Real Strategies To Manage Risk

By MSAE Community posted 06-23-2020 00:00


These days, risk management is top of mind for association leaders. Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss event risk management with Jeff Tenenbaum. Jeff is one of the nation's leading association attorneys. He (literally) wrote the book on association tax compliance and currently sits on ASAE's Legal Advisory Council. Because Jeff is deeply involved in association issues, he's an excellent resource on some of the more complex and highly specific scenarios that associations are navigating.

Responsibility (and Risk) is Shared

During our conversation, Jeff made it clear that both associations and venues have a duty of care to host our members safely at face-to-face events in the context of COVID-19. He encourages associations to endeavor to obligate venues to take on significant, specific responsibilities to keep attendees safe - perhaps in the form of an addendum to the original contract that would, ideally, include indemnification of the association. (This may be more than venues are willing to do so we should expect some give and take on this.) Jeff also suggests it's a good idea to check in on your general commercial liability insurance policy to ensure that it contains legal defense coverage. All the better if the venue will also name the association in its general commercial liability policy.

Hot Button Issues

Tenenbaum shared his perspective on a few hot button issues, such as participant waivers, PPE provision, and health/symptom screening. In short, waivers have value but won't necessarily shield your organization from risk. (Think warnings on the side of cigarettes.) Associations should plan on providing face coverings and hand sanitizer and firmly communicate the expectation that participants use them. The same is true for conducting health screenings - associations will need to demonstrate diligence with this. Associations hosting face-to-face meetings should be prepared to discourage prospective attendees who are symptomatic to stay home, conduct temperature checks and symptom screenings onsite, and isolate symptomatic meeting participants. Associations will need to define clear boundaries when it comes to collecting/storing health information and dispensing legal advice.

Get the Whole Story

Our conversation lasted an hour, and it was jam-packed with useful information. Jeff granted permission for us to record the conversation, so I hope you will listen to the full recording and/or share it with others in your association.

The recording can be accessed here.

Here are the resources that Jeff shared with us:


PPT Presentations:

Recorded Webinars:

All Recorded Webinars and Speaking Engagements:

New CDC Guidance for Large Gatherings: