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To the relief of theatre producers and fans alike, Broadway shows came back in early 2022. After the longest shutdown in Broadway’s history, many wondered how strong of a comeback live theatre would make. So far, popular productions are doing well. Many shows flourished during this year’s Spring season, though not without challenges. COVID-19 is still affecting the industry, pausing many productions, and preventing stars from performing. This not only cuts directly into revenue, but it also makes insurance policy underwriting and contractual agreements much more stringent.
The marketplace for insurance has changed drastically as a direct result of the pandemic. The same coverage that had been available before has changed over the public health crisis, becoming more restrictive for smaller to medium-sized shows due to its prohibitive costs. Many insurers in the space have implemented stricter underwriting and become more selective about the shows they are willing to work with. As many insurance policies are purchased on a show-by-show basis, the unwavering factors remaining are high premium costs, limit adequacy and deductibles for Performance Disruption and Event Cancellation.
Similarly, contracts for theatre productions have seen changes resulting from the pandemic. Requirements specific to Non-Appearance policies are now commonplace for bigger stars attached to projects, as well as rules surrounding show earnings protections in case of a total shutdown.
Shows are seeing additional costs for COVID-19 testing, as well as the implementation of strategies to prevent the possibility of contamination. While these safety protocols are in place to protect the cast and crew, they can account for a significant budget increase in comparison to pre-pandemic productions.
An added obstacle to Broadway Theatre’s sustained return is the decline in revenue over the past two years. These revenue reductions are attributable to many factors, including:
To overcome slipping attendance, shows are leaning on the star power of their cast to lure back patrons. Despite the expense, high-cost premiums for Performance Disruption and Event Cancellation are essential for shows to lean on during this uncertain chapter of the pandemic. Both Risk Strategies and various insurers are happy to work with shows of any size to ensure theatre can progress beyond all challenges.
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Connect with the Risk Strategies entertainment team at entertainment@risk‐strategies.com.
Email Peter directly at PShoemaker@risk-strategies.com.