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06-04-2004 09:38 AM  13 years agoPost 21
nfg2u

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USA

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If you have a business do yourself a favor,

1. Find a lawyer that is willing to work with you for a resonable price. I wouldn't do a business without one.
2. Incorporate the business in the state where you live. Do an LLC!!!
3. Incorporate in the state of Nevada.. good laws there! Have the Nevada corp Manage the local LLC.
4. Start a living Trust to oversee your assets!
5. Have the Nevada corp. manage the LLC and the living trust.
6. Get 1 million dollars worth of liability insurance for your aerial photo business. You wouldn't drive a car without insurance would you!

We can grovel all day about who is liable for what, when, where and how. The truth is we have to live with the situation we are in. The lawyer can help you set all this up. Is it going to cost you money? Yes, so did you chopper and your cameras. This sceem is one of the better ways to cover your assests in case of a catistofic accident that we all hope never happens. It's not perfect, nothing is, but it may keep you from loosing whatever assets you do have.
Use the waivers! Every little thing can help you in the long run. I use to skydive for a living, we used waivers for everything. Were they perfect? No , but if you can at least try to cover yourself and can prove that it wasnt gross negligence on your part, you may walk away with your bank account in tact!

I understand that some of us are just in it for the hobby, this may be too much for you, but if you are charging for your services be carefull.

averagae insurance will be 1200-2000 dollars a year in the US.

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06-04-2004 04:29 PM  13 years agoPost 22
peaks view

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City, State

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..

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06-04-2004 05:35 PM  13 years agoPost 23
draper

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nr. Worcester, UK

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Hi Angelos

are you saying normal BMFA insurance covers its members for paid work or have you paid extra?

David

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06-04-2004 07:21 PM  13 years agoPost 24
Angelos

rrKey Veteran

nr Oxford, OX11, UK

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David,
you need the "Comercial Flyiers Insurance" which covers you for aerial photography. Drop BMFA an email and ask for the application form. The insurance costs around £50 for a year and covers two people who must have B certificates.

-Angelos

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06-04-2004 10:01 PM  13 years agoPost 25
electro212

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Lancaster Pa

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hi
what is a B certificate ?

thanks

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06-04-2004 10:14 PM  13 years agoPost 26
draper

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nr. Worcester, UK

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electro
its the British Model Flying Association achievment scheme, more info here:

http://www.bmfa.org/publications/pas_guide_helib.htm


Angelos,
thanks for the info, will speak to our fields examiner this weekend.

Cheers David

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06-05-2004 03:55 AM  13 years agoPost 27
electro212

rrVeteran

Lancaster Pa

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if this is what it takes to get insurance here
i am in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i have allways thought a test to prove your skills would be a good thing
as long as it have meaning to the insurance company.

in full scale every year i went to renew my ins they allways asked the same questions.

how much flying have you done in the last year
what type of flying daylight nights ifr vfr .

so if something like that would chill out the insurance companys why not?


your thoughts

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06-05-2004 04:02 AM  13 years agoPost 28
Slartibartfast

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Round Rock, TX

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I think the whole "B certificate" is a UK thing. I haven't heard of anything like that in the U.S.

However, you have to remember that insurance is a game of probability. In the case of "people injured by helis" I don't think there is a lot of correlation between pilot skill and risk. The number of people injured by helis is so small (but non-zero) that you can't draw any meanngful correlation between anything. My guess is that it will pretty much look like a random event of probability X.

I just talked to my fourth agent today who didn't want anything to do with it.

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06-05-2004 04:13 AM  13 years agoPost 29
electro212

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Lancaster Pa

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i don't know

i think there is a correlation between skill and risk

did you see the video of the channel 4 nbc bird going down???

there was a display of great skill !!
i just think if you train and pratice you are much better off if the time comes to put that training to use
i hear what you are saying slartibarfast and insurance company din't know what to think about this and don't have any data to make a judgement call on rates and risk.

and if it takes something like the british are doing it might be a good thing for us as well

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06-05-2004 04:19 AM  13 years agoPost 30
Slartibartfast

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Round Rock, TX

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I should probably rephrase my statement. There is certainly a correlation between skill and risk. A good pilot is much more likely to make a save in a tough situation than a bad pilot. I just don't think it is significant enough to come into play for insurance.

For example, the risk of someone getting hurt on one flight might be .0000001%. If a good pilot cuts that risk in half, or even makes it 10X less likely, it isn't going to make difference to the insurance company.

Judging from what I have seen on message boards, a spectator gets injured about once every two years. Given the number of helicopter flights that occur, that is a pretty small number.

Of course, the number of pilots injured by helicopters is much higher.

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06-05-2004 04:22 AM  13 years agoPost 31
electro212

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Lancaster Pa

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ok so what is the answer?

how do we get the insurance companys to work with us ??????

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06-05-2004 05:13 AM  13 years agoPost 32
Slartibartfast

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Round Rock, TX

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I think that we are doing the things that will make it happen right now by organizing. If we can find a national underwriter (like possibly Essex) to handle it, then we can publicize it here. And then, if 30 people go to them and want $1200/yr policies, I think they may take notice. I think they would jump at that, since the risk is miniscule.

And then, even better, we find another company that offers it for $1000 a year, and we get some real competition going.

The main hurdle is just getting them familiar enough with it so that they can put it in the right box.

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06-05-2004 02:19 PM  13 years agoPost 33
Polariman

rrApprentice

Annandale, Minnesota

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This topic has been discussed many times on this forum.

Here is how I plan to attack it.

A few of us have banned together to for the Midwest Helicam Association. We me once to discuss what we do and how to get insurance. After some research, insurance companies want to know what, when, how, where, and why we do what we do. Our intent is to develop a generalized manual describing what we do.

We even go so far as writing down the obvious (maybe not so obvious) safety guidelines. For instance, we have safety checklists to check the equipment before flight, a checklist to secure an area and a LZ, and even some minor statements on where and where not to fly.

Now, it is up to each individual to define how they run their business and choose where the fly and how they do it, but the association gives some validity to what we do and shows that we have put thought into it. Plus, the more we get it the association the better chance of maybe getting group rates.

The development is going slow be we are making progress.

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06-05-2004 04:14 PM  13 years agoPost 34
Slartibartfast

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Round Rock, TX

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Polariman,

That's a great idea. If you would like, I can set up a wiki to consolidate information along these lines from folks. If you are not familiar with a wiki, it allows people to collaboratively edit a website. It works wonderfully for this kind of thing.

what is a wiki

Wikipedia

When we are done, we could consolidate it into a regular website, or a written document that members would sign and agree to adhere to.

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06-05-2004 05:02 PM  13 years agoPost 35
peaks view

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City, State

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06-05-2004 09:30 PM  13 years agoPost 36
Angelos

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nr Oxford, OX11, UK

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Is AMA running their own insurance or do they use some independent insurance company? In the second case it will be best to talk to them. They have dealt with the hobby long enough to know what risks are involved and they are more likely to be interested.

I think achievement scheme similar to BMFA’s A and B certificates is a good thing for insurance purposes. It shows skills and experience which hopefully means that unlike most beginners you respect how dangerous these things are.

This might not be very interesting to you guys in USA but here are the forms for BMFA’s Commercial Insurance. Perhaps you’ll get some ideas or even show these to the brokers as an indication of how low the risk is. BMFA charges just £50.

http://www.model-gadgets.com/tmp/bmfa_p1.jpg
http://www.model-gadgets.com/tmp/bmfa_p2.jpg
http://www.model-gadgets.com/tmp/bmfa_p3.jpg
http://www.model-gadgets.com/tmp/bmfa_p4.jpg

-Angelos

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06-06-2004 02:51 AM  13 years agoPost 37
FLAP

rrKey Veteran

Michigan

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Great subject. I was on a paid shoot today at a 2.3 million dollar house. The guy had paid a full size aircraft photo shooter to do the job and the pictures were not to his liking.
After taking the standard precautions, making sure no kids around, letting the neighbors know what I was doing, where to safely stand etc., I shot the front shots. No problems. The realator loved the new photos.
Then I went to the inside of the 10 acre estate to shoot the back. I walked around the back and spoke with the owner and told him my only safety concern was his 4 dogs (springers). The dogs were running around and I told him I didn't want them to get hurt if I landed and they got smacked by a blade. While I was bravely describing my concern for the dogs' safety, one of the little bastards took a running leap at me and used its two front paws to alter its direction (mid air) with my testes as the pivot point. Almost doubled me over. Would have prefered to have been bitten! Should have had a cup on.

Collective organization, standard testing and safety standards are a great way to begin legitimizing this. It would be great if we could all agree on our direction. Sign me up.

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06-06-2004 02:31 PM  13 years agoPost 38
Andrew

rrApprentice

Peoria, IL

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Midwest HeliCam Association
I think if you're planning on doing this thing you will need to find a new name. My incorporated helicam business has already reserved the name "Midwest HeliCam".

http://www.midwesthelicam.com

And now, some tips that helped me get some insurance:
1.) You have to be excited about your business. There is very little money in it for the agent to ensure a tiny little business for $1200 a year. My agent made around $60 for himself on my policy. That was burned up quickly in the couple of hours he spent setting up the policy with the underwriter. He's only doing it because he thinks it's interesting.

2.) This may sound sexist, but have your wife or significant other call for you. An agent is less likely to give a flat over the phone rejection to a female. My partner had called my insurance agent 6 months before and got rejected. My wife called the agent and this time he worked his butt off going through 5 underwriters and finally found one that would work with him.

3.) Don't give up. Sometimes it just takes persistance.

I've noticed that many people keep quoting statistics about people injured by helis. Remember that this insurance is also to cover your butt if you hit an apartment complex, heli bursts into flames and it burns the building down. Property damage must be figured into the policy as well. I feel $1200 is a very good price to pay for $1million per incident and $2million per year of coverage. For this money, I'm also covered for up to $10,000 for stolen or damaged equipment while in transit. That means if some kid rear-ends me on the way to a shoot and trashes my equipment, I'm covered.

-Andrew

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06-06-2004 03:28 PM  13 years agoPost 39
electro212

rrVeteran

Lancaster Pa

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ok

who here has a ham radio ticket or know a ham ?

we could have a echolink meeting and talk about this live.
links are just about everywhere it's voice and free

what do you think?

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06-06-2004 07:22 PM  13 years agoPost 40
Slartibartfast

rrApprentice

Round Rock, TX

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I had a Ham license, but that's the last thing I want to mess with for this kind of thing. (no offense) I think getting together and talking is a great idea. I would suggest either a online chat, or a phone teleconference. I can use my company's teleconference service if we want to do that. For that, people would just call into a toll-free number.

What would folks prefer? I think we should push with this while we have the momentum going.

Alex

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