Insurance Insights: Political Campaigns

The 2016 political season is in full swing in the United States, but what products does the insurance industry offer for political campaigns? To shed some light on the subject, Hank Haldeman of the Sullivan Group shares his insight. We asked Hank to expand on which coverages would suit political campaigns

Political Campaigns require all the “ordinary” coverages that any business needs – commercial auto coverage for their vehicles, premises liability coverage for the space that they occupy, building (fire) and contents coverage, even cyber.  With respect to cyber, as with any organization that has “personally identifiable information” on a large number of individuals, the risk of “privacy breach” is significant.  The Surplus Line market is the primary provider of cyber/privacy breach coverage for this type of exposure.

What gets more interesting, and unique, in political campaigns are the exposures arising out of touring and putting on events.  In many ways, insuring this aspect of a campaign is much like insuring the personal appearance tour of an entertainer, comedian or musical group.  There are all kinds of extra expense exposures to think about – extra costs resulting from weather situations, or from labor actions or travel problems.  Event Cancellation coverage is at the core of this, and is, again, a product that is most often insured in the Surplus Line market.  Special Event liability coverage protects the owner of a property where an event is being held.  Almost no matter what venue a political event might take place in – an arena, a university, a religious facility – the campaign will be required to have liability coverage for the “spectators” and even “participants.”  Special Event coverage provides that, and is, most often, provided by the Surplus Line market.  It gets even more interesting when a candidate holds an event on their own property, or a donor holds a gathering for a campaign.  These are not considered private gatherings and the homeowners policy may not provide coverage.  Separate coverage must be acquired.  Back in the early days of California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner, John Garamendi held a fundraising event on his personal ranch.  The coverage for that event – a Special Event policy – was provided by Scottsdale Insurance Company, a non-admitted (Surplus Line) insurer.  That fact helped us, in the Surplus Line industry, explain to Commissioner Garamendi the need for and value of the Surplus Line marketplace.

The one other area worth mentioning is “Libel & Slander” coverage.  This is another area in which a campaign needs coverage and the Surplus Line market is the place for it.  As far as I know, the Ronald Reagan campaign in 1980 was the first campaign ever to buy coverage for libel & slander – to defend the candidate and campaign in the event that an opponent, or anyone else, claims that they have been defamed by the candidate or campaign.  Though I had only been in the business a few months at that time, I was the Surplus Line broker that placed that coverage.

 

 

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Hank Haldeman, Executive Vice President & Director

Hank is the Executive Vice President and a Director of The Sullivan Group, responsible for group-wide business development, market relationships, strategic planning, systems, and marketing.