Awkward question to ask yourself: what is going to happen when the unfortunate announcement is made that the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh has died?
Will the banks and stock markets close? Will public transport stop running? If so, for how long?
Closer to home, will venues be instructed or expected to close?
Let me start this piece by acknowledging this as a highly sensitive issue, but as event industry insurance and risk management experts we owe a duty to let all exhibition and conference organisers know what we understand to be likely. We believe this is going to be one of if not the single biggest issue to affect the UK and Commonwealth events industry in the last 25 years.
There are a number of unknowns which influence this scenario. Past responses to Royal deaths have been shaped by contingent circumstances and emotions, which were often fluid and fast moving. Long-standing tradition is repeatedly being re-shaped by the British community. However, after considering past similar events we can outline the likely state etiquette which will be observed.
- There will be a national State mourning period of 8 – 12 days between the date of death and the funeral.
- During this time, plans for the state funeral will be finalised. The date of the funeral will be a public holiday. We believe any event taking place on the date of the funeral may well have to be cancelled. This may also be the case for any event taking place either on the same day of the death or the one immediately after.
- From an insurance perspective there is currently protection available. Organisers with cancellation and abandonment insurance may be insured. InEvexco are pleased to say this cover is included as standard within our policy for exhibitions and conferences.
- We believe other insurers in the marketplace may actually be excluding this cover from their policy if the person who dies is over 70 years old (which of course HRH The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh both are).
Can you do anything to protect your revenue now? Well initially we suggest you check your current policy provides adequate cover.
Make sure you look for any age restriction which may significantly restrict cover. Buy your cancellation and abandonment cover early, don’t delay. If a prominent Royal becomes seriously ill all insurers will certainly restrict cover on future placements.
This is a very difficult situation to plan for but as with any event that you run we are sure you have a crisis management plan – we recommend the effect of national mourning is considered and factored into your plan in case this unfortunate incident happens whilst the event is taking place or in the build-up.
If you are concerned about any of the matters raised in the above piece please contact Mark Blair, divisional director of InEvexco.