Elite USA

Elite Model Management USA is introducing insurance for models, a first in the industry.

Health-care access and coverage will be made available to all models represented by Elite Model Management USA at a low cost, effective Nov. 15.

Models, who are considered independent contractors and not entitled to many employment-related benefits, have typically had to seek out coverage by other means, if at all.

Sergio Leccese, Elite USA’s  chief financial officer, said, “Modeling is one of the most exciting, yet unpredictable careers possible. We’ve always made it our mission to prepare our models for that unpredictability and protect them so they can flourish at the highest level. Insurance for Models is a natural extension of that core philosophy. We wanted to give our roster of models unparalleled peace of mind. This way, if they face a natural accident or interruption customary for any other profession, they know they’re taken care of — even if they’re on the other side of the world.”

Coverage will include medical assistance, medical expenses (including dental), personal accident, private third-party liability, travel/flight inconvenience (delayed/cancelled flights, missed connections, delayed return of luggage) and cover stay (in case of medical detention ordered by authorities for safety reasons).

The plan will be administered by Strategica Insurance Management, an international insurance broker, and underwritten by AXA Assistance — Inter Partner Assistance S.A., a leader in travel insurance and assistance, in conjunction with Elite. The insurance plan will be accepted internationally. Models can manage their policies with a web app, which features a dashboard for the network and 24/7 emergency medical assistance.

According to Leccese, the insurance plan’s cost to the model is $580 a year, and it can be deducted monthly from their statement. Elite isn’t subsidizing the costs. He is hoping that other modeling agencies will offer this plan to their models as an industry benefit.

He said Elite made this move to be able to give the models additional support, in the same way that they offer advice in banking, real estate and other investment matters. He  is offering this plan to Elite’s talent, which includes models, actors, musicians, DJs, influencers and athletes, at its New York, Miami and Los Angeles offices. They will be covered globally under the plan. Elite doesn’t offer 401(k) plans to its models or pay worker’s compensation for its models.

He explained that the plan is custom-made for the model, and an affordable rate is possible because the models are coming in as a group.

In citing some examples, Leccese noted that if a model gets a bad scratch on their face and can’t work, she would be covered, even though a regular working person wouldn’t get covered for a scratch. If a model gets injured on a shoot, the client’s insurance covers it, but if the injury is the fault of the model, she is covered by the model insurance. If the model damages someone or something during the shoot, she also has the third-party liabilities that covers models. Mental health is covered if it’s a consequence of an incident, he added.

Sydney Giordano, associate director of Model Alliance, a New York-based advocacy group focused on models and others employed in the fashion industry, confirmed that modeling agencies haven’t offered health insurance or other benefits to models, “and many models remain uninsured.”

“In the past, we at the Model Alliance have helped to register models who are uninsured to enroll in health insurance plans through the New York State of Health Marketplace,” she said.

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