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Live events to be covered by new government-backed COVID insurance scheme

The scheme has been criticised by Labour politicians and industry figures due to its limitations

  • Safi Bugel
  • 6 August 2021
Live events to be covered by new government-backed COVID insurance scheme

Live events will be covered by a £750 million insurance scheme backed by the Government.

The change has been introduced as an attempt to “boost” the industry and to stop cancellations related to COVID-19.

For months, figures within live events have called for the Government to step in after insurance companies would not cover them for losses caused by the pandemic.

Read this next: UK festivals risk cancellation due to "pingdemic"

Without a financial safety net, a number of events organisers including those behind Boomtown, Houghton and Field Maneuvers have cancelled their events this year to avoid losses and thereby protect the future of the event.

As part of the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, insurers will receive a guarantee from the government, allowing them to offer products to cover organisers if state coronavirus restrictions force cancellations.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with insurance company Lloyd's and will be available from next month until the end of September 2022.

The Night Time Industries Association has expressed its support for the programme. CEO Michael Kill said: “I am extremely pleased that the Government has decided to introduce an insurance scheme for the events and festival sector, it stands testament to a government that is starting to acknowledge the varying issues within the sector and through engagement, take the appropriate action to protect businesses and jobs.

Read this next: Over 75% of nightlife businesses have lost staff to "pingdemic"

"Over 700,000 people work within this sector, it will give some comfort and certainty to supply chain and freelancers that heavily rely on this industry for their main source of income, and we would hope that with this news many will feel confident in returning to work within the sector.

“It is devastating that the timings of this scheme could not have been earlier, as we have already lost many amazing festivals and events to the uncertainty that this pandemic represents, but I feel that this scheme will allow a beleaguered sector to start to rebuild and plan with confidence for the future.”

Whilst the news represents a step forward for the industry, the scheme has been met with criticism from Labour politicians and live events industry figures alike due to its limitations.

Read this next: How to help clubs reopen safely and for the long haul

Jo Stevens, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, has referred to the scheme as a “bare minimum” effort as it is limited to covering a lockdown and would not apply to scenarios such as the reintroduction of social distancing or artists and crews having to self-isolate.

“Yet again, the Government has dithered, delayed and come up with a solution that doesn’t address the problem. Under this scheme, the government essentially takes no risk and the live events sector carries it all,” she continued.

Leeds venue Brudenell Social Club has expressed similar doubts, warning people to “wait for the full details” before seeing the news as a win for the industry.

Safi Bugel is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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