The £750 million Millennium Dome has been a huge construction and logistical project, and has inevitably created extensive media interest. Many political and business necks have been put on the line to ensure that deadlines are achieved. In addition, much has been made of the UK's ability to pull together a project of such magnitude. The Dome has become a showpiece for "UK Plc" and its ability to organise and execute an impressive and important showpiece project.

Unsurprisingly, to help make sure this happened the Millennium Experience, the parent company, needed insurance that would dovetail well with its unique requirements. Valued at £350 million, the full range of insurance areas to be covered required a policy that would be as comprehensive, exhaustive and seamless as possible. With time so precious, the construction companies needed peace of mind and less hassle from insurance red tape and confusion over who covered what, where, when and to what extent.

A panel of six original insurance companies has, after negotiation with the client's insurance brokers, protected the client against the risks involved.

To this end, conventional policy procedures were discarded so that the construction and operation risk could be covered in the same bespoke policy. Fire, damage, erection and dismantling of all the constituent parts of the Dome, including associated liabilities exposure were covered in a policy which included protection for all contractors inside the Dome. The aim was to minimise bureaucracy, which would mean less confusion in the event of any claims, and less hassle for the Millennium Experience and the sub-contractors.

Inside the Dome area are zones, which are stand-alone attractions for the public. Individual contractors acting independently have dealt with their construction, but all are covered in one package. Their insurance requirements were considered both from the zones' own needs and the risk they posed to surrounding areas.

Particular concerns were the risk of fire and the health and safety of workers who, although they could account for the potential hazards associated with their projects, were potentially at greater risk from other contractors. To minimise the risk posed by fire the lead insurer carried out surveys to assist the client and the contractors in their risk management programme.

Because there are many different contractors involved with the project the scope for injuries and damages has been considerable. By covering all the sub-contractors with the same policy the risk of confusion in light of claims is reduced. The potential existed for some finishing or fit-out works to be completed after the main hand-over of the Dome project to the client. Potential confusion over whether the construction or operation insurance policy applies is thus eliminated.

A similar benefit is derived in the event of any third party claims arising during either construction or operational phases. Of course the eventual use for the Dome after 2000 is as yet undecided. It is likely the site will require significant alterations as, at present, the Dome doesn't lend itself to any obvious other use. Possible projects that have so far been put forward include a sports stadium, a concert hall and an exhibition arena. A dismantling risk has been provisionally written for when the current lease expires on December 1, 2001. This policy will again be all encompassing and cover every party so that no responsibility issues arise. In this instance it is necessary to consider that building the attractions within the Dome and dismantling them safely in 2001 were of equal importance.

The insurance policies for the Millennium Dome have reflected how a project of this size and complexity can efficiently be put in place at minimum inconvenience to the client. It is necessary and practical to ensure that all parties are comprehensively covered with the minimum of red tape, and this is easily achieved if a close co-operative relationship is established between client, insurance broker and the insurance companies involved.

By allowing for all possible scenarios seamless and comprehensive protection can be provided.

There are no constraints when it comes to bespoke insurance packages, and at the end of the day the expertise of the insurers and brokers involved is reflected in the innovative and comprehensive solutions offered. The Millennium Dome is a prime example of how complex risk and insurance problems can be solved through consideration of an individual client's needs.