Government announces £750m insurance scheme for live events

Government announces £750m insurance scheme for live events

August 5, 2021

Government announces £750m insurance scheme so festivals and live events can restart with confidence in bid to avoid second lost summer of fun due to Covid

  • Industry figures have long called for scheme to help recover from the pandemic
  • Bosses can plan events without risking being out of pocket by another outbreak
  • But shadow culture secretary insisted the scheme was only the ‘bare minimum’
  • There are concerns as it doesn’t account for reintroduction of social distancing

The Government has announced a £750 million insurance scheme so festivals and live events can restart with confidence in a bid to avoid a second lost summer of fun due to Covid. 

Industry figures have been calling for such a scheme to help them recover from the pandemic and be able to plan events without the risk of a coronavirus outbreak leaving them out of pocket.

Many organisers have found that insurers would not cover them for cancellations caused by Covid.

But the Government announced it has partnered with Lloyd’s to deliver the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme as part of the Treasury’s Plan for Jobs.

The Government has announced a £750 million insurance scheme so festivals and live events can restart with confidence in a bid to avoid a second lost summer of fun due to Covid. Pictured: Music fans at London’s O2 last week

James Blunt performs at London’s Royal Albert Hall on July 23, one of the many live events back on as Covid restrictions ease 

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The Government must continue to work with music festivals as its events insurance scheme does not account for the reintroduction of social distancing rules, the boss of a festival trade body has said.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), was pleased the Government has introduced a new £750 million insurance scheme to support the live events sector.

But he warned the insurance does not cover events that are affected by a potential reintroduction of social distancing measures which limit their capacity.

He said in a statement: ‘We are pleased that Government has listened, and we welcome this intervention to address the insurance market failure.

‘It is positive that festival organisers will now have an option for Covid cancellation.

‘The scheme doesn’t, however, cover a festival needing to reduce capacity or cancel due to social distancing restrictions being reintroduced, so it remains imperative that Government continues to work with the sector in areas such as Covid certification to try and avoid such an eventuality and ensure that organisers can plan with increased confidence for 2022.’

Greg Parmley, the chief executive of Live, which represents the interests of the live music business, also welcomed the announcement, saying he said his organisation has ‘been calling for since the start of the pandemic’.

‘We look forward to working together over the coming weeks to determine the final shape of the policy and to ensure it can support the full return of the sector in the face of the most likely impacts of Covid.’

Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters Association, said that while the insurance scheme ‘won’t cover all our risk, this intervention will help protect the industry that we all know and love’.

‘This is welcome news from DCMS. The sector has been calling out for Government to act for over a year and now we have something tangible,’ he added.

The move was also welcomed by Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS Committee.

‘It is really welcome that the Government has acted on a key recommendation from our inquiry into the future of UK music festivals,’ he said.

‘We have been calling on ministers to introduce this safety net since January.

‘Though it is a shame that it has come too late for some this summer, this scheme will provide the confidence the sector needs to plan and invest in future events.’

The Government will act as a ‘reinsurer’ and offer a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer products to cover organisers if state restrictions shut events down.

But Labour’s shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said it was the ‘bare minimum’.

She said: ‘Anything less than lockdown, like the reintroduction of social distancing or artists or crew having to self-isolate, isn’t covered.

‘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.’

The scheme will cover the live events sector, which the Treasury said was worth more than £70 billion annually to the economy and supports more than 700,000 jobs, and is due to be available from next month alongside standard commercial events insurance.

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.’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: ‘Our events industries are not just vital for the economy and jobs; they put Britain on the map and, thanks to this extra support, will get people back to the experiences that make life worth living.’

The scheme will be available from September and run until the end of September 2022.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, said: ‘For months, UK Music has been warning about the catastrophic impact of the market failure in insurance for live events. The inability to obtain insurance has already caused many cancellations this summer – these have been devastating for the entire music industry and there were fears that without action we would have seen major cancellations continuing well into next year too.

‘This new Government scheme is therefore incredibly welcome news – not just for the millions of music fans who have been looking forward to the return of live events, but also for the tens of thousands of musicians, crew members and wider supply chain workers whose jobs depend on continued live activity.’

Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation UK and Ireland, said: ‘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.’

Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairman Julian Knight welcomed the move.

The Conservative MP said: ‘Though it is a shame that it has come too late for some this summer, this scheme will provide the confidence the sector needs to plan and invest in future events.’

The Vaccines play their first live gig in two years at ‘Radio X Presents with Barclaycard’ with special guests The Snuts, at London’s O2 Kentish Town Forum last week

Anne-Marie also performed at the festival, one of the first to be played following the easing of lockdown

Meanwhile, the boss of a festival trade body says the Government must continue to work with music festivals as its events insurance scheme does not account for the reintroduction of social distancing rules.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), was pleased the Government has introduced the scheme to support the live events sector.

But he warned the insurance does not cover events that are affected by a potential reintroduction of social distancing measures which limit their capacity.

He said in a statement: ‘We are pleased that Government has listened, and we welcome this intervention to address the insurance market failure.

‘It is positive that festival organisers will now have an option for Covid cancellation.

‘The scheme doesn’t, however, cover a festival needing to reduce capacity or cancel due to social distancing restrictions being reintroduced, so it remains imperative that Government continues to work with the sector in areas such as Covid certification to try and avoid such an eventuality and ensure that organisers can plan with increased confidence for 2022.’

Greg Parmley, the chief executive of Live, which represents the interests of the live music business, also welcomed the announcement, saying he said his organisation has ‘been calling for since the start of the pandemic’.

‘We look forward to working together over the coming weeks to determine the final shape of the policy and to ensure it can support the full return of the sector in the face of the most likely impacts of Covid.’

Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters Association, said that while the insurance scheme ‘won’t cover all our risk, this intervention will help protect the industry that we all know and love’.

‘This is welcome news from DCMS. The sector has been calling out for Government to act for over a year and now we have something tangible,’ he added.

The move was also welcomed by Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS Committee.

‘It is really welcome that the Government has acted on a key recommendation from our inquiry into the future of UK music festivals,’ he said.

‘We have been calling on ministers to introduce this safety net since January.

‘Though it is a shame that it has come too late for some this summer, this scheme will provide the confidence the sector needs to plan and invest in future events.’

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