Boston 2024 today released details about insurance proposals they claim will provide unprecedented coverage for local taxpayers if the city hosts the Olympics and Paralympics. 

American officials released the 13-page document, that described at least eight types of insurance it promises to purchase to minimise the risk to taxpayers in the event of unanticipated costs, ahead of a prime-time televised debate against opposition group No Boston Olympics which many experts are predicting could decide whether the city's bid survives or not.

Boston 2024, a privately-backed group, estimated the insurance will cost about $128 million (£82 million/€117 million), which it said it would pay for fully.

The insurance would cover several events which could impact on the financial success of the Games, including events being cancelled due to natural disaster, terrorism or labour strikes.

It would also cover reduced ticket sales and attendances if, for whatever reason, becomes less appealing, impacting on advertising and broadcast revenues. 

The insurance would provide an unprecedented level of financial protection for building venues and operating the Games, it is claimed. 

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Boston 2024 is still struggling for local support, despite high-profile marketing campaigns featuring Olympic gold medallists like Aly Raisman ©Boston 2024

“Between insurance and the other safeguards we have put in place, we have set a new standard for protecting the best interests of taxpayers and ensuring that the Games operate entirely with private financing," Steve Pagliuca, chairman of Boston 2024, said. 

"In doing so, we are maximising the many lasting benefits for our communities of hosting the Games and significantly minimising risk.

"Following extensive due diligence with insurance experts, I can say with certainty that Boston will have the most insured Games in Olympic history.”

The issue of how city and state taxpayers will be protected financially if the Games go over budget has been one of the main concerns to critics of the campaign in Boston, leading to poor public approval ratings which have left the future of the campaign in doubt. 

Besides insurance, other risk management safeguards include conservative budget projections and contingencies of over $600 million (£385 million/€547 million), comprising separate contingencies for every venue and a $210 million (£135 million/€191 million) operating contingency/surplus.

“This plan is the product of intensive consultation with the world’s leading and most experienced insurance brokers who have spoken to various insurers and reinsurers, and we are confident that it provides robust coverage for the range of risks associated with major undertakings like hosting the Games,” said Heidi Lawson, head of the crisis, risk management and executive protection practice at Mintz Levin.

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A televised debate featuring Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca is seen as a crucial opportunity to help win over the public to its new "Bid 2.0" concept ©Boston 2024

Tonight's debate is seen by Boston 2024 as an opportunity to sell its new "Bid 2.0" concept and turn the tide of public opposition into their favour. 

It is widely expected that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) will drop Boston's bid if they are not convinced soon that public support is beginning to raise. 

Pagliuca and USOC Board member Daniel Doctoroff, who led New York City's unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, will represent Boston 2024.

On the other side will be Chris Dempsey, co-chair of No Boston Olympics, and economist Andrew Zimbalist, author of Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.

The Boston Globe’s Sacha Pfeiffer and Fox 25’s Maria Stephanos will moderate the debate, which will be held at the Fox 25 studio in Dedham.

There will be no studio audience.

“Our hope is that we can have a substantive conversation and continue to get out good information and challenge some of the statements that they’re making that we think really don’t tell the full story of what Boston 2024 would mean for people here in the Commonwealth," Dempsey told WBUR, .Boston's national public radio news station.

Boston 2024 chief operating officer Erin Murphy claimed the debate is another opportunity for them to inform the public of their publics. 

"We have always said that constructive discussion and healthy debate will only make our bid stronger,” she said.

"“We look forward to a productive discussion Thursday and hope it will yield more creative ideas to improve what is an innovative and fiscally responsible effort to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games back to the United States.”

Read the full Boston 2024 Risk Management and Insurance Overview.pdf.

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