Insurance has been tricky for haunted attractions. Many places are unsure how to classify haunted attractions, and others don’t reward haunts following safety practices. Granite Insurance is hoping to offer a solution for the industry. Using an advisory board of haunters, they hope to offer incentives for safety practices and eventually streamline the process through an online portal. Cameron Annas is here to explain how haunts can ensure they’re getting the best coverage.
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Check out the exhibitor list for Transworld. Granite Insurance will be in booth 1715 for Transworld 2022.
Why Go Into Haunted Attraction Insurance?
Cameron: So, I’m Cameron Annas, I am our National Practice Leader for our Adventure Entertainment Division here at Granite Insurance. About six to eight months ago, we realized that there was a huge issue in the haunted attraction space whenever it comes to insurance. Insurance was very slow. Insurance was very antiquated. We analyzed a policy the other day for a haunted attraction or a haunted house, and it says, “Hey, here’s your liability policy,” but guess what it excludes? Haunted houses. So, we just said, “all right, let’s change the game.”
So, we partnered with some incredible people in the haunted industry, and we’re designing a completely new insurance platform for the industry. We’ve got an advisory board of legacy haunted attractions and haunted house owners and operators helping guide us through the space. And we play in the adventure and entertainment space. So, we’ve got that background behind us.
What Will the Granite Insurance Online Portal Look Like?
Cameron: It will look very much like TurboTax. At the top of the screen, “you are 12% of the way through the process.” But once you first log in, it’ll say, “Hey, are you a home haunt? Are you a mid-haunt? Or are you a large haunt?” You click one. It says, “what additional activities do you do? Do you do ax throwing? Do you have midway games?” And then it will ask you questions about each activity, how many levels is your haunted house if you’re doing haunted hay or wagon rides? All the way through, at the end, it says, “Hey, here’s your premium.” Then it says, “do you want to add additional insurance, or have certificates for the landowner, or the building owner, or people that may require you to have insurance?” And so, the beautiful thing is, next year this software remembers all the information you put in last year.
An Upcharge for Activities, but Credits for Training and Safety Standards
Cameron: People believe that “I can’t believe people would allow touching.” And other people believe it is who we are. Yes, there is a slight increase in the rate for touching. However, you can earn that rate and discounts to offset that if you’re doing proper things. For example, if touching training is provided, it’s documented, it’s signed off on by the employees, things of that nature.
Same thing from the wagon ride perspective. Yes, there’s a charge for the hayride or the wagon ride, but you can earn some of those charges back by having, an example such as it not being pulled by a vehicle, just being pulled by a tractor, no feet hanging over the sides or dangling from the edge, minimum, age of 18 years old for the driver. All of those points earn you, kind of, that upcharge back. We’re up charging for the activity, but if it’s well-controlled you get to earn a significant portion of that upcharge back.
Philip: Are these things that are then communicated between you and your partners? Such as the CHAOS program, for example, to say then that haunt operators that may not know some of the things, there’s a way for them to learn it ahead of time.
Cameron: A hundred percent. Whenever we’ve developed programs for any kind of high-hazard industry, whether that be the zip-line industry, indoor climbing gyms, or whitewater rafting, the key is education. There’s no reason we should have all this information on incidents and what causes them and keep it to ourselves. Because, if one incident happens, it hurts everybody, and if we can prevent that from happening the better.
So, that’s one of the big things, we take all this data and push it out to everyone. We want to share it so that they can make better decisions for next year based on incidents that happened this year. For example, I just got back from the international zip-line conference. Three years ago, 52% of incidents came from collisions on the platform when you’re going into the zip line. So, you hit the platform.
So, what we did was, the design team made changes to the zip line platforms that are extended. That way you don’t have to pick up your feet anymore, you just kind of run up it. That was three years ago. Today only 30% of injuries come from that. So, we improved that by about 22 points, almost half. Those are the things that we want to help the haunted attraction industry change. Continuous improvement industry-wide just is better for everybody.
What Is Something That Is Misunderstood About Haunted House Insurance?
Cameron: Coverage matters. Words matter. You know, We’ve analyzed probably 25 of them prepping for this program. People would be significantly disappointed if/and when they have a claim. For example, people that want touching, and guess what is excluded on their policy? Abuse and molestation, assault, and battery are the only things that could come about from touching.
So, I think, just again, that education, you know, people being aware of what’s on their policy. Because that’s how insurance gets such a bad rap, you know, claims that don’t pay. Well, in my opinion, that is not necessarily the insurance company’s fault, that is the advisor or the agent’s fault, and that’s what we are. You know, it’s our job to make sure it’s structured correctly so that things respond how they should when a claim does happen.
How Long Will This Take? When Should People Discuss Insurance With Granite Insurance?
Cameron: People should look to engage, and there are two different buckets. Number one is people who own their property. If they own a property and building, that’s going to be an annual policy. I would encourage you, don’t renew it in the middle of your season.
For people who do not own their property, which is probably the majority of the industry, I would say you need to be starting these conversations two months before you start to set up. You know, you should have what your training program is going to look like. What your safety program is going to look like. Are you going to have Fire Marshal inspections or inspections from local jurisdictions? All those things are good things that you want to know, as well as your projected participant count.
Philip: They should allow two months in terms of getting it done.
Cameron: That’s the worst-case scenario, Philip. So, the technology that we’re developing should allow for probably 80% of operators to flow through within 30 to 45 minutes. But, you know, whenever it kind of gets kicked out of the box that we’re designing, that’s whenever it gets to a referral basis, which may require two to three weeks more time. But don’t plan on that, plan on two months.
Philip: You are going to be at Transworld coming up, correct?
Cameron: Yes. That’s exactly right. We will be at booth 1715 at Transworld. We will have several company members representing our program. We will have a lot more information and would love to speak with everybody. If your insurance program has been a nightmare in the past, it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re here to make insurance boo-tiful once again. Do you like it, Philip? I know you do!