Concerns mount over the UK government’s live events insurance scheme

The UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme was launched last month

Concerns are mounting in the UK’s live music industry over the government’s long-awaited insurance scheme for live events and festivals.

First announced back in August, the government’s £800million UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme – part of a partnership with Lloyd’s Market Association – is aiming to “give events the confidence they need to plan through to summer 2022” while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The scheme opened on September 22 and is set to run until the end of September 2022, and is meant to cover UK live events and festivals that are cancelled, postponed, relocated or abandoned “due to new UK Civil Authority restrictions in response to COVID-19”.

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However, the scheme – which will see the government act as a ‘reinsurer’ who “steps in with a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer the products events companies need” – does not cover “self-isolation” of artists, touring crew and staff, while the extent of the cover being offered is limited.

Further concerns are now being raised as a growing number of event and festival organisers have been unable to obtain quotes for cover despite the scheme officially opening almost a month ago.

The chief executive of the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) Paul Reed has told IQ that the scheme doesn’t cover “a festival needing to reduce capacity or cancel due to restrictions being reintroduced”, adding: “It’s clear from the government’s winter ‘Plan B’ that restrictions will be reintroduced long before there is any sort of national lockdown.

“The scheme only covers you in the event of a civil authority shutdown at either local or national level, so it is extremely limited in scope.”

reading festival 20 year old woman died
Reading Festival 2021 (Picture: Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)

Reed said that the AIF had recently surveyed their members on this issue, and found that 58 per cent of responders were ‘not likely’ to pursue quotes from the UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme – which, as Reed says, “isn’t indicative that the scheme is going to be widely used by the sector”.

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“At the moment, you can’t obtain actual quotes, so that’s another issue,” he continued. “Until this is properly in play, we won’t know the full extent of these issues and whether it is a viable scheme or not. So they need to get on with it and get it in a position where it can be rolled out properly.”

While the scheme is “going to take a bit of work from government” as it doesn’t currently apply to artists or the live events workforce, Reed added that he remains hopeful that the scheme “could well change in some ways”.

“I appreciate government has put a lot of work into this,” he said. “There are still details being thrashed roughed out around the scheme and questions that the sector has put to government, so the scheme could well change in some ways.

“But I think the fundamentals aren’t going to change and it’s not going to cover anything other than some sort of shutdown – that’s basically a trigger point that the government has agreed with the insurance industry.”

Yesterday (October 19) a report by UK Music revealed that one in three music industry jobs have been lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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