On the 15th December the Victoria government’s COVID-19 event insurance went live, together with long awaited details of what is and what’s not included. The $230million funded scheme offers a maximum of $10million per claim but crucially leaves out corporate events, which Peter Jones of Peter Jones Special Events estimates to be up to 70% of his business and a substantial proportion of many others, including venues and other suppliers.
The insurance is primarily designed to cover public events, including live events and also tradeshows.
Despite the current limitations of the insurance scheme, Victoria is the only state to implement COVID-19 event insurance, so as Matt Pearce of Talk2Media points out “hats off to the Victorian Government for taking the initiative, while others are still talking about it,”.
The main concern that Pearce has is the expense of taking up the insurance. “My immediate reaction is that 4% of revenue or expense is too high” he said. “Most events insurance is less than half this. At face value, it seems a simple insurance which I like, but for an event of $10,000,000 – the government maximum – the insurance premium is $400,000! It is still only for COVID impact, no other circumstance, so that insurance will be in addition to this”.
Simon Thewlis owner of Event.com.au and co-founder of Save Victorian Events, believes the insurance is a good start but the lack of detail and exclusion of corporate events betrays a ‘naivety’ and lack of understanding of the event industry, particularly business events, by the underwriters of the scheme. He hopes that further consultation by government with industry will help shape a more inclusive policy for event organisers, not to mention corporate businesses seeking certainty to diary in their events. “We are seeking clarification from the VMIA about their exclusion of “private commercial or business events such as product, sponsorship or sales events – bizarrely, this isn’t included in the policy document” He said.
The event industry in Victoria is worth some $12billion and total funding for its insurance scheme is $230million, which represents less than a week’s worth of its events. If the policy gets put to the test the Victorian government may get a deeper understanding of the value of its events sector and the cost of shutting it down.