Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £750m insurance lifeline for the live events industry in the UK, in partnership with Lloyd’s of London.
The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme will see the government act as a ‘reinsurer’, guaranteeing support for insurers to enable them to offer the products events companies need. The live events sector is worth more than £70 billion annually to the economy and supports more than 700,000 jobs, including small businesses and the self-employed.
In a joint statement on the UK government website, the Treasury and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) explain that ‘a number of 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 they need to plan ahead while also ensuring value for money for taxpayers.
‘The pandemic is not over, but with a sufficiently high proportion of the population vaccinated, the country can learn to live with COVID-19 without the need for the strict economic and social restrictions. This scheme will support live events across the UK that are open to the general 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.’
Chancellor of the Exchequer 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.’
The scheme will be available from September 2021 and run until the end of September 2022.
Responding to the announcement, 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.’
Duncan Bell from #WeMakeEvents said, ‘WeMakeEvents was formed to represent the businesses, organisations and freelancers that make up the Live events supply chain and whose livelihoods have been severely hit by Covid.
‘We are pleased to learn of plans for a government-backed insurance scheme for the events sector, and hope that this will start to re-build confidence and investment in live events, conference and exhibitions in the UK. WeMakeEvents looks forward to working closely with the Government to fine-tune the details of the scheme.’