During presidential campaign years, early primary states like Florida can benefit as candidates and their entourages make their ways from corner store to neighborhood restaurant, wooing voters at every turn. Business owners should check their general liability insurance, though, because a candidate visit can be a mixed blessing. In our last post, we were talking about some of the problems businesses have to deal with during campaigns, including having a large group of people in a small café or boutique.
The best way to avoid an insurance claim -- for damage to property or a person -- is to limit the number of people allowed in the establishment at one time. General liability insurance, risk management professionals warn, does not usually cover political gatherings at neighborhood eateries or convenience stores.
If business owners want to welcome the candidate and his followers, they may want to look into special events coverage. They can buy the insurance to cover the store for the week leading up to the primary, or the two weeks around the convention.
One risk management adviser tells his small business clients not even to try to manage the event on their own. Hiring local security guards (rent-a-cops) and putting up velvet ropes for crowd control won't be enough. That night watchman, he says, has no idea what "an incident control center" or mutual assistance agreement means.
Instead, he says, small businesses should hire a security company. The business owner should make sure that the contract includes an indemnification clause, and that the company has insurance. It's all about transferring the risk.
Individual campaigns manage their own security -- in fact, according to one insider, they hire local rent-a-cops. The U.S. Secret Service doesn't get involved until later in the campaign, usually after a front-runner has emerged.
Small businesses should not rely on the campaigns or the Secret Service to watch out for the business's interests. It's best to take the elephant by the trunk or the donkey by the tail and make arrangements on their own.
Source: Risk & Insurance, "Thumbing Noses at Exposure," Cyril Tuohy, Jan. 10, 2012