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Film Insurance

Filming involves the use of locations, equipment, transportation, personnel on either side of the camera and other resources over a period of time and exposes the respective production houses to liabilities of all sorts which need to be curtailed. It is always advisable and in certain instances mandatory to have adequate insurance coverage in force backed up by a reputable security.

Many policies can be generic, containing exclusions and limitations which would impact considerably on the right of recovery of a filming production, leaving them potentially exposed to massive payouts. One should therefore always seek the services of a specialist broker in the country of production to put together a budget-related bespoke insurance package, reword or remove certain exclusions, limitations, conditions and warranties and extend coverage to the needs of the particular shoot.

In principal you should be looking at a combined liability insurance policy which protects the production house against claims by any eligible third party in connection with the prepping, construction, logistics, shooting or wrapping of the project and would include the general public such as onlookers, set location and production office landlords, authorities, service providers, contractors and sub-contractors, crew, cast and extras and any other personnel engaged on either contracts for service or of service and all for both loss of or damage to property and/or injuries sustained, including accidental death. The limits can be as high as €5,000,000 per occurrence or more, depending on the budget and the nature of the production.

The policies themselves can then be further tailored to include specific production requirements such as the use of stunts, weapons (including firearms), animals, pyrotechnics and other special effects. It may also be extended to cover employees’ injury leave.

In addition to the above, production houses tend to use a lot of equipment being camera, audio, video, grips, sparks, props, wardrobe, armour, wigs, prosthetics, unit set-ups and office equipment including radios, production phones, laptops and peripherals. These may be party owned but usually mostly rented. Special care to standard policy exclusions need to be reworded or renegotiated by a competent broker.

Most serious productions opt to additionally have in place a personal accident policy covering the crew and key cast. This is a benefit policy that pays an agreed sum of money to the insured crew or cast member in the event of a disability arising from his or her involvement in the production and which sum is payable irrespective of tort.  Independent productions may also opt for a media insurance policy. This is written by media specialists for the industry and includes all of the above plus consequential financial losses due to postponement or cancellation of filming days due to injuries or sickness to key crew and cast or due to inclement weather or other elements. This policy is considerably more expensive and may also include liabilities arising from errors & omissions including for lost or damaged rushes, post-productions errors and title & copyright.

Always seek professional advice before committing to an insurance policy.