Museums in Eastern Quebec facing an explosion in their insurance premiums

Upon renewal of the Exploramer Museum’s insurance, due on 1is Last November, the director general of the Sainte-Anne-des-Monts institution had a very bad surprise.

The premium for insuring the museum has increased from $ 22,000 to $ 66,000 per year.

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"C'est 300% increase “,” text “:” It’s 300% increase “}}” lang = “fr”>It’s 300% increase, notes Ms. Gauthier.

The Exploramer museum is located in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Michel-Félix Tremblay

We’re told it’s because of COVID-19, she adds.

The big companies which are going bankrupt all over the planet at the moment, they have insurance for loss of income and they are all in the process of going to recover these sums there. For insurance companies, it’s happening everywhere at the same time and it’s causing premiums to increase. We pay the price, explains the director.

It’s not just us; in the museum world we have been told tie your hats, it will increase a lot.

Sandra Gauthier, Managing Director of Exploramer

In the long term, this increase risks forcing museum management to make difficult decisions, especially since the $ 66,000 premium does not include the insurance of Exploramer’s new boat, which will be assessed upon its arrival in Sainte -Anne-des-Monts, scheduled for mid-April.

We had emergency financial aid to fight COVID-19, so we will get away with it this year, assures Ms. Gauthier.

But if it continues, we will have to make choices for sure. This is the equivalent of a job or two, this increase there, so we will not have the choice to generate more income or reduce expenses., she adds.

An irreplaceable collection

In Tadoussac, the Marine Mammal Interpretation Center (CIMM) also saw its insurance premium increase significantly this year.

The director of CIMM, Patrice Corbeil, specifies however that his situation is a little different from other institutions.

Close-up on Patrice Corbeil, photographed in front of the Marine Mammal Interpretation Center, in Tadoussac.

Patrice Corbeil is the director of the Center for the Interpretation of Marine Mammals in Tadoussac (archives).

Photo: Lise Gagnon

For our part, we asked if our collection of whale skeletons was indeed insured. They checked and told us: ” oh well if we want to insure them we should increase the premium ”. And from there there was a substantial increase, explains Mr. Corbeil.

The fee for securing the whale skeleton collection has doubled from $ 16,000 to $ 32,000 per year. In total, it now costs $ 44,000 to ensure the CIMM annually.

But is this increase really justified by the special character of the collection?

We have a concern, admits Corbeil. We find that the amount is high, but is it an increase in insurance or is it really an adjustment, we will go and check in the coming months.

In particular, the director plans to contact other institutions similar to his own to compare their premiums and negotiate with different insurance brokers.

There is strength in unity, and low prices

Mr. Corbeil is not the only one to take steps to try to reduce his premium.

Several museums in Quebec, including Exploramer and the CIMM, have initiated discussions to come together to negotiate more advantageous rates.

Sandra Gauthier during an interview in a Radio-Canada studio.

Sandra Gauthier is the Managing Director of Exploramer (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Cécile Gladel

Given the situation, we changed brokers to favor a broker who insures virtually all art museums., says Ms. Gauthier.

What they have proposed to us, and what they will be offering to all science museums and interpretation centers in the coming weeks, is to come together all together to build a portfolio and go and negotiate prices with companies to try to have better prices for our respective policies, she explains.

It is certain that if we work together, we could probably get a better price for all museum institutions.

Patrice Corbeil, Director General of the CIMM

We could have a major insurer in Quebec or elsewhere that insures the museums and we could have preferential prices and be well covered, that’s what is important., adds Mr. Corbeil.

Museums, we have specific situations which mean that we insure objects, artefacts, or in my case a collection of whale skeletons … It is invaluable., recalls the director of CIMM.

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