planning packed with lots of practical tips and advice then take a look at Risk It! – How to Run Great Events and Live with the Risk. 

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