Image by Ben Birchall
The British government announced last Friday that it would be launching The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme. The £750 million scheme will help insurers cover event organisers and promoters in the case of event cancellations as a result of Covid-19 related restrictions, and will be made available from next month. As per the scheme, the government will essentially act as a ‘reinsurer,’ providing funds to allow insurers to meet the needs of event companies.
The launch of the scheme comes after almost a year of constant campaigning from various groups and organisations within the U.K’s nightlife and live music sector. The pandemic and resulting restrictions spelt disaster for many promoters and venues, with a number of U-turns made by the British government with regards to the sector’s reopening leading to 18 months of uncertainty.
While the move has received praise from workers in the industry, many feel it has come too late. This is especially true following the cancelation of nearly half of the country’s festivals. According to a survey conducted by the Association of Independent Festivals in June, most of these festivals cited the lack of insurance as their primary reason for cancelling. Speaking to The Guardian about the delayed arrival of the scheme, director of the WOMAD Festival Chris Smith said, “Anything to support the industry going forward is a positive, but it has come too late for so many organisations like ours who have lost the summer and need not have done.”
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive of UK Music, also noted how the slow roll out of such a scheme has been disastrous for the industry. “The inability to obtain insurance has already caused many cancellations this summer – these have been devastating for the entire music industry and there were fears that without action we would have seen major cancellations continuing well into next year too.” He continued, “this new Government scheme is therefore incredibly welcome news – not just for the millions of music fans who have been looking forward to the return of live events, but also for the tens of thousands of musicians, crew members and wider supply chain workers whose jobs depend on continued live activity.”
Meanwhile, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Michael Kill celebrated the announcement. “It will give some comfort and certainty to the supply chain and freelancers that heavily rely on this industry for their main source of income”, said Kill. “…we would hope that with this news many will feel confident in returning to work within the sector.”
The U.K’s nightlife and live events sector is reportedly worth more than £70 billion annually, supporting around 700,000 jobs. The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme is set up in partnership with Lloyd’s marketplace and will run from September 2021 to September 2022. More information on the scheme is available here.