Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit


Home » Officer Columns » Vice President from Canada » Changes Coming to Instrument Insurance/Tories Back Down on C-525

Changes Coming to Instrument Insurance/Tories Back Down on C-525

  -  AFM Vice President from Canada

The CFM is fortunate to have one of the best instrument insurance packages. It’s been available only to members, through our partners at Hub International, for more than 30 years. The plan has been so stable and successful, that premiums have not increased for 20 years. But we now live in very litigious times, and due to the possibility of a wider array of loss types, the Canadian Office decided to renegotiate our policy and make the necessary changes.

Hub International was very receptive, and with their help, we believe we can now present an instrument and liability insurance programme that is far superior to anything available elsewhere. These are some highlights of the changes that will take effect March 1. Please check with your local’s newsletter, or Hub International, for more details.

Benefits that remain unchanged are:

  • The member chooses the value of each item to be insured. Only items above $10,000 require an appraisal. The policy pays the limit shown on the policy.
  • The members are only required to insure the items they wish to insure.
  • If an item that was stolen is later recovered, the member has the right to purchase that item back.
  • You can schedule any item you use in your performance. It does not necessarily have to be a musical instrument.
  • Claims under $5,000 are quickly settled and paid through the Hub office and do not require review of the underwriter.
  • There is equipment rental reimbursement should you need to rent equipment because scheduled equipment was damaged or stolen.
  • Coverage for promotional items (CDs ; T-shirts, posters) up to $2,500 are included free with the policy.
  • Low deductibles. (Most commercial policies have a $500 or $1000 minimum deductible).
  • Multiple available liability limits­—$1 million, $2 million, and $5 million limits. This allows members to meet most, if not all, venue requirements for liability certificates.

New features that take effect March 1 are:

  • The equipment rate has been reduced from $2.75/$100 to $2/$100. The $2 rate is 37% lower than the old rate.
  • The deductible has been increased to $100 from $50. You should still insure items valued under $100 because if a case of gear goes missing, it could have a number of items worth under $100 that together total $500 to $1000.
  • Liability premiums have been increased to $50 for $1 million and $100 for $2 million; There’s added coverage for advertising and personal injury. (Personal injury is libel/slander, not bodily injury, which the policy has always covered).
  • Increased equipment rental limit. The rental reimbursement limit has been increased from $1,000 to $10,000 for no additional charge, should you need to rent an instrument, when yours has been lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • There’s lost income coverage at no charge. Should you be unable to play as scheduled due to an insured loss to your equipment, or if the venue experiences an insured loss and is closed, your policy will pay your lost income, less expenses to a maximum of $5,000 for contracts signed prior to the loss for up to 21 days. Remember, your signed AFM/CFM contract form is your best tool for proving loss of anticipated revenues. 

We know there are policies available elsewhere that have lower per hundred rates, but we must caution you to check the fine print; therein lie surprises. Our research indicates that this is a superior product, backed by proven service and support, and of course, it is only available to members.



There is some late-breaking news on Bill C-525­—another private member’s bill introduced by a Tory backbencher aimed at seriously damaging the ability of unions to organize in Canada. The most heinous provisions were rules that were completely biased against unions. Under those rules, employees who did not participate in the unionization vote would be counted as having voted against forming a union. For example, in a business with 100 employees, if 49 people voted and all of them voted to unionize (100%), they would still lose since the 51 people who stayed home would be counted as votes against. Using those rules, no MP would ever be elected to Parliament! However, pressure was brought to bear by the opposition party (NDP), and while the Bill is still anti-labour, those voting rules have been removed.

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