A concert promoter cancels a sold-out show of a world-renowned recording artist, reimbursing millions of dollars in ticket sales as a result. If the reason for the cancellation was COVID-19, does insurance cover that?
Event Cancellation Insurance Basics
Event cancellation insurance generally provides coverage only when there has been a triggering event under the policy. Some policies are written, for example, to only cover cancellations caused by rain or bad weather. Other event cancellation policies are all-risk policies, meaning that coverage may be triggered by any cause that is not specifically excluded. For all types of event cancellation insurance, the triggering event must have been fortuitous, or outside of the policyholder’s control.
Good News for Policyholders
The good news for policyholders is that many all-risk event cancellation policies do cover cancellations caused by COVID-19 related shut-down orders. For such policies, a shut-down order should qualify as a fortuitous triggering event. Across the United States, nearly every jurisdiction has enacted some kind of order that caused the cancellation of large-scale events.
Notes of Caution
Policyholders should be cautious concerning the scope of exclusions in respect of viruses and communicable diseases. Although these types of exclusions may bar coverage related to COVID-19, it is important to be mindful of variations in the exclusion language used. Some exclusions apply to only specific named viruses, such as SARS and MERS. Other exclusions contain carve-outs that may be applicable to COVID-19.