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Australian fest insurance dispute goes to court

Insurer Lloyd's is refusing to pay out for the cancelled Subsonic 2019, arguing bushfires in the area were not the only reason it was axed

By James Hanley on 22 Nov 2022

Small events are returning to Switzerland

A dispute between insurer Lloyd’s and Australia’s Subsonic relating to the festival’s 2019 cancellation has gone to court.

Event organiser Scott Commens is suing Lloyd’s for A$900,000 (€581,000) after the insurer argued the 5,000-cap electronic music festival, set for Riverwood Downs, near Monkerai, could still have proceeded despite the Black Summer bushfires raging in the area.

The Advocate reports that Lloyd’s stands by its decision not to pay out, with the company’s barrister Mark Newton pointing to the venue taking other bookings in the month that Subsonic was due to have been held.

“There was a variety of reasons why the landowner decided the event could not take place,” added Newton, who said the major issue was a question of fact about the “policy trigger” for the cancellation.

“It was a pretty dire circumstance”

According to documents previously filed with the federal court, Commens claims the December 2019 cancellation was necessary due to the extreme weather threat.

Stephen Walsh, representing Commens at a case management hearing earlier this month, said his client was seeking compensation for expenses incurred that had been calculated in a forensic accountant’s report.

Adjourning the case to February, on a date to be confirmed, Chief Justice James Allsop described the 2019/20 bushfires – which claimed 34 lives – as some of the “worst in living memory”. “It was a pretty dire circumstance,” he added.

 


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