Articles on insurance difficulties facing violent rap acts
Round table "fear factor: concert insurance in the 21st century"
By James Chippendale, CSI Entertainment Insurance
A highly successful new event implemented at the 2005 Concert Industry Consortium was a group of round tables, covering a wide range of topics and facilitated by some of the most highly respected people in their fields. Running the gamut of industry concerns from how to structure a deal to purchasing tour insurance to staying sober on the road, conference guests could stop at one discussion or visit them all for a taste of what's happening in today's concert business.
Event insurance is definitely a topic that fits a round table discussion format. As James Chippendale, CSI's president, told Pollstar, there are just too many intangibles, so a Q&A session can address the specific concerns of the attendees better than a panel.
"Everybody there seemed well informed and curious about learning," Chippendale said.
Many of the panels and discussions in which he's been involved had more general questions. This time, he got a lot of specific questions from industry professionals like Frank Pallett and Michael Miller from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.'s Chance Entertainment Complex, who do shows outside their venue as well as on the premises.
"They had a ton of good questions: 'Can we get one policy that covers the club and the outside shows that we do? What's the best way to set up our insurance and the corporations that we have?' We ended up insuring one of their shows a few weeks later."
After the shooting death of heavy metal icon "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, the West Warwick, R.I., nightclub fire, Chicago's E2 nightclub tragedy and other incidents, there has been a greater focus on being properly insured.
"Three, four years ago, people said, 'Hey, I just need to get done with this thing. Give me the cheapest possible (coverage) and let me get down the road,'" Chippendale said.
Now there are new, stricter underwriting guidelines that sometimes require metal detectors or beefed-up security at events. Very few carriers still cover hip-hop and rap events. Liability insurance, in general, has become so expensive that it's cost prohibitive to get a $5 million policy on a 1,500-capacity show. (emphasis added)
"Before you sign a contract with an artist, look at what they're requiring of you from an insurance standpoint," Chippendale said. "Ask them: If $10 million [coverage is cost prohibitive], can you do $2 million? I couldn't stress to them enough the preparation well in advance; getting a seasoned insurance broker is a must."
There were several questions that were answered in detail.
For instance, why is hip-hop so expensive to cover? Short answer: Rap promotes an image of danger, and insurance folks would rather back off. (emphasis added)
Should someone buy event cancellation insurance?
"If it's not going to tank your business ... then you may not want to do the event cancellation," Chippendale said.
Should someone insure for profit or expenses?
"Most of the time, I say for just your expenses. Break even, and live to fight another day.
Ken Evans is the CEO of Enterprise Insurance located at 3112 O Street, Suite 3, in Sacramento, California. Everyone already knows that Ken is the man to go to for your automotive and commercial insurance needs. But, there is another insurance need that many musicians and promoters are being confronted with when they want to put on a show or concert, EVENT INSURANCE.
This sometimes comes as a shock to young promoters seeking venues for various events. Groups are sometimes surprised that the venue itself doesn’t carry this insurance and the price of the event insurance can sometimes be the one obstacle that prevents the show from going on. According to Ken, “It is a necessity to have when you are throwing an event. It protects the people coming to the event, it protects the performers, the event staff and the location itself.”
Ken and his staff write Event Insurance for many types of music, from country to rap. Of course in keeping up with the risk of the hip-hop lifestyle, Event Insurance for a rap concert can be considerably more than for a jazz concert. “Rap is the highest of course because there’s more violence connected with it. We see it in the videos, we hear it in the songs and some of the hip-hop artists pretty much portray that. Rock and Roll is priced pretty much like rap. Any type of entertainment that expresses violence, whether it be physical [mosh pits] or verbal, it’s gonna cost a lot more”, says Ken.
Ken and his staff have written Event Insurance for acts such as Snoop Dog, Little Flip, 50 Cent, Juvenile, Master P, Too Short and Keak Da Sneak. According to Ken the best way to get the cost of Event Insurance for rap concerts down is for rap artists as a whole to keep the violence in the lyrics down. Ken also suggests, “ . . . come [to the concert] mentally prepared to have fun. You can’t come thinking if somebody steps on my new shoes it’s done or let me take this gat just in case some funk jump off. We’ve got to change our mode of partying and what we bring to party with.” (emphasis added)
A rapper with a reputation for promoting violence will have that high risk stigma follow him in the event insurance world just like a bad driving record will follow you in the automotive insurance world. There are only about 8 companies nationally who write Event Insurance. Northern California is fortunate in that Ken Evans and Enterprise Insurance is right here in our own backyard. (emphasis added)