Michael Jackson's death will be either "horrible or really horrible" for the promoters who set up his 50-concert comeback, depending on how watertight their insurance is, industry insiders tell Billboard. AEG Live has already paid out an estimated $30 million in production costs, as well as a $10 million bonus to Jackson, and now faces the costly and complicated task of refunding $85 million in ticket sales.
AEG execs said last month that the company was well-insured and that Jackson had passed the medical with "flying colors." But a traditional nonappearance policy was never written, according to one source. Even if AEG had such an insurance policy, the promoter might not be able to get a payout if it turns out that Jackson's death was drug- or alcohol-related—or due to a pre-existing medical condition, said the source.