Live events industry gets its ‘Festival Re’

The live events sector is to benefit from a government-backed insurance scheme worth over £750m to cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to lockdowns being reimposed. The scheme, facilitated by Lloyd’s insurers Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re, will run from September 2021 to September 2022.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The events sector supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country, and I know organisers are raring to go now that restrictions have been lifted. But the lack of the right kind of insurance is proving a problem, so as the economy reopens I want to do everything I can to help events providers and small businesses plan with confidence right through to next year.

“We have some of the best events in the world here in the UK – from world-famous festivals to your local fair. With this new insurance scheme, everything from live music in Margate to business events in Birmingham can go ahead with confidence, providing a boost to the economy and protecting livelihoods through our Plan for Jobs.”

Phil Bowdery, Chairman of the Concert Promoters Association, welcomed the long overdue scheme. "This is welcome news. The sector has been calling out for Government to act for over a year and we now have something tangible. While the new scheme won’t cover all our risk, this intervention will help protect the industry that we all know and love."

Chairman, Live Nation UK and Ireland, Denis Desmond, added: "This vital intervention from the UK Government offers certainty to artists, concert and festival promoters in the live entertainment market. This is very welcome news and will help keep the sector and its employees working"

Welcoming the development, BIBA’s Graeme Trudgill said it’s good news for BIBA members and the entire insurance sector – as well as the events sector and the economy as a whole.

“There has been a huge collaborative effort across the insurance industry on this difficult issue. BIBA, along with our specialist members, has been lobbying Government for an intervention, explaining that the challenges for insurers created by COVID-19 and its variants were devastating to this part of the economy and that a financial intervention would actually create a 900% return in economic activity. We engaged with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance on this issue to see what appetite there was to progress.

Tim Thornhill, director at events specialist broker, Tysers, which worked closely with BIBA and played a leading role in the intervention, added: “The constructive approach taken by HM Treasury and DCMS to include the insurance market is a smart, pragmatic approach and means the swiftest possible transfer back to the commercial insurance market once there is more certainty in the future, to take on the risks directly.”

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