All insurance is expensive until you need it!
August 29, 2016
Within many of our client companies we’ve noticed a gap in a logistical area of responsibility dealing with “who checks on insurance coverage for your Exhibit assets?” Marketing folks are brand focused; Tradeshow Managers are show focused; Designers are aesthetically focused; Accounting is processing approved invoices or reviewing terms; Sales Managers are lead gen focused and Senior Managers or owners are looking for an ROI.
We tell all of our customers that the infamous Murphy of “Murphy’s Law” runs the tradeshow industry. Essentially Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong it will! A good exhibit house partner will mitigate Murphy’s Law through good design, packaging and logistics management. But, your assets won’t always be in their control.
Displays and accessory items are handled by numerous strangers without any emotional attachment to or professional investment in your branding materials (booth, product samples, a/v equipment, handouts). These may include shippers, transfer station warehouse workers; loading dock personnel; installation & dismantle labor; multiple union workers and other subcontractors to a tradeshow’s General Contractor. Three of the biggest topical concerns for exhibitors include lack of proper performance during the event, damage and theft.
For a better understanding of responsibilities when Murphy gets ahold of your exhibit, look at:
Freight Liability - Some minor level of insurance coverage is Implicit in most freight contracts. However, the maximum sum they will pay is usually a paltry amount compared to the replacement value of what gets stolen or damaged. Most freight companies will offer the opportunity to purchase extra insurance. Third party firms also offer one time shipping insurance. Based on the level of your company’s umbrella insurance policy and its deductible, these extra insurance costs may not be unnecessary.
Empties/Material Handling – Obviously show contractors that handle hundreds of thousands pieces of exhibitry ranging from the size of an envelope to items that are almost city-blocks long need to protect themselves against liability for damage. Storing anything of value in empty crates during a show is an opportunity for damage that is usually not covered by the contractors. Be sure to understand the tight time limits to file a claim against any contractor for material handling.
Asset Management Agreements – Terminology such as ‘acts of god’ might be non-negotiable; but basics such as being protected against, fire, flooding, mold, should be the responsibility of the Exhibit House. Look for any other stated exclusions and expect that the Exhibit House will not be responsible for your items when they are not in the Exhibit House’s control.
I & D contracts – Most will limit an I&D firm’s liability to the cost of the charge for services provided. However, that may not suffice if there is a chain reaction (the improperly installed brackets hanging the thingy cause it to fall onto the one-of-a-kind sample.)
Corporate Insurance Policies – Find the person in your company who coordinates with your organization’s business insurance provider. Seek their input, advice and confirmation that your display and related assets are covered by the corporate “umbrella” policy. If not, they should be! Or, do you need a special insurance rider? In this way, when the small print in the boilerplates of the service providers let you down, you’re covered in the event of a major loss.