Coronavirus – Updated advice to event organisers



21 February 2020

Following on from our bulletin in January on the Coronavirus epidemic, as expected the situation has changed rapidly.

A number of events have now been cancelled, postponed or curtailed with the below some of the more high profile cancellations / postponements that have received extensive press coverage:

  • Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, Spain), 24 – 27 February
  • Tokyo marathon (restricted to elite athletes only)
  • Asian Champions League matches postponed until April and May 2020
  • Chinese Football Association, domestic games at all levels postponed
  • Cisco Live (Melbourne, Australia), 3-6 March
  • Facebook marketing summit (San Francisco, USA), early March
  • The World Athletics Indoor Championships (Nanjing, China), 13 – 15 March
  • Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai), 19 April 19
  • Asian Indoor Athletics Championships (Hangzhou, China), 12 -13 February
  • Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I (Dongguan, China)

As predicted, many Event Cancellation insurers are now seeking to exclude all cover for losses arising out of Coronavirus including specifically actions taken to control it and restrictions in movements or travel advisories. This includes events that scheduled for late in 2020 and in 2021, regardless of the location, as they are concerned with their aggregate exposure.

One factor that will remain a key issue for organisers is the potential for reduced attendance due to participants being reluctant to travel or attend large events because of their health concerns. Such losses cannot be covered if they are as a result of fear of travelling. Once the Coronavirus cover is made available again it will be possible to obtain cover due to an enforced reduced attendance e.g. lost revenue due to ticket holders/participants being prevented from travelling

This does not change our advice for event organisers and we continue to recommend that;

  • Cover is purchased as early as possible, including the widest cover available for communicable disease.
  • Check that cover already purchased for a future event includes a full communicable disease extension. If not, check to see if cover is available to add on.
  • Ensure that early notification is given to your Insurers if you believe that your event may be affected.
  • Keep in close contact with the relevant local public authorities regarding any plans they have for mitigating the spread of the virus
  • Ensure that you understand the claims process as set out in your policy document and what your duties and obligations are.
  • You will be required to evidence and justify the amount of any resulting loss so retain all records and contracts and document everything to demonstrate that you have sought to mitigate your loss.
  • Keep the event attendees and partners advised of your plans for the event and reassure them if there are no plans to cancel or postpone.

It may be possible, under certain circumstances, to arrange cover including Coronavirus for certain events taking place in 2020 and 2021. If you would like any advice regarding such cover, and/or for any other event insurance, please do contact us.

To read the previous article on 'Coronavirus - advice for Event Organisers, please click here

Gary Flynn

Divisional Director – Sport, Media and Entertainment – Howden UK Group

Gary Flynn