Press Release

Press Release

Date: March 2011

ABO Insurance Scheme


With arts organisations reeling after the recent round of funding cuts, the Association of British Orchestras and specialist arts insurance broker La Playa have devised a scheme through which orchestras can pool buying power to secure better cover at realistic rates.

Funding cuts were on the lips of most at the recent ABO conference in Derby, with many orchestras striving to make savings from non-existent budgets.

Insurance is a significant outlay for orchestras.  They have some very specific risk exposures, and many non-specialist insurers have fixed (and inaccurate) ideas about the industry. Often they charge high premiums to protect themselves against the perceived high costs of cancellation, temperamental artists, unsociable hours and “high-risk” activities.

“What we don’t want to see is orchestras taking risks or cutting corners by reducing their cover to save costs”, says Mark Pemberton, CEO of the Association of British Orchestras.  “We’ve been working with La Playa for some time on some in-depth analysis of orchestral risks to establish really comprehensive cover for a 21st century orchestra, while eliminating some unnecessary costs.  We’ve chosen to work with La Playa because of their experience as an orchestral broker, their commitment to quality, and their corporate responsibility values”

The ABO Insurance Scheme enables orchestras to pool buying power and achieve preferential rates and a 5% “no claims rebate”  on La Playa’s exclusive policy Performing Arts Portfolio, underwritten by global giant Chubb Insurance.  The package also includes expert advice on risk management from one of the most experienced orchestral brokers in the country, and the kind of service that only a boutique sized organisation can truly deliver.

So why do orchestras need specialist insurance?
Orchestras need a diverse range of cover, including:

  • “Non-standard” property insurance (computers, sheet music, audio visual equipment, props, stock and musical instruments),
  • Business Interruption (to protect income streams during physical and technological disruptions such as fire, flood, power & telecommunications failure, prevention of access to a venue, failure of a safety curtain, sound & lighting),
  • Liabilities for audiences, freelancers, volunteers, merchandise and venues; money (box office income, per diems, programme/merchandise cash),
  • And all the protection needed for touring activities. 

They may also need to consider Cancellation Insurance (especially if they promote their own concerts); Trustee Liability protection for their board, and professional Liabilities to defend against allegations of libel, slander, infringement of copyright, breach of confidentiality – particularly as they’re now active online and exposed to global legislation of which they can have limited knowledge.

As well as the range of cover needed by an orchestra, there are also key differences in the “definitions” in the contracts: for example, “employees” needs to include volunteers, freelancers, tour managers; and a policy that defines “working hours” as 9-5pm isn’t going to work.

“Many arts organisations previously had to buy several policies to make sure every risk is covered – and they often end up with inadequate cover or paying for duplicated cover they don’t need”, says Mark Boon, CEO of La Playa. “And with liability rates spiralling in recent years, we’ve been able to present a more realistic picture to the insurer of the actual risks involved in orchestral work, and achieve better terms.”

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