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Worker's Comp and Insurance

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Stef AllanWorker's Comp and Insurance
by on Aug 3, 2012 at 5:16:23 pm

I'm a freelance cameraman and have to sign an independent contractor agreement for a job. What is the responsibility for worker's comp?

I am not incorporated and want to be covered however I should be. I've signed agreements before without doing the research of what I'm signing (it's often at the end of the job of course). Is there a standard freelance coverage?

I have personal health insurance and liability insurance in the past for the productions. What other coverages (workers' comp, equipment) should I be after.

I asked the company I used to work for about equipment insurance and they only cover $100K or more worth of equipment. Is there somewhere I can go that would cover a smaller total (like $50K)?


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Bill DavisRe: Worker's Comp and Insurance
by on Aug 3, 2012 at 7:40:36 pm

I'm not an insurance professional, but unless you've got actual employees on your payroll, workers comp is a mute point.

A lot of stock contracts specify you have to have it. But its understood that you only have to have that protection for your employees if you HAVE employees.

Hope that helps.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor

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Steve KownackiRe: Worker's Comp and Insurance
by on Aug 3, 2012 at 9:14:59 pm

You should do a search, this has been covered many times.

Since you are not an employee of theirs nor are you incorporated, Worker's Comp is a moot point.

You will need General Liability for any damage you may cause as a contractor. If the person who hires you is sued due to damage on your behalf, they will come after you. Example: you scratch the floor in a boardroom, client sues the person who hired you (prime contractor), the prime will come after you as they don't want their premium increased. You need to cover yourself.

If you have gear that leaves your premises, you need an Inland Marine policy to cover any damages that occur to your gear - it falls, you tip it over, etc. How are you "renting" the gear to your prime contractor? If you bring it, and you operate it, you are covering the gear. If someone knocks over your camera, that individual is liable for the damages. You have to stipulate with your prime if you bring gear and are not the chief operator, they should sign and provide insurance coverage to you.

I have an UltraFlex policy with Erie that wraps it all together. Covers the office gear, $30K of location gear, $2M of GenLiab and I just added a rider for $50K of rental gear coverage. The rider just made it easier to send a cover sheet to rental houses rather than creating an addendum each time I rented stuff.

You only want to cover what damages you cause. If someone breaks your stuff, they are liable. Example: Shooting an event in an auditorium contracted by the venue; the director walks back, trips over the camera and knocks it over. $3000 damage to the lens & sensor. I talk to the venue, they payed the claim and subsequently got paid from the director's homeowners policy. The individual ultimately paid.


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Chris TompkinsRe: Worker's Comp and Insurance
by on Aug 5, 2012 at 11:59:56 am

It just means YOU are responsible for any damage to YOU, not them.

But like mentioned here already, get insurance.
You can get a basic Production/liability coverage plan for cheap if you do not own any gear.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC

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