UK announces £750m COVID-insurance scheme to protect festivals and live events

The scheme covers the cancellation cost of events due to government restrictions.

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All Points East Festival 2018

Photo: Burak Cingi / Redferns

The UK’s festivals and other live events will be protected under a £750m COVID-insurance scheme that covers cancellations in accordance with government restrictions. The announcement comes after event organisers pleaded for such a scheme to be introduced; over half of 2021’s festivals were cancelled.

The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme works with commercial insurance companies to provide protection for live events from September 2021 to September 2022. The government will act as a reinsurer to guarantee payouts are properly funded.

An announcement stated: “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.”

Following large-scale cancellations in 2020 and 2021, many events were in danger of being bankrupted should they be forced to cancel again at the last moment. Chancellor Rishi Sunak, however, defended the government’s holding off on 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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