The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new government-backed insurance scheme for the live events industry worth over £750 million.
Industry leaders have been calling for more support with insurance, which continues to act as a barrier to getting back to live events for many organisers.
The government has partnered with Lloyd’s to deliver the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, which is aimed at helping organisers plan events with confidence through to next year.
The scheme will see the government act as a ‘reinsurer’ – stepping in with a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer the products events companies need. It will support live events across the UK that are open to the public – such as music festivals and business events. It will cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to Government Covid restrictions.
A number of prominent insurers in the Lloyd’s market, including Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re are supporting the scheme which will provide events companies with the option of purchasing cover from next month, alongside standard commercial events insurance, giving them the reassurance that they need to plan ahead while also ensuring value for money for taxpayers
The Chancellor 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.”
The scheme will be available from September 2021 and run until the end of September 2022. It comes on top of the extensive support already given to the cultural sector, including the £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), and the £500 million Film and TV Production Restart scheme – which has seen 610 independent film and TV productions and more than 50,000 screen sector jobs supported by the scheme in the last 12 months.
Industry associations welcome scheme
The announcement has been welcomed by event industry associations. Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Alliance (mia) said: While venues have been flexible to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on business, introducing more flexible booking terms in the process, the lack of appetite and commitment from event organisers amidst the ongoing uncertainty has been causing significant delays in the sectors recovery.
“Through our ongoing surveillance of the industry we’re acutely aware of the impact the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme will have on the sector, with almost two-thirds of venues (61%) surveyed in August 2020 highlighting the need for this to be introduced. Providing reassurance to risk-averse event organisers will be critical in the return of more recognisable booking numbers and the stimulation of the sector’s circular economy, benefitting venues, hotels, destinations, caterers and a diverse range of suppliers within the supply chain.
Chris Skeith, CEO of the Events Industry Alliance (comprising AEO, AEV and ESSA) added: “The uncertainty caused by the pandemic has undermined the insurance market for our sector. This government-backed insurance scheme will bring some much-needed confidence to a sector, and its supply chain, and allow the industry to rebuild itself despite the continued uncertainty pandemics bring,” he said.
“Our members provide trading platforms for over 180,000 businesses, fuelling trade and economic impact across the UK and across every market sector, and we look forward to playing our part in driving the UK’s economic recovery. This new insurance scheme will hopefully play an important role in our ability to do that as we reopen in a safe and responsible manner.”