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 17 – Alex Ferrari – Producing micro budget movies and the rise of the Filmtrepreneur

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

In this episode we talk with Alex Ferrari (@ifilmhustle on instagram) about producing micro budget movies and the rise of the Filmtrepreneur.

Alex is an author, blogger, speaker, consultant, the host of the #1 filmmaking podcast on iTunes the Indie Film Hustle Podcast, and an award-winning writer/director with 25 years of experience in the film industry. As a director, his films have screened in over 500 international film festivals.

Alex recently released his second book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur® How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Money Making Business.

Links Mentioned

Rise of the Filmtrepreneur: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business – http://www.filmbizbook.com

Indie Film Hustle: http://www.indiefilmhustle.com

Indie Film Hustle TV: http://www.indiefilmhustle.tv

Filmtrepreneur: http://www.filmtrepreneur.com

Bulletproof Screenwriting: www.bulletproofscreenwriting.tv

On the Corner of Ego and Desire (Sundance Film): http://www.egoanddesirefilm.com

Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story): http://www.shootingforthemob.com

Why you need a “fixer” when filming on location

Whether shooting in a small city/town hours away from an airport or filming in a remote village overseas, having a “film fixer” can be an essential element in ensuring a film’s success.

The word “fixer” has come to mean a person that can serve as a middle-man between a film production company and the city/town/area that the company is aiming to film in. In some instances this person(s) may have film knowledge and act as a “local producer” and in other situations this person(s) may be very well connected but new to filmmaking.

I’ve used fixers multiple times to find locations, secure extras and assist with the overall production of a movie. Below I have outlined some of the things that a “fixer” can assist with should you choose to use one.

10 things that fixer’s can assist with:

  1. Finding and securing key locations and in some instances handle aspects of the permitting process
  2. Acting as a conduit to the local town officials (police/fire/city/film commission) and setting up introductory meetings
  3. Having a pulse on the local news media (papers/facebook groups/tv & radio) in order to know which entities might be able to activate press
  4. Handling passports, visas and essential paperwork to allow a company to have access to said country
  5. Working as a translator (if a foreign land) and transcribing important documents
  6. Serving as a peacemaker when filming in areas that could be considered dangerous to outsiders
  7. Being a cultural leader and someone who can get others in the community excited about being a Background Actor
  8. Providing recommendations for safe and reliable places for the cast and crew to stay
  9. Connecting the production company with possible experienced crew or cast that might live in the area
  10. Filling in the gaps of the production crew and potentially working in an official capacity as a Producer, Coordinator, APOC, Supervisor, Location Manager etc..