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The Guide

Insurance of persons

Occupational disability, inability to work

One of the most underestimated risks is the loss of the ability to work. Insurance professionals differentiate between occupational disability and inability to work. 

In statutory pension insurance – which is also relevant to members of the Artists’ Social Security Fund (KSK) – total incapacitation applies when an artist or creative is unable for the foreseeable future to work for at least three hours a day under the usual conditions of the labor market (this means any reasonable type of work) due to illness or disability. Insured individuals who are able to work at least three but less than six hours are considered partially incapacitated. 

Private insurances also offer protection in such cases and insure the capacity to carry out a specific occupation. Occupational disability occurs if a person is unable to work in his/her last profession at a capacity of less than 50% for more than six months. 

Accident benefits usually do not provide sufficient coverage since, according to statistics, the reason for occupational disability is due to an accident in only 12% of the cases. In the remaining 88% of cases, if, for example, other reasons such as chronic mental illness or episodes of depression have led to disability, accident benefits would not be paid. 

However, it is often difficult to insure freelance artists and creatives, particularly performing artists, against occupational disability. Most insurance companies consider performing artists to fall within the category of uninsurable occupations, as their individual risk is not foreseeable for the insurer. Offers are very limited and expensive. Insurances covering the inability to work or extended accident insurances, as well as so-called basic ability insurance and dread disease insurance, can serve as alternatives. 

The insurances listed here are valid across Europe and to some extent also worldwide.

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Accident insurance

An accident is defined as a sudden permanent restriction in physical or mental functioning. Good accident insurance provides financial protection in such cases.

An accident pursuant to insurance law occurs when the insured suffers involuntary damage to his/her health (pursuant to §1 of the General Accident Insurance Conditions, AUB 95) due to a sudden and external event (accident) affecting his/her body. From the perspective of the insurer, an accident has occurred only if these characteristics are satisfied. Examples include car accident, slipping on stage, injury during the transport of instruments/equipment, and fall on a staircase. The various consequences of an accident, such as death, disability/occupational disability, hospitalization, etc. can trigger payment of the insured amount if coverage exists and a corresponding damage occurs. 

Unlike traditional employees, members of the Artists’ Social Security Fund (KSK) are not automatically covered by the statutory accident insurance that offers protection in the event of accidents at work or in a work context. It is therefore advisable to obtain accident insurance coverage either through voluntary insurance via the appropriate professional association (e.g., VBG insurance www.vbg.de- only available in German) that covers occupational accidents and occupational diseases (and is valid also during temporary stays abroad) or through an accident insurance of a private insurance provider that usually provides 24/7 coverage

Some insurers specialize in artistic and creative occupations and offer special coverage plans. For example, the loss of a finger for a pianist leads to full payment while for other persons only a small part of the amount insured would be paid. Calculations are based on the so-called dismemberment schedule, which is used to assess the insurance payment depending on the degree of disability. A general dismemberment schedule frequently does not satisfy the needs of artists and creatives and adapted schedules are necessary. 

regular dismemberment schedule

Accident insurance is valid worldwide and provides appropriate protection.  

For guest performers visiting Germany, the accident risk may be covered by the organizer, for example, through group accident insurance.  

Additional information is available from the German Social Accident Insurance www.dguv.de (DGUV). The DGUV is the umbrella association of employers’ liability insurance associations, accident insurers, and local accident insurance associations.

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