Britain launched a government-backed reinsurance scheme totaling more than £750 million ($1 billion) on Thursday to cover live events against cancellation risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following intense industry lobbying.
Insurers have stripped coronavirus coverage from event cancellation policies after the pandemic broke out last year, prompting top entertainment industry figures such as Andrew Lloyd-Webber to demand a government-backed scheme to keep events going.
Festivals, concerts and exhibitions have already faced cancellations due to the lack of insurance during the pandemic, despite intensive efforts to mitigate health risks for performers, event staff and cardholders.
Womad music festival canceled its July 2021 event, citing the government’s unwillingness to provide insurance support.
The UK government is now working with specialist insurance market Lloyd’s of London to provide the scheme, the Treasury Department said in a statement. And event organizers will be able to purchase additional insurance against cancellation due to government COVID-19 restrictions from September, in addition to standard event insurance.
The insurance will be available from Lloyd’s of London syndicates, including Beazley, Hiscox and Munich Re, with the government acting as reinsurer.
“With this new insurance scheme, everything from live music in Margate to corporate events in Birmingham can continue with confidence,” said UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
Tim Thornhill, director of insurance brokerage Tysers, said the settlement was “the news the events industry needed”.
It follows a similar £500m backstop for the film and television industry last year, which has supported 610 independent film and TV productions.
However, some industry sources said the new live event program was limited as it covers government shutdowns, but no broader restrictions on social distancing, or illness of artists or staff due to COVID-19. .
Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, said it was “necessary” for the government to continue to work with the industry to “ensure organizers can plan for 2022 with greater confidence”.
(This story was not edited by NewsMadura staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)