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Balking at Certificate of Insurance


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#1 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:13 PM

When I ask about an insurance certificate how do I respond to,

"We've never had to do that before. Don't you have your own insurance?"

Keep in mind, I haven't worked with them before, and certainly don't want to offend them or stress them out.
I'm looking for kind polite ways of making my point so that they understand what I'm asking for is standard.

And... I'm in the south. =)
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#2 William Demeritt

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:40 PM

"I have insurance to protect my gear when I have it at home to protect against theft, loss, etc. Whenever my gear is rented to work on a production with me, I require a certificate of insurance the same as how G&E houses generally require insurance for their gear, or a camera rental house requires insurance."

You can also add on something about (or be prepared to answer the question of) you will agree to rent the equipment to production without a certificate of insurance, but you'll need to charge them a premium and also have them sign a rental agreement stating they're responsible for the deductible of any equipment lost or damaged.
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#3 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 07:04 PM

How would you offend or stress someone by requesting an industry standard COI to cover your rented equipment?

It is your policy or it should be, and your policies are the guidelines you set for how you conduct business. You could decide not to require a COI but you'd be taking the risk and hit on your insurance and also setting precedent that is not very good for your profession and colleagues.

Imagine trying to rent a car or just about any other valuable item without having insurance and telling the person at the counter "We've never had to do that before. Don't you have your own insurance?". They'd explain it is their company policy plain and simple. How would that offend you?

Also, the COI is not just to cover your gear, though that is an important part of it. The COI includes General Liability coverage that covers you in a situation where someone trips over your gear or some other accident happens and someone is injured or something is damaged. You might not even be directly involved in the accident but an aggressive attorney will blanket sue anyone and everyone just to extract a settlement.

De-personalize your work product and treat your business like a business. Ask yourself what would FedEx, Panavision, Albertsons, Hertz or any other business do.

Robert
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#4 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 07:26 PM

Bry,
Chances are they are not aware of how it is to be done. Politely tell them it is standard procedure and send them a copy of what looks like and have them acquire one for you. I have had to educate small companies and large corp that have all found a way to make it happen.
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#5 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 01:13 AM

EVERY job I've ever worked, big or small, has always supplied an insurance cert. The only exception may have been once or twice if I was helping a buddy shoot some student video in his backyard over the weekend or something. Insurance cert, ALWAYS, across the board. This is industry standard on projects as small as student level. If they are renting ANY gear from any rental house, they have been required to provide equipment coverage. So they have a policy in place. It's just a simple matter of printing out a certificate for you with yourself listed as certificate holder. This production company is clearly not very experienced, so like Rob advised, politely explain to them that this is how things are done and it is the industry standard. I believe 99.9% of professional operators in the U.S. will agree.

The reason I wanted to chime in on this thread, is to reinforce this point and make sure no one out there is foolishly "waiving" their insurance requirements. If people start doing this, it will spread like wildfire and producers will quickly adopt a new standard for operators to provide their own insurance because "the last guy did". Of course many of us carry our own insurance coverage. But this has nothing to do with the coverage production must provide. And it is, in my opinion, none of their business wether or not I have insurance on my gear. It does not even enter the conversation. Please educate your beginner producers and your fellow operators. It's a hard enough battle we all fight for rates, professional treatment and of course proper insurance coverage for our gear. So please stick with the program folks.
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#6 Janice Arthur

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 11:16 AM

Hi all;

I'm always amazed when I ask for a COI from a small company, etc. fearing that they don't know what I'm talking about. As I start to explain and then just say, its what you give the rental houses and EVERY single time they know what I'm talking about.

They are never naive about insurance. They always have it and just don't want to give it out unless you ask/demand.

There are student films etc that can't get the policy because of cost but those in "business" know about it and have it. If you believe them and the risk is small then charge a premium on your policy and do as described above.

You'd should not be shy about asking. . . believe me they know.

My response when they say 'don't you have insurance?' You say I'm a rental house too, I get a COI just like them. End of discussion.

JA
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#7 Kris Torch Wilson

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 10:04 PM

"EVERY job I've ever worked, big or small, has always supplied an insurance cert. The only exception may have been once or twice "

Sorry Nick I can't resist.
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#8 Janice Arthur

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 11:26 AM

Kris;

Didn't Yogi Berra say, when talking about golf, "95% of balls that don't get to the hole don't go in."
He was a genius.

Janice
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#9 RonBaldwin

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 01:12 PM

"EVERY job I've ever worked, big or small, has always supplied an insurance cert. The only exception may have been once or twice "

Sorry Nick I can't resist.


funny Kris -- you went all Fox News on Nick!

I have rarely had an issue with getting one, most companies just know the deal. This topic has been touched on many times. I think I have also mentioned an equipment repair issue I had once where the bean counters told me they didn't have to cover my gear because of the disclaimer on the coi (the one in the box at the top right of the standard Accord cert we all get). Read it...and weep.

If it's a job I get the willy's about I will usually call to make sure I am actually on the policy and not just typed into a blank space on the cert.
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#10 William Demeritt

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:18 PM

I think I have also mentioned an equipment repair issue I had once where the bean counters told me they didn't have to cover my gear because of the disclaimer on the coi (the one in the box at the top right of the standard Accord cert we all get). Read it...and weep.

If it's a job I get the willy's about I will usually call to make sure I am actually on the policy and not just typed into a blank space on the cert.


I'm sure someone more savvy than I can chime in soon, but the disclaimer at the top of the ACCORD certs is to protect the insured from someone claiming a repair or loss against their policy without additional contractual agreemenepts binding you to their policy.

I request proof they even have a valid policy, and by getting one issued in my name shows their policy is in good standing. From that point on, it's probably up to the equipment provider to get a Rental agreement signed by production that obligates them to use said policy for any repairs or loss.

I think a lot of us operate on a verbal agreement or even unspoken but implied agreement that our gear is covered by their policy, but if they really want to get crazy about it, they probably could claim "oh, you were never on our policy for your gear, that was if you were worried about bodily injury liability."
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#11 RonBaldwin

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:48 PM

it says that the form in no way alters the original policy and gives no rights to the cert holder (the poor op whose name was just typed into an empty space at the bottom by an office pa. Yes, being facetious here, but...that's why one should always call and make sure you've been added to the policy and not just added to a blank form.

What it does do is prove that you were infact there with your gear, so in a court you actually have at least 1 leg to stand on if the prod company tries to get out of it.

rb
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#12 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 05:16 PM

What it does do is prove that you were infact there with your gear, so in a court you actually have at least 1 leg to stand on if the prod company tries to get out of it.



Actually it's the PR that shows that you were there along with the payroll timecard. Having the cert proves that production represented that you were insured for any loss while in their employ.
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#13 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:56 AM

What it does do is prove that you were infact there with your gear, so in a court you actually have at least 1 leg to stand on if the prod company tries to get out of it.



Actually it's the PR that shows that you were there along with the payroll timecard. Having the cert proves that production represented that you were insured for any loss while in their employ.


So should this be standard practice for us to call the Insurance company to verify that we are in fact ON the policy?

I know this has been discussed here on the forum quite a bit and it never gets old. Even though we have a "cert", that cert might have no legal value in the event of an actual claim. Like you guys say, just a piece of paper with your name typed in a box. I believe this is where a solid and detailed rental agreement should come into the picture. Although I haven't been in this legal situation yet (knock wood), from everything I've learned this signed rental agreement would give you a legal leg to stand on. Same doc as all the rental houses have you sign. There are lengthy threads on this forum about this, so I won't get deep into it.
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#14 Janice Arthur

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 08:06 AM

from everything I've learned this signed rental agreement would give you a legal leg to stand on. Same doc as all the rental houses have you sign. There are lengthy threads on this forum about this, so I won't get deep into it.
[/quote]

Nick and others.

While a nice idea no one on the production will ever sign it. I've never had any luck with it and if I do get some PM or someone else to sign it and I tried to enforce it, I'd imagine, they'd say he/she didn't have any authority to sign that. Thus they now declare it null and void. Now you're fighting to get your paper recognized and the gear fixed. What we do have in our favor now is the internet and facebook, etc. The word travels fast about the bad companies, productions, etc. We can sometimes get help from Unions, Associations, etc. too.

I think its a 'go with what the rest of the crew knows about this company and how they're handling it and what they got for COI' situation. Remember the grip truck and others got a COI, see what they got.

I do think it is useful to call the insurance company and make sure they have a policy in force. (I almost never do but a good idea.)

JA
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#15 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:06 PM

Thanks everyone for the input and opinions.

I understand it's an industry standard, and that most people in the industry know what I'm asking for.
It's hard to know how to respond to things like;

"if we hire someone with their gear, it's up to them to provide insurance since they will be there" - ie, it's NOT like a camera rental because the owner is there.
and
"we've never had to do this before when we hire people with their gear" - which doesn't make it right.

Because basically I'm saying to the client, "you are wrong, and I am right. Now hire me." =)
It's always the subtile things that I want to focus on. Like, not making them feel dumb. I don't want to do that.
ALSO...It's important to me to not seem hard to deal with. Regardless of if I'm in "the right" I don't want to be an ass about it. (I know it only takes a second to have a COI sent to me)

What I think I'm going to do it write up a little script on my policys, so that It's not something I have to concoct while I'm on the phone. Something like. "So since we haven't worked together before let me go over a few things I require as a steadicam owner / operator. It's industry standard stuff, but I'll cover it anyway...etc"

Thanks again for everyone's input and experiences.
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