UK government’s COVID cancellation insurance program launched



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By Chris Cooke | Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The UK government has launched its long-awaited COVID cancellation insurance scheme for the live events industry. Its launch was scheduled for yesterday, although it was delayed slightly, apparently due to negotiations between the government and insurers which were not finalized on time.

Insurance issues have been a big issue for the live industry, and in particular for larger events and festivals, throughout the pandemic. Earlier this year, while it seemed likely that COVID restrictions would be lifted in time for much of the festival season, many independent promoters nonetheless had to cancel their 2021 editions because it was impossible to obtain insurance against cancellations caused by COVID in the commercial market. For many promoters, the risk of COVID restrictions expanding, forcing last-minute cancellations, was simply too great without insurance in place.

To overcome this challenge, the UK live music industry has repeatedly requested state-guaranteed cancellation insurance, as had been introduced in other countries. But the UK government resisted those calls while most COVID restrictions were still in place, saying instead it would consider some sort of insurance scheme once those restrictions were lifted, but if there was still a chance that new restrictions will be applied at a later date.

Most COVID restrictions in England were then lifted in July, and it was confirmed the following month that a state-backed cancellation insurance scheme would now be launched in the UK. Then, earlier this month, the government released more information on how this program works.

Basically, organizers of open events who purchase general cancellation insurance – specifically or as part of a larger package – from insurers like Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re will be able to opt for additional coverage. state-backed for COVID. -caused cancellations. Although this coverage will only apply if an event is “canceled, postponed, moved or abandoned” due to a future COVID shutdown at the behest of the government. This would not apply if new social distancing rules forced a cancellation or major downsizing of an event.

Despite this limitation, the live industry generally views the proposed program as a step in the right direction and was therefore ready to welcome its official launch yesterday. But anxiety set in when that launch did not take place, with Access All Areas stating that “the start of the program has been delayed – it is understood that the government continues to negotiate with insurers and an announcement regarding the date. start will be made shortly “.

Fortunately, the delay was only short-lived and promoters can finally begin to benefit from the insurance plan. New Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The pandemic has been a unique challenge for live events, from concerts to business conferences. It’s a huge relief that so many people are now back up and running, but it’s crucial that they can also plan for the future with confidence and this program helps them do just that. With the sector contributing over £ 70 billion a year to our economy, it is right that we do all we can to support it and the talented people who work there.

Meanwhile, CEO of the live industry’s trade body LIVE, Greg Parmley, comments: “The live music industry welcomes the introduction of a government-backed insurance plan, that we have been calling for since the start of the pandemic. While there are still gaps in the coverage available, such as with the removal of an artist due to COVID capture or forced social distancing, this is an important and valuable step in the process. good direction and provides additional security as fall and winter approach. After a year of almost total closure, the industry needs a period of time to get back on its feet by providing the live experiences that fans so desperately need ”.

Despite arriving very late in the day and missing the summer festival season almost entirely, the program arrives in time for England’s inevitable winter lockdown.

LEARN MORE ABOUT: COVID-19 | Department of Culture, Media and Sport



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