Third Take1 Webinar to Focus on the Best Utilization of the Event Safety Guide

The ABCs of the Event Safety Guide: A 60-Minute Primer on Putting the Event Safety Guide to Work for You will again feature the Event Safety Alliance and be held on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 2 p.m. EST and feature Joseph Pred, founder and CEO of Mutual Aid Response Services (MARS), based in San Francisco, California. 

After focusing on general and weather-related event safety issues in its first two precedent-setting webinars, Take1 Insurance and the Event Safety Alliance (ESA) will take a more focused, practical look at how to best utilize the ESA Event Safety Guide (available now at the web site eventsafetyalliance.org). "The ABCs of the Event Safety Guide: A 60-Minute Primer on Putting the Event Safety Guide to Work for You" will take place on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 2:00PM and once again be hosted by New Bay Media’s Rental & Staging News and moderated by Editorial Director David Keene. 

“More than 1,200 industry professionals registered to participate in our first two event safety webinars,” according to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President & Program Director of Take1 Insurance, “and we couldn’t be more proud of the response received to date and the requests for follow up information that each webinar has generated.  The live event industry is taking safety to heart and, as the entertainment industry’s leading insurance provider, we understand just how important this is to producing safer live events.”

In addition to Event Safety Alliance Executive Director Jim Digby, the July 2014 webinar will feature Joseph Pred, founder and CEO of Mutual Aid Response Services (MARS), based in San Francisco, California.  MARS provides the special event industry, as well as the non-profit, industrial and corporate sectors with comprehensive consulting, risk management, and operations with a focus on emergency medical, communications and fire services to supplement on-site resources and provide contracted first response to any emergency. Pred has been an active member of the Event Safety Alliance since 2012 and has more than 20 years of experience working in the event management and safety industry. 

Pred’s presentation will include an overview of the Event Safety Guide, how it ties in to existing standards such as the public safety incident command system, and how to use the guide in areas both familiar and unfamiliar to specific areas of expertise. He will walk participants through a demonstration of a typical event and explain how to apply the guide to various aspects of planning and operational phases. A variety of special considerations, such as electronic music events, unfenced or un-ticketed events will also be reviewed. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A period for those who have specific questions about their event and integrating the use of the Event Safety Guide.

“The partnership between Take1 Insurance and the Event Safety Alliance becomes more important every day,” ESA Executive Director Jim Digby said today.  “Take1’s continued sponsorship of these vitally important webinars demonstrates a commitment to event safety that is second to none in the industry today.  They are to be commended for all they do to promote the production of safer live events.”

Amateur Meteorology Must Become A Thing Of The Past, Safety Experts Warn Live Event Producers

A dramatic shift in weather that’s producing an unprecedented surge in pop-up thunderstorms, superstorms, and tornados is challenging live event producers to completely re-think their approach to real-time weather forecasting. Fortunately, for the live event industry, this challenge comes at a time when a new generation of advanced weather detection and monitoring systems are available to help make all live events safer live events.

“Plan ahead when the sun is shining and not when the storm clouds roll in — that was the simple but powerful message delivered to the more than 200 professionals who turned out on March 19th for the second Take 1 Insurance sponsored Event Safety Webinar,” Take 1 Insurance Executive Vice President & Program Director Scott Carroll said today. Take 1 Insurance is the entertainment industry’s leading insurance solutions provider and a founding corporate sponsor of the Event Safety Alliance (ESA).

Hosted by New Bay Media’s Rental & Staging News, the Event Safety Webinar included presentations by Carroll, Event Safety Alliance (ESA) Executive Director Jim Digby, and Weather Decision Technologies (WDT) Senior Vice President David VandenHeuvel. A complete transcript of the webinar is now available for all to access at this link.

The webinar focused on issues such as weather planning and "predictive weather forecasting" vs. "nowcasting," or rather, the dilemma a producer faces when deciding whether to pull the plug due to dangerous conditions. With weather detection technology, pre-emptive insight for event producers and venues alike is now accessible, and in many cases, necessary.

“Incorporating the latest advances in weather forecasting and monitoring into a comprehensive safety plan is probably the single most important thing a producer can do to ensure a safer outdoor live event,” explained Carroll. “Weather affects every aspect of an outdoor live event and it’s becoming a huge issue, in particular from the point of view of insurance providers who want to make sure that every eventuality is considered if not planned for.”

According to Carroll, insured losses from natural disasters in the United States in 2012 more than doubled the average of annual insured losses in the 11 years prior. Thunderstorm events, Carroll asserted, are becoming a greater percentage of overall annual insured losses. Although the jump in damage from natural disasters in 2012 was in part due to superstorm Sandy, Carroll asserted that weather is changing and everyone involved in planning and producing live events must be prepared.

“We have all experienced weather changes throughout the years, so we know that weather patterns are more severe,” Carroll said. “Therefore, we’re experiencing more thunderstorms, and typically with thunderstorms, come wind storms, and it’s the wind that can cause large amounts of insured damage. And, severe local storms are on the rise in terms of the percentage of insured damage they cause.”

Up until 2011, many event producers relied on their own amateur meteorology skills when deciding whether or not to evacuate an outdoor event. “I considered myself an amateur in-the-know meteorologist,” said Jim Digby, ESA Executive Director. “But questions like, should we evacuate, or shouldn’t we? Who will make the call? Who will tell the audience? Where would they go? were all conversations that were happening in real time, and that’s not good.”

“Being weather savvy does not prevent you from being exposed to weather damages,” VandenHeuvel explained. “However, using a professional weather service like WDT takes the burden of monitoring the weather off of the producer’s back and puts it onto our meteorologists.”

Luckily for event producers, WDT’s team of expert meteorologists applies a varying degree of different weather triggers when monitoring for a single outdoor event. Weather advisories starting seven days prior to the event give producers a better grasp on if and when to pull the plug due to an unsafe situation. “You won’t save lives if you don’t have a plan and a robust communications protocol in place,” VandenHeuvel advised.

For a go-to guide on all aspects of live event safety, the Event Safety Alliance Guide is now complete and available on eventsafetyalliance.org. In addition, ESA is now offering Event Safety leadership training courses intended to enhance the safety awareness in the live event space. “Our hope is that these classes will close the gap between event officials in charge with no required training whatsoever, and those who are required by their employers to have safety training,” Digby said.

According to Carroll, Take1 Insurance, together with the Event Safety Alliance, will be hosting a series of follow up, subject-specific Live Event Safety Webinars in 2014. “We sponsor these webinars to help educate the dedicated public involved in putting on live events,” Carroll said. “The subject and primary focus is always safety first.“

 

 

Take1 Insurance Outlines Five Vital Steps to Ensure Live Event Safety

Asserting that safety must become the number one priority of every live event producer, Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President & Program Director of Take1 Insurance, today said that there are five vital steps that should be followed when planning any live event.

“The biggest mistake an event producer can make is to not ask enough questions,” Carroll said today. “These questions are easy to overlook, but the answers are critically important for developing a thorough safety plan.”

According to Carroll, the first step to take to ensure a safer live event is verifying that all vendors have insurance policies with contractual capabilities to make anyone an AI to their policy. Each vendor should be able to produce proof of insurance, and asking a few simple questions about their coverage can highlight potential coverage gaps or inadequacies.

Second, for outdoor events Carroll advises that producers fully understand the terrain. Producers should use on-site weather monitoring tools to stay ahead of any potential storms. Powerful apps for smartphones and tablets show wind speed, direction, and approaching rain, but for larger more sophisticated shows and venues, actual on-site weather monitoring personnel may be best.

Third, identifying stakeholders behind the vendors is also important when ensuring event safety. “Who has the authority to stop the show should equipment fail or inclement weather becomes a safety issue? Find this person and meet with them to determine a decision timeline,” he added.

Fourth, customer-facing vendors such as concessions, security and parking companies typically have the most exposure to incidents because they touch virtually every spectator and show personnel. Vendors should always be chosen based on which company has a safe and successful track record, not whichever company offers the cheapest bid. “Choosing the right vendor can be the difference between smooth sailing and a huge headache,” Carroll added.

Finally, Carroll urges event producers to develop their own plan for emergency situations. “Ask yourself ‘what if’ questions and figure out the best way to address the potential issues,” he said. “What if the wind suddenly picks up above 30 miles per hour? What if there is an active shooter on the scene? What if the rigging vendor can’t supply evidence of insurance? What if a food vendor has a fire? Answering these questions can help identify and ultimately eliminate potential disasters before they begin.”

Second Take1 Webinar to Focus On Incorporating The Latest Weather Technologies Into An Event Safety Plan


Responding to requests from a wide range of professionals for a safety webinar focused specifically on producing safer outdoor events, Take1 Insurance, the leading insurance provider to the entertainment industry, today announced that it will host a webinar focused on how to best utilize the latest advances in weather forecasting and monitoring technology — Weather First: A 60-Minute Primer on Incorporating Weather Technology in Outdoor Event Safety Plans.

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According to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President & Program Director of Take1 Insurance, the leading entertainment insurance provider is again teaming up with Event Safety Alliance (ESA) to ensure the March 19, 2014 webinar is as compelling as the inaugural event safety webinar that was held last November.  The March 19 webinar will take place at 2:00PM eastern standard time and is open to anyone involved in the business of producing and staging live outdoor events.  

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 “Incorporating the latest advances in weather forecasting and monitoring into a comprehensive safety plan is probably the single most important thing a producer can do to ensure a safer outdoor live event,” Carroll said today.  “Weather affects every aspect of an outdoor live event.  From an insurance perspective, when it comes to weather planning, we are going to want to know, in some specific detail, how the weather will be managed and monitored at the show site.”

Elaborating further, ESA Executive Director Jim Digby noted that the webinar will focus specifically on issues like weather planning and "predictive weather forecasting" vs. "nowcasting," and show stop/hold planning. “I am very proud to announce that this webinar will involve the participation of David VandenHeuvel, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Services at Weather Decision Technologies (WDT) in Norman, Oklahoma and a founding member of the ESA.  David has over 32 years of weather and safety experience, 23 years of which were in the United States Air Force (now retired).  WDT has developed custom weather decision aids and services specific to the live event industry, including interactive maps, alerting and mobile applications.”

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According to Digby, in 2013 WDT provided weather support for over 1,500 events around the globe, including Linkin Park, Paul McCartney, and the just completed 2014 Super Bowl in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

 

Event Safety Alliance To Debut Industry's First Event Safety Guide For Live Event Professionals

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After nearly two years of development and the input of hundreds of industry, regulatory and safety professionals, the Event Safety Alliance (ESA) today announced the forthcoming release of the Event Safety Guide — the live event industry’s first comprehensive reference guide of established industry best practices.

 According to Jim Digby, Executive Director of the Event Safety Alliance, Version 1.0 of the Guide will be available at the LDI 2013 Conference and Tradeshow in Las Vegas (November 21-24) at Booth #2363.

“The official release of the Event Safety Guide is an historic milestone in the standardization of safety practices within our industry,” Digby said today. “With the first edition of the guide complete, we now move our focus to efforts helping professionals apply its contents in the planning and safe execution of their events.  Among the many developing resources on the horizon by the ESA - safety leadership training for event professionals.”

 According to Chester Bennington, lead vocalist of multi-platinum rock band LINKIN PARK,  “I'm extremely proud of you, Jim, and the immense amount of work you and your colleagues have put into this historic moment.  I'd like to express for the entire music community, both professional and nonprofessional, our gratitude to the ESA for considering our safety, the audiences safety and the well-being of all by insuring that every possible consideration for venue and operational safety and security have been assessed by the industries' top professionals.   The tragedies that will be prevented by your unwavering dedication to all of our safety means that the work of the ESA will — in the greatest way — go unnoticed as we go home each night without incident."

Printed editions of the guide will be available for purchase on the Event Safety Alliance website next month. Additionally, eBook versions of the Event Safety Guide will be available for download at several online retailers including Amazon, iTunes and Barnes & Noble. Both formats of the guide will be sold for $49.95, with proceeds from all purchases helping the ESA develop additional resources and further the message of “life safety first."

“From the very beginning, our goal has been to have the Event Safety Alliance become the industry’s preeminent safety advocacy trade association," continued Digby. “By making the guide available at a cost below most publications of this type, we believe we can continue to grow the ESA while making sure this critical information is user friendly and gets into as many hands as possible."

 Developed in response to a series of accidents within the live event industry, the Event Safety Guide is a collection of best practices culled from the experience and insight of top professionals within the event industry, as well as relevant life safety standards currently applicable by groups such as OSHA, NFPA, ICC and PLASA. Prior to the Event Safety guide, no such comprehensive collection of guidance existed that industry professionals could refer to covering many of the unique hazards the industry faces. Modeled after the U.K.’s “Purple Guide”, the Event Safety Guide is intended to serve as a one-stop reference to help users ask the right questions while planning for and managing events. It addresses a broad range of topics relevant to most events including emergency planning, weather preparedness and personal protective equipment, as well as technical issues such as temporary staging, rigging and special effects. The guide has been intentionally designed for field use, written in straightforward language with contents organized topically to aid in quick access to information.

More Than 375 Live Event Professionals Turn Out For Industry-First Webinar On Live Event Safety

A record-setting 377 live event professionals turned to their computer screens yesterday afternoon to participate in the industry’s first Webinar focused on promoting Live Event Safety.  Sponsored by Take1 Insurance, in conjunction with the Event Safety Alliance, the event was hosted by New Bay Media’s Rental & Staging News.  The Webinar is now available for all to access at this web site. 

“We are thrilled with the turnout for this critically important first step in making event safety a first priority for producers of live events, the owner/operators of venues where live events are held, and the municipalities that host them, along with all live event service firms who work these shows every day” explained Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President & Program Director of Take1 Insurance.  “More than 820 professionals registered for the Webinar and 377 of these pre-registrants actually participated in the event.  These are great numbers for a free Webinar and the questions posted afterward revealed significant interest in this topic.”

According to Carroll, the timing of the Webinar comes as the Event Safety Alliance prepares to introduce the industry’s first comprehensive Event Safety Guide.  “The availability of this Guide is going to have a permanent impact on the way the insurance industry approaches coverage in the future.  Insurance providers, like Take1 Insurance, are going to ask if clients know about the Event Safety Alliance, are aware of the Event Safety Guide, and use the Event Safety Guide to prepare an Event Safety Plan,” Carroll asserted.  He advised everyone involved in producing live events to ‘underwrite the underwriter.’  “All carriers in the live event space are not alike.  If your carrier doesn’t value what you do in terms of safety precautions, then maybe you should consider finding a carrier who does.” 

According to Jim Digby, Executive Director of the Event Safety Alliance, “We’re all in this together — event producers, venue owner/operators, municipalities, promoters, and first responders.  We all have a legal as well as a moral obligation to make live event safety our very first priority when it comes to producing and staging a live event.  The Event Safety Alliance was formed to make this goal a reality so that we no longer have to witness the tragedies that have occurred over the last number of years in Toronto, Rhode Island, Indiana, and Brazil.  Together, we can make the production of live events infinitely safer for everyone involved.”

According to Digby, the ESA Event Safety Guide will soon be available for purchase on Apple iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble as well as directly from the Event Safety Alliance website.  

According to Carroll, Take1 Insurance, together with the Event Safety Alliance, will be hosting a series of follow up, subject-specific Live Event Safety Webinars in 2014.  

The Event Safety Alliance was founded in 2011 by Jim Digby, a 30+ year veteran of the entertainment industry. He is the founder of Collaborative Endeavour Group (CEG), providing international touring strategies and complete production solutions for the live entertainment industry. He currently serves as Director of Touring and Production for the multi-million selling artists Linkin Park, and has previously worked with artists as diverse as The Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi and Marilyn Manson. A long-time advocate for event safety and ethical touring models, he is a three-time recipient of Tourlink’s “Production Manager of the year” award, as well as the Parnelli’s “Production Manager of the Year” award for 2012.
 

Take1 And Event Safety Alliance To Host Industry's First Webinar On Live Event Safety

Asserting that the live event production industry can no longer take a passive approach to life safety, Take1 Insurance, the leading insurance provider to the entertainment industry, today announced that it was teaming up with the Event Safety Alliance (ESA) to host the industry’s first webinar focused on producing safer live events.

According to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President & Program Director of Take1 Insurance, the precedent-setting webinar will take place on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 2 p.m EST and is open to anyone involved in the business of producing and staging live events.  Registration for the webinar is now open at this website.

“The time for discussion is over and the time to take action is at hand,” Carroll stressed today.  “For years we have emphasized the need for live event producers to take the time to prepare for the unimaginable and now, thanks to the leadership position taken by Jim Digby and the Event Safety Alliance, the industry can utilize the ESA’s“Event Safety Guide” to prepare complete emergency action plans that include having the right insurance coverage in place.” 

Carroll emphasized that, “Investing 60 minutes to learn more about the issues involved in producing safer live events is not too much to ask of any of us, given the number of incidents that have occurred over the last several years.  It is our hope that ‘A 60-Minute Introduction to Producing Safer Live Events’ is the first in a series of additional Take1 sponsored topic focused webinars that involve a broad range of industry professionals in a very important discussion.”

“Due to a series of tragic accidents, life safety has become a major concern to many within the live event industry,” explained Jim Digby, founder of the Event Safety Alliance. “Whether you work directly on productions or provide support to them, everyone has a role to play in ensuring the well-being of our performers, workers, and audience members. In this webinar, leaders from ESA and Take1 will detail the importance and responsibilities of event safety for those who promote, produce, and insure live events. You’ll learn more about the mission and activities of the ESA, along with our vision for the future, as well as the solutions offered by Take1. Most importantly, we’ll discuss critical tools and resources currently in development, and how the insurance industry can work with the ESA to create safer live events.”

A week after the Event Safety webinar, the Event Safety Alliance will take its message of “be prepared” to LDI 2013 (November 22–24, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada) where it will host a presentation entitled “The Event Safety Guide: The Future of Safe, Responsible Show Production” on November 23, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  At 3:30 p.m. the same day, the ESA will host a 90-minute roundtable discussion entitled “You Are The ESA” at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Event Safety Alliance was founded in 2011 by Jim Digby, a 30+ year veteran of the entertainment industry. He is the founder of Collaborative Endeavour Group (CEG), providing international touring strategies and complete production solutions for the live entertainment industry. He currently serves as Director of Touring and Production for the multi-million selling artists Linkin Park, and has previously worked with artists as diverse as The Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi and Marilyn Manson. A long-time advocate for event safety and ethical touring models, he is a three-time recipient of Tourlink’s “Production Manager of the year” award, as well as the Parnelli’s “Production Manager of the Year” award for 2012.

Renaissance In Content Creation Spurs Greater Need For Comprehensive Insurance Protection

The evolution of online media sites like YouTube and Hulu as fully developed, mainstream entertainment platforms is spawning an infinite audience for engaging entertainment content that is resulting in a renaissance in content creation, be it a web series, feature-length or short films, tutorials or music videos, according to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President & Program Director of Take 1 Entertainment Insurance.  

“Thanks to this demand for entertainment, the production industry is in the midst of a content creation renaissance in which anyone with a unique idea or perspective and a desire to turn their vision into content can share that vision with the world,” Carroll said today. “Due in large part to the decreasing cost of production equipment, and the increasing number of free or low-cost sharing platforms, the number of production companies creating content will continue to grow in the years to come. All of these new companies need to be aware of the necessity of working with an insurance provider who specializes in production insurance and offers up-to-date policies that meet all of their needs, including protecting their equipment and physical media where they store their content.”

According to Carroll, production companies need to look to insurance providers who recognize that production is no longer limited to big-budget projects, and that smaller-budget endeavors require the same level of insurance protection for equipment, and more importantly, content, as do blockbuster films. Less-experienced production companies cannot afford to underestimate the importance of being covered by an insurance provider that understands the unique nuances and differences between content produced for YouTube and content produced for television or films. 

“That said, insurance providers must adapt their coverage programs to accommodate this evolving industry as traditional methods of developing coverage plans like studying a client’s prior insurance experience through loss runs, analyzing their industry resume or checking their IMDB biography may not be viable options in this new community of production companies,” Carroll explained.  “It’s essential that content creators look for insurance providers that are as creative as the content they themselves produce, and that their chosen provider is doing everything in their power to provide the most comprehensive, customized coverage plan possible.”

Many insurance companies provide a suite of products that many production companies and content creators need, but they don’t go the distance to make sure that they provide every product. Production companies need to be presented with a wide menu of coverage options that are specific to their content and how it’s distributed, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach. For instance, do all content creators need coverage for props, sets or wardrobes? If certain coverage lines aren’t an issue, perhaps they should be excluded.

Carroll stressed that insurance providers have to understand exactly what type of coverage their clients need in order to offer the best protection. “Take 1 Insurance, for instance, has offerings that accommodate current trends in technology and production, as evidenced by a recent change to its policies on software, media and data storage devices to include all reusable media that is part of or attached to photographic, video and sound recording equipment.”

The production industry continues to expand, and with this expansion comes new, young and extremely creative companies who may not have experience in considering insurance priorities. Before it is too late, they need to be aware of the necessity of protecting their company’s content, equipment and business assets with policies that best suit their unique needs. The bottom line is that new production companies must make sure that the language and line items in their insurance policies are current with the technologies in play, relevant to what needs to be covered, and supported by insurance providers who understand that nuances of the exposures faced by content creators every day.  

Recent International Events Highlight The Importance Of Carrying The Right Insurance Coverage For Anyone Touring Outside the United States

The accidental death of a fan at an American heavy metal band’s concert in Prague, The Czech Republic, and the collapse of scaffolding in high winds outside another American band’s concert in Cape Town, South Africa are two recent incidents that underscore the critical importance for all touring artists to include international coverage as part of their insurance portfolio, according to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President & Program Director of Take1 Entertainment Insurance.

“Every artist who steps outside the United States to perform anywhere in the world should make sure they carry international insurance protection,” Carroll said today.  “The coverage territory of a traditional U.S. based policy does not typically extend beyond the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.  That means that if something happens to an insured outside of these areas, they are totally exposed to all claims without any insurance protection.”

According to Carroll, the inclusion of international protection coverage is an important first step in a larger, more complex insurance program.  “Carrying international insurance coverage, while important, is not perfect because it does not respond to all situations one might face in every country.  What it is, however, is a statement by the U.S. based insurance company that provides the coverage that, in certain situations, they are there to help.  Stated differently, without the coverage you are completely exposed and subject to the laws and rules of that country, and that can be very confusing, frightening, and quite daunting.

 

“There is a difference between locally admitted coverage, which is usually only available to those with business entities in the country where the work is being performed, and an international policy that extends certain coverage parts (often, general liability; foreign voluntary work comp and auto) of a U.S. based insurance program, to activities outside of the U.S.  Without either, an entity is completely exposed.  The two most recent international concert accidents bring to the fore what insurance protection do I have when I leave the country?  The bottom line is that every touring act, promoter, producer and possibly even production managers, should carry international coverage protection that allows for coverage protection against a broad range of claim areas.  You can’t be too penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to insurance protection in the global 21st Century entertainment industry.”

One practical application of most international insurance policies is the inclusion of Travel Assistance services.  These services, typically an 800 phone number that is monitored 24/7, provides a traveler with a number to call when situations develop when traveling away from home.  These services can, and do, help with everything from replacement passport services to refilling prescriptions.  It provides an element of “just in case” help and support to an insured that purchases an international policy

Take1 To Support Event Safety Alliance And Distribute The New ESA "United States Event Safety Guide" To Clients

Reinforcing the growing importance of advancing event safety to all live event producers and organizers, Take 1 Insurance, the entertainment industry’s forward looking insurance solutions provider, today announced its full support of the Event Safety Alliance (ESA) and that it will begin distributing the ESA’s new United States Event Safety Guide.

“We have all seen the horrible consequences of what can come from a live event that goes terribly wrong,” Carroll said today.  “And, while we cannot control weather or the suddenness of an unforeseen event, we can learn how to plan better for these events.  This conviction led Jim Digby and other far-sighted industry professionals to form the Event Safety Alliance.  Take 1 supports their efforts 100%.  You can’t take a chance when it comes to safety.  The consequences are simply too great.” 

According to Carroll, Take 1 will begin distributing copies of the new U.S. Event Safety Guide to its clients as soon as the final edition becomes available.  “We plan to include the guide, in digital form, in all of our presentations to prospective live event producing clients and we will also provide digital copies to our current clients who request it as part of our ongoing policy review and education efforts.  We will also make the brochure available for download at our web site.”

Commenting on Take 1’s plans, Event Safety Alliance Executive Direct Jim Digby noted that, “We appreciate the support of Take 1 as we begin to expand our educational outreach to the live event community.  All of us need to do more to be better prepared for any on-site eventuality.  Our guide is one step forward in this effort and the more professionals we can get to implement the recommendations in this guide the safer all future live events will be.”

Take 1’s specialty program has designed inland marine coverage, among other specialty coverages for the entertainment industry, that automatically applies everywhere in the world, without the need for additional riders or endorsements.  It eliminates co-insurance, thus protecting 100 percent of the insured value of the equipment covered; provides automatic replacement cost valuation; allows for separate limits in key individual coverage areas like owned equipment, equipment rented from others, equipment in the insured’s Care Custody and Control (CCC), and equipment in transit; flood coverage for equipment in transit; and blanket limits that eliminate the need for clients’ to itemize each and every piece of equipment, cable, LED panel, etc. being covered.

Event Safety Takes On New Urgency For Attendees Of Event Live Expo 2013

Municipalities hosting large-scale indoor and outdoor live events have often required event organizers to prepare comprehensive Event Safety Plans that include specific engineering drawings that address the riggings of stages and roof structures, high wind action plans and comprehensive insurance policies.  Those plan may now also be required by insurance providers before approving coverage, according to a prediction made last week at Event Live Expo 2013 by Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President and Program Director of Take1 Entertainment Insurance.  

At a heavily attended seminar entitled “Insurance for Major Events: What You Need To Know,” Carroll warned live event producers and organizers to get ready for a new era of greater municipal oversight and new requirements.  “Municipalities do not want to be in the news for hosting a live event that goes terribly wrong because of accident, tragedy, or weather and they are putting a greater onus of responsibility on the shoulders of event producers and, in turn, their insurance providers to show that they are ready for almost any contingency,” Carroll said.  

Exactly how much more involved and complicated will it get, Carroll asked the audience?  “It’s quite possible insurance companies will now begin to look for engineering reports, particularly for events taking place out of doors.  They may want to see specifics that address the riggings of stages and roof structures, as well as an action plan in the event of high winds.  They may also want to see operations plans, management plans and structural engineering reports.”

The bottom line, according to Carroll?  “Gone are the days when the insurance sections of venue contracts are glossed over and rarely enforced.  We are entering a new age of intense oversight and greater requirements.”

As a result of both, Carroll predicted, insurance capacity in larger limits is going to become increasingly difficult to obtain from one or even two carriers.  “Now it is going to require several carriers to provide limits of $20-million or more.  This is the new reality facing the entire entertainment industry in general and the live event industry in particular.”

Carroll urged seminar attendees to take a close hard look at their current insurance coverage and the insurance companies providing those coverages.  “It doesn’t hurt to discuss with your insurance providers the kind of claims that can arise from the recent spate of tragedies in South Africa (Linkin Park concert scaffolding collapse), Canada (Radiohead concert stage collapse), Brazil (Santa Maria nightclub fire), and the United States (Indiana State Fair Sugarland stage collapse).  These discussions may help you to better understand how they might react and respond on your behalf if tragedy strikes and possibly point out gaps that may exist within your current insurance program.  After all, it’s always easier to discuss potential claims with insurance carriers before they actually happen.”

Venues Increase Scrutiny Of Insurance Coverage In Wake Of High Profile Live Event Tragedies

Following several recent high profile stage collapses and structure failures at live events around the world, many venues and municipalities are taking a closer look at the limits of coverage that are defined in the policies carried by event producers and vendors.  According to Take1 Entertainment Insurance Executive Vice President and Program Director Scott Carroll, live event vendors wishing to succeed and grow must carefully review their current insurance policies, or if they have none, consult with an insurance provider to protect them against loss and allow them to do business in a world that is increasingly aware of risk.

“Weather and other factors continue to produce worldwide headlines about stage collapses and incidents at public events, and they are vivid reminders of the potential for disaster and how much more tragic these disasters become if they or their partners are not properly insured,” Carroll said.  “At most public venues, there has always been a requirement for their vendors to carry insurance, but in many cases this requirement was not strongly enforced 100 percent of the time.  With the potential for losses growing as live events become increasingly sophisticated and expensive, and as extreme weather wreaks more and more havoc, the venues are beginning to strictly enforce this requirement, or else not allow the vendors to do business on their property. 

“I recently received a call from a woman who needed insurance coverage for a flea market she manages, even though she’s done it for years and has never needed a policy before.  The municipality is now requiring that she carry insurance despite never having enforced this element of her contract in the past.  This is becoming a very common occurrence for events of all sizes.”

New venue requirements are not the only factor causing live event vendors to seek insurance advice.  After “Superstorm” Sandy pounded the northeast U.S., some business owners who thought their potential losses were small ended up losing a lot more than they ever imagined they could.  

Sandy changed many insured’s definition of risk.  For some, their previously acceptable amount of risk for which they were willing to self-insure (knowingly avoid purchasing insurance for something that is insurable) turned into large, unexpected losses.  Sandy proved that “it” can and does happen.

“I recommend that every live event vendor contact an insurance representative to discuss the risks they face, the costs of coverage and the cost to their business if they remain uninsured or under-insured.  As we’ve seen, small probabilities can turn in to big losses.  For any owners concerned they might be too small of a company whose insurance needs may not be taken seriously, Take1 just might be the right fit.  At Take1 we insure all kinds of companies, from the biggest of the big to the smallest of the small, and we pride ourselves on being a big voice for the little guys.  Remember, you are never too small to have a big loss.”

Take1 Updates Entertainment And Rental & Staging Industry Coverage To Include All Reusable Media

When it comes to looking out for the insurance interests of the worldwide entertainment industry, no company works harder at making sure its policies are completely current with the times than Take1 Entertainment Insurance, a division of U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc.  Today, Take1 demonstrated the extent of its commitment with the announcement that, effective immediately, it was amending its policies on software, media, and data storage devices to include all reusable media that is part of or attached to photographic, video, and sound recording equipment.  

Furthermore, according to Take1 Executive Vice President and Program Director Scott Carroll, the new policy amendment automatically extends to all current policy holders, thus eliminating the need for clients to reapply for the added protection coverage.  “This is a very big deal.  No one is more in touch with the needs of the entertainment industry than Take1,” Carroll asserted today.  

“The vast majority of today’s entertainment content is created and stored on reusable media and it’s critically important that the creators of this content be able to rest assured that the content they produce is protected just like every other piece of equipment they use.”

Carroll emphasized that, very often, recording media of all types are excluded from coverage in most policies written by other insurance providers.  “We believe that doing so is a genuine disservice to our clients,” Carroll explained.  “After all, the content is the most value asset that should be protected.  We can help provide this peace of mind by covering the media connected to a client’s recording equipment.” 

Take1 Warns That Time Is Running Out for Companies To Address Issue Of Employee Classification

The issue of proper employee classification is taking on new urgency now that the U.S. Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service have joined forces with 13 states to increase pressure on companies, according to Take1 Entertainment Insurance Executive Vice President and Program Director Scott Carroll.

“Time is running out and the clock for the live event production industry couldn’t be ticking any louder,” Carroll said today.  “The fact is many companies currently classify their employees as 1099 independent contractors in order to save on benefits, and while it’s a common practice, it could end up costing business owners a lot of money in penalties and back wages.”

Since September 2011, several judgments have been handed down that included up to $500,000 in back wages and $75,000 in penalties.  However, the IRS has given business owners an incentive to be proactive by instituting a new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program that allows companies the IRS accepts for participation to reclassify workers as employees and to receive 90 percent amnesty on past due employment taxes, with no interest or penalties.  

According to Carroll, now is the best time for companies to evaluate their employees tax designations and make changes if necessary.  “With the possibility of large penalties and back wages, every business owner should review their records and employee status to make sure they are classifying their employees properly.  As an insurance professional it’s my business to minimize risk, and in this case the risk to business owners is large while the steps needed to correct any problems are relatively easy and much more affordable than a large settlement.” 

With the launch of a new smartphone app called “Eat Shop Sleep”, the Department Of Labor has even begun using social media to encourage proper practices and discourage improper classification.  “Eat Shop Sleep” is a local business reviews app similar to Yelp!, with the added twist of displaying any health, safety or labor violations against the business.  This type of public awareness could be detrimental to any business in any industry.

U.S. Risk’s entertainment arm, Take1 Insurance, which has specialized in insuring the live and non-live entertainment industries for more than 25 years, is studying this issue on behalf of its thousands of insured who utilize 1099 workers in an effort to provide them with guidance and help them adapt to the changing regulations.  

“With the increase in tax law enforcement across the country, the implications for rental and staging business owners are astounding,” Carroll said.  “The large settlements that have already been handed down are certainly big enough to bankrupt a company.  Every business owner should review their employee tax classifications and speak with their insurance provider to ensure they avoid hefty government penalties.  Any company that is found to be operating with improper employee classifications could also face higher insurance premiums, adding to the cost.  One solution that has worked for the film and television industry is to utilize a payroll service, which helps companies protect themselves from unforeseen costs and tax burdens and avoid blemishing their own insurance policies at the same time.”

Payroll services aren’t free, and using one will likely cause labor costs to rise, but the decision to utilize a payroll service is the smart choice in light of the enormous exposure a company could face if they are audited by the IRS.  Business owners can either operate according to tax classification requirements in order to steer clear of any problems, or they can skirt the issue and wait to be audited.  By converting independent contractors to temporary employees, companies can eliminate long-term liability while lowering short-term liability costs.

For tour sound, satellite uplink and rental and staging companies who want to be successful and experience growth in 2012 and beyond, these tax exposures need to be addressed, and using a payroll service provider is the easiest, most surefire way to guarantee everything is being done by the books and the company is free of risk.

Take1 And Fireman's Fund Donate $15,000 To Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority For Equipment To Help Fight Wildfires

Take1 Insurance, the entertainment industry insurance division of U.S. Risk, Inc., in partnership with Fireman’s Fund, yesterday presented a $15,000 donation to The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) for the purchase of new handheld firefighter radios.  The MRCA is dedicated to preserving the region’s open space for the public and posterity, and fighting wildfires is frequently a big part of that job.  MRCA firefighters work to protect more than 150,000 acres of mountainous terrain, deep canyons, forest and grassland that are part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

“Budget constraints make it difficult for many agencies to purchase all of the equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and safely,” said Scott Carroll, Program Director at Take1 Insurance.  “We’re proud to help in such a tangible way knowing so many communities will benefit from this donation.  We also want to thank our clients, without whom this large donation would not be possible. Take1 is here to help, whether it be helping our clients protect their businesses or helping communities prevent and manage natural disasters.”

MRCA officials, firefighters, and executives from Take1 Insurance and Fireman’s Fund came together for a special public event at Fireman’s Fund headquarters in Burbank, CA. 

“Communications on the scene of a fire is key to effective firefighting and keeping firefighters safe,” said Fire Management Officer David Updike. “With this equipment, we will be better able to protect this unique, valuable asset to the community.”

The grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. The program is designed to provide needed equipment, training and educational tools to local fire department and burn prevention organizations. Since 2004, Fireman’s Fund has issued grants to more than 1,800 different organizations totaling more than $29 million – including more than $8.5 million in California. Independent insurance agencies and brokers that sell Fireman’s Fund products, like Take 1 Insurance, are able to direct these grants to support the fire service.

 

Take1 And InfoComm Team Up To Help Member Companies Protect Against Theft and Insurance Fraud In Special August 8, 2012 Webinar

Underscoring the growing threat that theft and insurance fraud poses to its member companies, InfoComm International®, the leading non-profit association serving the worldwide professional communications industry, is teaming up with its only endorsed insurance provider,  Take1 Insurance, to host a special webinar on August 8, 2012 at 1 p.m. EST.  

According to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President of Take1 Insurance, the webinar entitled “Trust but Verify” will carefully examine a real-world 2011 Take1 insurance claim in which a film equipment rental company took every precaution with a new client and still had $255,000 worth of equipment stolen.

The webinar will explore the extensive actions this company took to protect themselves and how the highly sophisticated deception against them unfolded. Carroll will explore why equipment rental providers should consider taking some of these same precautions even though, in this case, they weren’t enough to prevent the theft.

In January 2011, the Miami, Florida based rental company, HD House, had $255,000 of high-end video production equipment stolen by a new customer who they thoroughly vetted.  HD House was understandably shocked when they learned that this customer had stolen the identity of a reputable UK film producer, going so far as producing false identification and taking out a real insurance policy in order to commit fraud.  Because the client bought his own insurance with the intent to commit fraud, it didn’t cover the theft.  

Luckily for HD House they had signed on with Take1 just 90 days before the theft, and within hours of submitting their claim the wheels were turning on what ended up being a full payment of $255,000.  HD House’s previous insurance provider would only have been obligated to pay $140,000 of the loss, and may have even tried to deny it completely.

 “This kind of fraud happens more than people like to think,” Carroll emphasized today,  “and InfoComm takes this issue very seriously on behalf of its membership.  This InfoComm webinar will provide business owners with advice and insight on how to protect against fraud and equipment theft by sophisticated thieves who use forged documents and can even impersonate foreign businesses.  Take1 and InfoComm want to make sure that every business has the tools and knowledge required to recognize suspicious clients and prevent theft or fraud before it happens.”

Take1 Insurance is the endorsed insurance provider of InfoComm International®, the leading nonprofit association serving the professional AV communications industry worldwide.  Take1’s specialty program has designed inland marine coverage, among other specialty coverages for the entertainment industry, that automatically applies everywhere in the world, without the need for additional riders or endorsements.  It eliminates co-insurance, thus protecting 100 percent of the insured value of the equipment covered; provides automatic replacement cost valuation; allows for separate limits in key individual coverage areas like owned equipment, equipment rented from others, equipment in the insured’s Care Custody and Control (CCC), and equipment in transit; flood coverage for equipment in transit; and blanket limits that eliminate the need for clients’ to itemize each and every piece of equipment, cable, LED panel, etc. being covered.

Toronto Radiohead Stage Collapse May Prompt Non-Specialized Insurance Providers To Leave Life Event Industry

The recent Radiohead stage collapse in Toronto that left one dead and three injured could have serious ramifications for the live event industry, according to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President and Program Director of Take1 Insurance, the entertainment industry's leading specialist insurance provider.  The unfortunate event could renew calls for stricter regulations for stage construction and engineering, potentially convincing less experienced insurance providers to abandon the industry.  And with fewer providers there is less competition, which could lead to higher premiums.

“The live event industry is a unique market for insurance providers,” Carroll stressed today, “and many simply don’t have the knowledge or experience to fully comprehend the risks and liabilities. There have been several large outdoor stage collapses in the last few years, and it’s likely that the industry will form more stringent regulations and oversight for rigging jobs of this magnitude.  As in any industry, if new regulations are implemented some insurance companies will start to reevaluate their business in this market. The fact is that every company involved in live events should have an insurance carrier who knows the risks and has experience handling claims in this industry.  

“After this latest collapse, all live event companies are going to take a hard look at what they are doing to prevent this type of thing from happening.” Carroll continued. “It would also be wise for them to speak with their current insurance provider to ask about their experience in this space and their plans to continue serving the industry.  If some insurance providers leave the industry, the decreased competition will cause the price of new policies to go up.  So the smart move for business owners is to take action now, rather than waiting until policies are more expensive.”

Amplifying Carroll’s points, Stephen Isenberg, President of  Impact Audio Visual, Inc., which has offices in Burbank, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Montreal, Quebec, states that the having right insurance provider is vital to the long-term health of the company. 

“When I hear about a stage collapse or accident at a live event, my first thoughts are always for anyone injured,” Isenberg said.  “Then, inevitably I think, ‘what would happen if an accident like that destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars of my equipment?’  We provide digital signage for high-profile events such as the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as well as many high profile music festivals across North America, so we need to know that our insurance provider is the most experienced and knowledgable in the live event industry.  That’s when I find comfort in the fact that Take1 insures Impact Audio Visual.  

“Take1’s carrier is Fireman’s Fund, which knows the nature of the live event business and is always seeking to understand the day-to-day liabilities and issues.  For instance, indoor concerts are in buildings where there are engineers who know rig points and load bearing characteristics, whereas an outdoor stage, by its nature, is not as exact or permanent.   Fireman’s fund understands all of this and has extensive experience in handling claims.

“Another important factor is that Take1 and Fireman’s Fund have the knowledge and experience to continue serving the live event industry.  We stay with them because the personal attention we receive is second to none, and every issue we’ve ever had has been resolved quickly and efficiently.  That’s what we need from an insurance provider.”

Carroll is quick to point out that insurance for an outdoor event is not the same as insurance for a company who sometimes performs or works at outside events.  He also notes that as staging systems are increasingly upgraded to bring the look and feel of indoor events to the outdoors, the insurance industry needs to study the underwriting issues and learn new questions that need to be addressed, as well as possibly introducing stricter risk mitigation requirements from clients. 

Take1’s specialty program has designed inland marine coverage, among other specialty coverages for the entertainment industry, that automatically applies everywhere in the world, without the need for additional riders or endorsements.  It eliminates co-insurance, thus protecting 100 percent of the insured value of the equipment covered; provides automatic replacement cost valuation; allows for separate limits in key individual coverage areas like owned equipment, equipment rented from others, equipment in the insured’s Care Custody and Control (CCC), and equipment in transit; flood coverage for equipment in transit; and blanket limits that eliminate the need for clients’ to itemize each and every piece of equipment, cable, LED panel, etc. being covered.

Improper Employee Classification May Soon Result In Major Penalties For Rental & Staging Companies, Satellite Uplink Operators, And Tour Sound Operators

Rental and staging companies, as well as tour sound and satellite uplink companies, now face an imminent insurance risk that could potentially cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. As the federal and states governments’ budgets continue to shrink, they are becoming increasingly eager to find additional sources of tax revenue — and maximizing the effectiveness of current tax regulations is one way to achieve this objective.  

According to Take1 Insurance Executive Vice President and Program Director Scott Carroll, “Rental and staging, tour sound, and satellite uplink owner/operators have always relied heavily on 1099 independent contract workers. But by all reasonable IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) definitions, the vast majority of today’s 1099 workers do not meet the requirements that determine who qualifies as an independent contractor. Now a growing number of states, along with the IRS and the DOL, are taking a hard look at companies who utilize the 1099 tax form for their employees, specifically to determine how 1099 workers are utilized and instructed versus how they are classified on tax forms.  

“In California, for example, as of January 1, 2012, when the California Department of Labor determines that a 1099 was misclassified, the employer can be slapped with a fine ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, and all the way up to $25,000 if it is determined that the misclassification was intentional and used to avoid liability for workers compensation payments.”

Indeed, the time has now arrived when companies that may be affected are going to have to do what companies in the film and TV production industry have already done—begin classifying workers as “temporary employees” rather than 1099 independent contract workers. This change is going to increase the cost of doing business for the affected companies, as the more comprehensive regulations being deployed will create new tax obligations for the companies.  However, companies who think they can get away with improper filings and do not ensure all employees are classified correctly will face the possibility of paying major fines in addition to being held responsible for the unpaid taxes.

How does a company owner find out if they should file a worker as a 1099 Independent Contractor or as a Temporary Employee?  To start, employers can ask the IRS to make a determination on whether a specific individual is an independent contractor or an employee by filing form SS-8, Determination of Workers Status for Purposed of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding, with the IRS. 

“Basically, it comes down to a couple criteria they use to determine the accurate tax status of an employee, and it is addressed on a case-by-case basis,” Carroll said. “To start, if the business owner has the right to directly control how the work is done through instructions, training or other means, the workers are most likely Temporary Employees.  If however, the owner can direct or control only the final result of the work, and not the means or methods of accomplishing the result, the workers are probably Independent Contractors.  Additional factors include whether the business has a right to direct or control the financial and business aspects of the worker’s job, and how the workers and the business owner perceive their relationship.”

U.S. Risk’s entertainment arm, Take1 Insurance, which has specialized in insuring the live and non-live entertainment industries for more than 25 years, is studying this issue on behalf of its thousands of insured who utilize 1099 workers in an effort to provide them with guidance and help them adapt to the changing regulations.  The company has connected with the premier payroll services provider, CAPS Payroll Services, to begin working on a turnkey solution to help rental and staging company owners protect against long-term liability while minimizing the inevitable increase to their cost of doing business.

Carroll continues, “With this increase in tax law enforcement across the country, the implications for rental and staging business owners are astounding.  Owners who may not even know they are at risk of exposure to fines and additional tax burdens could find themselves owing up to hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state or the IRS, and that is surely enough to disrupt or bankrupt a company. Because of this, Take1 is working with CAPS Payroll Services to develop a turnkey solution that will help our clients ensure they meet the proper tax guidelines and avoid hefty government penalties.

“Normally, an employer would be responsible for their employees insurance claims if they are injured on the job and receive workers’ compensation.  This could cost the owner a large sum through higher insurance premiums or put the policy at risk.  The payroll services we provide greatly lighten the company owner’s liability load by taking over IRS and compliance responsibility as the workers’ Employer of Record, and by handling the workers’ compensation responsibilities.  This effectively isolates the temporary and independent workers from the staff labor.  So, if there is an injury among the temporary or independent workers, the insurance claim is spread over $1 billion worth of payroll, whereas the production company could be affected negatively if the workers’ compensation claim was handled under their own insurance, resulting in higher premiums or a policy cancellation.”

 

Payroll services aren’t free, and using one will likely cause labor costs to rise, but the decision to utilize a payroll service is the smart choice in light of the enormous exposure a company could face if they are audited by the IRS.  Owners can do one of two things: Operate according to the new, changing regulations and comply with the tax classification requirements in order to steer clear of any problems, or they can skirt the issue and wait for the taxman to inevitably come calling.  By converting independent contractors to temporary employees, companies can eliminate long-term liability while lowering short-term liability costs.

The film and television production industries rely heavily on temporary labor and therefore utilize payroll services extensively.  That way they protect themselves from unforeseen costs and tax burdens and avoid blemishing their own insurance policies at the same time.   For tour sound, satellite uplink and rental and staging companies who want to be successful and experience growth in 2012 and beyond, these tax exposures need to be addressed, and using a payroll service provider is the easiest, most surefire way to guarantee everything is being done by the books and the company is free of risk.