Risk Management for Outdoor EventsI don’t know about the rest of the country, but for us here in the Midwest, summer is a big deal. After months of unreliable, unstable, cold and snowy weather, we are more than ready for sunshine and summertime! But before we know it, Old Man Winter will be back and we’ll be stuck indoors once again. That is why we try to soak up every last bit of it by spending as much of it outdoors as possible—which includes attending outdoor events.

As a company in the weather business, we know all too well the risks associated with outdoor events. And now that we’re in the full swing of summer, we’ve had quite a few people asking us what they should have done, or could have done better, to ensure the weather didn’t ruin their events and—subsequently—their profits.

Below, we have put together a four-step risk management plan for you to assess and mitigate risk for your outdoor event. The moment you start thinking about planning an outdoor event is the moment you should start thinking about the weather and how it could affect your event. Hope for the best, but always be prepared for the worst.

Step 1: Identify Risks

A key component of a risk management plan is to identify the potential threats to your event. When held outdoors, weather plays a huge role in the outcome of the event. Adverse weather can force your event to be relocated, delayed or even canceled. Even if your event can go on, weather could still affect the expected outcome. Even beautiful weather can have an adverse effect on your outdoor event. If there isn’t much shade or areas to cool off, really hot weather can deter people from attending.

You also need to think ahead for potential risks unrelated to weather. For example, if you’re hosting an event near open water, there is an increased risk of attendees falling in, particularly if alcohol is involved. If the event will run into the night hours, lighting is a potential problem.

Step 2: Evaluate Threat

Now having determined the risks, your next step should be to evaluate the potential threat of each risk. With adverse weather in mind, determine how it could affect the event. Severe weather can cancel nearly any type of outdoor event because you won’t want to be liable should someone get hurt.

Rain during an outdoor wedding or dinner party could force the event indoors, while rain during a fair or festival could affect the attendance and/or revenue, but shouldn’t cancel the event completely. Determine how likely each risk is and how it would affect your event, should it occur.

Step 3: Prevent Risks

The next step of the plan is to outline preventative steps you will take to reduce the chances of the risks occurring. A security detail is one way to prevent risks related to intoxicated guests. To prevent dangers of a nighttime event, hire a lighting company to set up proper illumination.

Proper event insurance is another simple way to protect your event from these risks. Event cancellation or weather insurance can protect revenue and expenses against adverse weather, venue unavailability, power outages, etc. Special event liability insurance can protect against third-party bodily injury or property damage that may arise at the event.

Step 4: Plan Response

The last step of your risk management plan should include your response for each risk, should it occur. Planning your response ahead of time helps you prepare for the worst, therefore helping prevent injury to guests and/or keep cost under control. An example would be to plan for tents in case of light rain, or to have an alternative location for the event to prevent damage or injury.

If you do need to cancel an event for any reason, you should already have a plan for offering refunds if you have an event cancellation policy that would allow you to do so. If you do purchase the proper event insurance and an unfortunate incident does occur, notify your agent right away so a claim can be submitted.

Have more questions about how you can protect your outdoor event? Contact us!