Friday, June 24, 2011

Offering Customized Protection for Recording Studios

Insurance is one of those business matters that studio owners would rather not think about, until it is too late. Not all insurance policies are the same and the good news is that there is a customized solution available specifically designed for recording studios. You can say Joe Montarello pioneered and perfected the art of protecting recording studios with his unique Recording Insurance Program by Capital Bauer Insurance Agency. We sat down with him to find out more about it.

What led you to dream up such a program?

As an insurance professional for over 35 years and also an active musician for 40 plus years, a number of years ago I put these two talents together. Working with one of the strongest insurance carriers in the world and created a policy that is specific to the recording industry that I am so familiar with.

It started back in the mid nineties, having built a project studio, I decided it would be best that I look into insuring it and called upon a dozen of the largest insurance companies that my agency represented and inquired about how they currently handle insuring recording studios. The majority of underwriters I spoke with all had a hard time understanding how to classify my gear. I explained I wanted the same type or similar coverage's used for the recording studio industry and every one of them said the same thing: "we don't have a specific form that is special for recording studios." None could even recommend anything other then the typical "cookie cutter" policy forms used to insure your typical main street businesses. Most could only equate the gear as "high end stereo equipment" and that's when I realized something had to be done; to make a long story short, The Recording Studio Insurance Program was created.

What’s different about the Recording Studio Insurance Program from regular business insurance options?

In addition to all the “cookie cutter” coverages found in regular business insurance, The Recording Studio Insurance Program is specific to your industry and goes beyond regular business insurance. Here are a few of the unique coverages & provisions included:

• No-Coinsurance
• Computer Viruses
• Equipment Breakdown Coverage
• Coverage for Borrowed/Rented Gear
• Theft by Any Party
• Electrical Disturbances
• Coverage for Damaged Media/Data Recovery
• Coverage for Gear in Transit and
Away from the Studio
• Flood and Earthquake Coverage (Available in most states)

...along with many more unique coverages.

What is tailored toward recording studios?

The unique way replacement value is determined & settled: In the event of a total loss we will replace your gear based on the original replacement value or if you are unable to find a replacement for your original gear, as a bonus, we’ll allow you to upgrade your gear based on the original replacement value plus an additional 15%!

There seems to be a lot of natural disaster in the news lately with instances of tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. What can I do to protect my studio and business?

First, make sure you have the correct insurance to cover the perils that you’re concerned about. Second, make sure you have the proper limits of insurance to be able to replace everything. As for general exclusions in regular business insurance, both earthquake and flood are excluded perils. The Recording Studio Insurance Program provides coverage for these two perils.

Besides natural disasters, can you share other incidents where you have helped a client get back on their feet?

The Recording Studio Insurance Program covers any type of water damage; we’ve had studios who suffered water damage from a broken pipe, where they not only lost gear but suffered severe damage to their build-out. Last year The Recording Studio Insurance Program responded to several of our Nashville studio clients who suffered severe damage to gear and build-out from the flood. These types of claims can take several months to rebuild. In addition to being covered for both gear and the build-out, we’ve also provided lost income for the studio's downtime! We’ve also covered major fires and numerous electrical disturbance claims, where a studio's gear was damaged either by an on premises lighting strike or some type of equipment failure due to an internal electrical issue either on or off premises.

For small project studios, what is the minimum coverage I should have?

That’s not easy to answer. A studio owner, whether large or small, needs to determine the replacement value for all the property. In addition to all the property / gear coverage, don’t forget about enough liability coverage to protect against a law suit from someone being injured on premises or injured during the operations of the studio both on and off premises.

How do I handle coverage for studios at home?

Pretty much the same considerations are used as if insuring a large studio. Same coverage issues exist if there is gear and liability issues to be concerned about.

How many studios are covered by your program?

Currently somewhere around 650 studios nationwide.

What states are you doing business in?

Currently doing business in 26 States.

What if I am in a state not covered by your program?

As a professional insurance agency, we are required by law to hold either a residence or non-residence license in each state we do business in. This license carries an annual cost. What I highly recommend is to call me (888-869-3535 x807); I would love to find out more about your studio and other recording studios in your state. This is how we’ve grown into new areas, by listening to current studio owners; this helps determine if the number of studios in your area will outweigh our annual licensing expense.

What can I do to keep my premiums down?

Being insured with an established industry insurance program, the benefits in both coverage and premiums are cost savers; higher deductibles, this helps keep all the small nickel and dime claims from effecting premium costs; having protective devices such as alarm systems, can provide additional credits.

For more information about The Recording Studio Insurance Program, please contact Joe Montarello.