Insurance and the presidential conventions

By Bill Wise July 28, 2016

As was evident while viewing the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the political operatives of their national committees truly delved into the minutia of how to spin their respective gatherings in Cleveland and Philadelphia. But politicians aren’t the only group with a vested interest in the smooth running of such conventions. Each has nonpolitical staff responsible for organizing the logistics of countless issues: hotels, transportation, food, security, press, scheduling, and hundreds of other things most of us can’t even imagine. Now add 50,000 delegates, press, lobbyists, protesters, and others expected at both sites.

When you have that many people in a relatively confined area—many with intense emotions—the behind-the-scenes people get worried. If politics touches everyone at the convention, insurance should touch everyone working the events and doing business in the area.

Convention organizers and municipalities look closely at insurance policies they take out. In addition to general liability and property, they’re particularly aware of professional liability exposure. With thousands of demonstrators both pro and con on every conceivable issue inundating the two cities, security risks aren’t just theoretical to cautious organizers.

Organizers have planned these one-time events months, possibly years, in advance. For a local businessowner who probably doesn’t generally think about the risk of having protesters outside the store, this is unchartered, and perhaps uninsured, territory.

The conventions will affect the small retail store or office in close proximity in a variety of ways. Many retailers and service providers will see booming business as hordes of visitors clamber for their quick to-go meals or other services. Others, like the dry cleaner whose regular customers may avoid the shop that week, are unlikely to get new business to replace the old, and it could hinder them in making deliveries to customers.

Some businesses might close for the week and just accept the loss, but their business interruption insurance won’t cover them if they close of their own volition—if they even have coverage to begin with. Larger companies have more resources and insurance to adapt to, if not surmount, the problems. Those businesses could remain operational by shifting personnel to alternative sites or letting employees work from home.

It’s easy to see how large-scale events such as national political conventions can have a huge effect on local businesses, bringing to the forefront many insurance issues. Insurers have an opportunity, if not an obligation, to assist customers in navigating the products that would fit the needs of small businessowners. It’s an opportunity you should consider in advance of the next major event, and Verisk Commercial Lines Consulting can help you do so. For more information, visit our website.


Bill Wise

Bill Wise is a Principal Consultant at Verisk Insurance Solutions.