Event cancellation and non-appearance insurance

02 November 2017

Event cancellation and non-appearance insurance has been in the headlines recently, following Kanye West’s touring company’s dispute with various insurers at Lloyd’s. This class of insurance offers important protection to those hosting events, with the main areas of business requiring protection being sporting events, music events and conferences.

Kanye West's Cancelled Tour 

Ahead of Kanye West’s ‘Saint Pablo’ tour in 2016, West’s touring company, Very Good Touring Inc., (“Very Good”) put in place a cancellation, abandonment and non-appearance insurance policy. In November 2016 on the Sacramento leg of his tour, West left the stage after playing just three songs with his behaviour being described, in his touring company’s claim as “strained, confused and erratic”1. The remaining 21 shows of West’s tour were then cancelled following a “debilitating medical condition”1. Refunds were issued to fans holding tickets to subsequent shows. He was hospitalised for eight days and whilst he was there, West’s touring company, Very Good submitted a claim for almost USD 10 million to insurers. 

West was confirmed unfit to continue with the tour, both by his primary physician and allegedly by an independent medical examination doctor instructed by insurers. Very Good claims that insurers have neither denied the claim nor confirmed cover and to date have failed to make any payment under the policy, without explanation. It is also alleged by Very Good that insurers have suggested they may deny cover on the basis that West’s use of marijuana caused his medical condition. 

Although they admit that the claim has not been paid or denied, insurers deny that no explanation has been given for this. They also deny that “West’s use of marijuana provides the sole basis to deny the claim”.2 Insurers also state that they are bound from providing further comment due to non-disclosure agreements between the parties. The dispute looks set to continue to run in the Californian courts. That said we have seen many successful insurance claims following cancelled events.

Cancelled Recent Events 

Unfortunately the Saint Pablo tour has not been the only cancelled event to hit the headlines this year. There has been a run of natural disasters, terrorist attacks and adverse weather causing cancellations. Notable cancellations or postponements have included:
  • Ed Sheeran cancelled his tour following a cycling accident 
  • Houston saw NFL games and concerts by acts such as Coldplay cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Harvey 
  • Ariana Grande cancelled shows following the Manchester terrorist attack and made an insurance claim after her doctor certified she was too unwell to proceed with her tour
  • Take That’s and Kiss’s concerts at Manchester Arena were also cancelled due to the venue’s temporary closure following the 22 May 2017 bombing. Take That’s subsequent concert in Liverpool was also been postponed. Take That also made an insurance claim 
  • After the suicide of their lead singer, Linkin Park cancelled their tour with Blink-182 
  • The Fall had to cancel their US tour due to the lead singer being hospitalised 
  • Cycle Oregon’s Classic Ride and other events were cancelled due to air quality problems caused by wildfire in the area 
  • ‘Island of Light’ a festival in Puerto Rico was cancelled following the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria 
  • The International Ballet Festival of Miami was also cancelled due to Hurricane Irma 
  • The premieres for Blade Runner 2049 and Marshall as well as the Cirque Du Soleil show were cancelled after the recent Las Vegas shooting. 
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For further information, please contact Sophie Robson, Legal & Technical Advocate on +44 20 7459 5576 or email sophie_robson@jltgroup.com