Our office has contacts with hundreds of theatre groups around the country. The vast majority of these groups are struggling to make ends meet. Promoting productions with little or no budget remains an on-going challenge. Cost cutting measures while needed are difficult to find.
Thrown into this mix is a growing concern regarding adequate insurance protection. How much is enough? What coverage should we have? Why doesn't our general liability insurance cover injuries to our volunteers? Is there coverage for this? Can board members be sued? What happens if a volunteer, using his own van to transport some stage props, is involved in an accident? Is coverage available if our group serves liquor? Our group does not own a building. We rent facilities for our productions. What kind of insurance should we have?
While all theatre groups share common features, it is also true that each theatre group is unique. A common feature; all groups need insurance. A unique feature; not every group needs the same insurance coverage.
This is why a package policy is probably in your best interest. A package policy consists of individual components. This allows you to select only those components that your particular theatre group needs. Beyond the basic components, you pay only for the coverage you need.
It is a very good idea to review your insurance program annually. This is especially true if the membership of your Board of Directors changes every year. When reviewing your current insurance program, consider the following options in terms of the specific needs of your group.
This is the most important part of any insurance program. It is insurance you carry to protect yourself against claims filed by a “3rd Party”. For example, your general liability is designed to protect you in case a patron files a claim because she slipped and fell in the lobby of your theatre.
The liability component of our theatre insurance offers you a $1,000,000 per occurrence ($2,000,000 aggregate) limit of protection. Our experience says that this limit is adequate for many theatre groups. It is also the limit most venues require whenever one of our theatre groups rents or leases a facility in which to perform.
The general liability component often includes host liquor liability if your group does not charge or if the event does not require a liquor license.
For those groups that need an even higher level of protection; additional layers of liability protection of $1,000,000 or more is available.
Volunteer Accident Life & Disability
One of the most commonly held misconceptions involves protection in case a volunteer gets injured while working on a theatre-related activity. The general liability coverage outlined above is not designed to protect the theatre group against claims filed for injuries incurred by your volunteers. Some examples that are not covered include: An actor trips and breaks her ankle while exiting the stage in the dark; a stagehand cuts his hand using the power saw; the stage props person sprains her back moving furniture; the concessions person burns his hand serving coffee during intermission.
Volunteer accident policies can be purchased at a minimal cost and at various levels of coverage through our theatre insurance program. These policies cover your group’s volunteers in case of accidents while involved in theatre-sponsored activities. Coverage for full-time, paid staff is also available.
The Paczolt Insurance Agency of Illinois' theatre insurance program can offer both building and personal (theatrical) property coverage that can easily be modified to meet the specific needs of your theatre group. The property program offers broader coverage.
One of the unique features of our insurance is the theatrical properties component. This is specifically designed to cover your sets, props, lights, sound equipment, costumes, etc.
The property program can offer Extra Expense coverage. In the event you cannot perform due to a covered loss, this coverage will pay the expenses of moving the show. Loss of Business Income can also be included to cover lost revenue in case a production is shut down for a covered loss.
Directors & Officers Liability
Like their counterparts in for-profit corporations, the directors and officers of non-profit theatre groups can be held liable for the decisions they make. Our agency’s Directors & Officers Liability kit includes a simple application form. The policy covers individual board members for liability they assume while serving on the board.
This is mandated by State Law. Many people ask if they need it. We advise that if your attorney and accountant be asked if you fall under the guidelines of who is required to carry Workers Compensation.
Depending on the nature of your particular theatre group, you may want to consider other coverage including: WORKERS COMPENSATION, EMPLOYEE DISHONOESTY, COMMERCIAL AUTO, LIQUOR LIABILITY, BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY (Office equipment, furniture, etc.) ELECTRONIC DATA PROCESSING (EDP).