On the brink: why has music venue insurance gone through the roof?

Insurance cost hikes are placing some music venues on the edge of closure, while affected venues say there have so far not received convincing answers from insurers about the cause.
A young male guitarist playing an electric guitar skidding on his knees on the bar of a pub.

For most people, public liability insurance is not a term that rates highly in their daily lexicon.

But if you’re a producer, presenter or arts venue owner – it’s a different story. In that case, you’ll be an expert on the subject, and it may have been causing you lost sleep in recent times.

In particular, Australian live music venues have seen their public liability (PL) insurance policies increase 10-fold over the past 12 months. A policy that may have cost them $20,000 per year, could now be worth $120,000.

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ArtsHub's Arts Feature Writer Jo Pickup is based in Perth. An arts writer and manager, she has worked as a journalist and broadcaster for media such as the ABC, RTRFM and The West Australian newspaper, contributing media content and commentary on art, culture and design. She has also worked for arts organisations such as Fremantle Arts Centre, STRUT dance, and the Aboriginal Arts Centre Hub of WA, as well as being a sessional arts lecturer at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).