Downtown bar Call The Office to close due to lack of insurance coverage
LONDON, ONT -- Long time downtown London live music venue Call The Office says it’s closing doors indefinitely- not just because of the pandemic, but because it can find insurance coverage, according to the owner.
“The overhead stayed the same except for the income streams were obviously ninety per cent down,” said Darren Quinn, who took over the iconic venue just two years ago.
He tells CTV News his insurance policy expires at the end of this month, and his provider is refusing to renew it. He says he has shopped around with an insurance broker but hasn’t found coverage with any company.
“They weren’t renewing any policies for most bars and restaurants, especially live music venues. Like, they just wouldn’t touch it. So we’d have to operate without insurance, which is pretty scary.”
Long time London music insider and the manager of the Digital Creative Arts Centre, Mario Circelli, says such is the fate of live music, as the industry faces hurdles never imagined.
“You can only keep the lights on so long, and I know what these folks sacrifice, and personal loans, and personal guarantees, and second mortgages on their home to keep the business afloat, and after a while you just have nowhere else to turn.”
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada there is still coverage available for live music venues, though providers are smaller in number.
Vice president Celyeste Power is heading up a new program called the Business Insurance Action Team designed specifically to help bars and restaurants and the like find viable insurance.
“We did set up a Business Insurance Action Team to provide further help, and we would recommend to those that are struggling to find the insurance they need- do shop around. It is still a competitive market, people are still offering insurance. But again we might just have to do a little more work in finding it, given that some insurers have left the Canadian market.”
The final shows at Call the Office are scheduled for this weekend.
Ownership of the club changed hands recently before the pandemic hit with the community and City Hall all involved in keeping the historic club operating.
You can read the full statement here.
“We have unfinished business here but only time will tell of we will get the chance to continue, and if not us we hope someone will carry the torch.”