Do you know if your people are safe at events?

03 April 2017

In a rapidly changing world where civil disruption can happen anywhere, we examine what firms operating in the sport, media and entertainment industries should do to protect staff at events.

Political instability, the migrant crisis, and the fact that terrorists are now actively targeting large public events in western cities, all means that locations that were until recently considered 'safe' are now often far from that. There used to be hotspots for civil unrest. It was easy to take advice on where was safe, and where wasn't, but not anymore.

“The threat has changed. The chance of the people you have a duty of care to being caught up is fairly high,” says Andy Taylor-Preston, Senior Consultant in the Credit, Political & Security Risks team at JLT Specialty. This particularly applies to those involved in staging public events across music, sports and entertainment as well as corporate events. For example, in the last few years a range of public events in cities across Europe have been attacked by terrorists resulting in many casualties. From the Bataclan theatre and the Stade de France in Paris, to a Berlin Christmas market and Bastille Day celebrations in Nice.

These 'soft targets' are considered particularly valuable to terrorist groups because attacks create huge media impact that can last for days, or even weeks, and generate massive amounts of publicity for their cause. As a result, it's vital that firms plan ahead to make sure they are prepared. 

If you've got people overseas, you need to know that you've done all you can to protect them through:

  • Assessment
  • Mitigations available
  • How to monitor staff
  • How buying the right cover provides an effective response.

Many of our major clients are already taking a proactive approach. For example, when it comes to training and preparation there are companies offering specialist advice. They can help staff prepare a pre-travel plan to ensure that they are vigilant when abroad and prepared for an emergency. These firms can also help provide travel risk information and safety awareness training to staff, including crisis management planning and situation rehearsals.

In the UK the Metropolitan Police also offer free training for businesses through Operation Griffin, and Operation Argus, on how to respond as an individual in a terrorist incident. These types of training can offer useful skills to help staff prepare, if they are ever unlucky enough to get caught up in an event. Feedback has shown those who previously felt worried had their anxiety greatly reduced once they felt they'd know what to do. There are also a range of technological tools that can help managers track staff and locate them in an emergency, using real-time risk information.

These not only enable you to know exactly what you need to do to keep staff safe, they enable you to give reassurance to families at home. Of course, getting the right insurance is also vital. “Buying cover is well-ingrained for firms that put on events,” says Edel Ryan, Partner of Special Risks at JLT Specialty. “However, what we're increasingly seeing is that, when choosing their cover, many companies are making their decisions, not just on price, but because of the emergency response support that is linked to the cover.”

Clients are used to buying cover for medical emergencies. Now they want a similar level of cover for terrorist-related emergencies that will help with repatriation and other support. “These companies talk about their people being their most important assets and they are making decisions that back that up,” says Ryan. While in the past it was possible to buy extensions to cover terrorism and civil unrest. Now these things need to be part of the core cover. No one wants to be told after the event that, “you could have had it if you'd bought the extension”.  

In the modern world, terrorist attacks can happen at any time, in any place and can be impossible to avoid. But the right preparation, planning and insurance offers some of the best protection for your most important assets.

For more information please contact Edel Ryan, Partner, Special Risks on +44 (0)20 7528 4745 or email