Insurance: Is Your Fair Covered?

Insurance. It’s something you may not think about until you have to use it. Insurance for county fairs is a bit different than the insurance you have for your home or life. Andrew Vandepopulier of Haas & Wilkerson Insurance specializes in helping people understand just what their insurance policy really means. Since the pandemic there have been many changes to these policies that fair personnel need to be aware of.

1. Communicable Disease Exclusions:

Fair boards must pay close attention to communicable disease exclusions in their insurance policies. These exclusions have expanded in scope, encompassing diseases like E. coli and other transmissible infections. It is imperative to thoroughly understand what is excluded from the policy and seek written clarification from agents and carriers.

“When it comes to events, the inclusion of communicable disease has now been eliminated,” explains Vandepopulier. “You’re not going to be able to find cancellation insurance that will provide coverage in the event of another pandemic or even influenza or bird flu and things like that.”

2.Changing Dynamics in Insurance Policies:

The fair industry experiences continuous shifts in insurance policies, with exclusions becoming prevalent for specific events like motorsports, fireworks, and rodeos. Fair boards need to comprehend these exclusions and determine whether secondary policies or self-insurance are necessary to fill coverage gaps.

3. Property Insurance Considerations:

Fair boards should conduct comprehensive contract reviews, especially concerning entertainment and vendor agreements. Protection should be prioritized, ensuring vendors have their own insurance and indemnify the fair board. 

Vandepopulier adds, “Attention to details, such as naming the fair board as an additional insured, is crucial.”

4. Preparedness for Unexpected Events:

Insurance considerations extend beyond traditional risks to encompass unexpected events like storms, tornadoes, or even an active shooter situation. Preparedness is key, with fair boards expected to have well-documented plans and regular updates in collaboration with local law enforcement and homeland security.

5. Cancellation Policies for Entertainment Contracts:

New trends in entertainment contracts may require fair boards to have cancellation policies in place. These policies, often not offered by local agents, may need specialized coverage from experts to protect against financial losses in case of cancellations.

Fair boards are urged to engage in open and transparent discussions with insurance agents, carriers, and specialists to ensure comprehensive coverage and risk mitigation strategies. As the fair industry navigates the post-COVID landscape, staying informed and proactive is crucial for a successful and secure event season in 2024.