Industry applauds Victorian Government’s COVID-19 event cancellation insurance

Save Victorian Events has welcomed the decision to introduce the insurance scheme, which is the first of its kind in Australia.

Advocacy group Save Victorian Events has welcomed the Victorian Government’s decision to introduce a COVID-19 event cancellation insurance scheme.

Announced on Sunday, the 12-month insurance scheme is a first for Australia and will cover up to $230 million for events that are cancelled or have their capacity reduced due to State or Federal Government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions.

Delivered by the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), the COVID-19 Event Insurance will provide 100 percent cover of the declared value of business, community, creative, and sporting events with estimated revenue or cost of between $20,000 and $10 million.

The insurance will be available in December and must be purchased at least two weeks before the first day of events without any restrictions already in place.

Save Victorian Events spokesperson Simon Thewlis said that after campaigning for more than a year, it was great to finally reach this outcome.

“We began campaigning on this issue back in August 2020. Back then, we were a pretty lonely voice on this critical issues and many told us it would never happen,” Thewlis said.

As part of the unrelenting campaign, many hundreds of members of Victoria’s Event Industry have contacted their local state and federal members of parliament as well as the relevant ministers about COVID-19 event cancellation insurance.

“We worked hard to make sure that insurance was a strong focus of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Tourism and Events Sectors.

“The Inquiry’s final report recommended that the Victorian Government set up a government backed COVID-19 event cancellation insurance scheme, and gradually many other groups also got on board with this issue.”

Not being able to insure against the risks of cancellation has been a key factor in holding the industry back from organising events, and the new insurance scheme will give industry the confidence it needs.

“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 time being, so government backed insurance will be the only insurance available for the foreseeable future,” Thewlis said.

Finer details, including costs, are expected to be released in December, but Thewlis is hopeful this development will see other states follow suit.

“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 yet, for the Federal government to coordinate a national scheme for the long term.”

However, Thewlis said that 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.

“We face a long and challenging road ahead as an industry, but with reopening roadmap for Victoria and events starting again we can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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