Conventions & Awards

SXSW Had No Insurance For Coronavirus Cancellation

The co-founder of SXSW says that insurance coverage for the annual 10-day gathering did not cover cancellation because of disease or the city declaring a local state of emergency.

SXSW was canceled by Austin city officials on Friday. The film, music, interactive, and education conferences were set to begin next week and run March 13-22.

SXSW co-founder and Managing Director Roland Swenson told the Austin Chronicle via text: “We have a lot of insurance (terrorism, injury, property destruction, weather). However, bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics are not covered.” Swenson is also the publisher of the Austin Chronicle.

Swenson’s comments contradict a widely held theory that SXSW would fair better if government officials forced a cancellation rather than canceling on their own.

“… one element that’s clearly a factor is letting civic and government authorities ultimately make the call, which stands a promoter in much better stead in collecting on insurance policies to cover the massive losses associated with canceling one of the major annual events on their calendars,” wrote Chris Millman in a much-quoted but now-debunked Variety piece earlier this week.

An insurance expert contacted by Hyepbot said that it was highly unlikely that SXSW or any event or concert promoter has insurance coverage for cancellations caused by the coronavirus. “This is a virtually uninsurable contingency,” they said.


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  1. Covid 19 making really pathetic conditions in all areas. But the state Kerala from India is doing a great job for defending the virus. Their government doing really a great job. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw. Thanks for posting this informative article.

  2. Oh no, the festival that takes advantage of artists is having to pay back some money. What will the world ever do?

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