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Chancellor confirms £750m events industry insurance scheme

The Government has confirmed that a £750m insurance scheme designed specifically for the events industry has been made available.

The announcement was made late on the evening on 6 August by chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak (pictured).

As the economy reopens with the lifting of Covid restrictions, insurance has proved a sticking point for many event organisers. 

The Government has partnered with Lloyd’s to deliver what it calls the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme as part of its Plan for Jobs. The scheme will see the Government act as a ‘reinsurer’and will step in with a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer the products events companies need. 

The Government said the 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.

Before the pandemic took hold, the events industry was worth more than £70bn annually to the economy and supported more than 700,000 jobs, including small businesses and the self-employed. 

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.

“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,” said chancellor Sunak.

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 culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, added that events insurance will give organisers the confidence they need to plan for a brighter future. “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,” he said.

When will it be available?

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 £2bn Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), and the £500m 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. 

Chris Skeith, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) and representing the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) welcomed the news and said it was much-needed to drive confidence: “This Government-backed insurance scheme will bring some much-needed confidence to a sector, and its supply chain, which often acts as the UK's shop window to the world, 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.”

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of Meetings Industry Association, said ongoing surveillance of the industry meant the association was “acutely aware” of the impact an insurance indemnification 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.

“In the same year, almost all venues (92%) had zero cover for their lost business, of which for the average venue was a significant £2,398,600,” she said.

“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.

“The recognition of the business meetings and events sector in this scheme is total acknowledgement of the role it has in supporting the UK’s economic recovery, and we’re confident that the sector can now serve as a catalyst.”

Lloyd’s CEO John Neal said: “Lloyd’s has stood by its customers throughout the pandemic, and we are pleased to strengthen those efforts by partnering with the UK government to deliver the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme. This unique and critical cover will enable live events to resume around the country with confidence as society begins to reopen and begin its recovery, and we are proud to be playing our part.”