The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced a new ‘reinsurance’ scheme backed by Her Majesty’s Government which will address costs relating to event cancellations or postponements which result from potential future COVID-19 restrictions.
The key aim of the scheme will be to give event organisers the confidence to proceed with their business operations regardless of any uncertainties that may still linger regarding the possible effects of COVID-19 on their industry.
In effect, Her Majesty’s Government will underwrite an optional extension to event cancellation policies that will enable them to respond to circumstances wherein a national or local lockdown forces an event to be cancelled or rearranged. However it should be noted that this optional extension of cover will come at a premium of 5% of the value of the insured costs (plus Insurance Premium Tax), with an excess of a further 5% of these costs or £1000, whichever is the greater. Needless to say, 5% of a total sum insured can be a significant amount, especially for larger events which include significant assets at risk. As an illustration, an event that has insured for £1m would be charged a premium of £56,000 for this type of coverage (5% of the sum insured plus 12% Insurance Premium Tax), with any claim being subject to a £50,000 excess.
-The scheme will cover live events that are open to the general public and are physically located in the UK. This includes live music events, festivals, sports events, trade shows and business events. Private events such as weddings and parties would not be covered.
-In order to be eligible, event organisers must purchase the relevant cover from participating insurers within the scheme. Event organisers must also purchase a standard events cancellation policy (or a policy which includes event cancellation coverage) provided at least in part by a participating insurer – the cover backed by the scheme will not be offered on a standalone basis.
-Event organisers can purchase cover up to the full cost of their event, regardless of when those costs are incurred.
Cover must be purchased at least 8 weeks prior to the event taking place. This requirement will however not apply for the first 12 weeks of the scheme.
-The scheme will not cover loss of revenue prompted by lower demand for tickets or venue capacity, and the scheme does not cover self-isolation of staff or performers. The scheme will cover a limited series, or run, of linked events, provided that the event organiser specifies which of those events require cover and how much cover they are purchasing for each.
The scheme will run until the 30th September 2022 with a review point in Spring 2022. Cover will be available to purchase through participating insurers. A number of prominent insurers in the Lloyd’s market, including Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re are supporting the scheme, and more are expected to follow. Event organisers can now start approaching these insurers to discuss their cover.
The following costs are some of those that will be excluded from the scheme:
-Ticket refunds (whether or not pre-booked);
-The non-appearance of any person or group(s) of persons;
-Losses otherwise insured elsewhere;
-Losses covered by a COVID-19 support scheme that is administered by the government;
-Cancellation/postponement that arises from restrictions imposed by another authority that is not a UK Civil Authority;
-Loss of revenue or profit.
Whilst the new scheme is a welcome addition to the landscape of coverage, especially in light of the ongoing concerns of customers about the prospects of their events going ahead in the current climate, it must be noted that the premiums charged under this scheme may be prohibitive for some organisers. As such we will continue to monitor developments from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and any additional information will be relayed to our policyholders as the scheme develops.