Toronto Radiohead Stage Collapse May Prompt Non-Specialized Insurance Providers To Leave Life Event Industry

The recent Radiohead stage collapse in Toronto that left one dead and three injured could have serious ramifications for the live event industry, according to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President and Program Director of Take1 Insurance, the entertainment industry's leading specialist insurance provider.  The unfortunate event could renew calls for stricter regulations for stage construction and engineering, potentially convincing less experienced insurance providers to abandon the industry.  And with fewer providers there is less competition, which could lead to higher premiums.

“The live event industry is a unique market for insurance providers,” Carroll stressed today, “and many simply don’t have the knowledge or experience to fully comprehend the risks and liabilities. There have been several large outdoor stage collapses in the last few years, and it’s likely that the industry will form more stringent regulations and oversight for rigging jobs of this magnitude.  As in any industry, if new regulations are implemented some insurance companies will start to reevaluate their business in this market. The fact is that every company involved in live events should have an insurance carrier who knows the risks and has experience handling claims in this industry.  

“After this latest collapse, all live event companies are going to take a hard look at what they are doing to prevent this type of thing from happening.” Carroll continued. “It would also be wise for them to speak with their current insurance provider to ask about their experience in this space and their plans to continue serving the industry.  If some insurance providers leave the industry, the decreased competition will cause the price of new policies to go up.  So the smart move for business owners is to take action now, rather than waiting until policies are more expensive.”

Amplifying Carroll’s points, Stephen Isenberg, President of  Impact Audio Visual, Inc., which has offices in Burbank, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Montreal, Quebec, states that the having right insurance provider is vital to the long-term health of the company. 

“When I hear about a stage collapse or accident at a live event, my first thoughts are always for anyone injured,” Isenberg said.  “Then, inevitably I think, ‘what would happen if an accident like that destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars of my equipment?’  We provide digital signage for high-profile events such as the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as well as many high profile music festivals across North America, so we need to know that our insurance provider is the most experienced and knowledgable in the live event industry.  That’s when I find comfort in the fact that Take1 insures Impact Audio Visual.  

“Take1’s carrier is Fireman’s Fund, which knows the nature of the live event business and is always seeking to understand the day-to-day liabilities and issues.  For instance, indoor concerts are in buildings where there are engineers who know rig points and load bearing characteristics, whereas an outdoor stage, by its nature, is not as exact or permanent.   Fireman’s fund understands all of this and has extensive experience in handling claims.

“Another important factor is that Take1 and Fireman’s Fund have the knowledge and experience to continue serving the live event industry.  We stay with them because the personal attention we receive is second to none, and every issue we’ve ever had has been resolved quickly and efficiently.  That’s what we need from an insurance provider.”

Carroll is quick to point out that insurance for an outdoor event is not the same as insurance for a company who sometimes performs or works at outside events.  He also notes that as staging systems are increasingly upgraded to bring the look and feel of indoor events to the outdoors, the insurance industry needs to study the underwriting issues and learn new questions that need to be addressed, as well as possibly introducing stricter risk mitigation requirements from clients. 

Take1’s specialty program has designed inland marine coverage, among other specialty coverages for the entertainment industry, that automatically applies everywhere in the world, without the need for additional riders or endorsements.  It eliminates co-insurance, thus protecting 100 percent of the insured value of the equipment covered; provides automatic replacement cost valuation; allows for separate limits in key individual coverage areas like owned equipment, equipment rented from others, equipment in the insured’s Care Custody and Control (CCC), and equipment in transit; flood coverage for equipment in transit; and blanket limits that eliminate the need for clients’ to itemize each and every piece of equipment, cable, LED panel, etc. being covered.