• Post-Pandemic Changes in Event Cancellation Insurance

     
    POSTED June 12, 2020
     

Event planners often prepare for the worst, but one thing they likely didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic when selecting event cancellation insurance policies for their 2020 gatherings. Panicked planners began contacting Marcia McKinney, owner of Northeast Insurance Advisors, in late February and early March, but as meetings and events ground to a halt, they were already out of luck.

“It’s kind of like trying to buy homeowner’s insurance as your house is starting to catch fire... it’s too late,” says McKinney.

Countless events were postponed or cancelled across the globe in order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, impacting thousands of planners. Businesses were left with enormous losses, be it cash spent on venues, vendors, or items bought in preparation of a gathering, as well as lost earning potential. Event cancellation insurance might have protected them, had they opted for the right coverage. However, most planners often ignore health crises as a possibility, since such events on the scale of COVID-19 are so rare.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks, which changed the way many perceive threats, altered the way events are insured. Companies began requiring planners to opt into terrorism coverage, whereas it was included before. While the coronavirus is a different kind of crisis, McKinney thinks insurers will create different solutions and offerings regarding pandemics within the next six to 12 months, though it’s impossible to predict what shape they’ll take.

“More planners and more people who are planning special events are going to be asking these questions,” says McKinney. “Whereas six months ago, nobody was asking about them.”

Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth is one of six recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s 2020 America’s Classics Award, which is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Per the foundation, “Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, a chicken dinner behemoth positioned between Detroit and Michigan’s summer lake destination, is decidedly on the beaten path. William Zehnder Sr. and his wife, Emilie, bought a former hotel in 1928.

 

In early April Detroit’s TCF Center became a 1,000-bed alternate care site to help ease the burden on local hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. The 723,000-square-foot facility became the TCF Regional Care Center. According to Pure Michigan’s Michelle Grinnell, who serves as public information officer for the state’s alternate care sites, 39 patients were treated at TCF, the last of whom was discharged on May 7.

 

The new reality for in-person meetings and events is coming into focus. While gatherings were cancelled or went virtual during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, states are now slowly beginning to reopen and move toward a return to in-person gatherings. Associated Luxury Hotels International, or ALHI, published safety recommendations for planners, hotels, airlines and more, as society begins to formulate safety guidelines for travel, tourism, meetings and events.