UK festivals and live events to be protected by £750m COVID insurance scheme

The scheme covers the cost of cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The UK government has announced an insurance scheme that will protect music festivals and live events from cancellations due to COVID-19.

The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, which has a budget of £750m, will cover the organisers’ cost of cancelling events. It accounts for the evolving restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Commercial insurance companies were previously unable to offer protection to live events. From September 2021 to September 2022, the government will act as a reinsurer under the scheme, stepping in to guarantee pay-outs are funded.

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An announcement explained: “The scheme will be delivered through insurers with events organisers able to purchase cover for government-enforced cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to Government COVID restrictions, alongside their standard insurance.”

The development comes after over half of the country’s music festivals were axed this year, and with event organisers pleading since early 2021 for such a scheme to be introduced.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, however, defended the government holding off on launching the scheme until now.

“What we’ve always said for live events is, ‘if insurance is the last barrier to them reopening, then we would look to try and work with the industry to create a product’,” he told NME yesterday (5 August). “Now that we’ve got stage four, it is indeed the last barrier – so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to do it.

“What gives me confidence about the future, and hopefully gives others confidence as well, is first and foremost the vaccine roll-out. Creating that wall of defence through the vaccine should give us all a bit of optimism. We’ve also been running research events and pilots and getting the findings from that. Our collective desire is finding a way to actually maintain all of these things without having to impose what are difficult economic restrictions.”

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