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Insuring archival footage

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Dave RudolphInsuring archival footage
by on Apr 25, 2009 at 4:35:24 am

I shoot youth events often enough that I have a decent archive that spans nearly a decade and numbers over 600 video cassettes and several thousand photos. The photos are easily archived on DVD and copies kept on and off site. The video cassettes however are largely the only copies. I have produced a limited number of edited docs from them but I foresee future value in them as well. I am wondering if anyone has any relevant information in how the collection might be valued for insurance purposes and how an insurance company might view such a claim.

Thank you for your insight.

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Nick GriffinRe: Insuring archival footage
by on Apr 25, 2009 at 3:28:25 pm

Here's one more thing we can add to the list of things I'm not: not a lawyer, not an accountant and now... not an insurance agent. So this is simply a guess and speculation, but here goes.

I believe that YOU have to be the one who sets the value of this asset and that it needs a special rider on your general property and casualty policy, which specifically lists this asset and sets an additional annual fee for covering it. The degree to which you then go to protect it, ie.- fireproof safe, room with an inert gas fire suppression system, will also affect the rate. Should you not have the rider, not have specifically declared these tapes as a valuable asset and something happens you may have a real problem establishing that they are worth much at all.

Then again, what do I know? Ask you insurance agent.

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Dave RudolphRe: Insuring archival footage
by on Apr 26, 2009 at 4:17:00 am

Well, let's face it, this is not a site thick with insurance agents. Nick Griffin, thanks for thinking through the subject matter and giving it a whirl. What you are suggesting and proposing sounds likely. I have put in a request to my agent. They are asking me the value of the library. I suppose I could value it based on "X" per hour for the shoots. The other possibility that occurs to me would be to value each as if I was accessing it for an edit product. This would be higher value of course applied across the board to each cassette. At this point I am not privy to the multiplier that will determine the cost of coverage but with little value achieved from the stock to this point, I will likely end up creating or determining the value by the amount it will cost to insure it. This has helped prepare me for that Monday call to my agent.

Thanks a ton.

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Mark RaudonisRe: Insuring archival footage
by on Apr 26, 2009 at 6:35:24 pm

Back in the "film" days, every piece of film that you bought had a paragraph of legalese that essentially said that Kodak would only be responsible for the value of the stock, and nothing more. Obviously, there's an entire branch of the insurance industry that covers the "value of the production" represented by the images on that stock.

Nick is absolutely correct in assuming that barring any explicit, written exception, the insurance will ONLY cover the cost of the tape stock and nothing more. It's up to you to value it, and more importantly, pay the premium for covering that "self stated" value.

As productions now go "tapeless", the completion bond companies that cover feature film production are getting very specific as to requiring multiple backup copies of file based acquisition media.

My suggestion to you is that it would probably be MUCH CHEAPER to duplicate your library yourself (maybe even X 2) and store it in two separate places. Money will never replace those kind of archive images. At best it will only ease the pain.

Finally, the longer you store your images, the less likely you will ever be able to recover them. People serious about archiving develop a plan to "migrate" their library every few years or so to the most current digital format available. There's plenty of evidence out there that "hard drives on a shelf" can go corrupt in as little as a year if they''re not used.

Good luck.


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Chuck JohnsonRe: Insuring archival footage
by on Aug 10, 2011 at 2:40:05 am

Hi Dave,

Did you ever get a solution on how to value your archive?



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