insurance for performers

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby Guest » 01/19/05 05:30 AM

I understand both the IBM and SAM have liability insurance available to their respective members. Is the coverage similar? Has anyone had experiences, good or bad, with either?

Thanks,

Pete
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Postby Bill Palmer » 01/19/05 03:04 PM

The SAM coverage amount applies to the total membership for the entire year. The IBM coverage is a "per incident" policy. Which one is best for you depends on the your need for insurance. If all you need is a certificate so you can show it to the venue you are going to be working in, get the one that is least expensive for you.
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Postby Guest » 03/17/05 09:05 PM

How much insurance?

I certainly have no argument with Bill that the one that is cheapest for you is a good choice. However, what was not treated is how much coverage to buy.

For that, you need to consider two amounts. One is: What is the max you could be sued for? The other is: What are you worth?

If you can only be sued for a million and you are not worth that much. Your magic number is one million.

But, if you are worth six million, you will have another magic number to consider. Neither IBM nor Sam do that!

Scheme!

Magic By Sander
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Postby Eric Rose » 03/18/05 07:43 AM

Most importantly, talk to your insurance agent about what policies they offer and compare them with the one size fits all magi-policies. Business liability insurance, even for performers, is not extremely expensive. Health insurance, well, that's another matter altogether....
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Postby Randy » 03/18/05 11:12 AM

Also, don't forget that you are supposed to carry Workers' Compensation for any employees, i.e. Assistants, road crew, etc.

I've been in the insurance industry for over 16 years now and still have yet to hear one person say they were "over-insured" at the time of a loss. Just a thought.
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Postby Guest » 03/23/05 10:23 AM

Oh, you don't need an insurance certificate! If anyone asks to see one at the venue use a forged one!

Just print a blank form off the internet and fill it out yourself. That is what I do. Nobody looks at it that closely anyway.

Strange nobody hasn't thought of that yet. Some people have led sheltered lives.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 03/23/05 12:51 PM

Forging an insurance certificate is an idea so dumb, I'm amazed the guy who suggested it is able to write a sentence and sign his name.

Regular insurance companies/agents don't have a clue about liability insurance for performers. You have to deal with a company that knows what they're doing. Try:

Robertson Taylor (do a Google search on that name and "insurance"). They have offices in New York and London and specialize in rock tours. I've used them for world tours for all the rock bands I work with.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 03/23/05 02:00 PM

When all you're doing is pitching Svengali decks, what can possibly go wrong?
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Postby Bob Farmer » 03/23/05 04:20 PM

As the Svengali deck is riffled, one of the short cards accidentally shoots out and hits a small baby in the eye. As the child screams, the mother falls backwards knocking over a propane cylinder display. One of the cylinders cracks on impact on the concrete floor and sparks ignite the gas. It explodes setting off a chain reaction that causes all of the other cylinders to explode. The ceiling of the building collapses.
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Postby Randy » 03/23/05 06:45 PM

When all you're doing is pitching svengali decks, what could possibly go wrong?
Ah, you must remember that nothing has to actually go wrong............somebody just has to allege that something went wrong. Much of the insurance coverage sold is not used in damages paid, but in defense of real and "imagined" claims.
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Postby Guest » 08/07/07 09:56 PM

This may be an old thread but I read Bob Farmers last post and almost fell out of my chair laughing. The world has too few morbid comedians.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/07/07 11:47 PM

If Bob's scenario happened, and the ceiling of the building collapsed, then I doubt the Svengali demonstrator would make it out alive.

So he's fine with a forged insurance certificate.
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Postby Guest » 08/08/07 12:38 AM

One of our local performers was doing a show at The Childrens' Museum. He asked for one of the people who worked at the museum to fill a pitcher of water for him. When the museum employee (volunteer) was on the way back, he spilled a minute amount of water on the floor. A visitor slipped on the water and claimed to be injured.

According to the contract the performer had signed, he, not the museum, was responsible for ANY accident and/or damages incurred as a result of his act, including the water the museum employee spilled on the floor.

The woman sued. The performer had no insurance.

Fortunately, when he called the SAM, they got him in touch with the attorney for their insurance company, who took the case on as a favor. His investigators turned up evidence that the woman who slipped on the water was a professional insurance scam artist. She went to jail. The performer paid the attorney the small amount he asked for his services, and now has insurance.

So, what can happen when you are pitching Svengalis? A passer-by can claim that you frightened her child and caused an irreversible trauma.

There are more crooks out there than you could even begin to know about.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 08/08/07 06:51 PM

"There are more crooks out there than you could even begin to know about."

This is not true -- many of the magic dealers are closing their doors.
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Postby Guest » 08/09/07 01:00 AM

One performer I know needed to borrow a chair for his show - a birthday in a home. The father got the chair and handed it to the magician - it being passed over the heads of the audience. As the magician took the chair he raised it to make sure it was well over the heads of the children - only to hit and smash a glass chandelier.

Pieces of broken glass fell on the audience - fortunately hurting no one.

Fortunately as well he didn't get sued.

Now if anyone brings anything to him before, after or during a show, be it a chair, a drink, a tray of tea and cake etc. he doesn't take it from them but says, "Please put it down there."
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Postby Guest » 08/09/07 08:39 AM

In the early '80's I worked in a magic-themed restaurant that was owned by a major corporation. One day, one of the performers did the Zig Zag illusion.

A woman in the audience claimed that her child was traumatized by the sight of a woman's middle being slid over that way and threatened to sue.

The corp at the time had a policy of settling everything--no matter how ridiculous the claim, so they flew in lawyers and wrote a check to make the woman go away.

I don't know the figure for sure, but the rumour was that it was $5000.

Considering just how low some of our fellow "citizens" will stoop to make a buck, liability insurance sounds like a REALLY good idea.
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Postby Guest » 08/10/07 11:20 PM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
"There are more crooks out there than you could even begin to know about."

This is not true -- many of the magic dealers are closing their doors.
These crooks don't even open up a store front. Come to think of it, neither do some of the magic dealers.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/07 01:31 PM

If a vendor requires insurance, you can take out what is called a special events endorsement for the date of performance through your homeowners insurance. For roughly $50.00 you can get $1 million dollars in liability. However, you will most likely need an incidental business endorsement on your homeowners policy. Keep in mind each state has different rules and regs according to the D.O.I. Check with an agent or a broker and read the fine print of the policy.

Best,

Dorian Rhodell
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Postby Jeffrey Cowan » 08/17/07 01:00 PM

Here are a few thoughts from a litigator with 16 years experience:

If you own a house, have any assets (money in the bank, mutual funds, stocks, etc.), or anticipate having such assets in the future, and do shows on any regular basis, you NEED liability insurance of some sort. Lord knows that I've seen my share of crazy claims (although none that would put me in the same league with Bob Farmer :D ) that were BS but expensive to defend. And then there is the situations where the magician legitimately screws up and the only real issue is damages. [Cut to the Youtube video of the guy who impaled a female spectator's hand on a spike by mistake. . . ]

Plus, the subject insurance is not only dirt cheap (by contrast, legal malpractice insurance can run into 5 figures if you want coverage into seven figures and OBGYNs can pay six figures) but also tax deductible. It's among the best couple of hundred dollars you'll spend each year - especially if you're unlucky enough to get hit with some claim.
-- Jeffrey Cowan
www.cowan-law.com
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/17/07 06:12 PM

Originally posted by Jeffrey Cowan:
If you own a house, have any assets (money in the bank, mutual funds, stocks, etc.)...
So...what you're saying is: magicians have nothing to worry about?

;)

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 08/26/07 09:02 AM

I find that most of the clients I deal with are very pleased to find out I carry liability insurance, and indicate it gives them some peace of mind. All the resorts in my area insist on performers carrying it now.

I am glad I got the policy, but it was a royal pain to get it !

I applied for the SAM sponsored insurance in March, filling out the paper work and sending in my check. My bank showed that the check had been cashed in April. When it got to be halfway through May, and I still had not heard from anyone or received anything in the mail, I started writing emails and making phone calls.

It took until the end of JULY before I finally got a xeroxed letter from the carrier stating that I was covered. Total wait time to actually have a piece of paper in my hands that said "you are insured" was five months ! Although I was warned initially about a small wait , the time I actually had to wait went well beyond what those who tried to help me felt was acceptable.

Bottom line, I am glad it finally worked out, but I sort of wish I had gone with the IBM policy instead ! It wasn't the fault of the SAM, and they did try to go to bat for me, but the insurance carrier they are using really dropped tha ball. I never did get any response from the carrier as to why it took so long.

Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/26/07 09:26 AM

I have found Clowns of The US to have extremely fast service...payment went out, proof of insurance was to me FAST...
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
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Postby Guest » 08/26/07 12:11 PM

I am in the dark here.

What is Clowns of the US ?

Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
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Postby Guest » 08/26/07 12:21 PM

Never mind.....just checked out their site. Man, I wish I had known about these folks five months ago ! Thanks very much Nathan !

Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
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Postby Guest » 08/27/07 07:03 PM

Here in Australia we have DUCK FOR COVER

But we also have a much less litigious society... so far!
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Postby John B. Pyka » 09/27/08 06:21 PM

OK guys, here is a word of warning - The IBM insurance is really useless. I carried it for years, but almost every theater or entertainment venue I play or produce in now requires $2 million PER OCCURANCE. The IBM only offers $1 Mil. I asked them about writing an additional policy for me (as a policy holder) to fulfill my needs. They told me to go fly a kite.

Bob is right about general agents really not knowing what they are doing. I'll look into your guy Bob and see if he can offer something more competitive than what I currently have... Thanks!

OH, and I am also a licensed Life & Health agent, and forging a certificate is a Federal offense...
John B. Pyka
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Postby Christopher Starr » 11/30/08 01:06 PM

http://www.specialtyinsuranceagency.com ... rance.html

Policy Limits of Coverage:
Each Occurrence: $1,000,000 (bodily injury & property damage to others)
Damage to Rented Premises: $50,000 (to rented premises)
Personal & Advertising Injury: $1,000,000 (hurting someone's feelings)
General Aggregate: $2,000,000 (the most the policy will pay out during the policy year)
Products Completed Op. Agg.: $2,000,000 (the most the policy will pay out during the policy year)
Medical Expenses: $5,000 (emergency medical)
Excess Liability: $2,000,000 (raises the limits above by $2,000,000)

Policy Rates:
$200 per year & per person
This policy renews every April 25th
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Postby Gordon Meyer » 12/03/08 02:31 PM

Perhaps one of our insurance agent members can put these in plain english:

General Aggregate: $2,000,000 (the most the policy will pay out during the policy year)
Products Completed Op. Agg.: $2,000,000 (the most the policy will pay out during the policy year)


What's the difference between the two limitations?
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Postby John B. Pyka » 12/15/08 04:21 PM

Chris,

Thanks for the link, but it still is inadequete because it only provides $1,000,000 per occurance. Most venues now require 2 mil per...
John B. Pyka
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Postby John B. Pyka » 12/15/08 04:22 PM

Oh, and I carry mine through Auto Owners and it costs $1,000 per year in annualized premium.
John B. Pyka
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Postby John B. Pyka » 12/15/08 04:25 PM

Chris,
Also the exclusions are lousy at that website.

In particular,
We Do Not Cover:
Your business employees/subcontractors

This means your assistant(s) is not covered on your policy.
John B. Pyka
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Postby Doc Dixon » 12/15/08 05:14 PM

Anonymous wrote:In the early '80's I worked in a magic-themed restaurant that was owned by a major corporation. One day, one of the performers did the Zig Zag illusion.

A woman in the audience claimed that her child was traumatized by the sight of a woman's middle being slid over that way and threatened to sue.

The corp at the time had a policy of settling everything--no matter how ridiculous the claim, so they flew in lawyers and wrote a check to make the woman go away.

I don't know the figure for sure, but the rumour was that it was $5000.


It would be worth the 5K to see a zig zag presentation that good. Now I've seen DANCING done before and after a zig zag that was traumatizing ...
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Postby magicbar » 12/16/08 09:50 PM

Here is a helpful point I read in my photographer's contract and another from a magician friend that saved me some headaches (i.e., using insurance or filing suit):

It read that if the film is damaged/pictures didn't come out to satisfaction (either artistically or technically) he was only liable for the amount of his services or portion thereof (meaning if he only produced half of the number of good pics or wasn't there for the full time specified). When I asked him about this he said some clients will claim you ruined their ENTIRE event due to bad photographs or not capturing a portion/aspect of the event and therefore want you to pay for their wedding, etc.

He said itemize your services when possible so if a portion is unsatisfactory you can easily deduct only that portion. I have had this save my fee when doing kid shows and other elements like late guests, bad cake, poor planning on their part resulted in me changing my act in time or content - or like in prior posts...the client just wanting to blame anyone so they imagined my service as part of the problem.

I also had a magician friend specify in the contract about acceptable changes in performing conditions or content (inside to outside, delays, unexpected sickness/death of animals, etc) due to either party's control and how that affects payment and liability. This was good advice. I got a traveling performing seal show for a circus theme party and I specified that the seal may not be allowed in the owner's swimming pool. It must stay in the performing area or the delivery tank (a trailer). At the end the guests enticed the seal into their pool (for further amusement) and it would not get out until the pool was drained and the trainer had to pull the seal out and back into its tank. No charge for refilling their pool and a brief discussion between the trainer and my client got more money for the added time trainer had to stay to get his seal back under control.

Even a paper cut can result in action. When bartending a party I have certain clauses if using glass vs. plastic and normal wear and breakage if using guest supplied items.

We live in a very litigious society.

-sj
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