Insurance companies, coronavirus and Mobile World Congress

Peritos Judiciales Barcelona

Peritos Judiciales Barcelona S.L


Mobile World Congress cancellation responsibilities

  1. GSMA’s responsibility for the cancellation of Mobile World Congress
  2. Damage and responsibility of exhibitors who have voluntarily canceled
  3. Damage and liability coverage of insurance companies

Responsibility of GSMA for its decision to cancel the Mobile World Congress

From a contractual point of view in accordance with Spanish law, GSMA does have responsibility in the event that the cancellation of the event is not justified by expert evidence.

In this regard, it should be taken into account that WHO has not described the situation in Barcelona as a «pandemic».

Starting from the assumption of certainty as there is no pandemic in Barcelona, we will have to conclude that the decision to cancel the Mobile World Congress by the GSMA has been «arbitrary». In that case GSMA would have to compensate the injured.

Therefore the contractual responsibility of GSMA depends on the expert evidence of risks on the existence or not of a pandemic, during the celebration of the international act.

Exhibitors’ responsibility for their cancellation decision

In this case it should be taken into account that this decision may be partial or lateral of some exhibitors.

The precautionary measure to avoid risks that affect the brand or its workers must also be based on the expert test, which corroborates the risk of pandemic in Barcelona.

If the existence of a pandemic risk cannot be corroborated, the cancellation responsibility of the exhibitors is their own.

Liability of insurance companies

Insurance companies are directly and indirectly responsible for the exposed contractual responsibilities.

Damage caused by force majeure is normally «excluded» from the coverage of the insurance policies.

Having said the above, there would only be responsibility of the insurance companies, when in their specific clauses the coverage of the risk is recorded, due to «force majeure» situations.

Therefore, the subsidiary responsibility of the insurance companies will only exist in these two situations:

  1. When «force majeure» is covered under the specific conditions of the policy, and even if there is a pandemic, the insured is specifically covered against said risk.
  2. When the existence of a pandemic is not proven and damages have occurred to the insured regarding the cancellation of the contract by unilateral decision of the other party.

What should the parties do to protect their rights?

Both exhibitors, such as GSMA, and insurance companies must base their entire defense on the expert evidence.

It is convenient for all parties to prove their way of acting according to evidence that justifies their actions and defends their interests.

Regarding the insured (exhibitors and GSMA) to enforce their rights before their insurance companies, they must follow the insurance protocol in accordance with the Law of the insurance contract and its art. 38

The art. 38 states that the insured may make a private expert report and claim against his insurance company in the event that he is not liable.

The exhibitor and GSMA, therefore, must hire an «insurance expert» to claim their insurance companies when they ignore.


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