News

15 Nov 2021

Vic Govt Announces Covid cancel insurance for events

by Save Victorian Events

We are happy to be able to share that the Victorian Government has finally announced a $230 million Covid-19 event cancellation insurance scheme.

Save Victorian Events began campaigning on this issue back in August 2020. Back then we were a pretty lonely voice on this critical issue. Most told us it would never happen and we shouldn’t bother (and have kept telling us!).

As part of the campaign, a vast number of you contacted your local state and federal members of parliament as well as the relevant ministers in support of Covid cancel event insurance. This was critically important in building awareness and support.

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We worked hard to make sure that insurance was a strong focus of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Tourism and Events Sectors. Many of those that appeared at the Inquiry spoke in support of the insurance. The Inquiry’s final report recommended that the Victorian government set up a government-backed Covid cancel event insurance scheme.

Gradually other groups also got on board with this issue.

An unrelenting campaign for this insurance has continued behind the scenes and in the mainstream media. So it is good that today the Victorian government has finally announced a $230 million Covid-19 event cancellation insurance scheme through the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority.

https://www.vmia.vic.gov.au/insurance/policies-and-cover/covid-19-event-insurance

Not being able to insure against the risks of cancellation due to Covid has been a key thing holding many people back from organising events – as a last minute cancellation of an event can be financially devastating as we all know.

We know we will be living with the risks of Covid for years to come and that commercial insurers are very unlikely to cover Covid risks for the foreseeable future. So government backed Covid cancel insurance will be the only insurance available for the forseeable future.

As with all things, the key thing will be the detail of the policies and the costs of the premiums, so we will be able to comment more once the costs and finer details are finally released – which they say will be in December. We are pleased to say they did take on much of our input.

Obviously, we are a national industry and most of us work right across Australia, so hopefully this will cause other states to also put in place similar schemes for events in their states. Or, better still, for the Federal government to coordinate a national scheme for the long term – as it has done with reinsuring terrorism risks through the $12b Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation after 9/11.

We note that the Australian government has recently flagged using the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation to cover some risks of climate change in northern Australia, so there are strong precedents for it being extended to reinsure some Covid-19 risks.

Save Victorian Events managed to get the current Senate Inquiry into insurance – that was originally just focussed on music and the performing arts – extended so that the Event Industry would also be included. In turn, enabling submissions from the likes of Save Victorian Events and BECA to be submitted and considered by the Senate committee. The report from this committee is due to be tabled in the Australian Parliament very shortly.

Today is a good step forward, but a lot more needs to be done to help the Event Industry get back up and running again. We are all very concerned that the existing general business support and disaster payments are ceasing while a lot of events and event work still won’t be happening for many months yet. So we keep pushing really hard on this and a number of other issues.

For so long so many said that government backed Covid cancel event insurance would never ever happen. It is happening because so many event people didn’t give up and kept pushing. So thank you to everyone for your support.

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