Metallica COVID insurance lawsuit could end up being a big deal for everyone

When any artist goes on tour, they need to purchase insurance just in case something goes wrong. You’d be crazy not to.

Staging a tour–especially a big elaborate one–takes a lot of up-front investment. You need to design the show, hire the necessary gear, book the trucks and the roadies and the hotels and the airfare and the caterers and all the rest of it. It’s so expensive that a band might not start making money from a tour until the last half-dozen or so gigs. And if something goes wrong and you don’t have insurance, you end up deep in debt.

Metallica had put a lot of money into a 2020 tour of South America. Then COVID hit and everything had to be postponed. But no problem, right? They had insurance with Lloyd’s of London, one of the biggest and oldest insurance companies on the planet.

But Lloyd’s refused to pay, saying that the policy Metallica had purchased included an exemption for communicable diseases. COVID is such a disease, ergo no payout.

Metallica called bullshit on this and sued. Via Blabbermouth:

[T]he band’s standard “cancellation, abandonment and non-appearance insurance” policy with Lloyd’s Of London was denied by the insurer, which cited the policy’s communicable disease exclusion. The lawsuit calls the move “an unreasonably restrictive interpretation of the policy” and alleges breach of contract. METALLICA argued that Lloyd’s “cannot conclusively say that the Pandemic is the efficient proximate cause of the cancellations because there are other adequately alleged causes that are covered under the Policy.

Lloyd’s fought back, of course. But now a judge has ruled that Metallica’s lawsuit–asking for compensatory damages as well as “a declaration of the rights and obligations of the parties”–can go ahead. (The Foo Fighters have had their legal tussles with Lloyd’s, so they’re watching this case.)

This does beg a couple of questions, though. How many COVID-related insurance claims were denied to other artists? And if Metallica wins this case, what does this mean for insurance payouts?

I can answer that last question: The price of tour cancellation policies is going to go up. And who will end up paying for that? We will in the form of higher concert ticket prices.

Read more at Blabbermouth. (Via Tom)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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