Visual Art Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation has a lot of nuances and varies state by state, but here are some basics. This insurance covers employees on payroll who receive a W-2. It is not meant to cover volunteers or individuals getting paid as independent contractors. That said, if an independent contractor working for you is injured and does not have a workers' compensation policy in place then your policy should extend to cover that individual.

It is very important that you ascertain whether your people are independent contractors or employees! Many people get fined by the Workers' Compensation Board because their ìindependent contractorsî were actually employees. According to the IRS:

The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom the services are performed, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.

For example, if you said to an artist working for you, "I need a 15' tall sculpture of the horse that won this year's Kentucky Derby made out of bronze finished by next Thursday and delivered to my studio" (i.e., the artist is responsible for preparing and executing everything on his or her own time), then that person is likely an independent contractor.

However, if you provided a design and a detailed schedule for the production of the piece, then you are now in control of the "means and methods" of accomplishing the work.

If you are not sure, don't risk it: consult a lawyer who specializes in employment issues. The safest choice is to pay people as employees and get workers' compensation to cover them. Fines of $65,000 and up are not uncommon; in contrast, this policy can cost as little as $250.

I don't just have people that I pay, I have lots of volunteers. Now what? Volunteer Accident

I know all of this and I have crazy amounts of coverage. In fact, the Department of Labor is my friend on Facebook! But I did just invest in new paint brushes and canvases, and I store my artwork in my studio. You need property and artwork coverage. Property and Artwork Coverage

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