Last year, a Chicago furniture store owner made a bet with his customers: If the Chicago Bears shut out the Green Bay Packers in the season opener, he'd give a full refund to anyone who bought furniture during Labor Day weekend. The Bears won 26-0 and customers got back more than $275,000, but the payout wasn't made by the store--it was made by an insurance company. The store owner had purchased promotions insurance to cover his wager.
"Promotions insurance can be any kind of financial guarantee policy that says if this happens, we'll pay that," says Steven M. Finver, president of Continental Agency of Florida in Boca Raton. He says this coverage is mostly used by charities, such as hole-in-one insurance to cover prizes in golf tournament fundraisers. But there's no reason business owners can't use it as part of a marketing strategy, Finver says, as long as the promotion doesn't violate state gambling laws.
Your business insurance agent can arrange the policy. Explain the prize you'd offer (a physical prize, a specified amount of cash or a refund) if a particular event or circumstance occurs and the terms of the award. Provide as much information as you can to help the underwriter determine the odds so the policy can be appropriately priced. The premium for your policy depends on the risk the insurance company is taking. Allow two weeks for the policy to be issued.
Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.