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How do you plan a holiday event with risk management in mind?

© Poike via iStock

Whether you’re opening your home to friends and family or welcoming your community to a charity event, you can prevent or reduce the financial impact of accidents by paying attention to a few rules and reminders this holiday season.


• Work with reputable, appropriately licensed and bonded vendors that obtain background checks on their employees.
• Employ written contracts that specify vendor duties, expectations and even the rules of your property. Examples might include “No smoking inside” or “No one is allowed upstairs.”
• Get to know each vendor’s supervisor so you can work through surprises and problems quickly.
• Obtain signed certificates of insurance for general liability, automobile and workers’ compensation.
• Ask your vendors to sign nondisclosure agreements to protect your and your guests’ privacy.


• Obtain appropriate permits and community approval for things like overflow street parking, extended use of bright lights, fireworks displays, tents and music. Don’t forget to let your neighbors know about your event, too.
• Set up ample lighting and remove property hazards like electrical cords, lawn furniture and decorations and children’s toys.
• Mitigate or put up signs regarding slippery or uneven walkways.
• Safely secure your pets.
• Lock up valuables and move fragile items to safe, low-traffic areas.
• Never serve alcohol to minors.
• If your event is going to be a large party, consider hiring a professional bartender.


• Before the event, talk with your media representative about which areas of your home or event space should be photographed, and how you’ll use event photos.
• If you’re hosting a charity event, look up your state laws regarding prize drawings. Some states don’t allow “raffles” but do allow “opportunity drawings.”
For example, in California, charities and certain other private nonprofits may conduct raffles to raise funds for charitable purposes in the state, but at least 90 percent of the gross receipts from these raffles must go directly to beneficial or charitable purposes in California. Unless specifically exempted, a nonprofit must register with the attorney general’s Registry of Charitable Trusts prior to conducting the raffle, and file an aggregate financial disclosure report for all raffles held during the reporting year.
• Review contracts that you sign with hired entertainment talent to avoid conflicts with your social media and advertising plans.


• Check with your agent or broker to make sure your personal liability coverage applies to your event and has sufficient limits.
• Consider purchasing a special events policy.
There are several benefits to this type of policy:
a. It offers a separate liability limit distinct from your homeowners policy.
b. You can add coverage for host liquor liability if needed.
c. You can include both cancellation and loss of deposits coverage.
d. You can insure the gifts that are distributed or received at your special event.
e. You can insure photograph and video coverage to recoup the costs if your vendor fails to show or doesn’t deliver the promised photographs.
f. You can insure rented property, like tents, generators, portable toilets, tables, chairs or other property. Check your contract
with these vendors; you’re likely responsible for these items.

If you plan carefully, your event will be a great time for everyone—and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself with less worry.

At NFP, as insurance and risk management professionals, we help you identify, evaluate and address areas of risk so that when a mishap does happen, it doesn’t derail your wealth preservation strategy.

Insurance services provided through NFP Property & Casualty Services, Inc., doing business in California as NFP Property & Casualty Insurance Services, Inc., License # 0F1571.

This article was originally published in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of Worth.

Risk & Insurance

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