A day after SXSW was forced to cancel its 2020 festival by the city of Austin, two founders have revealed that they’re not covered by insurance in the case of a pandemic, virus or communicable disease. The festival was cancelled Friday afternoon due to concerns over the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, a novel Coronavirus.
Nick Barbaro, the co-founder of SXSW said revealed the information when asked about the festival’s insurance coverage that it wasn’t covered in the case of a disease outbreak or if the cancellation was triggered by the city declaring a “local state of disaster.”
The Austin Chronicle reached another co-founder, Roland Swenson, by text who explained that the festival does have insurance coverage for a lot of events, just not a disease outbreak specifically.
“We have a lot of insurance (terrorism, injury, property destruction, weather),” he said. “However, bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics are not covered.”
This contradicts a story from Variety published Thursday that indicated that the festival may actually benefit from the city forcing it’s shutdown rather than cancelling on its own volition. In that story the author posits that the festival likely has a communicable disease provision in its insurance but that it wasn’t kick in unless the city force them to cancel the event. The author also stated that most artists wouldn’t have a communicable disease provision in their insurance policy for the festival because they’ve already spent extra on add-ons to their policy for terrorism or an active shooter.