Musicians and artists should review policies to ensure coverage in case of legal issues, says Los Angeles based insurance expert
It appears that pants aren’t the only coverage Lady Gaga is lacking. The famously under-dressed pop star made headlines today when Navigators Specialty Insurance Company denied the singer’s claim to help fight a $30 million breach of contract suit with her former producer/ex-boyfriend Rob Fusari. While not entirely uncommon, the large numbers involved illustrate why it’s vital for artists to… thoroughly review all insurance policies with their management, explains Los Angeles insurance expert Timothy Gaspar.
“Artists are constantly at risk of lawsuits from the people around them,” says Timothy Gaspar, owner of Gaspar Insurance Services in Los Angeles. ” Contract disputes, ownership of songs or images, even a stage name or character can become a contentious issue and these types of suits can rack up huge legal fees over time.”
Professional Liability policies are available to protect people in situations where one’s career puts one at risk of lawsuit or injury, but like any insurance policy, customers need to review the details with their insurance agent.
“Lady Gaga would have been covered if she’d been unable to perform due to an injury on stage or some recording studio mishap,” Gaspar explains, “but her insurance company says a contract dispute falls outside the coverage of her policy. This is the kind of issue that can be avoided by maintaining good communication with your insurance agent.”
To avoid finding oneself stuck with an unexpected bill, Gaspar suggests all creative types examine the following key points in every policy :
1. Injury: If a paycheck depends on a physical performance, whether that’s dancing or running in a sports arena, it’s a no-brainer to make sure that an injury won’t result in a financial disaster.
2. On the Road: An international tour is a great adventure, but some policies won’t cover legal issues or accidents in a foreign country. Make sure a speeding ticket in Thailand doesn’t turn into a run-away expense
3. Intellectual Property: In a dispute over the ownership of an idea, agreements made before an artist gets their big break can turn into an ongoing and costly legal battle. I.P. policies and specialists should be consulted regularly.
Celebrities, Artists, Athletes, anyone in the public eye (including CEOs and politicians) are often exposed to increased liability because of their fame. “The scary thing about a liability lawsuit is it can seriously alter a career or lifestyle,” says Gaspar. HIs final advice? “Talk to your insurance agent and check your policies annually: you don’t want to find yourself fighting alone.”