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Live Nation Sues Insurer Over Covid Losses, Canceled Concerts

Feb. 1, 2021, 6:43 PM

Live Nation Entertainment Inc., which owns Ticketmaster, is accusing its insurer of wrongfully withholding payouts for “unprecedented” revenue losses stemming from live music venue shutdowns.

“COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on Live Nation’s properties and business, causing severe and unanticipated losses,” the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company said in its complaint.

Live Nation, whose businesses include tickets sales and concert production, “reasonably” believed that Factory Mutual Insurance Co. would promptly cover the losses, according to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Live Nation is one of the largest businesses to sue its insurer over the denial of business interruption coverage claims. Data from the University of Pennsylvania suggest that about 1,500 of such cases have been filed since mid-March 2020.

About 150 venues that Live Nation owns were initially shuttered as Covid-19 spread and state governments ordered non-essential businesses to close, the company said in its Jan. 29 complaint.

More than 5,000 concerts were scrubbed between March and September 2020 and another 6,000 were pushed into 2021. Those cancellations substantially dented ticket sales and related income streams, Live Nation said.

The company’s revenue fell 81% year-over-year in the first nine months of 2020, according to its latest earnings report.

Factory Mutual, which operates as FM Global, hasn’t outright rejected Live Nation’s claims, but the insurer made no indication that it intends to provide coverage, the complaint said.

“FM Global values the long-term relationships we have with our policyholders and we are proud in leading the industry for claims service,” a Factory Mutual spokesperson said in a statement. “It is unfortunate when legal matters arise because we strongly believe our insurance policies are clear on the coverage provided.”

Live Nation said it’s owed payouts under an “all-risks policy” that covers lost income, property damage, extra expenses, and interruptions from communicable diseases.

The company alleged that Covid-19 caused physical loss or damage —a key legal issue in similar lawsuits— to its own venues and other leased or rented locations.

So far, more than 62 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 at roughly 35 of Live Nation’s insured locations in the U.S., the complaint said.

Cause of Action: Declaratory relief; breach of contract.

Relief: A ruling that Factory Mutual owes full coverage of Live Nation’s related claims; a ruling that the full limits of Live Nation’s policy are available; a finding that Factory Mutual breached its contract; unspecified damages; litigation costs.

Attorneys: Halpern May Ybarra Gelberg LLP is representing Live Nation.

The case is Live Nation Ent., Inc. v. Factory Mut. Ins. Co., C.D. Cal., No. 2:21-cv-00862, complaint filed 1/29/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Rund in Washington at jrund@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Roger Yu at ryu@bloomberglaw.com

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