Bears are frequently used in film productions shotin the Pacific Northwest. The risks associated with filming a bear can be transferred to an insurance company once the underwriter understands how the public, cast, crew, equipment and the bear will be protected. The underwriter will need answers to the following questions to underwrite and cover the risk:
1. Current Bear Vet exam certificates. What is the value of the bear to the owner if the bear were to die? Usually the figure is based on three years revenue that the bear has earned.
2. How will the bear get from their pen/corral to their position on set in the electrified fenced area? How will the cast and crew be protected during this transit?
3. Where will the bear be on set when not filming? During this time, how will cast/crew/public be protected?
4. When bear is on set and filming, what do they do to protect public/cast/crew from bear?
5. Please confirm cast not in direct contact with the bear. Will the cast always be on one side of the electrified fence and the bear on the other?
6. Please provide shooting schedule with the bear
7. Please forward storyboards of bear scenes when available.
8. Given the time of year, are there any issues resulting from the bear normally hibernating during this time of year?
9. Details of housing and transit of the bears from the permanent home.
10. The main corral structure to house the bear – is this a permanent structure? What will it be constructed of? How high will the fence be?
11. Will the bears be housed over night at the corral?
12. What type of security will be in place?
13. Will there be 24 hour attendants for the bear?
14. How will the bears be shipped to the set from out of town?
15. How are the protected during shipping?
As specialized film insurance brokers we can assist with obtaining this coverage.
Crew members on film productions, short films, commercials, documentaries and music videos should always be covered by work comp insurance - the risk of going without is too great.
If you are a crew member working on a low or micro budget film production, you should always ask the producer if they have workers compensation coverage for the crew and general liability coverage for the production in general.
I will deal with workers compensation coverage for part one of this two part post.
Workers comp. will provides benifits to workers injured on the job such as: medical costs, rehab costs and loss of future earnings all per the policy wording. In most states and provinces the film maker is obligated to provide coverage for any cast or crew that they hire. In some cases coverage is arranged through a private entertainment insurance broker and in some cases it is arranged directly through the state or provincial agency responsible for providing work comp.
The benifit to the producer is that once the injured crew member accepts the work comp benifits, they usually waive the right to sue the producer. This is good insurance for the producer.
Sometimes that insurance company or government work comp agency will not provide coverage if the crew and cast are not being paid as there is no way to determine loss of future earnings. For this reason the producer should arrange to make nominal payments to cast and crew.
If you are a crew member that gets hurt on the job and there are no work comp benifits available to you, then you are faced with the prospect of suing the producer while recovering from your injuries - difficult and unpleasent.
Always ask the producer if you will be covered by workers comp even when volunteering on a short shoot in any capacity.
Production insurance is vital to financing your project. Why is insurance needed for your production? Three basic reasons are: Legal, Contractual and property protection.
As for legal reasons, nearly every location and financier requires that a production company/filmmaker carry some form of insurance. A good example of this is the need for general liability insurance to cover property damage and and bodily injury to third parties. A building owner will want to be protected for any damage caused to the location. The buildiong owner would also want to be protected from any lawsuits brought forth from a passerby that tripped on electrical cables or from injuries sustained by gear that falls off a roof.
The contractual reason is simple. If you are under contract with a broadcaster or distributor , most likely the contract will require you to have insurance coverage before you can access your payment drawdowns.A
The property protection covers you against damage and loss to assets like production equipment that you are contractually responsible for as set out in your rental agreement with the rental company.
The type of policy you need depends on the type of project you plan to make. If you are making a short music video, the type of policy you want will differ from a filmmaker who aims to make a feature film. There are basically three types: short-term, annual DICE Insurance and annual. Short-term policies are used for single production, such as a commercial. A DICE Insurance Policy is used for several projects during a year period. DICE stands for Documentaries, Industrial Films, Commercials and Educational Films.
Try to give your broker three to five days to arrange the coverage for you: this will ensure your broker has enough time to obtain the best price and coverage available in the marketplace.
The three policies you need to consider for any film production are:
General Liability Insurance
It covers against damage to the filming location/space, and injury or harm to those present that are not working on the film.
Equipment insurance covers any and all film equipment used in your filmmaking process and production. This policy will cover loss, damage, theft, etc. to your rented or owned equipment. .
Errors and Omissions Insurance
This type of insurance protects against lawsuits alleging unauthorized usage of titles, copyrighted materials, ideas, formats, characters, plots, plagiarism, unfair competition, defamation and invasion of privacy. E&O insurance requires the counsel of an entertainment lawyer who will review your script, clearances and releases.