From Santa Hollywood

Insight into Christmas, the Holidays and the World of Santa Claus

Protecting Santa Claus – The Need for Insurance

posted by SantaTim On October - 5 - 2012 Comments Off on Protecting Santa Claus – The Need for Insurance

Protecting Santa Claus –  The need for Insurance

(This is the second in a three part series on Protecting Santa Claus)

Yesterday I covered information on getting a background check and why it has become necessary for most Santas and their clients.   Today, I want to continue my information on Protecting Santa Claus, by presenting information on getting insurance and why you should consider it.

Forty years ago, one would have never heard the question, “Do you have insurance,” when talking to a client.  Most often a Santa was hired as the employee of the department store or maybe the photo company.   And any families, local businesses or even local community groups never asked for any proof of insurance.

Wow!  How times have changed.  Today’s Santa and just about every contract entertainer and event contractor has to show some proof of liability insurance.  For Santa’s, clowns, magicians and face painters, it is usually entertainer’s liability insurance.

Entertainer or Performer Liability Insurance is protection or coverage for you, the entertainer.  It is to protection for you should there be any accident or situation where you are appearing or working.  If someone gets hurt, they may want compensation, or seek damages against you.  Even if you are volunteering to perform or appear, you are open to liability should something happen.  Even if it is not your fault, someone could try to sue you.

RealSantas.com, generally requires that everyone we sub-contract, or refer to a client, be covered by some form of entertainer, performer or business liability insurance. This includes Santas, entertainers, photographers, helpers, etc.

Entertainer’s liability insurance is now required by almost every commercial venue where you might work. And, for your own protection you should also have insurance for those private parties and social events you attend..

No matter where a Santa or Mrs. Claus appears there are certain liabilities or chances that an accident or problem might occur.   And this is true no matter where you are working, or for whom.  Even if you are a pro-bono Santa who volunteers at schools, churches and charities, giving freely of your time, you should seriously consider having liability insurance. (That is why at SchoolforSantas I always remind the Santas doing charitable work to ask for a small stipend of $25 or $50 to cover gas, costume costs, dry cleaning, insurance, etc.)

No matter where you work, an accident could happen.  A child slips off your knee, trips over your boots, chokes on a candy cane or cookie, stares at you while walking by and trips over another child!  All of these have been grounds for lawsuits.  If a child falls off your lap, trips over your photo cables or boots, or just slips while in your proximity, the parents could try to sue you.

There is a story of  a case where a child, walking through the mall and holding his parent’s hand, was staring over at Santa Claus and walked right into a piece of mall furniture, breaking a tooth and having to go to the emergency room.

One would think that someone would have told the child and even the parent to watch out where they were walking.  But instead the parent sued the mall, Photo Company and Santa for being an “Attractive Nuisance.”

The word is that lawsuit went to trial, but was eventually thrown out.  However in the meantime there were lawyers and costs.   Liability insurance can help protect you from the cost of such lawsuits.   And protect your personal assets, such as your home.

So having insurance will give you protection against loses should you be sued.

Even if you work at a Mall, where you will already have coverage, through either the photo company or the Mall or both, you may still need insurance if you do pick up outside work or after-hour parties that are not part of your mall or photo company contract.  I know of many Santas who share mall positions with other Santas and use the rest of their time to do private parties.

Santa Insurance

There are two ways to obtain entertainer’s liability insurance:

  1. You can contact your business or personal insurance agent and ask them to add, “Entertainer’s or Performer’s Liability” coverage to your business or homeowners insurance.
  2. You can purchase insurance through an Entertainment Insurance Broker or a club or association.

Usually the amount of a policy starts are around $2million General Aggregate or total coverage with $1million coverage per occurrence or incident.  Some policies will offer up to $5 million aggregate coverage.  The cost is usually between $150.00 and $200.00 per person depending on the type of coverage, length of coverage and the amount of coverage.

This insurance covers your customers and anyone visiting you should there be an accident.  It does not cover you, Mrs. Claus, or helpers, should any of you slip, fall, or are injured.  It only covers your customers or those visiting you, or someone else, not working with you.  So if you have Mrs. Claus or a helper with you, each of them will also need insurance.

Also check the policy.  Some policies only cover you when working as Santa, Mrs. Claus or a holiday character.  If you also work as a magician, juggler, pirate, wizard or other character, you  will need to make sure your policy covers you for all characters.

An important item in getting your insurance is to check and see if the policy is in your name.  Some policies are for a group and you are only a named insured, which means coverage can be split between everyone else on the policy, with the maximum coverage not to exceed the total aggregate.

Individual policies mean that the total aggregate coverage is totally for you.

Sometimes the location where you are working, may also ask for a COI naming them the property where you are appearing and even the landlord or management company.  That is why it is important to select an insurance company who will not charge you for additional certificates.

Most insurance companies offer COI’s at no additional costs, no matter how many different certificates you request.  However some of the lesser priced insurance programs charge a $25 or $30 fee for each additional COI.   These costs could add up and you will end up paying more in the long run.  So check around before buying your insurance.

I have compiled a list of insurance companies and a few associations that offer entertainer’s insurance. You can find that list at: http://www.realsantas.com/liabilityinsurance.htm

I  do not suggest or recommend one insurance company over another, but do know that each of the companies offers some form of insurance.  In some cases, you will also have to join the association that is offering the insurance.  Check around and ask other Santas and entertainers, or contact your own insurance agent and ask about getting entertainer or performer’s liability insurance.  Be informed.

Should you have any question on these insurance carriers, please contact them direct. Our company cannot offer insurance as I am not a licensed underwriter and I really cannot answer anything other than what you are reading here.

Tomorrow: Reducing your Liability

 

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