One of the delights of the circus is seeing the most skilled acrobats dazzle an audience with risky stunts. At cultureONE our experience with production liability insurance and special event liability insurance has shown that there are always unfortunate exceptions where even the most skilled acrobat doesn’t escape danger as planned.
One such incident occurred recently at a Ringling Bros. Circus in Rhode Island where an aerial accident sent eight performers plummeting to the ground. The stunt, known as “the human chandelier” involved performers hanging from their hair on a suspended apparatus. A clip at the top of the apparatus snapped and three performers are at the hospital in serious condition. Thus far there is no conclusive information as to why the clip failed.
When quoting theatrical insurance where aerial stunts are being performed, one of the questions we always ask is how much experience the aerial rigging technician has. We also ask if he/she is licensed. This protects the risk and encourages producers to employ the best people. Furthermore we offer key person insurance. This is reserved for parties whose inability to perform would result in the event being cancelled. In an event like the circus, the specialized skill on display makes purchasing the above coverages a must, and our years of experience will make sure there are no gaps that might hinder a major performance.
Even with the correct due diligence, accidents can always happen and they illustrate how important it is to carry good production insurance.