[Dixielandjazz] INSURANCE >> A Major Problem for Bands

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 15 10:35:38 PDT 2004

BudTuba at aol.com wrote:

>   A club which we have played at for the last 4 years has informed me
> that they
> are cancelling all music (including DJ's) because their annual
> liability
> insurance increased by $15000 and that DIDN'T INCLUDE live
> performance!!  After
> searching for a different insurance company, they refused to even
> issue a new
> policy which included live music to which people could dance.
> I asked the owner about how he learned of this change in policy.  He
> said it
> was merely a terse notation on his renewal contract...no advance
> notice or
> anything.  He had to have his attorney search out a new insurance
> carrier, who
> conceded to place the NO MUSIC coverage.
> The writing on the wall is painful.  Last year, a the Fingerlakes
> Dixieland
> Jazz Festival here in NY state was cancelled because of extremely high
> liability insurance for the one-day event.  Other club owners will
> also only find out
> their mode of business is changing when their policies run out.  I'm
> not sure
> if this is another reflection of 9-11 damage or just exploitation by
> the
> insurance companies of that event.  In NY State, worker's liability
> Insurance rates
> have also gone through the roof because their is no longer any
> provision for
> worker complicity or blame.  This is forcing many small building
> contractors
> out of the business.
> I would recommend any band that has a regular gig ask the club manager
> about
> the future of music at that club.  Will their liability policy also be
> recinded when the new insurance policy renewal is implemented??
> Feedback from DJML
> listmates on what is learned would be greatly appreciated.

Interesting comment on insurance rates.

I am involved in the organization group of horse eventers who sponsor an
annual event involving 100 competitors, 200 horses and 3 to 5000
spectators over three days of competition, on farm land here in Chester
County PA, USA. Our insurance rate for the event is less than $15000 and
the possible liability much higher than that of a club owner. It
involves horses, carriages, cross country driving, gallop speeds through
hazards with spectators relatively close etc. , etc., etc. Possible
injury includes run away horses, people getting trampled, etc. The
insurance is placed through the USET (US Equestrian Team) and/or the
ADS, (American Driving Society) using a tie in to their carriers.

My band performs there every year for two days. Dancing happens. We
don't cost any additional liability insurance rates because of our
presence, and this year we are producing a swing dance exhibition in
addition to our concerts.

Perhaps this is something the AFJS could become involved in if that
organization is still viable?  Failing that, perhaps an entrepreneur
among us could figure out some form of umbrella coverage for festivals
and tie the various organizations into it?

I should think the major rate hit on bar or club owners involves serving
drunks who go out and kill themselves and others on the highways
afterwards. Whether or not a club has live music matters very little in
that equation and we might further investigate whether the club owner is
telling it straight or not.

Right now, every restaurant we play at has canned music in addition to
live music. What is the difference, insurance wise?
If dancing is the culprit, then all the Discos are doomed and I don't
see that happening.

Steve Barbone

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