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Thread: What do you use for insurance?

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    What do you use for insurance?

    OK, I recently had an accident in my studio which broke my AptusII-12 back to the tune of $15K. I filed with my "trusty" insurance agent and was told that I only had insurance for liability, theft/vandalism, and catastrophe of entire studio loss.

    I am currently in "negotiations" with my agent to see if they will cover any or some of the breakage costs but they probably won't and they will lose all my business, both personal and business; but I will lose the $$ as well.

    I have looked into new insurance that supposedly will cover breakage on the job and such as well as the usual liability and fire/flood/theft stuff. I have joined PPA and purchased addl. coverage thru them, as well as insurance through a company called "Package Choice" Photographer's professional insurance (Hill & Usher underwriters)

    I am asking fellow MFD members here who they use and any experiences they may have with making claims and such?
    For most things in our studio, I can self insure (computers, Canon's, Nikons...etc) but I have "discovered" of late that there is a huge weakness in my coverage for breakage of truly big ticket items like MFD backs, $10k+ lenses, Drum Scanners, and $15K+ large format printers...to name a few.

    So any recommendations? Referrals? Experiences? Any "Don't use these guys..."? I really want to know.

    Thanks in advance

    Eric Gordon (EGor)

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    Re: What do you use for insurance?

    Come on guys, I know it's boring stuff, but doesn't anybody have any recommendations or caveats?
    I feel pretty good about the Hill&Usher insurance as the agent I got actually knew what I was talking about when I named some of my gear and also knew what my insurance needs would be for a product studio.
    I guess this isn't the right forum for this or maybe no one knows and all are waiting for somebody else to chime in?

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    Re: What do you use for insurance?

    Hi Eric,

    Yeah, it is all so boring, until something happens right?

    I know a lot of photographers use Insurance through PPA. If you are a member, I'd check with them first to see if they have all the coverage you need. I'd ask for a copy of the policy, and take the time to read it in detail because the fine print on some of these can bite you later.

    I've been using a commercial studio policy underwritten by Inland Marine through Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. They call it a Portrait Studio policy, but that is not a limitation, it's just their Generic name for lack of another.

    My agent that handles all my Home, Car, and Personal Liability found it for me. I've been with them for about 8 years now.

    It is a pretty comprehensive policy that covers all sorts of instances that a business can face. Liability for my LLC and any sub-contracted personnel, insidental loss of income due to studio being down, and comprehensive coverage of equipment including computers, lighting, all the studio bits and pieces which add up if you have a catastrophic loss due to theft, fire or natural disasters, etc. (if you are near water, I'd specifically check if flooding is covered).

    They require specific descriptions, serial numbers, and price listings of anything over $6,000 in value, with payout being your listed value with no deductible. All other items below that value are ganged in a general grouping totaling what-ever you want it to with a mandatory deductible. You can select what deductible to control premiums. Before I semi-retired, I had a lower deductible, but now have raised it looking to reduce costs and mostly cover myself against catastrophic loss of items under $6K, while maintaining full market value of those over $6,000.

    Each year I inventory the over $6,000 items and adjust their value in keeping with current used market values of the specific gear mostly Medium Format stuff and a few Leica M items. At one time I had two Hasselblad H cameras, a Leaf 75s DB, a Imacon 949 scanner and a bunch of Leica M stuff valued over that $6,000 threshold. Now it is just my Leica S2P and the Leica CS leaf shutter lenses, plus things like a Leica M Monochrome, M 50/0.95 and 21/1/4 ASPH lenses.

    If you swap out higher end gear often, it can be a PITA to keep the policy current, but you can do it on-line which helps.

    One thing that I think changed with my policy recently is that it no longer covers shipments by common carriers but I'm not really sure about that in detail I don't ship much anymore like I used to. It is something to ask with any company you may be considering.

    Hope this helps a little,

    - Marc

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    Re: What do you use for insurance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post
    So any recommendations? Referrals? Experiences? Any "Don't use these guys..."? I really want to know.
    Eric, I use Chubb, provided through NANPA and Rand Insurance, Inc. It's pricey, but covers all risks. I tried using a rider on our homeowner's policy for awhile, but wouldn't recommend that. The latter specifically restricted use to noncommercial activities.

    Joe
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    Joe Colson Photography

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    Re: What do you use for insurance?

    Thanks, Marc, Joe!
    Appreciate the feedback.
    Yes, you are right, Marc, boring stuff...until you have a "oopsie"
    Then it gets interesting...in a bad way.
    I didnt realize before how little I was actually covered for. The policies I am looking at now cover me for not only breakage on the job, but away on location, vacation, client product (over $500K of client products or originals in studio sometimes...did not know I wasnt covered for that should something happen to them. Dodged a bullet for 20 years on that one)
    The only thing not covered now is mechanical defect and warranty stuff. The extended warranty on some of this MFD stuff costs as much as the whole studio insurance!
    But I have to be warrantied against defect and mechanical failure as well. Plus would need an immediate loaner. With the Nikons and Canons, no problem, just bop over to Samy's and rent or p/u another one...but if my Leaf Credo-80 goes down...its not like a quick trip to 7/11...ya know?
    Much to ponder...

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    Re: What do you use for insurance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post
    Thanks, Marc, Joe!
    Appreciate the feedback.
    Yes, you are right, Marc, boring stuff...until you have a "oopsie"
    Then it gets interesting...in a bad way.
    I didnt realize before how little I was actually covered for. The policies I am looking at now cover me for not only breakage on the job, but away on location, vacation, client product (over $500K of client products or originals in studio sometimes...did not know I wasnt covered for that should something happen to them. Dodged a bullet for 20 years on that one)
    The only thing not covered now is mechanical defect and warranty stuff. The extended warranty on some of this MFD stuff costs as much as the whole studio insurance!
    But I have to be warrantied against defect and mechanical failure as well. Plus would need an immediate loaner. With the Nikons and Canons, no problem, just bop over to Samy's and rent or p/u another one...but if my Leaf Credo-80 goes down...its not like a quick trip to 7/11...ya know?
    Much to ponder...
    Egor,

    Tricky stuff this.

    I'd investigate whether client product has to be covered, or if they already self-cover it maybe handled with an exclusionary clause in your contract/estimate forms? Even if they didn't, it'd probably be worth pulling individual policies only when needed for just the duration of the shoot. I can't imagine what the annual premium for such coverage would be.

    Heck, as an Art Director, I've been on set with "one of" car prototypes worth millions and once did a concept using a gaggle of Ferraris, and they sent freaking armed guards with them

    As to the warranty issue know it well

    Of course, the best solution is two of anything critical which on the face of it seems prohibitively expensive. However, I think we get a bit too anal about absolutely matching tit-for-tat. I found that my H4D/60 was easily matched by an old H2 with a 39 MultiShot I bought used for quite a bit less than 1/2 the price.

    The advantage of the Leaf is that you can put it on another camera so it's the back that is at issue is there another older Leaf that'd do in a pinch? Maybe a used Aptus 10 or 12?

    Murphy's law clearly states that if you have "Hot Swap" warranty coverage, nothing will ever happen the minute you don't have it is when all hell breaks loose.

    To date, my best experience has been with my Leica S2P which included hot swap in the purchase price I once called Leica USA at 3PM, and a S2P loaner was delivered at 8:30AM the next day and the carrier picked up my camera.

    - Marc

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    Re: What do you use for insurance?

    Yes, thinking the same. The new Credo-80 is coming with a new DF+/80SK, and I put up my older DF/80 on buy/sell but am now thinking maybe to keep it and pick-up a second hand back as back-up. I was going to do this anyways originally until Leaf told me they refused to partially repair my AptusII-12 and return it to me with a few scratches on the edge of the sensor.
    In addition I will also inquire about the extended warranty on the new gear. Man this gets expensive don't it?

    Funny you mention the cars. I had two Ferraris in my NYC studio once. I was shooting for a Russian company that imports sable coats. We had two young girls models posing with the coats in front of the cars. We had already nailed the layouts and the AD asked for some new poses and asked the models to have "fun". One of the girls wearing nothing but a sable coat jumped into the air and landed on the hood of one of the Ferarris (we all heard her butt putting a big dent across the hood!!!) I freaked and started yelling at the girls to be more careful and telling them "Do you have any idea how much those cars are worth?"...The client then informed me that any one of the sable coats they were throwing around was worth more than the Ferraris!
    He called them "chump change props" and could care less. I was shocked but learned a thing or two about my client
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