Alive Risk’s Gavin: Entertainment insurers thriving post Covid-19, along with industry

Entertainment insurers are benefiting from a post-pandemic resurgence as people return to social activities following the enforced lockdowns.

Patrick Gavin, managing director of Alive Risk, part of Ryan Specialty Underwriting Managers, told The Insurer TV more people are now deciding to attend events despite rising costs in the aftermath of Covid-19.

“When we went from being able to go to any festival, concert or theme park to not being able to go to any at all, people realised how much they missed it. People realised: ‘This is something I can’t live without’,” he said.

“With rising costs, you'd think numbers would be down, with less people going to shows and sporting events. But it's the opposite – we've seen people actively decide to spend their money on these events.”

Alive Risk, founded in 2012 and part of Ryan Specialty since 2020, operates across three divisions – amusement, entertainment and sports – covering both small and large events, ranging from weddings to camps to small gigs to national touring artists. Coverage offered typically includes general and excess liability, auto liability and inland marine.

One of the major shifts in recent years has been the expanding number of capacity partners. “Today we probably see double, if not triple, the number of carriers to place the same amount of coverage, with rates having also gone up. New capital providers are coming into the space all the time. We have to be flexible as the industry changes,” Gavin said.

One of the steps taken by Alive Risk to adapt to changing product needs has been the creation of an affordable insurance product for freelance workers like audiovisual techs, lighting designers and stage managers, among others.

Launched in collaboration with the Event Safety Alliance, the crew cover product also provides membership to the alliance, which in turn provides access to safety training.

Underwriting manager Debbie Spinner said this makes the client a better risk.

“Venues, promoters and event production companies understand the importance of risk transfer, so they are requiring certificates of insurance from these freelance individuals, independent contractors or anybody coming on site to an event. Event Safety Alliance crew cover is a beneficial product for the industry as a whole,” she explained.

Controlled chaos

The current boom represents a marked change from the Covid-19 period.

“We remember the days of nothing being open; no sports, no festivals, no amusement parks,” Gavin said. “But I don't think anybody adjusted to it better than the entertainment industry.”

Planning a festival and show requires flexibility and preparation for unknown factors, which means the entertainment industry was among the first to start to develop solutions as the world opened up post Covid.

“If you've ever been to a festival or event and been with the event producer/promoter, you’ll see that it's chaos all the time. It's controlled chaos – that’s what they do.

“The entertainment industry figures it out and you move on. It was fascinating to see how they adjusted so quickly, and probably learned some things post pandemic too,” he added.

“The entertainment industry [is] always dealing with changes – it’s been fascinating to watch and exciting to be a small part of it too, on the insurance side.”

According to Gavin, the not-too-distant memory of having to quarantine will continue to drive the sector forward.

Following the holiday season and 1.1 renewals, both Alive Risk executives predicted they would continue to be as busy as ever.

“Ten years ago, Debbie and I, we'd say: ‘Well, we get to relax a little bit in the winter, it's a little bit slower for our group.’ Now, we don't have a slow season,” Gavin said.

Watch this 12-minute video to learn more about:

  • How the pandemic has made entertainment insurers busier than ever
  • Why the entertainment sector and its insurers are insulated from inflation
  • The wide range of entertainment and sports offerings Alive Risk covers
  • Why larger venues are fans of the firm’s latest product for smaller entities

Alive Risk is a part of the Ryan Specialty Underwriting Managers division of RSG Specialty, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company based in Illinois. RSG Specialty, LLC, is a subsidiary of Ryan Specialty, LLC. Alive Risk works directly with brokers, agents, and insurance carriers, and as such does not solicit insurance from the public. Some products may only be available in certain states, and some products may only be available from surplus lines insurers. In California: RSG Specialty Insurance Services, LLC (License #0G97516).