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Public Safety

Readying for Rowdy Fans

Major sporting events pose many property and safety risks to local businesses.
By: | February 20, 2018 • 2 min read

Prior to the NFC Championship game in Philadelphia, the city’s police department issued guidelines for local shops, advising owners to keep any gates locked if they were to be closed at game time and remove any unsecured outdoor items like trash cans, signs and flowerpots. They also asked bar owners to serve drinks in plastic cups instead of glass.

In the city’s downtown area, police applied Crisco to keep revelers from climbing traffic lights and poles.

But that city is no stranger to exuberant — and destructive — fan celebrations. Stories of fans flipping cars, smashing windows and setting fires after a win or loss provide cautionary tales for storefronts near major events. Lack of experience exposes businesses to being underprepared and possibly under-insured.

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“Any major event has two distinct footprints — inside the venue and outside the venue,” said Michael Greear, director of risk control, Aon Risk Services. “The NFL has stringent security in place at all their stadiums, but the surrounding neighborhoods may not be as prepared.”

Buttering streetlamps may not be necessary everywhere, but there are steps businesses can take to mitigate damage from a disorderly crowd:

  • Remove loose objects. Anything not bolted to the ground or a wall should be taken inside, including patio tables and chairs, portable heat lamps, signs, trash cans and decorations.
  • Add security. Hiring additional security for the day of the event can be a deterrent to potential troublemakers. “People get caught up in the crowd mentality,” Greear said. “A normal citizen may never think to do something destructive, but get them in a crowd and they start doing strange things. Having guards visible can check some of that behavior.”
  • Install cameras. Security cameras are a critical tool to document any incidents of property damage or injuries on a property. They can also help to establish liability if a dispute arises over where exactly an incident occurred. Like security guards, visible cameras also deter criminal activity.
  • Implement incident documentation and reporting procedures. “You have to be able to record what happened if you want to make a claim,” Greear said. “For many business owners, documenting an incident might just mean calling the police. But when you have an event like the Super Bowl, the police will probably be busy. You need a procedure to capture all the details.” In addition to cameras, that procedure could include incident report forms to document the time of the incident, how it happened and exactly what damage resulted. It’s also imperative to check insurance policies for reporting requirements. Many will stipulate filing a claim within a specific time frame.
  • Know your coverage. Property policies can vary widely in their scope and limits. “Business owners should call their broker and revisit their policies to confirm what’s covered, what’s not and how to file a claim,” Greear said. &
Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

The risk manager for Boyd Gaming Corp. says curiosity keeps him engaged, and continual education will be the key to managing emerging risks.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

I was trained as an accountant, worked in public accounting and became a CPA. Being comfortable with numbers is helpful in my current role, and obviously, the language of business is financial statements, so it helps.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Working in finance in the corporate environment included the review of budgets and the analysis of business expenses. I quickly found the area of benefits and insurance — and how “accepting risk” impacted those expenses — to be fascinating. I asked a lot of questions. Be careful what you ask for — I soon found myself responsible for those insurance areas and haven’t looked back!

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I have found the risk management community to be a close-knit group, whether that’s industry professionals, risk managers with other companies or support organizations like RIMS and other regional groups. The expertise of the carriers and specialty vendors to develop new products and programs, along with the appropriate education, will continue to be of key importance to companies going forward.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

As I’m sure many in the insurance field would agree, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 changed our world and our industry. It was a particularly intense time and certainly a baptism by fire for people like me who were relatively new to the industry. This event clearly accelerated the switch to the acceptance of more risk, which impacted mitigation strategies and programs.

Bob Berglund, vice president, benefits and insurance, Boyd Gaming Corp.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

The fast-paced threat that cyber security represents today. Our company, like so many companies, is reliant upon computers, software and IT expertise in our everyday existence. This new risk has forged an even stronger relationship between risk management and our IT department as we work together to address this growing threat.

Additionally, the shooting event in Las Vegas in 2017 will have an enduring impact on firms that host large gatherings and arena-style events all over the world, and our company is no exception.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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With the various types of insurance programs we employ, I have been fortunate to work with most of the large national and international carriers — all of whom employ talented people with a vast array of resources.

R&I:  How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We use brokers for many of our professional coverages, such as property, casualty, D&O and cyber. We are self-insured under our health plans, with close to 25,000 members. We tend to manage those programs internally and utilize direct relationships with carriers and specialty vendors to tailor a plan that works best for team members.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I have been fortunate to have worked alongside some smart and insightful people during my career. A key piece of advice, said in many different ways, has served me well. Simply stated: “Seek to understand before being understood.”

What this has meant to me is try everything you can to learn about something, new or old. After you have gained this knowledge, you can begin to access and maybe suggest changes or adjustments. Being curious has always been a personal enjoyment for me in business, and I have found people are more than willing to lend a hand, offer information and advice — you just need to ask. Building those alliances and foundations of knowledge on a subject matter makes tackling the future more exciting and fruitful.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Our benefit health plan is much more than handing out an insurance card at the beginning of the year. We encourage our team members and their families to learn about their personal health, get engaged in a variety of health and wellness programs and try to live life in the healthiest possible way. The result of that is literally hundreds of testimonials from our members every year on how they have lost weight, changed their lifestyle and gotten off medications. It is extremely rewarding and is a testament to [our] close-knit corporate culture.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

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Some will remember the volcano eruption in Iceland in spring of 2010. I was just finishing a week of meetings in London with Lloyd’s syndicates related to our property insurance placement when the airspace in England and most of northern Europe was shut down — no airplanes in or out! Flights were ultimately canceled for the following five days. Therefore, with a few other stranded visitors like myself, we experimented and tried out new restaurants every day until we could leave. It was a very interesting time!

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

I am originally from Canada, and I played ice hockey from the time I was four years old up until quite recently. Too many surgeries sadly forced my recent retirement.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

That’s a funny one … I am a CPA working in the casino industry, doing insurance and risk management, so neighbors and acquaintances think I either do tax returns or they think I’m a blackjack dealer at the casino!




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]