Hollywood Studios NOT Willing to Issue Insurance Certs?
Posted 20 June 2006 - 01:31 AM
I was also told that Fox, Sony and Disney all have similar policies. I have been hearing for sometime now that Sony and Disney in particular are not renting equipment from individuals at all, excepting Steadicam equipment because the gear is so specialized and cannot really be rented from a rental house and the studios don?t own them. My production tells me that my gear will be covered by the studio?s insurance policy. I reply, ?So can I have a copy of the studio?s production insurance policy?? I am told, ?Paramount will tell us to tell you to call them to find out that your equipment IS covered.? I say, ?Well if it is really covered and they are willing to rent it from me, why can?t they just put it in writing??
So as of today, production is going to submit my insurance inventory to some studio executives for approval, or something like that.
Now, it seems to me that if a production is willing to rent specialized equipment -- which they are in my case -- they have to insure it. I know for a fact that Panavision or Otto?s will not let any gear out the door without an insurance cert from the production company, so why should my Steadicam equipment be any different?
What are your experiences of late with the Hollywood Studios regarding insurance and rentals? Do they really make it this ridiculous now? I?ve rented gear to Paramount and others in the past with no problems. I?m not talking about some fly-by-night shady music video production company here, these are the biggest film production studios in Hollywood making union features. I would never walk out the door without getting an insurance cert from a commercial or music video production company, why should the studios be any different? It all sounds like some studio lawyers have found a way to distance themselves even further from responsibility and liability and our rigs are to be put at risk for it.
Any advice or experience, legal or otherwise, would be appreciated. As for now, I am going to see what comes of the ?executive approval,? but I don?t think I can, in good conscious, cave on this one ?- I have too much money, time, and energy invested in my equipment to simply let a massive corporation use it without talking some responsibility for it.
Posted 20 June 2006 - 08:13 AM
I did season two of Wildfire, for Lions Gate, and had no problems there.
I even had my monitor and monitor arm damaged by a horse, when nobody was around, and they were replaced with no problems whatsoever.
Keep on top of it, sounds like it will workout if you keep pressuring them.
Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:00 AM
I haven't run into a company that wouldn't get me one...just dragged their feet about it. If it's the Acorn cert, read the box in the upper right corner. It basically says that the original policy set up by the prod company cannot be altered, ie nobody can be just "added" to the policy by simply typing the name in the available space at the bottom (like the pa in the production office would do with your name). I learned this after a crash. The company made good because I had a relationship with them, but the adjusters from the insurance co. made it clear that they could have easily refused to cover my repair. The kind folks at Walter Dolle told me they were right, but by having the cert with my name on it proves that they acknowledged me being there with expensive gear under their watch. Bla Bla Bla.
If I run into your situation, not sure what I'd do...maybe have the UPM initial every page of my equip inventory to prove I was there with all the gear. That always makes people uneasy. Once I had a UPM of a Universal tv show tell me that if I fell and damaged my gear (during a running shot, for example), it would be my fault and I'd be responsible! He said that as a highly paid professional I shoul've know it was too dangerous and suggested another way of doing it (meanwhile he'd be on the phone hiring someone who would do the shot). He did say that of course my gear would be covered if it was stolen, just not if it was damaged while I was operating it. Hmmm. I got him drunk and made him sign a blank form incase there were "issues".
sorry for the long post -- need to water down my coffee!
Posted 20 June 2006 - 02:01 PM
This sort of crap really makes me mad!
The show I'm on right now (a low budget Canadian film) had no problem insuring my gear. In fact, the PM told me "No matter what you've been told in the past by others, it only takes about five minutes to have your gear added to the production insurance policy. No problem."
She e-mailed me ten minutes later with it done.
The Panavision point is totally relative. There should be no reason not to insure your gear. My insurance only covers my gear at home or in transit to set.
The whole "we won't cover it if you fall" crap makes me angrier! Try telling that to Panavision. They would pull their gear off the show.
As long as there are operators out there (you know who you are) who are willing to undercut us all in order to get the job and who agree to doing things this way, producers will eventually expect us all to do it that way. It hurts everyone.
Posted 20 June 2006 - 04:04 PM
Posted 20 June 2006 - 11:12 PM
I've never had any issues getting production to insure my gear, and I'm a little disheartened to think that this might be an issue in the future. I'd be interested to hear what other people's recent exeriences with the studios have been.
Posted 21 June 2006 - 12:34 AM
Posted 21 June 2006 - 12:11 PM
One of the damages was a sound cart flipping causing a sizable amount of damage. The sound guy was told that he was not covered for anything that he "used in his everyday job as a mixer".
I was told by a UPM that you need a corporation and all rentals must go through your corporation.
Be sure that your gear is not being called a "kit rental".
Posted 21 June 2006 - 11:33 PM
Seriously, guys... we can nip this in the bud.
Posted 22 June 2006 - 02:39 AM
I believe this to be a growing concern, and as Chris points out it can be nipped in the bud (much less complicated than the rate issue, as it is either one thing or the other: is the gear insured, or not?).
Posted 22 June 2006 - 02:41 PM
Steadicam is NOT a box rental or Kit rental. We do not have exclusive use of the gear - the entire camera department is working with our equipment and the director and the DP are making decisions about how the gear is used. We don't have exclusive control of the equipment. Studios would love to lump the steadicam equipment in with the 2nd AD's laptop and the hair persons brushes and combs but it is not the same thing at all.
I try to avoid signing a "box rental" agreement and also my agent requires the producer acknowledge liability in my contract by agreeing to provide insurance coverage for the gear.
Personally I have never had a production company refuse to pay for damage that occured on the job. I think much of the insurance crap we are encountering is the production company trying to show that we are responsible for what ever goes wrong with our gear on the job.
Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:15 AM
After sending my Steadicam insurance inventory to production I received a phone call at the end of the week asking me a few more questions and notifying me that I would be added to production's insurance policy and issued an insurance cert. Yesterday I took delivery of the insurance cert and so this particular issue is resolved for me.
I?ll be honest, if they would not have agreed to do this, I would not have rented them my gear. It?s not fair and it?s just not worth it, period. Thankfully though I bit my tongue, held my cool, and let production work out what they needed to, all without making any enemies or making a huge fuss. So all?s well that ends well I guess.
I do think this issue of insurance certs is serious, and I?m glad that other people share my concern. Chris is right, we all simply need to stand our ground on this one and as Charles mentioned, it?s black and white. We need to make a decision and stick by it regardless of rate, location, or production; do we want to work for a company that cares so little that they will not do the right thing and insure our equipment? Absolutely not.
P.S. Thanks for all the great responses, this is exactly the dialogue and support that I was hoping for. Neal, you make some great points about others being involved with our equipment and how it is used, and it is most definitely not a box rental.
Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:20 PM
Any thoughts or suggesstions would be appreciated.
Posted 09 August 2006 - 09:15 AM
I ALWAYS get a cert! I have used this to get my paycheck from meltdown productions when they flake, also make sure that you have the right person's fax number to get this done, if you act like Panavision or Clairmont ect you will be treated like them. 99% of all front office problems are people going to the wrong guy, I have had PM's tell me "no, we don't do that" only to have the production accountant say " of course we do, fax it over" in the same office.