Public Liability Insurance for Bands

Updated 2020


25/08/20 - On 08/07 Peter Swensson was asking for information on public liability insurance for bands. This is what he has been able to pass on  -  New Moon Insurance., and SImply Business However by far the best recommendation was Ampbands. I rang them and they were so helpful. For £100 they will cover up to ten musicians for 10 million. I can’t see any loopholes however I wont be covering the Savoy Jazzmen until we are up and running again. Check them out yourselves".

31/08/20 - I noticed the item on public liability insurance which many venues now ask for. The simple answer is to join the musicians union where you automatically get 10 million pounds worth of public liability insurance as well as partial instrument insurance and all the other benefits and advice. It’s a no brainer and you’re  part of a very professional club. Why would you not join especially as they are currently giving out daily updates about the virus and the action the officials are taking to try and restore safety and normality as soon as possible. - Chris Walker

01/09/20 - I haven’t checked but if I joined the Musicians Union I don’t think the whole band (6 piece) the Savoy Jazzmen would be covered for Public Liability under my membership. The whole band would have to join individually. I think membership is about £225.00. Having joined we are then faced with charging union rates. Ampbands from what I understand will cover up to 10 people for up to 10 million for less than £100.00. Maybe I have this wrong and I will of course check when I need cover again. I hope in the not too distant future.

I suspect Chris Walker,  who says it’s a no brainer to join the Union, is in a different league. No doubt a session/professional musician who can demand the Union fees. I checked on the Union’s site and the rates are :-

“Minimum rates per musician for casual engagements for groups performing in pubs and clubs of up to 3 hours: £128.00” On top of this there are travelling fees to be added. None of the pubs/clubs we have played at during the last few years could afford to pay the six of us anywhere near £768. I doubt whether they gross that amount in an evening,  Let’s hope we are all back playing again very soon.

Peter Swensson.

02/09/20 - Re: Public Liability Insurance via the M.U. The insurance only covers the musician. It doesn’t cover the band, and usually that is what is called for by the venues. But I find that some will accept the bandleader’s Public Liability Insurance.

They argue that it is a safeguard if any audience member should claim against the band...e.g. tripping over a mic lead or falling over a drum case etc. My argument to that is that the audience should not venture near the bandstand when it is unattended, and really should not be wandering around it when you are setting up or performing (now part of the COVID regulations anyway). I also argue that the band is not responsible for anything that goes wrong off the stage and in the venue. The venue should have its own P.L.I. to cover those eventualities.

P.L.I. for a band is around £160 - £200 a year (usually dearer if you not an M.U. member). Look for an insurance firm that specialises in this type of insurance, your average Aviva or Axa insurance companies could rip you off. It is worth forking out for if you do a lot of ‘council’ or ‘venue’ work, it has to be a viable purchase (it is tax deductible) – but I find that pubs and your general jazz clubs, you are not responsible for P.L.I. That is down to the promoter or landlord. Just don’t bullied into purchasing something you don’t need.

Re: Peter Swensson’s  comments about P.L.I. He is correct...but I can assure you the ‘rates of pay’ are advisory. Not too many of us  ‘down South’ are on £128 plus expenses per gig, maybe occasionally, that’s wishful thinking. The M.U. are aware that we have to work under the rate, or we don’t work at all, but we try not to undersell ourselves either. - Pete Lay

04/09/20 - My thanks to Peter Lay for confirming that the MU's Public Liability Insurance only covers for individual musicians and not the band. PLI with the Alliance of Musicians & Performers charges £89 for one year for 12 named performers. The cover is ( I copied the following from their web page) :-

£10m PLI cover, £250.00 legal costs,£10m Product Liability, Client Referrals, Risk assessments, Sample Forms, Discounts, Member Support, Cover for full band, Easy to Join.

We are a six piece band so to be able to name 12 musicians we would then be covered when any of us are on holiday or sick. It would also cover for a full marching band.

I do question Peter's comments about accidents at a gig. By law all venues, clubs etc must have PLI in place. However if an accident occurred and a guest at the event was injured, or damage caused to the fabric of the venue, and was clearly the fault of a member of the band the venue would not accept responsibility. I feel sure they would just give the injured party contact details of the band or alternatively claim off the band themselves.

I do think it's a must that every band/musician has PLI in place.

Peter Swensson.


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