Approximately 4,411 delegates and alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories will attend the Republican National Convention from August 27 – August 30, 2012 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The convention will also host approximately 15,000 credentialed media, a press corps second only in size to this summer’s London Olympic Games. In total, the city is expecting over 50,000 visitors- managing this sudden invasion is a feat of its own. Federal and local authorities have already ordered certain road closures in anticipation of the event and many businesses will be affected by traffic re-routing and road closures.

The City of Tampa announced that:

The United States Secret Services has said that road closures, parking restrictions, and changes to public transportation routes will be necessary during the 2012 Republican National Convention. Road closures will be implemented beginning at noon, Saturday, August 25 until 6 p.m., Friday, August 31.

Beginning Monday, August 27 at 12:30 a.m., Florida 618 Toll (Selmon Expressway) between Willow Avenue and 50th Street will be closed, and will remain closed until Friday, August 31 at approximately 5:00 a.m. The Selmon Reversible Elevated Lanes (REL) will remain OPEN during this time to enter downtown Tampa and will operate as normal.

For five days, the following roads will be closed:

In addition to the road closures and parking restrictions in the maps above, there will be intermittent traffic delays and temporary closures on interstate roads and throughout the downtown area. While some businesses will certainly benefit from the influx of people, many will see a reduction or halt of customer traffic.

The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway is an elevated toll road that carries about 50,000 vehicles on a typical August weekday. The expressway curves through downtown less than three blocks north of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the site of the Republican National Convention, and immediately next to the Tampa Convention Center, where 15,000 journalists will report the event for the world. Police have also announced that the Platt Street drawbridge will remain pulled up during the convention, preventing northbound traffic from taking Platt Street into downtown Tampa.

It is not unusual for government authorities (police, fire, city, etc.) to order an evacuation or prohibit access to a certain area due to public safety concerns when a natural disaster, riot or other life threatening event is imminent. When this occurs, businesses are forced to shut down their operations until further notice. If a business has purchased standard business income coverage (CP 00 30), it is likely that the policy also includes Civil Authority coverage for any business income losses caused by a government mandate. However, Civil Authority coverage is like playing the lottery, if your numbers don’t match, you lose.

Most Civil Authority provisions read as follows:

We will pay for the actual:

Business income loss you incur due to the actual impairment of your operations, directly caused by the prohibition of access to your premises by a civil authority. This prohibition of access by a civil authority must be the direct result of direct physical loss or damage to property away from such premises or such dependent business premises by a covered peril, provided such property is within one mile from such premises or dependent premises[…]

A. Business income will begin:

After the applicable waiting period shown in the Declarations for Business Income expires; or 24 normal business hours following the time the civil authority prohibits access, whichever is the longer.

The Waiting Period shown in the Declarations will begin immediately following the time the civil authority prohibits access. The coverage will apply for a period of up to 30 consecutive days after coverage begins; or when your business income loss ends, whichever occurs first […]

In simple terms, Civil Authority coverage is triggered if all of the following elements are met:

  1. government authority prohibits access to the insured property (or dependent business);
  2. the prohibition was issued as a result of physical loss or damage caused to property within a one-mile radius of the insured property; and
  3. the time element deductible (“waiting period”) is met.

The affected businesses should take preventative measures to avoid any type of business income losses during the 5 days. Asking employees to come in and leave earlier or, if possible, relocate employees to a different location are a few ideas that could ease the stress of the event on a particular business. Reviewing insurance policies and calling insurance agents to inquire if certain losses would be covered is also recommended. Policy forms vary in language and knowing the terms and requirements of a policy could save a business thousands of dollars.