Graham Sykes Insurance Festival Team, the untold story!

Here at Graham Sykes Insurance we pride ourselves on providing an excellent level of service, we have a team at your disposal to help you reach the right answer for your Festival Insurance.

A brief introduction to each of them:

My name is Nick Smith, I have over 40 years experience in Financial Services and have been involved on charitable event organising across the UK and Europe for 20 years. I have organised events that have ranged from Film Festivals to Pro Celebrity Sports events raising many thousands for local and national charities.  

Debbie has worked with Graham for 5 years and has been fundamental in setting up the Festival process after we took it over from La Playa. Debbie is no stranger to events and supporting people to achieve high standards, her daughter is a National Sports Woman representing England. Her strong relationships with the festival organisers that she comes into contact with, means speaking to most on first name terms. She takes looking after her clients personally, her exacting standards and patience means she will try everything she can to ensure everything is “right and proper”.

Danielle has been involved with Graham Sykes Insurance since she was a small child, her mum who also works for Graham used to bring her into work. Hooked on insurance, she then rejoined in her teens and has continued to be part of Graham Sykes insurance adding her skills and attention to detail to the Festival Insurance Team shortly after our Festival Insurance began in 2018, we are in our fourth year now!

Jodie, our newest member of staff has also been involved in Festival Insurance from the very start, her personable attitude and sense of fairness means she sets a very high bar when it comes to clients service. A graduate in Theatre and Performance, Jodie has a keen interest in the arts. 

It would be very remiss not to mention the Captain of our ship, Graham Sykes. Graham has been involved in event insurance for 38 years and has a son, Michael, who is a professional musician with his own band called The Michael Sykes Band. Grahams passion for providing a high level of service and going the extra mile to ensure clients are given the correct level of cover is legendary in the insurance industry.

How has the industry responded to the pandemic and what can members expect when their policies come up for renewal?

As we appear to have nearly arrived at the point where “living with Covid” is “the new normal” I think there have been many lessons learned over the last 18 months:

The ability to innovate has been very important when having to deal with the huge impact of Covid, coupled with the fortitude to make very difficult decisions when the chips are down. I think the industry will emerge stronger and more determined than ever to keep the Arts and Music alive and well for everyone.

Insurance is an important part of looking after the unexpected, but pandemics on this scale have seen some Insurance Companies on the receiving end of some big surprises. It is not realistic to anticipate that an insurance policy will pay out all claims when circumstances like Covid 19 present themselves. So what should we learn from this?

Working with your broker is very important, insurance is not all about price it is about covering what is needed and understanding the risks. Asking questions and challenging your understanding with your broker has become very much more evident during the last 18 months. I hope this becomes a big part of the new normal. In 40 years in financial services I am still waiting to to be asked a stupid question!

What types of cover are offered to 2021 events in relation to the new risks and challenges related to the pandemic? 

I think this is something we have explored a lot during Covid and have developed a process for our Festival Policy that means it can be tailored to the reflect the things we know now and prepare for what might be. In essence the pandemic has meant our world is in a state of flux and so our insurance offer also needed to recognise that. The Festival Team worked with Festival organisers to provide a “pick and mix” opportunity for our clients, this means they can buy sections of the policy when they need it and leave other parts waiting in the wings for when circumstances are more clear.

To help provide additional advertising we have added a Whats On page to our own web site where you can add your event for free. Why not add your event now just follow the link!

Are there other changes to the types of cover being offered this year, particularly in response to the changing nature of festival organisations and their events?

Like you, as members of BAFA, we at Graham Sykes Insurance have had to change and innovate, thank you to each of you who have come with us on this journey. We have worked together in setting up policies that are still relevant to your needs but have been tailored to accommodate the pandemic. Whether you held an optimistic view as we picked our way through the carnage of this horrid desease or a more cautious one, we have all benefitted from your company, thank you.

As you continue to innovate, as I am sure you will, then letting your broker know early will help us meet your needs. I think it has become evident this last 18 months that arranging your insurance has become an integral part of your event set up, right from the first planning meetings to the final execution. The pandemic has meant most traditional events had to be cancelled or completely reinvented, the future is currently looking brighter and your Graham Sykes Team are ready and waiting.

What advice would you offer members in relation to insuring this year’s events?

Pick up the phone and share your thoughts, together we can get back to the “bright and inspiring new normal” whatever that holds.

My advice to all of you is keep talking, you want to put on a fantastic show and we want to be there with you. It is your stories and your needs that change our industry, communicating your hopes and desires means we can try to deliver the cover you need.

Good luck and thank you, your Festival Team are looking forward to talking to you.

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