Planning this year’s holiday office party? Prepare for the unexpected

Having fun is important, but so is careful planning

Credit: Kelsey Chance/Unsplash

Having fun is important, but so is careful planning

We’ve all had (or been) that coworker who has a little too much fun and does something they completely regret the day after the annual holiday office party. If you’re on the event planning team for this year’s holiday party, it’s in your best interest to be prepared for every possible scenario as you prepare for office shenanigans. After all, the holidays is about celebrating, not worrying about what might get damaged or broken, or who might get injured. In my line of work, I see these types of incidents all the time, and that’s why Special Events Insurance was created.

What is Special Event Insurance? This insurance is designed to protect your event—whether it’s a conference, business event or holiday party from any and all of the possible situations that may happen that are beyond your control. These include potential lawsuits related to property damage, injured guests, lost items or vendor cancellations at the event.

Nobody plans an event with the intent of it going sideways, but any good event planner will tell you that they always have a backup plan in place in case things fall by the wayside. After all, accidents happen and the last thing you want to worry about is replacing lost items, paying hospital bills or having to cover property damage instead of celebrating the holidays.

On the fence about whether or not your special event qualifies for insurance? Below are some tips to help you decide:

Location matters
If you’re planning a holiday office party, chances are you won’t be doing it at a park or outdoor venue in the dead of winter. However, if you’re hosting it at a third-party venue or on municipal property, event liability insurance is pretty much always required—especially where alcohol is involved. Think you’re in the clear if your boss is hosting it at her megamansion? Think again. You’ll want to double check her homeowner’s policy because parties above certain capacities are often not covered—again, especially when alcohol is being served.

Equipment rentals
In the case that you’re renting tables, chairs, sound equipment or anything else you might need to throw the “holiday party of the decade,” consider what might happen if your vendor ends up being a no-show. You’ll want to be covered if that’s the case (hello, unpredictable winter weather) or if any damage occurs to the stuff you rent during the event. And sometimes you just can’t tell how much crazy fun your co-workers might have.

Speaking of which, it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Protect yourself against staff injuries and potential lawsuits in the case of a severe injury. Holiday party liability insurance will cover you if you are sued by an employee by providing a free lawyer to defend you and paying any awarded damage settlements to your injured guest.

Serving it right
Booze and the holidays usually go hand-in-hand. If you’re planning to serve alcohol at your office party, you’ll need to purchase one day liquor liability insurance. One way to get around this? Hire a caterer who will serve alcohol for you. But even then, make sure you have all your bases covered so that your liability is kept to a minimum.

Regardless of where, when and how your next holiday party comes together, always keep your guests—or in this case, your staff—top of mind. Their safety is best managed with the proper special event insurance.

David Hamilton is president of Front Row Insurance, one of the world’s largest entertainment insurance brokers. Front Row offers event insurance with no need to talk to a broker.