Theater Production Company Insurance Should Include Inland Marine

Scenes of the Season: Take the Show on the Road

At any time of year, transporting a multimillion-dollar Broadway musical production to an offsite location is a big risk. But proactive planning, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, can help the endeavor reap a big reward.

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In White Christmas, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis sing and dance their way into the hearts of America (the Haynes sisters’ hearts in particular).

When the Broadway duo bring their hit musical to the rustic Vermont ski lodge owned by the commanding general with whom they served during WWII, their goal is to help boost the retired officer’s spirits and the fledgling inn’s occupancy.

Transporting a full-scale show to an off-site location is a risky endeavor that a theater production company’s insurance policy may not cover without an inland marine solution included.

“The entertainment industry has huge property values, but the potential for loss is much more than the cost of the property,” says David Brooks, vice president, underwriting, Argo Marine. “If the production halts, there’s loss of people’s income and, in this case, loss of revenue for this small-town business.

“That wouldn’t be a very merry Christmas.”

Economics of the stage

Broadway musicals average in the $10 million ballpark – a higher price tag than plays. That budget goes toward hair and makeup, costumes, lighting, sets, performers, the creative team, the crew, administrative costs, advertising, legal and theater expenses.

Imagine taking that investment on the road.

“There’s more risk for various reasons,” Brooks says. “Moving from Point A to Point B means opportunities for accidents and theft, especially during the holidays, when the weather is colder, the roads are slick and incidents of theft increase in general.”

Yet, musicals also have higher attendance and a larger gross revenue than plays. On average, Broadway tours generate an economic impact of 3.28 times the gross ticket sales. For a place that needs a financial boost, the risk might be worth it.

Source: The Broadway League

Assessing the risk

Before providing a theater production company insurance coverage to move a big-scale show to a small town, there are several things insurers would want to determine.

  1. Transportation security. Is the property secured? Do drivers have a process to check at intervals during transport? Have they chosen the safest, most direct route? What is the contingency plan in the event of bad weather or road closures?
  2. Location security. When delivered, is the property secured in containers? Do warehouses have cameras, alarms or physical security in place? Have background checks been conducted on third-party security vendors?
  3. Location infrastructure. Have local authorities been made aware of the situation? Do they have plans in place to handle an influx of people in town? How will their resources hold up during production?

“It’s important to be proactive rather than reactive,” Brooks says. “Plan with risk control to worry less about loss control.”

The reward, at least for Wallace and Davis, was the best Christmas gift they ever gave.

Learn more about Argo Marine.

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