Ahh, the smell of fresh cut lawns, flowers growing in window boxes and in boulevards; the sounds of summer floating in the air. While it may seem like we are months away from these luxuries of summer, they will be greeting us before we know it. If you haven’t already started asking your departments “How are we getting ready for the spring/summer time of the year?” there’s no time like the present.
With the warmer weather brings more opportunities for the use of your public parks and structures for activities such as 4H events, fairs and carnivals, weddings, family reunions and ball games of all types and sizes. Being prepared for the additional events and activities now will save you time and possibly money later.
Each year, we recommend reviewing what types of events would be held at your facilities. When considering the events which will be taking place, you can then review your rental or facilities use policies. We encourage all Members to secure facilities use agreements with those parties who are utilizing public properties, including the parks and shelters.
Facilities use agreements are intended to set out the responsibilities of the parties who are utilizing the property for their personal benefit. The agreements are used to transfer the risk away from your entity and back to the party who is utilizing the property. When reviewing and discussing the facilities use agreements, you should consider appropriate hold harmless and indemnification language. If you would like some sample language, you can visit our website at or contact our office at 800-658-3633, option 2.
Facilities use agreements are recommended for any situation where your entity is not the host of an event. This offers a layer of protection for your entity from claims which may arise out of the special event. If the various clubs and associations looking to utilize your property for spring and summer activities are not governed by your entity, they should be asked to execute a facility use agreement.
The next step to protecting your entity from claims is to request that the parties using your entity’s property would be to ensure that the party utilizing the property locations has appropriate liability coverage in place. This information can be provided by securing a certificate of coverage or a certificate of insurance. We recommend securing a proof of coverage in writing with acknowledgement that your entity is either a certificate holder, or better, an additional insured on that coverage. This allows you protection under the terms of the user’s liability coverage should any claims arise out of their event.
It is not typical for your coverage to extend to third party claims made against anyone other than the named covered parties / insureds. If you aren’t sure who is covered under your coverage agreement, we would encourage you to contact us and we can discuss your specific situation and assist in securing appropriate coverage, regardless of what the event is.
Once coverage is secured, there are certain additional items to consider. Will their activity include a high risk activity which may be excluded under their document? Bull riding? Bounce Houses? Trap Shooting? All of these types of activities come with their own specific and potentially risky consequences. Some coverage documents will not respond to claims arising out of these, or other types of activities. If you are considering hosting an event, or are reviewing events to be hosted on your property, it is important to understand what is happening and what your coverage will and will not respond to. For those types of situations, we would recommend you confirm with your carrier to be certain that in the event the user’s coverage fails, that your entity will still have coverage to respond to the third party claims arising out of that rental/facilities use situation. Beyond confirmation of coverage, some of the more risky activities should also be accompanied by a participation waiver. Sample waivers can also be found on our website.
Special events don’t have to be scary, as long as we have reviewed the possible risks associated with them and confirmed that there are no coverage gaps. Establishing good use policies and obtaining properly prepared and executed facilities use agreements will save you time in the future. If you’d like to explore more risk management and loss control techniques for your special events, we would encourage you to visit us on our website, or call us and we can visit telephonically or in person!
Director of Member Services
Hyde County has been a Member of the SDPAA since 2003. We are very happy with the services provided to our County. Member Services and the Underwriting Department have been quick to respond whether it was a claim or questions. They are very easy to work with and have always followed up on any issues we have had.Marilyn Ring, Hyde County Auditor