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Destinations International Launches Event Cancellation Insurance Option

January 11, 2023
Don Welsh and George Anderson at PCMA Convening Leaders

Filling a need made acute due to the unprecedented amount of cancellations and postponements during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Destinations International (DI) announced a partnership with insurance and risk-management company Anderson Benson to collaborate on event cancellation insurance and risk management policy options for destination organizations.

Launched at PCMA Convening Leaders 2023 in Columbus, Ohio, the Bespoke Destinations International Program is exclusively available for DI members and their clients globally.

“In today’s climate, destinations of all sizes must be prepared for potential risks that may be out of a destination’s control,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of DI. “Aligning with the pre-eminent insurance broker and risk management firm in our industry, we are able to provide our members with an invaluable resource and tool.”

[Related: PCMA Goes Big: Association Announces Major Acquisitions]

Emily Scheiderer, director of education, sales and services for DI, further explained some of the coverage options and possible inclusions.

“This exciting partnership that we have with Anderson Benson is really providing a very important tool that's offering planners the opportunity to have financial security as they are mitigating the risk of their events,” Scheiderer said during a PCMA Convening Leaders press conference announcing the partnership. “The reality of the situation is that as an industry, we're always going to have unknowns. Planners are planning events in a world where we have new perceptions of health and safety, where we have ebbing flows of economies, where we have ever-changing political climates and where climate change is a big deal. All of these unknowns are impacting the planning process for meetings and for events. The strategic partnership that we have with Anderson Benson is providing destinations and strategists with a tool that they need to really protect their financial interests.”

According to DI, the “bespoke” program would include the following coverage, among other protected occurrences:

  • Budgeted costs and expenses or revenue should an event be cancelled
  • Abandoned or disrupted meetings or events due to reasons beyond the destination organization’s control
  • Protection against traditional force majeure occurrences such as adverse weather and terrorism
  • Civil commotion
  • National mourning
  • Travel boycotts and bans

Nashville-based Anderson Benson has a history of working with the Nashville CVB regarding risk mitigation, as well as insuring music industry events such as tours, and works via Lloyds of London to underwrite its policies.

[Related: What Meeting Planners Need to Know About Destination Boycotts]

George Anderson, co-founder and president of Anderson Benson, explained some of the occurrences that could be covered under the event coverage offered, and also stressed that the fledgling undertaking will be refined in the future and is intended to be very customizable for events.

“Let me just read a few of the risks that are covered, just so you have an idea,” Anderson explained to the audience. “Adverse weather, terrorism, active threat or fear, non-appearance... You know, you're flying in a great speaker, he can't make it and he doesn't show up—there's cost involved. You get paid for that civil commotion—a big risk nowadays, as we saw a couple of years ago. Especially national mourning, active shooter, cyber breach, somebody comes to this convention and grabs a hold of the internet and says if you don't give us $100,000, we're not going to release you to have your meeting. We see these types of claims. Another big one is public sentiment and reputational protection.”
Anderson added that the insurance can cover communicable diseases, but the premiums for that coverage have risen exponentially due to the COVID pandemic compared to the cost of such coverage before the pandemic.

Panelists also added that the existence of this bespoke insurance coverage—customized to the specific needs and risk level comfort of specific business events—will aid both the organizations holding the events as well as the destinations they are in by giving the organizations confidence to confirm bookings earlier.

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Read this next: Howard Givner on the PCMA Acquisition of ELI and the Future of Meetings Education

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Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.