Event Cancellation Coverage for UK Riots Rarely Applicable

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by Charles E. Boyle

“Most of the events cancelled were due to the police being need elsewhere,” said Simon Lyons, contingency underwriter at London-based Sportscover Europe Ltd.

He explained that football (soccer) matches, unlike most concerts and other special events, normally require a contingent of police officers to keep crowds in order.

However, as London’s police officers, and those in a number of other cities across the UK, have been called to duty to try and suppress the ongoing riots and looting in the country, they are largely unavailable for crowd control.

This has led to the cancellation of a number of sporting events, mostly football matches, notably one at Wembley stadium between England and the Netherlands where upwards of 80,000 people were expected to attend.

Moreover, for a number of reasons they won’t be covered by event cancellation insurance. In the first place “football clubs normally don’t buy cancellation coverage,” said Lyons. In addition, “as the [proximate] cause of the cancellations is due to the riots, coverage would normally be excluded.”

He added that most event cancellation coverage is for special events, such as concerts, where weather is a factor; however, “football and rugby matches can be played regardless of the bad weather, provided the pitch [playing field] is usable.” On the rare occasions when the matches are cancelled, they are then rescheduled for a later date, as occurred last winter when the UK was blanketed by heavy snowfall.

Some sporting events – notably the British Tennis Open at Wimbledon, the Badminton Championships, currently being held in London [covered by Sportscover], and the Olympic Games – do obtain cancellation coverage.

In some cases, Lyons explained, payment would be made on those policies if the event was cancelled, or, a more likely scenario, the policy would cover the costs of restaging the event at a later date.

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