Wimbledon receives most of the funding under the Covid events insurance scheme | insurance industry | Business Insurance

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The Wimbledon tennis tournament has received by far the largest amount of government support from a Covid-19 insurance scheme set up to help organizers of live events.

Organizers of live events ranging from music festivals to business conferences and car shows found it impossible to find commercial insurance last year as insurers balked at the high risk of restrictions being re-imposed by the coronavirus. After months of pleas for help from the events sector, the government stepped in in August 2021 to provide reinsurance, in a move that Foreign Minister Rishi Sunak said would allow event organizers to “plan with confidence”.

However, there are concerns that the scheme has fallen short of the £800m in coverage that was originally promised. The government has so far only disclosed £109m worth of support for 18 entities, one of which was the Ministry of Defense in its management of the RAF Cosford air show, according to state aid disclosures.

By far the biggest beneficiary revealed was the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club Ltd (AELTC), the company that runs the Wimbledon championships and whose board members include former British tennis stars Tim Henman and Anne Keothavong. It received 77 million pounds sterling, more than 70% of the total disclosed. Wimbledon organizers had previously earned praise for taking out commercial pandemic insurance that paid out more than £100m when the tournament was canceled in 2020.

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The second biggest beneficiary of the government scheme was the British Phonographic Industry, the music industry lobby group that organizes the Brit Awards. It received £9.2m.

The government said it was only required to publish details of prizes worth more than £500,000 and that more than half of the events covered were arts or entertainment.

The low general acceptance of the regime contrasts with the £800m quoted in the original ad. The government has been criticized for offering aid that was months late for many events. Event organizers also complained that the coverage being offered had significant loopholes, including not ensuring cancellations if an artist or crew member contracted Covid-19 and tours had to be cancelled.

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Paul Reed, chief executive of the Independent Festivals Association, a lobbying group, said the insurance was too expensive and lacked coverage where social distancing was enforced, meaning it was “not useful for festivals or live music.” ”.

“I have yet to talk to a single festival that took out the insurance,” he said. “It just wasn’t fit for purpose.”

A government source said the scheme was “demand-driven”, meaning it was unable to increase the number of companies covered.

Other beneficiaries of the plan have been companies that organize food and garden events and even antique fairs, as well as trade shows on topics such as engineering technology and medicine.

Sally Bolton, Chief Executive Officer of the AELTC, said: “The AELTC is grateful for the support of the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme in relation to The Championships 2022.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Our live events reinsurance plan supported the continuation of our brilliant arts, sporting and music events despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and continued unprecedented support. provided to the cultural sector through our £2bn cultural recovery fund.

“It has helped support almost 15,000 jobs, over £400m of investment and 3 million people are expected to attend events supported by the program this summer. The generous plan remains open for offers until September.”