It’s time for a reset. The one thing we have learnt with covid over the last 18 months is how quickly things can change and the importance of being fluid.
The focus needs to move beyond insurance schemes, which I believe are not the solution, and focus on the main game rather than grasping at band-aids. Last week Qantas set the agenda and we need to follow their path.
There has been a lot of talk about how various groups are working to lobby governments for an insurance scheme. NEA was approached to supply a very detailed submission and structure which we sent to NSW Government months ago, they in turn approached other groups for input. From there others joined the chorus, but I fear now it’s too late and waste of people’s time and resources. The pandemic has shown us how quickly the world can shift and insurance doesn’t address the core issue’s facing the industry!
To have insurance that you can claim on you first have to start with the item to be insured. Something that can be detailed very clearly. Currently no events are running and there is no timeline when they will so insurance seems to be irrelevant and something that PR feel-good Government and Associations can announce.
If insurance scheme is announced it is likely not come into effect until 2022 and does not help the industry who have already suffered large uninsurable expenses just from the latest lockdowns, this is important as many are looking at five to six months before any income when shows resume.
If we are forced into a future state lockdown and an event has jumped through whatever is needed to be accepted for the insurance, presumably it will come with conditions and maybe even a payment from the organiser (this is how the UK models works).
Some have said insurance should be for just exhibitors. I know from first-hand experience after cancelling a show at the beginning of this lockdown and losing $100,000+ excluding overheads, this was just direct show costs (as many other show organisers also suffered and were caught with costs and no income), the venue who held space for 12 months should also get base costs back, and the contractors who held staff.
To come back we need to recoup expenses, so why would we limit insurance to just exhibitors ,that would be crazy but underlines the complexities of such a scheme and the various thinking!
If you’re not a believer, look at the Business Grants scheme which was limited to Business Events. The events that have come back quickest are consumer shows, but were totally left out of the scheme because of the opinions of uninformed people who don’t understand or take a whole of industry approach.
Like all insurance schemes, if it’s underwritten the insurer wants to go and claim it against the offending party, so maybe the word insurance is incorrect maybe event guarantee or similar is more appropriate if the government is simply going to cover lost expenses. It would be great to have assurance such as an insurance scheme however I propose it’s too late or putting the horse before the cart?
The current reported discussions are with states when we are a national industry, and so far it been very clear the Federal Government won’t interfere or come over the top of the states, so does this mean some states will and some wont, you just need to look at the stance the WA Premier is currently taking to see maybe it’s a pipe dream.
If the vaccine milestones are met as they are appear they will be and the Feds and states stick to their commitment we shouldn’t need insurance. If States like WA don’t want to conform, maybe we need to accept it’s their loss.
Look at Qantas’ latest position resuming planned flights back to London, for Qantas WA represents to much of a risk, so despite the WA Govt paying to set up infrastructure for the planes at their airport, Qantas are re-routing through Darwin.
The point is they have put a proactive solution in place and setting the agenda, isn’t it time we set the agenda rather than constantly asking for handouts and forgiveness!
A detailed roadmap with a start date and national “confidence” marketing and communications plan has to be the priority. Insurance is something you take out in case of an incident occurring, but without first having the business (event) insurance is pointless and cannot be claimed.
Having a roadmap with opening timelines to resume builds confidence and keeps staff employed. The unknown is currently the enemy and no amount of insurance is going to change that. And we need to be lobbying for a war chest of funds to create a national campaign reinstalling business events that connect businesses, both exhibitors and visitors.
On current tracking individual states are putting up all kinds of event support programmes(a bit like how the US pitch for shows) so will the shape of the industry be dictated by what states forks out more money?
As we move from the lockdown phase, surely the industry would be better served resetting priorities and focusing on our national messaging and transitioning into sustainable and growth strategies. Top of mind needs to be re-instilling market “confidence” the key word that in 18 months has not changed is with a consistent and national focus on exhibitors, visitors and importantly staff in the sector many who have no long term confidence to stay within the industry.
The reset and focus on the confidence messaging needs to be built on instilling trust with all stakeholders and having a date that Governments agree on when the industry can resume which we can in turn leverage in rebuilding the industry, a public announcement gives the assurance exhibitors are wanting to hear, a buy off with insurance doesn’t mean we will run, it just it sends a subliminal message we are not confident we will open and we have insurance so come on board. We need to be more definite about getting on with resuming the show calendar.
As a side line but important foot note to this point is how many organisations will re-join and pay membership fees to the various associations who largely have achieved nothing for their members and their members have been decimated and how many associations are depending on this roll of the dice of coat tail initiatives to try and demonstrate they have achieved some outcome for being a member when organisations like Save Victoria Events has achieved far more than any association especially in Victoria with no membership?
Let’s hope the Governments in NSW, Vic and the Fed’s stick to the game plan of re-opening based on vaccine targets being achieved as it’s our biggest hope of survival, I believe an insurance scheme that will benefit some does not take the whole industry on the bus, but it’s just my opinion.