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March 4, 2020updated 22 Jul 2022 6:18am

Adobe, Google, Intel, Informa All Cancel Events as Coronavirus Rocks the Conference World

Many insurers have communicable-disease exclusions in their policies

By CBR Staff Writer

Coronavirus continued to wreak havoc on the conference world this week, with tech firms Adobe, Facebook, Google, HPE and Microsoft all cancelling major events.

Adobe said Tuesday it has pulled the plug on its “Adobe Summit” in Las Vegas: a jamboree that had been pencilled in to run from March 29-April 2.

The event last year attracted over 16,000.

The company cited the need to protect the health and wellbeing of Adobe Summit attendees, describing it as a “difficult but important decision”.

The event will be “run online” instead.

Google “Reimagining” Its Cloud Event

Google has followed suit with its even larger Google Cloud Next 20 event, slated for April 6-8. Last year that attracted 30,000+.

It will also now be “online” instead of in San Francisco, with the company putting a brave spin on it, saying the event was being “reimagined” and “transformed” as a “free, global, digital-first, multi-day event”.

HPE meanwhile is set to cancel or put off “nearly all events” calling for travel through the month of April. It will proceed with “Discover More London” in April, albeit with fewer international workers, Bloomberg reports.

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Intel has also decided not to run its Intel Labs day this month.

World Map with Covid Cases

Areas with reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, 03 March 2020. Credit: WHO

Scores of UK Events Also Cancelled 

In the UK, FTSE-listed Informa, meanwhile, has postponed several March and April events, including its Game Developers Conference (GDC).

The company, which earned over half of its 2018 revenue from events, said that it will try to run it in the summer instead.

GDC’s organisers said: “Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time .

London-based Informa’s shares have fallen over 20 percent this year.

Energy industry group Oil & Gas UK late Tuesday also said it was cancelling four upcoming events between March and May, including its “share fair” in Aberdeen and a medical event, the Examining Doctors conference in London on May 7.

OGUK said it would “communicate the rescheduled event dates in due course, with a replacement ticket issued to those who had already purchased.”

Other larger organisers may not find readily available venues easily.

Insurance Payouts? Check the Small-Print… 

Industry experts say many companies look set to take a major financial hit on event cancellations, with many insurers having inserted communicable-disease exclusions in their policies after the 2003 SARS outbreak to prevent potential losses.

Analysts at Fitch Ratings noted on Monday that any claim exposure would like by limited by “sub-limits” on policies, saying: “The risk of pandemic-related claims could derive within business interruption insurance…

“Typically, however, most business interruption policy language requires some form of property damage for coverage to apply.

Fitch added: “If a specific factory was shut down on fears it was contaminated by infected workers or equipment, this likely could be covered. But even in this case, claim exposures would likely be limited by policy sub-limits.”

Total coronavirus infections have now risen above 93,000.

The World Health Organisation’s Director General said on Tuesday March 3 that the global mortality rate for reported cases was “about 3.4 percent”.

Seasonal flu generally kills fewer than 1 percent of those infected.

Read this: UK-Funded Supercomputer Models Locust Flows, as Outbreak Continues

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