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  #1  
Old 01-21-2009, 04:32 PM
travelbud838 travelbud838 is offline
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Best way to fully insure yourself?

I'm still new to sculpture work and have not sold much yet. However, I've been told it is a good idea to have full coverage professional liability coverage? I don't just want slip and fall coverage, as that is not likely, but coverage that would protect me against any type of litigation too, or liability of any type. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Kevin
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2009, 05:38 PM
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Ries Ries is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Basically, the ONLY protection against lawsuits in this world is to either be completely penniless, or to be so rich that you can afford to outlawyer anybody.

In between, where most of us are, you just have to accept the fact that you could die tomorrow, or lose all your money in a depression, or catch the bubonic plague...

And live like you wanna live.

As it happens, I do indeed carry a one million dollar liability policy- but the only reason I do is that I do a fair amount of public art work and work for big developers, both of which require me, in my contracts, to carry the insurance.

If I was not doing this type of work, I would skip it.
Unless I had married an heiress or something.

My policy is a comprehensive business policy, with Safeco Insurance. It covers the buildings I use for my work against fire and theft, covers my work in transit, my tools and equipment, computer and reference books, and includes the aforementioned $1,000,000 liability.
It runs around $2500 a year.
One Million Liability alone usually runs around $1000 to $1200 a year.
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2009, 07:02 PM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Quote:
My policy is a comprehensive business policy, with Safeco Insurance. It covers the buildings I use for my work against fire and theft, covers my work in transit, my tools and equipment, computer and reference books, and includes the aforementioned $1,000,000 liability.
I agree with Ries. Got to be protected from the litigous people in society. Since clients come onto my property I need to make sure that I am covered insurance wise. My insurance is through Westfield Insurance. They insure our house, the studio, and our standalone shop in one umbrella policy.

the policy is cheap if you sleep better at night.

Carl
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  #4  
Old 01-21-2009, 09:10 PM
travelbud838 travelbud838 is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Thanks everyone. You all seem to be covering yourself around the idea that the worst thing that can happen is a "slip & fall" Fine, but what about intellectual rights type coverage? What if someone sees your painting, clay piece, your sculpture, you human figure etc; and decides it looks like a piece they did back in 1972? They get an attorney and file a suit for $300,000 claiming you copywrite violated them. Who covers you for this type of scenario? Hail Mary?

Now I know, nobody copies anyone's work here, Myself included, but in this sue happy world we live in, what is stopping or protecting your from being extorted?

Kevin
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2009, 10:26 AM
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Julianna Julianna is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Hi, Kevin.

I know the film industry has insurance for intellectual property, but I don't think visual artists have an equivalent. I think you're basically working with Hail Mary, and the fact that IP lawsuits between artists are so expensive that they only seem to happen when you're rich & famous like Jeff Koons.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2009, 08:58 PM
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

I think you run a better chance of dying because Blue Ice fell off an airliner restroom onto your head than getting sued for intellectual property.

And insurance to protect you against such a suit would probably have to go thru Lloyds of London or some similar place.

Jeff Koons has been sued twice for this- he won one, and he lost one.
Richard Prince is being sued right now.

However, until your gross art sales break $3 to $5 million a year, I sure wouldnt worrry about it.

For a good, ongoing knowledgeable discussion of this sort of thing, with current posts on the Prince lawsuit, I recommend the Art Law Blog-

http://theartlawblog.blogspot.com/
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2009, 09:04 PM
anatomist1 anatomist1 is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Yeah, I don't think there is anywhere near enough money involved to pay for the lawyering involved in intellectual property disputes over any sculpture you'll ever do.

I'm kind of wondering whether the impulse you are expressing is actually anti-artistic. It seems to me like wanting bulletproof insurance against every kind of risk you can conceive of is sort of an opposite impulse to creating art, which is inherently about taking risks. You could try to argue that abstract artistic risks are a completely different realm than financial risks, but I don't know if I would buy it.
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  #8  
Old 02-02-2009, 01:36 AM
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Its not full-full insurance, but this is fantastic for those of us in australia:

http://www.artworkers.org/index.php?...ID=&menuID=564
http://www.artworkers.org/pdf/InsuranceInfokit08.pdf

10 mill in public liability for under 200 aus a year. i had to get some for a project & this was a great one to grab. When the foundry takes my piece & then installs the finished work it goes on the foundry insurance, but sometimes a customer (i.e. govt job) wants you to be covered anyway.

Apparently it also covers you for people *trying* to sue you for negligence even when you are really careful & have not been neg. It covers your defending yourself against that.

apparently professional indemnity is heaps expensive though & best avoided. Dunno what its for though.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2009, 03:44 PM
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iowasculptor iowasculptor is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

OK, Here is what you need to do. When you get a large commission, create a corporation that will handle all aspect of that sculpture, put the money in the corp build the sculpture, keep it open just long enough to finish it and then close the corporation. Then if anything happens you are not to blame just a defunct corporation that has no assets left. The next project do the same, this will protect your personal assets from being associated with the project. You would then be an employee of the corporation and get paid from the corporation but you are not the corporation.
make sense????yes!
good luck,
Matt
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2009, 07:32 AM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Iowa, Thats a lotta pain-in-the-ass paper shuffling if you plan to get commissions regualarly. I just carry a standard policy, not uinlike the kind any contractor would carry. Had it 15 years. Covers everything. And I'm not even incorporated anymore. Pretty cheap too. And the highwire work is high risk all round...for me and everyone else at the bottom. No matter. Easy, cheap and secure policies are quite available.
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  #11  
Old 02-03-2009, 10:02 AM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Iowa,

Even doing it your way, you can still get sued personally as well as corporately. If you performed this ruse more than once and then got sued, the lawyer is smart enough to see a pattern and sue your d's right off you (he already got your pants).

Evald is right though, reincorparating then deincorporateing would be a horrendous accounting, and legal quagmire.

Just get a regular commercial policy and get to work. Besides, aren't we supposed to be doing sculpture, not worying about litigation?

Carl
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2009, 02:51 PM
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iowasculptor iowasculptor is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

I haven't personally done it, I have heard that people like christo, and richard serra do it for each project, but both of them have had deaths result from their works. I suppose if you were doing things that were on the scale that they work it would be par for course.
Matt
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  #13  
Old 02-03-2009, 10:22 PM
travelbud838 travelbud838 is offline
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Talking Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

I am trying to get my commercial coverage going. But the funny thing is due to the nature of my "hobby" I got to speak with the insurance carrier's attorney. It seems they rarely get coverage requests for artists. Anyhow, I went over everything with this guy. From the mediums I use, the theme or style of my art, to the tools I use, to where it is made, how I transport it, how I display it, how I market it, advertise and so on. This guy did not miss a thing. My thoughts are they are looking for potential exclusions in any policy they might offer me.

Finally when it was my turn?!? I was a bit miffed. I said....."you know, I'm just a guy who likes to knock a few chunks off a few different types of rocks and see how it looks. If I like it, I ask people to buy it and they usually do."

We are artists and the red tape we go through just to make something is absurd. Yet now we have all these people in line, wanting something outside our art, to try and tell us, if we can make our art without getting sued! It's just wrong.

His response? "the only true way you will ever be free from possible litigation, is it to be dirt poor, because in the America we live in today, people get in line to sue you, the minute you get two nickels to rub together."

I purpose we petition congress to make all artists exempt from litigation, unless something grossly negligent can be proven. Something along the lines of perhaps, whacking a critic upside the head with a 50 pound rock sculpture, for criticizing your piece, might not be exempt. Anything short of that, we should all be untouchable.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:31 PM
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Hey T. Dont mention the word "artist" or you're asking for trouble. I'm in as an ironworker. Plain and simple. And any idiot with a buzz-box can get insured that way. Go to a new company, pick a trade that applies to your medium, and it will all just be business as usual.

Neckties are actually art alarms. They are there to warn the wearer when we come to do business (note that wearers of these apparatus' often seem squeezed and uncomfortable...its cause they were affronted by creativity) So whenever you see one of those nooses, no matter what pattern or color, you must know NOT to mention the A word.

Last edited by evaldart : 02-03-2009 at 10:42 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2009, 12:01 PM
travelbud838 travelbud838 is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Insurance underwriter contacted me yesterday and offered $1 million in coverage for $612 per year. Does this seem reasonable? I'm no major production here, just a small time private artist. Supposedly this protects me for just about anything and everything.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:41 PM
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

A million for $612 a year is very reasonable.

Most policies I am aware of are closer to $1000.

Like Eval, I dont mention the "A" word in any of my dealings with the adult world- like insurance, workers comp, getting net 30 accounts with suppliers, and so on. ESPECIALLY with trucking companies or any kind of shipping, NEVER mention "art". Prices triple, or they just refuse your business.

I am a metal fabricator, as far as those guys are all concerned. They come over, they see a bunch of welding machines, and no problemo.

There are similar real world stone workers, I am sure. What category do the guys who carve headstones fall into?
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  #17  
Old 02-05-2009, 08:20 PM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Agree with Ries. $612 is decent. That is about what I pay for the commercial part of my umbrella policy. the policy covers house (personal property), studio (seperate building - commercial), and the gallery (seperate building - commercial).

Carl
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  #18  
Old 02-10-2009, 02:10 PM
travelbud838 travelbud838 is offline
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Re: Best way to fully insure yourself?

Paid $250 to an attorney today. He suggested forming an LLC in Delaware, tagging all my art as LLC with corporate name and carrying the current insurance I just got. It's the best protection any of us can have as an artist.

My attorney pulled up a list of artists who had been sued. It happens far more often then you may think. Many of the suits were thrown out, lost by the plaintiff, or settled for pennies on the dollar compared to the initial suit amount. But, you should still be well protected, as it happens far more often then anyone here might believe.

The attorney showed me over 200 suits in the past 18 months brought by physical injury claims and over 300 copy write, type suits. Many involved advertising firms and professional ad writers, but they are still classified as artists in many cases.

Scary stuff! LLC & insure yourself, to be safe. The only real downside, is that you have notify buyers you are an LLC which means attaching this to your art product, which can take out some of the "romance" for potential buyers.
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