For Organizations and Circus Spaces:
Carrying appropriate insurance is key to safe and responsible operation of a circus school. We urge our members to review their insurance needs with an expert and examine policies carefully. AYCO/ACE does not provide advice on insurance products and does not sell insurance.
Please note that membership to ACE is a requirement for obtaining insurance with Borden Perlman. Organizations and programs who work with Borden Perlman must be members of ACE at the institutional level (Bronze, Silver or Gold). Not a member yet? Check out our levels and sign-up here.
AYCO/ACE endorsed broker Borden Perlman has developed a specialty insurance program for circus and aerial arts organizations, and currently there are over 75 studios, schools, and non-profits around the country that are insured through this program. Borden Perlman provides helpful information on how to assess your insurance needs, including general liability, accident, D&O coverage, auto, workers compensation, etc. Please see their website at the link above for more information on requirements. Ineligible classes at this time include: individual instructors or performers, small performance-based organizations with less than $250,000 in annual revenue, studios that have been in business for less than 3 years, fire activities, and animal activities.
For Individual Instructors:
Please note that this company is not formally endorsed by AYCO, but in the service of sharing as much information as possible, we recommend that you reach out to them for individual needs so that you can be covered. Unfortunately, NSM has discontinued their coverage of individual circus teachers and we are seeking other options for the community at this time.
If you are a performer or the parent of a young performer, visit Speciality Insurance. Please note this company is not formally endorsed by AYCO, but in the service of sharing as much information as possible, we recommend that you do reach out to them for individual needs so that you can be covered.
How does ACE build insurance relationships?
Our insurance relationships are continually developed and were initiated via our insurance committee in the first quarter of 2015. The committee advocates for our sector with insurers and periodically works with providers to identify those that appear to understand our sector well and to offer good value products. The committee’s priority is to help make sure that quality, good value insurance coverage is available to our members.
Notes about Insurance from the Committee:
Products that ACE members typically buy include:
-Directors and Officers insurance. This protects the board members of a nonprofit from being sued for negligence. If you have board members with substantial personal assets they will typically ask that you carry this.
-Accident Insurance. This helps you handle the medical and out-of-pocket costs that add up after an accidental injury.
-General and professional liability insurance. This protects you in the case that someone has an accident or is harmed on your property. This is the insurance that landlords typically ask to see. Liability insurance typically comes as a package that may includes some optional coverages. The organizations we’re aware of typically include the option for sexual abuse and molestation coverage. You should look at other options based on your own situation.
-Property insurance. This protects you in the case that your equipment is stolen or damaged
-Auto insurance. This protects any vehicles you drive for business.
-Workers compensation insurance. This is a legal requirement if you have employees.
-Employment practices insurance. Mostly bought by bigger organizations, this protects you if an employee sues you for bad practice.
Before you buy a policy from anyone, check that your activities are covered. Your activities do not necessarily need to be listed on the policy, but read through the exclusions carefully. We have encountered members who bought low cost policies that turned out to exclude athletic activities. Discuss directly with your provider the kind of business you’re in and make sure that they have evidence that the underwriter is aware of these activities. You do not need to describe your activities as particularly risky, you just need to be clear what it is that you do. Our preferred providers have both taken this step.
If you are starting up, the cost of insurance can feel daunting. Rather than operate without insurance, it’s a good idea to find another organization that can bring you into their policy and have you operate under their umbrella. For example, if you teach classes for a local arts council or Boys & Girls club, their insurance should provide you with the basic coverage that protects your students.
If you are truly starting your own business, or a nonprofit, then insurance will be a necessary expense. Count on paying a few percent of your overall budget on this area. In our experience, AYCO members pay 2-10% of their revenue in insurance. We are working to keep this number low. Your choice of what products you need will depend on your circumstances. A broker can advise on what you need, but make sure you understand why each product is recommended. For example, if your equipment only amounts to one or two thousand dollars worth, you might prefer to risk the possibility of theft and fire rather than pay for a property insurance policy.
Finally, join the ACE Safety Program. This will earn you a 10% discount on the policies our preferred providers offer. If you are talking to other providers, you will be able to point to the ACE Safety Program as a national safety guideline that you adhere to.