"“I’m yet to speak to a single festival who took out the insurance…it simply wasn’t fit for purpose.”"
- Paul Reed, the Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Festivals
Image: John Fornander via Unsplash
Over the last year, organisers of live events ranging from music festivals to car shows have found it impossible to obtain commercial insurance due to the high risk of coronavirus restrictions being imposed.
Despite the Government providing reinsurance to allow event organisers to “plan with confidence” in August 2021, there are now concerns that the scheme has fallen short of the £800m in cover that was originally promised.
So far, the Government has disclosed support worth £109m for 18 entities including the Ministry of Defence’s RAF Cosford air show, according to state aid disclosures.
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club Ltd (AELTC) has been the biggest disclosed beneficiary, receiving £77m to run the Wimbledon Championships - more than 70% of the total disclosed.
Wimbledon’s organisers had previously won plaudits for taking out commercial pandemic insurance that paid out well over £100m when the tournament was cancelled in 2020.
Sally Bolton, the AELTC chief executive, said:
“The AELTC welcomes the support of the live events reinsurance scheme in relation to The Championships 2022.”
The second largest beneficiary of the government scheme was the British Phonographic Industry, the music industry lobby group that runs the Brit Awards. The group received £9.2m.
The government has said that more than half the events covered were in the arts or entertainment and that it was only obliged to publish details of awards worth more than £500,000.
However, businesses and corporations have since criticised the scheme for offering help months too late and that the cover on offer had important gaps.
Paul Reed, the chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals said:
“I’m yet to speak to a single festival who took out the insurance…it simply wasn’t fit for purpose.”
A government source said the scheme was “demand-led”, meaning it was unable to increase the number of businesses covered.
A spokesperson from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said:
“Our live events reinsurance scheme backed our brilliant arts, sporting and music events to continue despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and followed the unprecedented support provided for the culture sector through our £2bn culture recovery fund.
“It has helped support almost 15,000 jobs, more than £400m of investment and 3 million people are expected to attend events supported by the scheme this summer. The generous scheme remains open for bids until September.”