Loss adjusters monitor event cancellations

Every summer, thousands of outdoor festivals and concerts are organised in France. Every organiser has the same fear: a looming storm. Fabien Chermette is our loss adjuster specialised in the performing arts industry. Here he talks about his preventative and supportive role.


Safety is top priority for event organisers

In 2017, singer Barbara Weldens was electrocuted on stage at a festival during a storm. Would this tragedy have been avoided if the event had been cancelled or rescheduled? A loss adjuster’s work is to evaluate the risks to artists, attendees and equipment based on weather hazards. It isn’t as simple as resolving things with one decision. The goal is to play a supportive role in the production. Some events require months of organisation and logistics, so it’s not always easy to manage a cancellation. The loss adjuster then becomes a mediator and a facilitator for the various parties: artists, organisers, insurance companies, etc. The adjuster’s knowledge of the industry guarantees that risks relevant to the particular type of event are considered. After all, light rain won’t have the same impact on the average rock festival as it would on an acrobatics show with potential risks of slipping or falling.


Loss adjusters play advisory role in event backup plans

Some productions cost millions of euros, requiring that a loss adjuster be on-site to evaluate the safety risks and possibly find solutions so the show can go on. While on location, adjusters advise organisers on the most appropriate solution (for example, delaying the event by a few hours or using technical solutions). In one instance, a storm decimated the grounds at one of the largest reggae festivals in Europe a few days before it opened, so our firm put a backup plan in motion. After calculating and comparing various financial scenarios, it becomes clear that repairing the grounds was the most satisfactory solution for all parties. However, you can’t always use bad weather as an excuse to cancel potentially unsuccessful events. Attendees often stay away from concerts when it rains, so some organisers (thankfully very few) are tempted to use the weather rider to cancel their events. The loss adjuster will carefully analyse local weather reports and use technology to prevent attempted fraud. During investigations after a loss, the loss adjuster conducts an inquiry using witnesses, testimonials and bailiff observations. The investigation also includes social media which is an excellent source of information about how an event unfolded, often with accompanying photos. An insurance policy may cover cancelling, postponing or transferring an event, or the costs of implementing a backup plan. When cancellation can’t be avoided, there are two types of coverage:

  • Reimbursement for irrecoverable costs incurred: all costs incurred and/or still owed by the organiser
  • Payment for lost revenue (irrecoverable costs incurred + anticipated income)

The festival market continues to expand, with each year more successful than the last in an industry that’s expected to reach €4.1 billion by 2020. The role of loss adjusters has become crucial in an industry that faces significant hazards.


Fabien CHERMETTE, Audiovisual & Event Specialties Manager

Find out more about his area of expertise