Event cancellation or postponement: Australia’s first COVID-19 event insurance product

By Martin Ross, Mark Lebbon and Gabrielle Fee

The Victorian Government has recently launched a $230 million COVID-19 event insurance product. The new product will be delivered by Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) and seeks to provide COVID-19 related insurance cover to give organisers of creative, sporting, business and community events conducted in Victoria the confidence to plan and stage future events.

The COVID-19 pandemic has materially impacted the events industry, particularly in Victoria. Many event organisers have been challenged by rapidly changing public health measures and COVID-19 related restrictions and have had to cancel, change or postpone events.

The VMIA COVID-19 Event Insurance policy is the first of its kind in Australia, and follows the introduction of similar, national initiatives in Europe, the UK and, New Zealand.

What does the event insurance cover?

The VMIA’s COVID-19 event insurance policy covers the costs of any creative, sporting, business or community event that has been affected by State or Federal Government COVID-19 related restrictions for the period the event is due to be held.

The new 12-month scheme provides insurance cover for event organisers against cancellation or postponement of events due to public health measures or where events have reduced capacity due to State of Federal COVID-19 related restrictions.

If an event is impacted by a COVID-19 related restriction the insured organiser may be eligible to receive either:

  • 100% of the event’s declared value if the event has to be cancelled; or
  • 50% of the event’s declared value if the event goes ahead with reduced capacity or the event is cancelled because of the capacity restrictions.

For multi-day events, the payment will be pro-rated for the part of the event affected by the government restrictions.

The declared value of an event is the amount the organiser has chosen to insure the event for, being either the expected revenue or the cost of the event, ranging between $20,000 and $10 million.

The fine print

  • Who can apply: the cover is available for any creative, sporting, business or community event conducted in Victoria.
  • What constitutes an event: to be eligible the event must be an organised gathering for a common purpose which is conducted on a one-off, periodic or regular basis, is open to the public or via a registration process and may be subject to specific license, approvals or permits. The event may be organised on a not-for-profit or profit basis, and may take place in a facility, venue, indoor or outdoor space. For ticketed events, the organiser must have a refund policy in place for purchased tickets.
  • Cost: the cost of the premium is based on a percentage of the declared value of the event, and will be confirmed before the product becomes available to purchase in December 2021.
  • When can you insure: the policy must be taken out at least 14 days prior to the relevant event, or the first day of the event if it is a multi-day event, and at a time when no COVID-19 related State or Federal Government restrictions apply.
  • Application of policy: the policy applies to events that are cancelled or go ahead with reduced capacity because of State of Federal COVID-19 relate restrictions. If an organiser decides to postpone the event because of restrictions, they will be able to update the event details in the policy.
  • Disclosure required: as part of an application for the insurance the event organiser must disclose details of the event dates, the declared value for the event, the ABN, name, address, contact number, as well as a declaration of the COVID-19 refund policy in place if the event is ticketed.

VMIA’s COVID-19 event insurance policy is available to purchase from December 2021. Read more information about the scheme.

Hall & Wilcox works with many event organisers and is experienced with risk management and insurance issues associated with the cancellation, postponement or changes to events as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Please contact us if you require further assistance or advice.


Martin Ross

Martin practices commercial law and has extensive experience in sports and media contracts and commercial litigation.

Mark Lebbon

Mark is an experienced corporate & commercial lawyer with a particular focus on the sports and media industries.

You might be also interested in...

Sports & Entertainment | 11 Aug 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Court of Arbitration for Sport decisions

While audiences were focused on the inspiring performances of athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, behind the scenes the Court of Arbitration for Sport was kept busy adjudicating disputes.

Corporate & Commercial | 13 Apr 2021

Exclusive negotiation periods: comments from ASIC v Mitchell

We examine ASIC v Mitchell (No 2), which provides useful guidance on how exclusive negotiation period clauses may be interpreted.