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Events Always Go According to Plan…Right?


MPI Toronto On January 9, 2017

Earlier, a series of questions were posed for Meeting Professionals to consider before an event.  By no means are they meant to be exhaustive, but they illustrate the many responsibilities that clients entrust to their Meeting Professional. 
 
As we enter the middle of the Canadian winter, additional scenarios should be considered:

  • How likely is it that your client’s event could be affected by a severe storm? 
  • Would a severe storm impact the ability of attendees/keynote speakers/vendors/suppliers to attend? 
  • Would a severe storm prevent your client from achieving their targets for revenues or charitable donations? Ultimately, what would the cancellation of an event mean to your client?
It isn’t too hard to imagine a major storm hitting Toronto.  In fact, it was only three years ago when the Toronto ice storm hit the GTA between December 20th-23rd, 2013.  Freezing rain and snow came for 4 days and caused massive amounts of damage to electrical power transmitters.  Utility poles and trees collapsed under the weight of thick ice accumulation, leaving over a million residents without power, some for as many as 6 days.  In total, the storm caused over $200 million in damages and resulted in 27 deaths. 



Meeting Professionals should consult with their clients to determine the potential repercussions of a cancelled event, and how they would like to manage that risk. 
 
A trade association’s annual convention, for example, will be the occasion for them to make their annual budget for the year.  Likewise, the annual fundraising drive for non-profits could be their primary source of donations during the year.  If these events are cancelled or they receive less than expected attendance as a result of a situation that is completely out of their control (such as weather), it could have a major effect on their budget for the balance of the year. 
 
What is interesting to note is that the Toronto ice storm actually began before the official start to winter.  Meaning, the potential for this type of storm is not limited to just the worst winter months, but for perhaps the entire Canadian winter season. 
 
What can we take away from the Toronto ice storm? 
 
Canada is not immune to severe weather occurrences, even at the initial onset of winter.  As a result, Meeting Professionals need to keep risk management top of mind for their clients during the event planning process.  By exercising their duty to educate clients on the products that are available for managing event risks, such as Event Liability and Event Cancellation insurance, Meeting Professionals continue to stay not only informed for their clients, but also communicate to them that they are inherently interested in their clients’ long-term success. 
 
Neil Felder is the Account Executive that specializes in risks for the Meeting and Events Industry at PROLINK, Canada’s Insurance Connection, and can be reached at NeilF@PROLINK.insure
 
 

 
 

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