Tech Talk: Insurance Needs as it Relates to AV
Information about event insurance is getting standardized, but does it apply specifically to AV?by Warren K. Kong | Published in August 2008 insurance | lighting | special effects | tech talk | technology | Departments
Q: What is the minimum amount of insurance coverage that I should expect from a special effects supplier? And what are the pitfalls of preparing a risk assessment in regard to contracting A/V, lighting and special effects?
A: This a good question, and with so many fly-by-night companies out there, anyone can call themselves a production company or a special effects vendor. So, it’s important to discuss more than just insurance here.
Yes, insurance coverage is important — but it is only a small part of a much bigger liability responsibility, of which your vendors share the burden.
At the very least, any business in our industry should have basic liability insurance that will cover $500,000 per incident and $1 million total. And many audio-visual and effects companies are starting to carry liability policies upwards of $2 to $3 million. Some vendors will carry equipment insurance and, depending on what state you are in, worker’s compensation insurance. For all audio, video and lighting companies, this is more than sufficient.
But, again, this is only the beginning.
If you are rigging in a facility — that is, hanging anything from the ceiling that could potentially fall — then a company will need to be insured for overhead rigging. This is usually written as part of a liability policy over $3 million in coverage; in some cases, they can go upwards of $30 million, depending on what the company is doing on a daily basis.
For special effects companies, it is more important that they have permissions from the local, state and/or federal government to operate. The necessary approvals may vary from state to state. Sometimes it’s as simple as a fire permit; other times it can require special ballistics licensing.
Remember, it is important to know who is responsible for injuries and accidents at your events. Ask each of the vendors about what regulations they fall under. A well-prepared company will have all the information ready to give out. If a vendor hesitates or delays its response, approach with caution.
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