CommercialAugust 19, 2021

The main event

The events industry has undeniably been one of the worst affected by Covid-19, with hundreds of thousands of events being cancelled or postponed during the pandemic.

As of July 19th – or Freedom Day as it has been dubbed – restrictions around events have eased with Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirming that mass events, including festivals, can now go ahead. This will have been the music to organisers’ ears that they’ve been looking for.

The impact of Covid-19

Event Insurance has long been around to protect organisers from the unexpected, whether they’re hosting a local charity event or a big-scale conference. However, the landscape of protection may have changed as a result of Covid. Coupled with the hardening market as the demand for Event Insurance grows again, prices may increase.

Another concern is that that despite the need for policies to protect event organisers against cancellations as a result of Covid-19, in reality many may not.

Calls for support from Government

Following the announcement that the final restrictions would be removed on 19th July, Paul Reed, Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, welcomed the news but called for a Government-backed insurance scheme.

He said: “We now urge Government to finally act on insurance and announce a Government-backed scheme immediately. Insurance remains the key obstacle to planning with confidence and there is no rationale for not implementing such a scheme if the Government’s roadmap is truly irreversible.”

Back in May, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee released a report titled ‘The future of UK music festivals’ that also called on Ministers to provide a safety net for live events scheduled to take place after restrictions eased by introducing a time-limited insurance scheme. It is hoped that it would be similar to the £500m scheme introduced to help the film and TV industry last year. The Government however ruled out offering any support before all restrictions on the roadmap are lifted, according to the DCMS.

The DCMS reported stated: “Government-backed insurance is crucial to mitigating the Covid-19 related risks to festival organisers and enabling them to start planning, as the vast majority do not have the financial resilience to cover the costs of another year of late-notice cancellations.

“Although there remains considerable uncertainty around the risks of new Covid-19 variants, the Government’s plan to wait until all restrictions are lifted will simply be too late for festivals this summer.”

Ministers are expected to respond to the report in the coming weeks now the final phase of lockdown restrictions have come to an end.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Almost half of UK citizens (46%) have said they are comfortable attending music concerts and live events, YouGov has revealed. With everything from sporting events Euros 2020 and Wimbledon to Eurovision returning after being cancelled last year, revellers have once again been able to enjoy the buzz of in-person gatherings. Several popular music festivals, such as Reading and Leeds Festival, Latitude and Creamfields, have now been put in the diary as well, taking place in July and August as social distancing measures are removed.

To support their communities, local authorities across the UK have been providing cash injections to bolster events. Fylde Council in Lancashire has launched a scheme to contribute up to £10k towards any additional cost to manage Covid-19 infection or for other operational costs for the delivery of an event as we come out of the pandemic. The grant is available to any formal established organisation, private sector business or recognised charity that holds an event in the Fylde Borough between 1st July 2021 and 31st March 2022. Meanwhile in Hertfordshire, North Herts District Council awarded more than £2,000 to support the annual arts gathering, Hitchin Festival.

Organising an event? As your broker, we’re here to support you. Call our friendly team at The Insurance Centre today on 01524 848506 to discuss your Event Insurance needs.