Event Cancellation Insurance Update: Cover for Coronavirus unavailable from our Insurers

Coronavirus

It seems likely that some public and sporting events may be cancelled this Summer due to the Coronavirus outbreak. This morning it was announced that the Geneva Motor Show has been cancelled, as the Swiss government has banned gatherings of 1,000 or more people, until at least the 19th March.

Unsurprisingly we are currently unable to find any Event Cancellation Insurers who are offering Coronavirus cover.

Several Temporary Structure Hire Clients have asked if their own Commercial Insurance policy provides any cover in respect of Coronavirus under the Business Interruption section. Unfortunately not: Business Interruption cover is designed to protect against loss of business following loss or damage to your Insured property. For example, if some stock is damaged in a storm or stolen, and therefore is unavailable to hire out until it can be replaced, then the business may suffer a loss of profits.

Suppliers’ Terms & Conditions or specific Contract Terms may state the extent to which a customer remains liable for hire charges if a booking is cancelled. Depending on the circumstances paid deposits may be non-refundable, refundable or partially refundable. If the customer remains liable then whether the supplier chooses to invoke the clause is a commercial decision, and one assumes may vary on a case by case basis. They might take into account: whether the hire is to be re-booked; if the customer is a regular; the supplier’s financial situation and in particular whether the equipment has already been delivered/erected or if the supplier has incurred any other costs.

In light of the current outbreak Suppliers might be considering reviewing their Terms & Conditions or Contract Terms for future bookings. As we aren’t Solicitors we are unable to provide specific legal advice, however here are a few points which they might wish to consider:

  • It may be that the customer makes the decision to cancel voluntarily or they may be forced to cancel by authorities. Suppliers may wish to word their Terms & Conditions to cater for both of these scenarios in the same way, or may wish to differentiate between them.
  • It could be that the customer has not cancelled the event, but rather that it has been cancelled by a third party. For example, if a customer has booked a structure to be delivered to a showground, but the whole show is cancelled. Depending on the wording of the Terms and Conditions the customer might argue that they have not cancelled the booking, but rather that it is the supplier who is unable to supply the equipment.
  • If the supplier has declined to supply equipment due to forecast or actual bad weather or flooding, or for any other reason that might make it unsafe or inappropriate to supply, is the customer still liable to pay for the hire or forego a deposit refund?

Although we cannot provide Event Cancellation Insurance including Coronavirus, we still recommend that Temporary Structure and Mobile Toilet Hirers suggest to their customers that they consider event cancellation insurance, including Adverse Weather cover. You may wish to direct them to our separate event insurance website: www.marqueeinsurance.co.uk.

If you would like to discuss any points raised in this post then please do contact me, nick@covermarque.com or on 01962 774421.