Are you covered this Christmas? Understand why you need insurance before arranging your Christmas party

Are you covered this Christmas? Understand why you need insurance before arranging your Christmas party

For nearly all staff, the Christmas party is something to look forward to for many months, and the highlight of the working year and is a fantastic opportunity to recognise the hard work of the last year, and to celebrate the success of the staff and the achievements of your organisation.

The Christmas party is also a good exercise in team building and (for other organisations) a time that your volunteers and key stakeholders get to talk with staff in a more relaxed social environment – away from the ringing mobile phone or other pressing meetings.

Staff will really appreciate the effect and the expense that goes towards making the Christmas party a success. From choosing the venue, the date, and the menu, to organising travel and accommodation where needed, and perhaps even time off before or afterwards.  There is plenty of work involved.

One of the most important parts of the event planning process (and more often than not, the one most overlooked) is to arrange public liability insurance. Unfortunately, the increasing cost of public liability insurance is making many small NGOs think twice about convening local events.

What is Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance protects you and your business against the financial risk of being found liable to a third party for death or injury, loss or damage of property or 'pure economic' loss resulting from your negligence.

In other words, the insurance provides cover where a third party i.e. a member of the public is physically injured (or worse) or their property is damaged due to the negligence of the insured.

Why do we need public liability insurance for our event? ^

But we’ve eliminated all the risks!

Events are expensive to stage, they require long and careful planning and they can carry a high level of risk. For organisations that are interested in some guidance around Risk Management for Community or Christmas Events, Jobs Australia has obtained a copy of an Event Risk Management and Control Schedule from Equestrian Australia.  This checklist can be found HERE…and is a really good example of something organisations can use to determine and manage some of the risks that might be associated with their event.

Even in the best planned events, accidents can happen, which makes public liability insurance absolutely essential to protect the organisation’s assets. Insurance is a means of transferring the risks that are not foresee or cannot be prevented, to another organisation. The insurer is being paid to take on that risk.

But we’ve already got insurance!

Activities that are outside day to day operations may not be covered by the NGOs existing insurance.

A Christmas party, or a BBQ in the park may be deemed by the insurer to be outside normal activities. It is therefore important to check with the insurer well before the event goes ahead, to allow time for organising additional cover if required. There are many different conditions and exclusions that can be applied to public liability policies, so it is important to discuss any changes with the insurance provider.  It is also very necessary to receive written approval from your insurer or broker to eliminate any doubt.

But the venue hirer has insurance!

The venue’s public liability insurance is only to cover claims against the venue and the venue’s owners, not the event organiser. In some cases the venue may insist on the event organiser arranging their own public liability insurance. We recommend that you carry your own public liability insurance at all times.

I subscribe to the Jobs Australia Blanket Cover Program. Are we covered?

Yes.  Subscribers to the Blanket Cover Program should note that events are generally covered under the Public Liability Insurance Policy.  There is however, an exclusion to some sporting events and you may require some additional insurance if your organisation wishes to cover the participants of these events.

As always, if you are unsure of whether your organisation is insured for the risks associated with a planned community event, you should contact Ross Mackay at Jobs Australia at or our Broker, Lauren Malkin at Jardine, Lloyd Thompson at


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Guide Insurance Not-for-profit