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$17.5m claim for Michael Jackson concert under scrutiny by Insurers

It was just over two years ago that 'The King of Pop' Michael Jackson died.  Fans across the world were left devastated, especially those who had bought tickets for his final tour.  Michael Jackson was scheduled to deliver 50 sell-out concerts at London's O2 Arena.    AEG, the owners of the venue previously known as the Millennium Dome, and the promoter for the residency, took out a $17.5m (£10.6m) insurance policy which covered the first 10 dates alone.  At the time, AEG confirmed that they were willing to self-insure the remaining 40 dates (it had proved difficult to get cover as insurers were unconvinced that Michael Jackson would be fit enough to perform all the dates). 

By 25 June 2009, the date of Michael Jackson's death, tickets sales had exceeded $85m (£52m), and AEG had already spent more than $30m on the production.  It was reported that approximately 1,000 members of staff were employed per show and that, all in all, AEG could face total a loss of up to $300m.

Two years on, underwriters at Lloyd's of London (where the policy was first agreed) have sued AEG, and asked the High Court to throw out the $17.5m policy as a result of clauses regarding illicit drug use.  Lawyers at Lloyd's of London argued that AEG failed to disclose Michael Jackson's full medical history and his use of propofol - an anaesthetic that has been blamed for his death.  The attempt to settle out of court was not successful and underwriters have now asked for the contract to be declared 'void'.

Quite often claims professionals have to investigate the very small details of what can be a huge policy so that they can decide how valid the claim is.  You can read more about the responsibilities of a claims professional here.

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