Last year, a 2010 Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle was stolen. The bike was painted pink and signed by a number of country music stars, such as Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw, and Taylor Swift.
Here’s the kicker: It had been donated to be sold in a benefit auction to benefit the Lexington affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The bike had been stored inside a trailer secured by chains in the organization’s parking lot. When employees returned to the office after the weekend, they noticed it was gone.
The bike sounds irreplaceable, but I hope at least they had some insurance.
From my event management days, here are some types of event-specific insurance you can consider as you plan your benefit auction or a similar event.
Property Damage Insurance
Covers the damage or loss of the property of the policy owner. For instance, if you have your auction set-up the night before and a thief slips in during the night and steals a registration laptop and some items, the typical Property Damage Insurance policy would cover those items.
Commercial General Liability (CGL) or Comprehensive General Liability
This is a basic business policy and covers major risks, including property damage and injury to people. Usually higher-risk activities (serving alcohol comes to mind) require an additional policy or rider.
Fire Legal Liability
I once worked at a benefit auction where a centerpiece started to burn.
Thankfully, it was only starting to smoke when it was extinguished by the startled guests! A fire legal liability insurance policy is for such instances. Realize that your auction volunteers might accidentally bump a table and cause a can of sterno to ignite nearby curtains and burn down the venue. This is the policy to have on hand.
If you are holding a benefit auction outdoors and fear bad weather might cause the cancellation of the event, this policy protects against unforeseen circumstances such as that. It may also cover labor disputes or damage to the event facility or venue. (Imagine if you’d scheduled to hold your benefit auction in the Opryland Hotel in Nashville in late May 2010. The flood waters of May 3 would have prohibited you from holding the gala.)
Benefit auctioneer Sherry Truhlar’s stories and advice have been published in Town & Country, The Washington Post Magazine, Auctioneer, The Eleusis and The Virginia Auctioneer. Her ideas have been broadcast on television shows including E! Style and TLC. She inspires and teaches volunteers how to set new fund-raising records at auction galas. Enjoy her free Auction Item Guide, which lists the 100 best-selling items to sell at a benefit auction, at www.RedAppleAuctions.com.