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How the Shaw Festival kept 500 people employed during COVID — by taking out pandemic insurance three years ago

How the Shaw Festival kept 500 people employed during COVID — by taking out pandemic insurance three years ago
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About three-and-a-half years ago, Tim Jennings, the executive director and CEO of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, decided to undertake some risk analysis alongside his CFO. He looked at potential problem areas, and at concerns that might arise throughout the course of an ordinary season of theatre, and came to a shrewd conclusion: The festival should take out an insurance policy against the threat of a pandemic.

The policy covered the interruption of planned performances by communicable disease. As a consequence of that remarkable foresight, the Shaw Festival has been able to do the basically impossible: At a time of incalculable loss, in an industry that has been universally devastated, the festival has keep its more than 500 employees on the payroll full-time. Almost everyone in the field of arts and entertainment has been out of work since the beginning of the lockdown, when live performances became a logistical impossibility. But thanks to the coverage, Shaw’s are among the only actors, musicians, and theatre workers in the world who still have jobs.
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