Film Production Insurance: Covering Stunts and Special effects

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 30, 2010 1:19:00 PM

Stunts and special effects exclusion

The Film Production insurance policy contains an exclusion under the Cast Insurance coverage for a person injured when taking part in a hazardous stunt or any special effect in the declared production, without the prior consent of the insurance company.

Although these types of activities are usually reserved for stunt performers, the producer and the director should be aware of this exclusion. If actors are involved in hazardous stunts or special effects, please advise your broker well in advance so that they can make the appropriate arrangements with the insurance company.

To properly evaluate the hazards involving stunts used in filming, please provide:

  1. Synopsis of scenes being filmed.
  2. List stunts by tape, location and date.
  3. Protective measures used to protect participants and public, equipment and property.
  4. What is the experience of the Stunt Coordinator - please attach a resume.
  5. How many people are involved in each stunt scene?

Stunts on film setsAdditional information may be requested. The underwriters may cover the scene based on the strength of the information — the Stunt Coordinator resume is particularly important; otherwise, the underwriter may charge an additional premium, or apply a higher deductible or impose a sub-limit on the limit of coverage, or, they may use a combination of all three to address the risk.

If you are comfortable with a high deductible and sub-limit, you can often save the cost of an additional premium being charged.

Be sure to talk to your Entertainment Insurance broker before you film any stunts or SPFX scenes that were not originally in the script that your broker provided the insurance company.

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Stunt Insurance, SPFX Insurance

Directors and Officers Insurance for Film Production Companies

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 30, 2010 12:54:00 PM



Small to medium sized privately owned film production companies face several of the same management exposures as larger corporations - yet many don't purchase directors and officers liability insurance. A simpler approach could change all of that.

There are several hundreds of production companies in Canada and it is clear they are important to Canada's economy. What's less clear is why so few of them buy management protection in the form of directors and officers (D&O) or Employment Practices (EPL) liability insurance. Several studies show that the take-up rate of management liability protection amongst production companies has been slow.

While Canadian data is scarce, a recent survey by Chubb Insurance found that 37% of U.S. companies do not purchase any type of management liability or professional liability insurance. In a survey of private companies, the majority of survey participants (63%) did not buy directors and officers liability or employment practices liability insurance. Based on our experience, the same trends likely apply in Canada.

Smaller privately owned companies may think their exposure to management liability risks is low or negligible, but that is not necessarily the case. In fact, another study by Chubb Insurance Company of Canada showed that private firms both here and south of the border are facing similar rates of lawsuits against their directors and officers, legal action involving general management liability and lawsuits from their customers.

In a survey released in September 2008, Chubb discovered that private companies in Canada and the U.S. faced similar lawsuits from customers (16%), competitors (5%), Vendors (6%) and partners or shareholders (3%) in the last five years. The average cost of the affected Canadian companies was $338,699. One-third of Canadian companies and almost a quarter of U.S. firms experienced an employment-practices related incident in the last five years. Judgments, settlements, fines and legal fees for such incidents cost affected companies an average of $63,724.

Based on our experience, there are numerous factors as to why film production companies tend to decline management liability protection. Many of the privately held film production companies we talk to say the application process is too cumbersome and the information requirements too broad. The second is that film production companies tend to perceive the price as too high.

Film production companies also tend to have fewer internal control mechanisms, such as human resources or compliance officers and company protocols, than larger suppliers.

Moreover, private held companies are likely to face short-term cash flow issues, which is reflected in relatively higher bankruptcy rates for small businesses.

The bottom line is the film production companies can, and do, face a number of liability issues related to directors and officers and employment practices. Executive and non-executive business owners are increasingly being held accountable for their actions.

We know of several distinct examples of privately held companies facing litigation related to bankruptcy, misrepresentation, wrongful dismissal and dissolution of a partnership. In one case, a retail company over expanded during a time of economic difficulty. Its revenues shrank, but inventory and supplies continued to grow. The result was bankruptcy. The company faced statutory liabilities and the directors were left exposed to pay for amounts owing 9including unpaid wages). The settlement amount came to $765,000 (including $165,000 for defence costs).

In Ontario, Bill 198 has also made it easier for shareholders to sue companies along with their directors and officers. In the last 18 months, the number of lawsuits has increased significantly as a result of this legislation.

It's clear there is a potentially significant coverage gap for many privately held companies in Canada when it comes to management liability. The main purpose of any new D&O or EPL insurance solution should help to protect these organizations.




Topics: Film insurance broker, directors & officers insurance, Film Production Companies

Multimedia Risk Insurance Explained

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 25, 2010 3:47:00 PM

Multimedia Risk Insurance

Multimedia risk insurance

Otherwise known as Producers Errors and Omissions Insurance, Multimedia Risk Insurance covers legal liability and defense for the production company against lawsuits alleging unauthorized use of titles, formats, ideas, characters, plots, plagiarism, unfair competition or privacy, breach of contract. It also protects against alleged libel, slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy. This coverage will usually be required by a distributor prior to the release of any theatrical or television production.

If coverage is required for the title, you must obtain a ‘Title Report & Opinion' from a recognized Film Title Clearance Company offering this service and submit the report to underwriters for final approval.

Premium indications prior to actual quotes when coverage is offered can vary; however, a straight forward documentary would cost $5,000 and $7,000 for a feature film.

Upon instructions from the Production Company, the broker will begin clearance procedures where the attorney for the underwriter will review and approve your lawyers clear the project - there is a fee for this service which is included in the final premium. If coverage is not bound, the fee is payable to the attorney for the underwriter and an invoice will be issued accordingly.

You should check your production/distribution/financing agreements regarding the start date for Errors & Omissions coverage. Some financiers require Errors & Omissions coverage to be in place for the first day of principle photography.

It can take up to ten (10) working days for a project to be cleared and coverage to be in place.

Topics: Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Multimedia Risk Insurance

Film Production Insurance: Why it is Needed.

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 11, 2010 9:28:00 AM

Film Production Insurance: Why it is needed.

Film Production Insurance: Why it is credit: Unsplash

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 building 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 draw-downs.


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

CGL covers against damage to the filming location/space, and injury or harm to those present that are not working on the film.

Equipment Insurance

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.



Film Insurance 101 & How to Protect Your Film Project

Film Production Insurance: Why it is needed

Pre-Production Insurance

Film Production Insurance

How the Premium is Determined

Short Film Insurance

DigiGear Insurance

Props/Sets/Wardrobe Insurance

E&O Insurance

DICE Insurance

Third Party Property Damage

Crew Vehicles

Umbrella Vs. Excess Liability

Commercial General Liability

Negative Film / Videotape and Faulty Stock

Workers Comp

Cast Insurance

Extra Expense (EE)

Foreign Locations


Topics: Film equipment insurance, Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Commercial Production Insurance, Documentary Insurance, DICE Insurance, Industrial Films, Educational Film Insurance


Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 6, 2010 10:29:00 AM

What we Need to Quote for Feature Productions, TV Series, Specials, Movies-of-the-week

  1. Name of the production company
  2. Address
  3. Phone and E-Mail
  4. Name of the Director, Producer, Line Producer
  5. Synopsis and script
  6. Name of the top two financiers
  7. Dates of Principle Photography
  8. Copy of full budget
  9. Location of filming
  10. Information on any Stunts or Hazardous Activities. Underwriter will require resume of each Stunt Coordinator / Pyrotechnician / Wrangler
  11. Are you shooting Film or Tape / Digital Video?
    • If film, what lab are you using? – give lab name and address
    • Film size, i.e. 16mm, 35mm, etc.
    • What type of cameras will you be using?
    • How are you getting the negative to the lab?
  12. Provide the name and address of the Bond Company
  13. Cast Coverage – are any members of the cast considered an Essential Element?
  14. Name of Distributor or Broadcaster

Call with any questions.

Topics: Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Documentary Insurance