the metal festival, the insurer and the epidemic

The Hellfest festival, in Clisson, on June 16, 2017. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

When it comes to insurance, the devil is in the details. In particular, in the clauses contained in contracts that cover festivals canceled due to the pandemic caused by Covid-19. Between Albingia insurance and the organizer of the Hellfest metal festival in Clisson (Loire-Atlantique), the tea towel burns. The whole quarrel stems from the exegesis of a clause on SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and the interpretation made by both parties.

Read also Coronavirus: Hellfest canceled due to epidemic

Ben Barbaud: “Albingia dismissed us on the pretext that this” type “of pandemic did not fall within the terms of our insurance policy”

Ben Barbaud, director of this canceled festival – like so many others – had taken out with Albingia on December 17, 2019, before the official appearance of the virus in China, an insurance which had cost him 175,000 euros and was to allow him to be compensated in the event of an epidemic.

The Covid-19 caused, for the organizers of the festival, 2 million euros of losses which result from the costs advanced during the year (22 employees, promotion costs, bank amortization …). One tenth of Hellfest’s annual budget. But the festival is unable to obtain compensation for damages supposed to be covered: “Albingia dismissed us on the grounds that this” type “of pandemic did not meet the terms of our insurance policy”, deplores Ben Barbaud.

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A list of exclusions from possible compensation is in fact included in a contract clause. Pecuniary losses must result from an administrative ban or a withdrawal of administrative authorization. It’s the case. Contracts must be signed before official recognition of pandemics by French authorities or by WHO. Again, the festival can claim it.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The impossible financial equation of music festivals

Relationships by intermediary lawyers

Also excluded are pecuniary losses resulting “An epidemic of avian flu (…), atypical pneumonia (SARS: severe acute respiratory syndrome), the Ebola virus and pandemics recognized by the French authorities or by the WHO”. This is where it all gets tough. On the one hand, Ben Barbaud considers that “SARS is an infectious disease of the lungs, which appeared in China in November 2002, which caused an epidemic and killed at least 774 people. The disease appeared until May 2004 “. On the other hand, the insurer claims that the Covid-19 is just a form derived from SARS. “Besides, the name of the Covid is SARS-Covid-2 [sic] “, they say at Angie, Albingia’s communications company. Each camped on its positions.

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