BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.
To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.
To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.
SYDNEY, Australia -- The promoter of a tour by rock band INXS that was canceled after the death of the band's lead singer is not commenting on whether it had purchased cancellation insurance for the tour.
If it did, a coroner's report and policy wording will determine whether insurance will indemnify the promoter.
The lead singer of the popular Australian band, Michael Hutchence, 37, was found hanging from the door-closing mechanism in Room 524 of Sydney's exclusive Ritz-Carlton Hotel about noon on Nov. 22, only four days before the band was to start an 11-venue nationwide concert tour.
His death forced the Melbourne-based promoters, Frontier Touring Co. Ltd., to cancel the tour, scheduled to start in Woollongong, an industrial city south of Sydney, on Nov. 26, and to finish on Dec. 15.
A spokeswoman for Frontier would not comment on any insurance arrangements or the company's potential losses. "I'm not going to talk about costs at all," she said. She said refunds will be made to all ticketholders, though she would not say how many tickets had been sold.
Nor would owners of the scheduled tour venues comment on ticket sales. INXS was scheduled to perform in Brisbane Dec. 13, but a Brisbane City Council parks and gardens spokesman said only that Frontier had "put a media embargo on all comment."
Tour promoters commonly purchase a cancellation and abandonment policy to cover revenue losses when an event is canceled, industry sources point out.
Australian underwriters and brokers say Frontier would not have embarked on a tour without such cover, which they say probably was placed in London.
John Silcock, a director at Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers in London, which places entertainment industry risks, said it is "not standard" for rock groups to take out such coverage, but when they do, it commonly is placed in the London market. He would not comment on whether Robertson Taylor placed coverage for INXS.
Whether a claim will be paid depends on whether the coroner's inquiry rules Mr. Hutchence's death was a suicide. New South Wales police investigating the death have refused to confirm suicide as the cause of death.
Policy wording also will determine whether a claim is paid. While some policies exclude suicide, others do cover it.
Merv Cross, manager of North Sydney-based Sentinel Underwriting Agencies Pty. Ltd., a cancellation and abandonment specialist underwriter that was not involved in covering the tour, said his company's standard policy wording specifically excludes cancellations caused by suicide, but he said he is aware of many policies that do not exclude it.
"It will depend on the operative clause; generally the cancellation or abandonment must be a result of an insured peril and must be beyond the control of the insured person," he noted.
While the singer's death was "beyond the control" of the promoter, Mr. Cross said it is unclear whether it was "beyond the control of the insured," if INXS band members were named on the policy.
On some policies, performers are named because they would receive a percentage of the tour's profits, he said.
Some policies exclude pre-existing medical or psychological conditions that have not been disclosed to the insurer, and some exclude cancellation due to the performers' use of illegal drugs, he noted.
Mr. Cross said while insurers probably do not intend to cover suicide, many policy wordings are very broad.
"Insurers wouldn't be jumping over themselves to pay a claim, but it will depend on the wording," he said.
Frank Fowler, account manager with FPE Insurance Brokers Pty. Ltd., a North Sydney-based broker that specializes in entertainment industry risks, said the policy for a tour the size of the INXS 20th anniversary tour likely would be tailored to promoters' specific requirements.
For example, the policy limit for a tour of that size likely would have been $4 million to $5 million Australian ($2.7 million to $3.4 million), which would carry a premium of $60,000 to $70,000 Australian ($41,172 to $48,034), Mr. Fowler said.
If an insurer does pay an INXS claim, other insurers may tighten policy wordings, he said.
A spokesman for Sydney-based underwriter HIH Winterthur Ltd., a unit of C.E. Heath International Holdings Ltd., said HIH has not written any coverage for the INXS tour but said HIH's policy covers cancellation or abandonment of any scheduled performance "due to any cause beyond the control of the insured or the participants therein."
Indemnity of INXS' tour may hinge on whether band members were considered "participants therein," the spokesman said.
INXS has been one of Australia's most enduring rock bands. Its self-titled first album was released in 1980. In 1985, the album "Listen Like Thieves" made it to the British and American charts and the next album, "Kick," helped make Mr. Hutchence one of the world's most popular rock singers.