Our session at the Event Freelancer Summit was all about the insurance that freelancers in the events industry might need.
- Public liability insurance
- Equipment insurance
- Employers’ Liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance
Create Insurance’s Partnerships Development Manager, Luke Perkins, hosted our session – which took delegates through the different types of insurance they might need, provided some real-life claims examples and offered some tips and advice for event freelancers.
Watch the full session below:
To find out more about event freelancer insurance or to get a free quote, visit: https://www.createinsurance.co.uk/insurance-for-event-freelancers/
Hi everyone, thanks for joining our webinar today. We are an insurance broker specialising in insurance services to the freelance creative sector as a whole, including a lot of trades within the event freelancing sector as a broad stroke.
We cover over 250 different trades so, you know, more than likely we’ll be able to help you so this presentation is really just a simple kind of very entry-level run-through guide of “what is insurance” covering the very basics – the fundamentals – you should consider and throughout the whole thing my email address will be at the bottom of the screen. If you wish to get in contact, ask us any question no matter how big, how small, how silly, feel free to get in contact and we’ll be happy to take it offline and have a conversation with you. It’s just about trying to provide the additional support that you guys need to kind of be the best you can.
So first slide I’ve got the agenda, types of insurance we’ll start with. What is public liability? What is employers’ liability? Property cover and then also professional indemnity – which is the big one now for us. Professional indemnity is very important, especially for the people in the events sector. We wanted to bring some claims examples to the table and then we want to finish with top tips so you know something you can walk away with, something you can implement to do your job as best you can and also mitigate against certain risks or certain issues you may face as a an events freelancer.
So, starting with the fundamental building block of any good insurance policy is public liability. So this covers you against accidental injury um third parties or damage caused to third-party property and this includes the defence costs involved. Now you’ll hear me mention defence costs quite a bit throughout this presentation, now defence costs are your legal representation, the solicitor’s fees, and they get expensive very quickly. If you’re anything like me you don’t want to be paying those kind of solicitor fees, so the insurance policy helps with that a lot.
Now public liability in a simple sense is: if you’re out in the public anywhere or at an event, you plug in your laptop charger, someone walks across and trips over your charging cable, sprains their wrists or sprains an ankle, hurts their shoulder and they could in theory bring a claim against you because you’ve caused them injuries. Your fault, your cable was there you didn’t take it down to the floor properly, they’ve then tripped over there’s an injury cost of them, solicitors costs that they want to bring against you now that can spiral quite quickly. Some of the personal injury claims you know those you know, ambulance chasers, they’ll represent those people and they can be quite defensive quite quickly so public liability is fundamentally should be on pretty much everyone’s insurance policy and plays a fundamental part for ours.
So the next slide is about employers’ liability. So employers’ liability is extremely important to have but you’re probably thinking “well I don’t employ anyone so how is that actually, you know, relatable to me? I’m a freelancer. Now it’s quite a contentious issue, so we kind of wanted to bring this to the table. You might not need it, you might need it, but hopefully this provides more clarity.
So in theory, it is a legal requirement if you do have employees, even if it’s one part-time employee, you should have employers’ liability. It’s a legal responsibility for you to have that on our policy. So all of this conversation is around about talking about our insurance policies. Each insurance policy is different so speak to your provider at the time, but on our policy it does cover volunteers so you know if you are hosting an event and you’ve got someone that’s just helping you out – it could be a friend, it could be a family member – if you’re telling them to do something and you’re therefore responsible for their actions and they’re injured and potentially that could be an employee’s liability claim.
Using other freelancers or contractors is where it gets a little bit complicated, once you kind of bring this to your attention just so you understand what happens in the event if you are using freelancers and you are telling them what to do and they’re under your guidance then employers’ liability actually is something you should be considering.
A simple way to explain this is really the example of if you’re an event organiser and you’re using volunteer marshals to help you manage the day. Volunteers are injured when moving a metal barrier and the event organiser receives a personal injury claim against them then that’s the kind of essence of what could happen, you know, you’ve never moved something you’ve told them to put something from one side of the room to the other and then they get injured then they could bring that against you as the employer as such, even though you’re not paying them but they are your responsibility while they’re doing work for you.
So really important and one of the fundamentals. The last fundamental part of the insurance policy is your property cover. So three different elements very simple, probably very easily relatable you know, kind of similar to your house insurance and your content insurance in your accommodation. Portable equipment, so that’s anything that leaves the property – so exhibition equipment, hire-in equipment, cameras, lighting rigs, displays, projectors, microphone packs and sound equipment. Anything that is moving around the country, or potentially the world, you should consider this. This covers contents, tables, desks, chairs, anything if you tip upside down your property and then whatever falls out would be classed as content, so if you have a studio or you rent a small office location and those items never leave that area, that premises, then you should consider contents and then buildings, you know, as you grow you might want to buy a building or buy an office policy or your lease might suggest that you’re responsible for the bill for the insurance of those buildings, you know anything that didn’t fall out of your property would be classed as buildings in that sense.
Now the biggie – professional indemnity.
Now what is it? You’ve probably all heard of it, you’ve probably been told that you should have it. Actually how does it work and what happens?
So in essence anyone who provides a professional service and brought against them by a client so you’ll provide professional services, giving them advice and then they have a financial negative financial impact, they could potentially bring that against you.
Now sole traders, freelancers, contractors including limited companies, limited liability, no matter how small or big you are you should have professional indemnity in place if you’re providing any type of professional services.
Now just because your turnover is say 30000 pounds a year, it still means that you could still have a claim of say 200 000 pounds, so it doesn’t really relate directly to your income but it’s something that you can use as a benchmark but you should always consider it. If anything the smaller, you know, freelancers and contractors will actually have more of a need for this because you’re not protected by a big business, you’re not limited by guarantee and also you don’t have a hr or legal team that can represent you and issue emails back, you know, you’re busy working you might overlook an email from a client that’s complaining and that escalates without you even seeing it.
So for us very, very important but for clarity as well you don’t need to charge a fee for the client to bring a case against you. You could provide advice as part of a pitch for a piece of work or, you know, you’re just giving general advice to someone trying to help them, they then action it and actually have a financial loss on the back of it. You didn’t earn any money out of it but you still have an exposure as an individual and as a business. It’s very important, so we wanted to bring to your attention the various different types of examples that could be brought against you. Now this list is endless, you’ll see some of the figures on there: 20,000 pounds, 22 and a half thousand pounds, 3,200, and you’re probably thinking, God, you know, 20,000 pounds, how can that happen? How does that escalate so much? My income over the year is only 50,000 pounds. Well with professional indemnity a lot of the cost comes from the solicitor’s fees, and actually a lot of the times listed fees and reps legal representation that you incur are actually higher than any potential pay out. You might not have to pay out anything, but to decide you still need to have a legal representation to get to that positive.
So we’ll go through these individually to kind of bring these to life. The exhibition designer and the manufacturer builds it to spec. So they built it all quite far down the line and then upon construction they’ve realised that actually the measurements are incorrect and is required to be completely redesigned by yourself and then completely re-manufactured and built again. Hopefully by this stage you’d be able to find out actually, you know, there’s been an error and it’s cross-checked along the way but, you know, we’re all human, you know, small organisations are all busy, if something is overlooked this could happen.
The insurance company paid out 20,000 pounds in this example, so there was legal representation involved because the client brought a case against the, against yourself for example, that was unhappy with the service and the manufacturing company said, “Oh you know, you’re gonna pay ten thousand pounds to rebuild this again” but they’ve already paid once so they’re paying twice for no additional kind of products. So the insurance company’s paid for the solicitor’s fees but then also paid for the remanufacturer of that exhibition stand, quite a big chunk of money, but it escalates quite quickly and that client was quite small.
The second example, producer sued by an image owner for using unlicensed pictures on a client’s website. Producer sued by the client after being sued by the copyright owner, so quite a convoluted way, you know, there’s a couple of different processes involved in there but in essence what happens: you’ve provided a service to your client, you’ve used a certain image, your client then receives a letter from the copyright owner of that image saying you haven’t paid copyright and you haven’t asked permission to use this and therefore I’m bringing a claim against you. Your client turns and says, “Well that’s nothing to do with me, I didn’t design this website”, you know, you did as a freelancer. That claim is then passed directly to you, now there’s solicitors fees involved throughout so the claimant, your client and now you are all paying solicitors fees which they’ll want paying.
But then also what often happens is that you’ll then have to pay for the copyright then but the copyright after the event has happened is normally a lot more in terms of the cost compared to if you would have asked for it beforehand, you know, before you design that website. We see that quite a lot but the insurers pay for the legal representation and then also the additional cost of the copyrights is, say, if you only had it UK and EU and actually you need worldwide copyright, you know, that’s taking consideration, paid the difference.
The last one, creative director sued by their client for leaking information about a product before the launch event. Now so with this you’re working quite hard with your client and you’ve accidentally forwarded an email to someone else containing information that was to do with the launch about a certain product that they’ve, your clients, spend a couple years kind of designing and putting into manufacture. On the back of that your client, let’s say Nike for example, want to sue you for loss of earnings or loss of potential profit or sales because you have pre-empted the launch event in a degree. That means then you’re paying solicitors fees, you’ve got to have legal representation to negotiate how much should be paid and not to take it further and further and escalate the process.
Your insurers and solicitors will negotiate directly with your client but they also try to maintain the relationship, so it’s an honest mistake that you’ve made and the insurers will understand that. You want to potentially retain this client, to get future business you know, this doesn’t have to be the end of it just because your solicitors are involved. So then therefore they’ve negotiated but keep something that keeps the client happy, you know, gets you back in in good stead with the client with your ability to do work in the future, so element of loss of sales and then also the solicitor’s fees incurred which equals the three thousand two hundred pounds.
Now for the top tips, so we wanted to make sure that you know this is an entry level, very simple guide, 101, what is insurance?
Now obviously if you’ve got any questions throughout just email the email address at the bottom of each slide, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d always be happy to have a conversation with you, even if it’s loosely linked to insurance we are a specialist in the in the sector, we understand the kind of processes that you guys go through and I promise you the query that you have we’ve probably heard it a hundred times from our many different clients.
So these are a list that we’ve created on the back of working with clients to help understand what’s gone wrong in a claims process and what they can do differently to help mitigate any potential losses in the future and reduce your risk.
So one of the main things that links directly to professional indemnity that we’ve just gone through is always having your scope of work and the project drawn out in writing before you do anything and we’re always keen to please, we always want to jump on an exciting piece of work straight away but what happens under professional indemnity in essence, if there’s a contract dispute of any kind with your clients or your clients coming to you saying, “thanks for delivering this piece of work but that’s not what I asked for, you haven’t listened to the brief and you’ve gone off and done your own thing, so therefore I’m not actually going to pay you an outstanding balance” of say, five thousand pounds as an example. Now with that the insurers will look at what you have done and what work you have provided and what was agreed. How did that contract come around?
Well the contract, you know, verbal contracts do stand but they’re very hard to prove so even if you just follow up with an email with the conversation, here’s my notes you know, this is what you’re asking and this is what I’m gonna go and deliver and then you can use that as a point of reference. Very basic but, you know, we do see a lot of our clients kind of overstepping that initial stage of working out what we’re gonna do for each other.
The second one is to do with your property, especially the portable equipment. Now this is again directly taken from our existing client base with the type of claims that we’re seeing from our clients. Protect your equipment like it was cash, never leave your equipment unattended or not secure. So many of the times we’ve had a couple different claims come in from people being out on a shoot all day hire in say 10 – 15,000 pounds worth of camera equipment. So not a huge amount of money but they’ve left it in their car overnight rather than taking up to the hotel room or bringing it back in the house because they’ve got back late, which we understand it’s not, you know, the most easy to you take out all the equipment and load up the vehicle if you’re out, get back at 11, you’re back out the next morning at six, however if you were to have 10 or 15,000 pounds worth of cash in a big suitcase in your car nobody in their right mind, and that’s your cash, you wouldn’t leave that in your car overnight. You take it back inside and do it, property should be taken in exactly the same way because an insurer will be paying out the cash, not the replacement value potentially, so they’ll be paying out the money to go buy that equipment again so always protect your equipment like it was cash, always. Bring it with you, make sure it’s left in a locked room during the day and make sure you are keeping it secure.
The third one, so engage with your insurance broker early when hiring any additional equipment. So a lot of our customers will hire in specialist camera equipment or specialist event equipment, you kno, AV equipment that is too expensive to buy and they don’t use it enough to warrant purchasing it and they just hire it on an event by an event basis, which is great. However, it’s hard when we get a phone call at half four in the afternoon on a Friday and you want to have this that you’re picking up on Saturday and the event Saturday afternoon and you want that equipment covered. So if you’re hiring say fifty thousand pounds or a hundred thousand pounds worth of equipment we’ll have a couple of additional questions, you know, what you’re doing with it, you know, what type of equipment is it, how you’re going to transport it. But then equally, what we can do if you engage with us early, or with your insurance broker, they’d be able to tell you how much it’s going to cost to add on that additional piece of equipment, or the selection of equipment, for the day or the week’s cover, whatever you may need. Once you know the cost early on then you can build that into your presentation or in your pitch and part of your pricing guide, which will help kind of make sure you earn the right money and you’re not losing money paying for insurance when issued going into your pocket. So speak to us really early, we can tell you exactly how much it’s going to cost and I’ll ask the questions which we may need answered for the higher value pieces of equipment.
Fourth one, so if you get a letter and the client’s a bit unhappy or you get an email and the clients aren’t happy, pick up the phone, speak to your insurance broker, they have trained solicitors there, they will help you through this process, they will guide you through an initial response and they’ll highlight, you know, this is actually a bit of concern, we’ll keep an eye on it, keep in contact, forward us emails and it saves you paying out for solicitors costs because you’re using the insurance, provided the insurers will provide solicitors and therefore you’re not incurring costs and managing the process throughout, which allows you to concentrate on your job and, you know, carry on going and doing what you do best.
The last one, working in areas open to the public. Always carry out a risk or review of risk assessment. Very, very simple we actually have risk assessment templates that we’re happy to provide to our customers but also prospective clients as well if you get in contact via that email address and just explain what event you’re doing we can provide a risk assessment template that you can then fill in which will help identify various different risk factors and it will, you know, you’ll be able to know, I’ve understood that. that’s a trip hazard so I’ve laid tape down and say, for example, if a claim is brought against you at least you’ll be able to see, you’ll be able to note down I did try and mitigate it and it was just a pure accident and I wasn’t at fault, you know, I did everything I could.
Hopefully that was useful, hopefully you found that quite interesting in terms of, you know, “101 guide entry level”.
Insurance for event freelancers
Create Insurance offers specialist insurance cover for freelancers, self-employed workers and small businesses in the events industry – get instant cover on public liability, professional indemnity, equipment insurance and more.