Film Production Insurance 101 for US Filmmakers

As productions begin to ramp up knowing the inns and outs of your production policy can be very important. The below article is a guest post from Front Row Insurance.

A SOLID FILM INSURANCE POLICY WILL PROTECT THE PRODUCER FROM:

  • liability related to injuries on set
  • accidents in working vehicles
  • theft
  • loss and damage of rented and owned equipment
  • can also protect producers from libel or copyright infringement claims

AN OVERVIEW OF THE FILM INSURANCE POLICIES OFFERED BY FRONT ROW FOR US FILMMAKERS:

PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT INSURANCE

Covers against risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction to cameras, camera equipment, sound & lighting equipment, grip equipment, portable electrical equipment & generators, mechanical effects equipment and similar miscellaneous equipment.

This coverage also typically includes loss of use of property of others for which the renter or producer is legally liable. The limit of coverage for production equipment should be sufficient to cover the replacement cost of ALL equipment being used on the project. Most equipment rental houses will include in their contract a statement confirming the renter’s requirement to fully insure the equipment in their possession.

Equipment Floater Policy US quote.

SHORT-TERM PRODUCTION INSURANCE (SHORT SHOOT)

Short-Term Production Insurance is perfect for the new or indie filmmaker who may not have more than one project scheduled in the next six months. This coverage is ideal for singular projects and can satisfy insurance requirements from film schools, rental houses, permit offices, prop houses, and/or studio location rental space.

Pricing starts at around $500 USD for minimal coverages. The premium amount for 1-10 days of coverage is the same price and it will increase with the more days you add, but 60 days is the maximum coverage period for short-term policies.

Short Shoot US quote.

DICE INSURANCE (ANNUAL)

  1. What’s the difference between short-term production insurance versus annual?
  2. Short-term production insurance covers your productions on a project-by-project scale. Purchased on this scale, short-term policies can cover as little as one day of production (although you should cover your prep days, too).

Planning to shoot multiple times throughout the year, and have an estimated budget over $15K USD? Then you’ll want an annual (DICE) policy. This coverage can be much more cost effective than Short-Term Production Insurance. Pricing starts around $2,500 USD for the year. Financing may be available.

Although DICE policies can be completely customized to fit your productions need, the following coverage options are available:

DICE US quote.

FILM PRODUCER’S E&O INSURANCE

If your project is being sold or distributed, Errors & Omissions (E&O) coverage may be for you; in fact, most distribution contracts will require this coverage. All television, streaming services, and feature films will require this coverage.

E&O coverage protects your production and covers any legal cost if another party accuses you of an unoriginal idea, e.g., title, characters, plots.

Pricing starting around $3,000 USD for three years of coverage.

Film producer’s E&O US quote.

OTHER FILM INSURANCE COVERAGES TO CONSIDER:

GENERAL LIABILITY

Although film policies vary widely, you’ll always need general liability. General liability covers bodily injury and property damage that occurs during the course of filming. Cast and crew are exempt from this and covered separately through a workers compensation policy. This coverage is required by most city/county permit offices.

WORKERS COMPENSATION

Workers compensation protects you should something happen to your employees on the job. It’s important to go over how you are covering crew (employees) and independent contractors.

THIRD PARTY PROPERTY DAMAGE

Legal liability for damage to or destruction of property belonging to others (including loss of use of the property) while the property is in the care, custody or control of the production company and is used or to be used in an insured production.

NON-OWNED/HIRED AUTO

Hired/Non-Owned Auto Liability covers damages and injuries sustained by other motorists that your production rental vehicle accidentally hits when your production is considered “At Fault”.

UMBRELLA LIABILITY

This policy provides additional limits to the general liability, auto liability, employers’ liability (under workers’ compensation policy) and third party property damage coverages. Some locations will require higher limits than the standard general/auto liability policy of $1mil USD.

GUILD/UNION TRAVEL ACCIDENT

Provides travel accident coverages (accidental death and dismemberment) as required by the guild or union contracts to which the producer is signatory. Coverage is blanket and the limits of liability meet all signatory requirements. Coverage may be extended to non-union employees, usually with a benefit limit of $50K USD each person.

PRODUCTION PACKAGE

A production package is an accumulation of coverages to protect multiple or singular projects such as features, TV series, or documentaries. If you have an annual gross production cost over $100,000 USD and are looking for annual coverage, a production package will be necessary.

Some coverages available in a production package are:

To view all the US film production insurance coverages offered by Front Row, go here: https://www.frontrowinsurance.com/usa

At Front Row, we understand how confusing production insurance can be because many of us were filmmakers (in prior lives) and have been there ourselves! Every film production insurance policy needs to be tailored to the company, or to the project if a short-term film policy. A film insurance policy is based on the best offerings from insurance companies that provide entertainment production coverage.

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance brokerage that provides film insurance, including producer’s E&O insurance, for the lowest possible cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row ensures that all clients receive the money that they are owed per the policy, as quickly as possible. Front Row has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Nashville, LA and NY.

By: David Hamilton, President+CEO

Bio: https://www.frontrowinsurance.com/staff/david-hamilton

Episode 22 – Gad Tisch – CEO of Croo Gloo discusses strategies for using technology to solve problems

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

In this episode we talk with Gad Tisch.
Gad is the founder and president of Croogloo a film and television operations platform. He has a background in film production having worked on numerous films and tv shows. Currently Gad has a mission to remedy inefficient productions and costly practices by centralizing productions to unlock data and generate tax credits.
Visit their website

Reviewing the Covid-19 White Paper Guidelines with Lisa Mall and Brandon Riley

In this episode we discuss the COVID-19 White Paper guidelines with Lisa Mall.

Lisa is a DGA 2nd AD-based in Dallas, TX but frequently works across the US in various cities such as New York City, Portland, OR and many others. Her recent projects include Halle Berry’s “Bruised,” Netflix’s unreleased “Grand Army,” USA Network’s “Queen of the South,” and a handful of indie feature films.  Past projects include IFC’s “Portlandia,” Marvel’s “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” and a smattering of movies the likes of “Olympus Has Fallen,” “The Maze Runner,” and “Get On Up,” to name a few.
Please enjoy!

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10 notes regarding the Industry White Paper

As of June 1st, 2020 the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force released a White Paper that was compiled by various companies, unions and guilds in the Film/TV Industry with the purpose of creating a safe workplace and re-starting the industry. Below you can download the file and see our thoughts.

  1. The document is very concise, easy to read and graphically interesting. Some people were expecting a 40-page report that no one would read…thankfully most in the industry will be able to digest this 22-page doc with ease.
  2. It is really amazing to think that all the film unions and guilds came together to create such a document in such record time. Kuddos to everyone involved!
  3. The suggestion to include Face Shields in addition to face masks and cloth masks is definitely worth noting. For individuals such as Directors, ADs (who have to communicate a ton) and/or anyone who hates wearing a face mask….the face shield may be the solution we have been waiting for. Face shields cover your eyes (which face masks fail to do) and they have the potential to make it easier to communicate with a walkie etc.
  4. The suggestion to use electronic scripts, sign-out sheets and electronic documents (call sheets, prs) etc is something that for the most part has been adopted by the industry, however there are certain productions that still may be stuck in their ways using paper and need a push to go digital (something we wrote about here).
  5. Having adequate eating space for lunch can be challenging…. I’m a bit surprised that french hours were not suggested to solve this problem although they did mention having shifts.
  6. The designation of a Covid-19 compliance officer will be a relief to many that these “supervision” duties do not fall onto the shoulders of the AD staff.
  7. Background Actors were not really mentioned in the document (except briefly on page 20 in reference to crowd scenes) unless they were included in the category of Cast.
  8. While the document is very thorough it does not really detail if non-union workers such as PAs will be under the same rules as a union worker. Also what if a production is only SAG or only IATSE…will the same rules apply to everyone?
  9. In general the face mask policy needs a bit more clarification. Obviously cast/crews will be able to take it off during lunch, however will there ever be instances where having a face masks is not required ie… shooting in an outdoor field where crew are predominately able to social distance with ease.
  10. While there are bound to be a ton of questions to the interpretation of these rules…where does one go to dive deep into these questions? Will there be a website with more information or suggestions for how to improve this document?

Below you can join our Facebook Group to participate in questions/discussion on how best to implement these policies on your set.