The founding National Association of Morris and Sword Dance Clubs

Insurance for Sides

Joint Morris Organisation Advice to Regarding Insurance

The JMO is made up of the Morris Ring, the Morris Federation and the Open Morris. JMO Insurance cover is available to Morris Sides and associated groups to provide Public Liability cover whilst dancing or at practice. This is included in the membership of one of the three member organisations. Additional optional covers are available such as Personal Accident and cover for such events as organising Ceilidhs. Separate cover is also available for Liability Insurance for Folk and Ceilidh Bands.

At the request of the Joint Morris Organisation (Morris Federation, Open Morris & The Morris Ring) I have put together some notes to advise bagmen (and thus, hopefully, the individual members of any Sides in the three organisations) on the subject of insurance. JMO Insurance Advice (February 2020).


It has come to light that there are some Sides who also join the Morris Federation and perhaps the OM as Joint Sides. If they practice in different halls and are able to dance out separately then they need to pay for the Insurance twice and be issued separate Confirmation of Cover Documents.

We regret that this will involve some work on behalf of the two treasurers and/or membership officers involved but this is something we have to do.

The reason is quite simple – risk element. Using two halls on a regular basis increases the risk to Insurers and if they discover this loophole then it will cause a distinct problem with Insurers. Also, whilst most “joint Sides” tend to dance out at the same time supporting each other, it is possible that one group will go and dance out at location A and the other at location B which again doubles the risk element for Insurers.


I have been asked to comment on what a member Side should do if they are arranging to dance with another Side which is not a member of one of the three organisations or, indeed, with another group such as local folk singers.
First of all, who is organising the event. If your Side is then you have a responsibility for making sure that any other groups taking part are insured and you need to make a note of the Insurer and policy number. Do not ask to see any documents, simply ask them to confirm that they hold insurance and to provide you with the name of the Insurer and the policy number. If an incident occurs with another group and they are not insured, then your Side, as organisers, can be held liable.
If you are not the organisers then there is not too much of a problem but a third party could still try and claim against you as one of the Sides taking part. In all cases, should anything happen that could give rise to a claim, it is vital to record the facts and obtain details of any witnesses – especially from those not involved with your Side such as members of the public.


Just to remind all musicians that the instruments you own are your personal property and, as such, need to be added to what I call “All Risks” – most Insurers these days call this cover “Personal effects away fromHome”. These days there are quite high “single item limits” so make sure that your instrument will be covered. Make sure that your Insurance Provider understands what you are using the instrument for and that it is covered for loss or damage whilst dancing out.
The policy the JMO provides is for Third Party Liability for Sides where a Third Party has suffered a loss as a result of an action your Side has taken (or not taken) which caused the loss or was a major contribution to it.


Many Sides are thinking about organising Ceilidhs, once lockdown is over, in an effort to raise money. Just to remind you that if you are selling tickets to members of the public, you need to register the event to extend
your insurance cover for the event.It depends on the individual circumstances but, in most cases, Insurers are no longer charging an additional premium but you must record the event in advance. Failure to do so will result in your event not being


There are other situations or events where you need to register the event such as trips overseas and Wassails involving naked flame. Except for trips to North America, there is no additional premium involved. Wassails involving naked flame require a Risk Assessment and cover may be declined or agreed on payment of an additional premium.
You can obtain a copy as an Adobe PDF document here: Public Liability Policy Wording 2021.pdf

This version has been specially edited for the wider consumption of our membership via the website.

If you have any further queries or require any further information please contact:

StimpsonM [at] aol [dot] com (Michael Stimpson) & Associates, Tel: 01923 770 425

"Black Joker" cartoon courtesy of Bristol Morris Man Peter Lord MBE of Aardman Animations