My brief, wonderful insurance life…

It was not brief but it was wonder-ful: I was always wondering what was going on. It took me three tries to get a quote I thought was in the ball park (for the estimate on the sample budget). First quote came back at $1,700, and my ball park was $400. Next quote rquest was rejected. So I had to get some “insurance tutoring” from NYMF staff. So patient and kind they are!

Here’s what I learned: (New York State Insurance Fund) has really good rates. They are also cumbersome to work with – like their website only supports Internet Explorer. They warn you up front. I sat there from my Google Chrome screen and laughed, “no way, this can’t be real.” They are not kidding – there was no way for me to complete the form, so I had to start all over again. Oy.

Then I had to learn the difference between salary, stipend, and fee. I thought “money is money – I’m an artist, so any time I get paid is good.” That may be true, but on this insurance form for Workers Comp, there is a difference. My AEA actors get a stipend (that is how it is referred to in the 29 hour developmental reading contract). DQT has no employees so the salary is $0. And the Director, and musicians get fees. The Workers Comp doesn’t count stipends: lucky for me NYMF has that insurance that covers every show with every AEA actor because that is the bulk of the reading.

The problem with my first quote request was that I added all the money being paid to everyone. The problem with the second quote request was it was too much like the first, and it was rejected. The third quote was just right! (special shoutout of gratitude to D. Black, underwriter at NYSIF, for an informative phone call).

And the last thing I learned was that last season Maria Elena, the Artistic Director of DQT, did all of this for us. All by herself! It reaffirms how awesome and giving she is! And she helped me by providing all the support information I had to show NYSIF. And she provided the information fast. Really fast! So special thank you to my fellow DQT’er Maria Elena! I could not have completed this step without you.

I’m not pretending I am an expert at workers comp insurance for theatrical events, but I do know a little more now, thanks to the patience of all who answered my questions. Moral of the story – ask questions, and take notes!


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