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Hold harmless agreements and how much insurance does one need?

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Jon LewisHold harmless agreements and how much insurance does one need?
by on Oct 31, 2005 at 7:13:54 pm

In going through the process of getting an office and the getting insurance. What kind of coverage is necessary? Mainly regarding hold harmless agreements and liability. I'm a "small" post house 2 fcp suites with BetaSP / DV footage and do mostly corporate and some broadcast work.

What is the liablity of clients footage when my machine eats it, or house / office burns down. I have always been under the impression that I'm like a camera store and that I'm liable for the tape stock but not what is on it. Now I'm hearing that I'm leaving myself open to lawsuits if a tape is damaged. To protect myself I should have each client sign a form before I start, is that common practice? As I have never seen it done in 15 years of editing.

Of course, talk to an attorney or insurance person and you will always be told that you will need more than you have... What is a "safe" amount of protection, what does one actually need, were do you say, ok this is enough without buying everything they offer?. Are there some good sources of information to start with.
Thanks
Jon Lewis



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Peter RalphRe: Hold harmless agreements and how much insurance does one need?
by on Nov 6, 2005 at 5:19:14 pm

You cannot afford enough insurance to cover yourself 100%.

Go with 1-2 million and incorporate so that if the worst happens your personal assets are protected.


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Tim KolbRe: Hold harmless agreements and how much insurance does one need?
by on Nov 7, 2005 at 1:46:26 pm

I'd agree with Peter, I believe we have 2 or 3 million in liability coverage.

I would also have a qualified engineer checking your decks with some regularity to head off many predictable potential problems.

I might also consider several fire-proof safes to store client raw tapes, etc in...if you burn to the ground, 2 or 3 million may not cover ALL your client's losses in acquired raw footage.




TimK,

Kolb Syverson Communications,
Creative Cow Host,
2004-2005 NAB Post Production Conference
Premiere Pro Technical Chair,
Author, "The Easy Guide to Premiere Pro" http://www.focalpress.com
"Premiere Pro Fast Track DVD Series" http://www.classondemand.net


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Jon LewisRe: Hold harmless agreements and how much insurance does one need?
by on Nov 7, 2005 at 3:52:57 pm

Thanks for the input. That's kinda what I was thinking as well. As I am getting into this I'm finding that I need to get Workman's Comp Insurance as well or the contractors that I use need to have proof of insurance. (I'm in CA) Even though I use only contractors (edit assistants etc...) and they are freelance I still need insurance on them?? In the 8-10 years of freelance I have never been questioned if I have my own insurance, and I know that many of the place I worked at didn't carry it. Is there some sort of waver that would work instead? Hey thanks for your help!!
Jon Lewis




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Peter RalphRe: Hold harmless agreements and how much insurance does one need?
by on Nov 7, 2005 at 5:10:34 pm

no there is no waiver.

in fact even if you are incorporated not having liability insurance may encourage a court to "lift the corporate veil" and put your personal assets up for grabs. The new bankruptcy laws mean that unless your personal assets exceed $1m there is no practicable way to protect anything you own from a lawsuit.


Yes your liability insurance should cover you for the acts of any employees. Any (non-director) employees must also be covered by workmans comp. Workmans comp is for employees only - it does not cover independent contractors.



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Jon LewisRe: Hold harmless agreements and how much insurance does one need?
by on Nov 7, 2005 at 5:29:13 pm

Acually the waiver would be for the contactors only, and we will have liability insurance. But you have a good point that the Workmans Comp is only for employees, which I currently have none. Thanks
Jon


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