Cast Insurance For Live Performances: Making The Decision Before You Have a Deal

Posted by Steve Beatty on Jul 9, 2015 10:08:00 AM

Here’s a scenario:

You successfully pitched the project, secured the financing, cast a couple of great lead actors in the Theatre Insuranceroles and now you need to get all of the other pieces in place for the show. Of course you need some production insurance, and on this show you want some Cast Insurance on your two leads. They’re both integral to the show and it would bad for you and your investors if an illness, injury, or worse, was to prevent one or both of them from appearing. It’s not a long run; scheduling will make it hard to extend it, so insurance is the way to go to cover the financial exposure of something going wrong with the actors.

You connect with the broker and he tells you a medical will be required on each actor. You think, “ No problem - both are young and healthy”, but your contracts with them doesn’t say anything about insurance. One of their Agents pushes back, but in the end it’s agreed that the actor will see the doctor.

The medical is received, but … (as the reader, I’m sure you knew there was going to be a ‘but’ coming) … when the insurance company reviews it, they make note of a history of a medical condition that concerns them. The underwriter researches it and speaks with her company’s consulting physician and learns that the condition is exacerbated by stress and can really flair up if the person becomes fatigued. This is a rigorous and physical show with 6 shows a week. You begin to be concerned.

The insurers decide this is a risk they don’t want to insure. Now your concern elevates. The financial risk is high and, if the health condition becomes an issue, you will likely need to cancel the show as there won’t be time to re-cast and rehearse a new actor into the remaining scheduled performances.

As a broker, I have seen this scenario play out many times. So how can it be avoided? What are the steps a Producer can take to protect themselves from facing a major insurance policy exclusion that leaves them with a big financial exposure?

I recommend that Producers start thinking about Cast Insurance when they are budgeting their show. If you aren’t able to work the cost of understudies or swings into your budget, or if the success of the run could be affected by the loss of a lead-role actor, then you should be including Cast Insurance as a line item in your show budget.

So what are some things you should think about?

  • Put it in the contract. Your deal memos or engagement agreements should always address the insurability of the actor and should secure their consent to see an approved physician for a medical exam.
  • Talk to your lawyer. A pre-signed medical would be ideal, but this could leave you with a discrimination exposure if you decide not to hire based on the findings.   It may be appropriate under certain circumstances, but talk to your lawyer before going down this path. Sometimes the process of negotiating the medical and insurability clause will open a discussion about something that could present an insurance issue.
  • Medical and health-related information obtained through a Cast medical is extremely valuable. As Producer you will be privy to information about conditions which could affect the actor and impact your show.
  • Cast Medical Insurance can exclude pre-existing health conditions, drug, alcohol & substance abuse, psychological disorders and performance issues such as voice or movement-related issues. If your financial risk is too high because of a health-related exclusion then you need to be able to rely on your contract with the actor to provide you with a remedy. Without the protection of a contract, you may have to accept the exposure of a policy exclusion.
  • Think about their family. The death of an immediate family member during the run will result in the actor needing to take time away from your show. How will you address this? Your insurance coverage can include Family Bereavement coverage to help deal with the costs of an unexpected cancellation, postponement or interruption.
  • Build a schedule that works. When faced with an insurance exclusion, think about how you can schedule your shows to allow time for the person to care for themselves or time for health-care support. Be sure that the actor can maintain their usual health protocols while on your show: their personal wellness is a priority.


Cast insurance can be a key component of managing the financial risks of a show. It can be used effectively to pay committed production expenses, reimburse pre-production costs and pay for sunk expenses such as media & marketing, and it can be used to pay additional costs associated with re-casting or re-scheduling shows. But, you need to have good information that enables you to develop a contingency plan for dealing with a problem if it occurs.

As with most things, information and communication are key to structuring a plan for managing cast-related risks, so open the dialogue early, build the insurance costs into your budget, and go out and cast those amazing actors in your show.

Tags: Cast Insurance, Live Show Insurance, Actors Insurance, Cast Insurance for live performances, Theatre company cast insurance

Harrison ford and film production cast insurance

Posted by David Hamilton on May 20, 2015 10:24:00 AM

Harrison Ford and film production insurance. These terms go together like peanut butter and nuclear warfare.

Han Solo is at it again. After being injured on
film production the set of STAR WARS, Ford- in an attempt
to do his best Buddy Holly impression-was 
injured in a minor plane crash. While flying
his vintage plane he experienced engine
trouble and crashed on a Venice California
gold course. Hopefully next time he'll have
the decency to yell "FORE" before impact.
How will his future film projects be affected?
One thing's for sure, the insurance industry
is taking note.

It has already been reported that insurance carriers associated with Ford’s future film projects may put it in writing that he is forbidden to fly recreationally so long as they carry the film production insurance on his movies. Cast Insurance Coverage reimburses the production company for any extra expense or cost necessary to complete the principle photography of a covered production due to the death, injury or sickness of any covered performer or director. However, most film insurance policies have exclusion under the Cast Coverage for any covered cast member taking part in flying other than as a passenger. 

It is very important for a production to obtain detail on their artist outside interests when signing them onto a project as these type of policy exclusions can become very expensive issues down the line. LLOYDS OF LONDON might be inclined to write a policy that would protect him even if he were to fly during production; however, the premiums would above and beyond the cost of the primary film insurance package. It looks like if Ford wants productions insurance he may have to stick to flying the Millennium Falcon on set. Don't fly, Harrison! Don't Fly!

Tags: Cast Insurance, Cast coverage, Harrison Ford insurance, Harrison Ford flying, Film Productions Cast Insurance, Actors Insurance Actor Insurance

Risk Assessments for Film Productions

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 20, 2012 1:44:00 PM

Most workplace injuries and diseases can be prevented by identifying and dealing with potential workplace hazards and unsafe work practices.


Q. When do you need to conduct a risk assessment?


A.  For each potentially hazardous activity or situation involved in your production. Ie.

  • Stunts
  • Special Effects
  • Water work
  • Helicopters, Fixed-wing aircraft, and gliders
  • Exotic or domestic animals and reptiles
  • Potentially hazardous location


Conducting Risk Assessments – 3 basic steps


  1. Identify potential hazards and unsafe work practices
  2. Assess the risks associated with the potential hazards or unsafe work practices
  3. Deal with the potential hazards or unsafe work practices

Remember: Write your risk assessments on paper, that way they can be attached to call sheets and used as a reference in case they are needed at a later date.

A specialized film insurance broker is best able to present the risks associated with your film production to the film insurance underwriter to ensure you receive the best coverage and premium for your production.

Front Row Insurance Brokers are specialized Film Insurance Brokers. Please call us if you have any questions.

The above information is  based on WorkSafe – Focus on Safety – Safe Work Practices for Film and Television Production in B.C. (2001 edition)

Tags: Film Insurance, Film Production, Film Production Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker, Film Production Companies, Film Production Insurance claims, Film Producers, Specialized film insurance broker, Cast Insurance, Short Film Insurance, Short Film Production Insurance, Risk Assesment

How a Specialized Film Insurance Broker can help your Production

Posted by David Hamilton on Apr 10, 2012 5:54:00 PM

A  film insurance broker helps identify the risks associated with your film production, TV series, Documentary, Webisode, Music Video ect.

Film InsuranceOnce the risks are identified, the risk can be transferred to an insurance company for a fee or premium. The film insurance broker negotiates the lowest possible premium and the broadest coverage available in the market place. In Canada, there are four film insurance companies: Chubb, Fireman’s Fund, Premiere and Travelers. Front Row is able to provide you with a quote from each of these companies in an easy to understand comparison format.

Unlike insurance agents - who work for the insurance company -  Insurance Brokers work for the client. Insurance brokers are recognized by law as experts in insurance. Insurance Brokers in Canada must pass a series of exams in order to be licensed and there is annual continuing education to maintain a license. Make sure your broker is licensed in the province that you are shooting your production or the production could be fined or subject to a surtax.

Insurance Brokers owe a higher duty of care to their clients than an Insurance Agent. Brokers represent the interests of their clients, not the insurance companies. They offer professional advice in arranging insurance on behalf of their clients.

Since insurance brokers are considered under the law as professionals, they are responsible for their actions and can be sued for professional negligence if their advice is deemed to be faulty. All licensed brokers therefore need to carry professional Errors and Omissions coverage. You should ask your broker the limit of E&O insurance that they cover:  $1,000,000 may not be enough once defense costs are deducted from the limit.

The many roles of a broker include: 

  • Negotiate with the insurance companies on behalf of clients. There are four insurance companies in Canada: an Insurance broker must be familiar with what these companies offer so that the best price and coverage is procured for the producer.
  • Brokers facilitate claims - Because the broker works on behalf of the client, it is their duty to ensure that insurance companies pay the full amount of the claim that the client is entitled to.
  • The broker acts as a conduit for communication between the insurance company and the client. This includes providing certificates for banks, bonding companies and locations to evidence coverage allowing banks to release funds to the client, locations to be locked by the location manager and equipment to be rented.
  • Advise clients on ways to limit potential liabilities during production.
  • Review scope of the client's existing insurance policies to reveal gaps or deficiencies in the coverage.
  • Comprehensive examination of the clients production to assess the amount and type of insurance required. A broker will also help the client understand what coverage they have and do not have and they can explain any limits to the coverage.

It is important to deal with a broker that understands the specific language shown on Film Production Policies. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that you seek out a specialized Film Insurance Broker when you need insurance for your production.

Tags: DICE Policy, Annual Film Insuruance, Commercial Production Insurance, Documentary Insurance, Film Insurance, Film Production, Film Production Equipment, Documentary Films, Film Production Insurance, Production Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Producers Errors & Omissions Liability Insurance, Producers E&O Insurance, Errors and Omissions coverage for films, Film insurance broker, DICE Insurance, DICE Insurance, Educational Films, Entertainment Insurance Broker, Multimendia Risk, Multimedia Risk Insurance, Producers Errors and Omissions Insurance, Film Production Companies, Film Production Insurance claims, Film Insurance claims, Film Production Insurance Premiums, Specialized film insurance broker, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Cast Insurance, Film production offices, Short Film Insurance, Short Film Production Insurance, Film production equipment insurance, Front Row, Canadian Insurance Broker, Canadian Insurance, Canada Film Broker

Cast Insurance: 5 Reasons to Use an Approved Cast Doctor

Posted by David Hamilton on Jul 10, 2011 10:12:00 AM


An approved cast doctor will save a film producer time and money when obtaining film production insurance for a film production.

Cast insurance covers against extra expenditures incurred by the production caused by death, sickness, disability or kidnapping of insured cast members, director, DOP, or anyone else designated under cast coverage. Financiers and distributors will usually require cast insurance before they release funds. 

Five reasons why it is well worth the effort to seek out an experianced doctor that is framiliar with cast exams:

1) An approved doctor is trained to dig for more information when an actor is being evasive regarding a previous medical condition such as substance abuse or a bad back. This information is material to the insurance company and the producer as it will determine if the actor will be subject to additional premiums to become insurable.

2) An approved doctor will not be bullied or awed by a celebrity actor: they obtain better information.

3) An approved doctor knows what information a film insurance underwriter needs and provides it. There is less back and forth questioning which saves everyone time.

4)  An approved doctor always answers all the questions on the cast medical form which avoids delays.

5) Last but not least, an approved doctor was approved in the first place because they have legible handwriting! 

Get a Quote

Feel free to contact me if you would like me to send you a free list of approved cast doctors in North America.

Tags: Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker, Film Production, Film Producers, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Film Production Companies, Cast Insurance

Essential Elements Cast Insurance Explained

Posted by David Hamilton on May 29, 2011 11:22:00 AM


Essential Elements Cast Insurance is extended and enhanced cast insurance. If the designated actor were to be incapacitated and could not continue working halfway through the film then you as a producer would have the option of abandoning the series or feature and receiving all the money you have spent to date back as an insurance claim.

Standard cast coverage obligates you to recast and start over with another actor. Given that you can walk away from the film when you have insurance for essential elements cast, there is more risk for the insurance company and as a result there is an additional premium of $5,000 to $15,000 for each designated EE cast member. There are additional cast medical tests as well to arrange EE: uralysis, blood work with a drug screen, EKG and x-ray. 

Typically EE is required by a distributor that does not want the project without a particular actor or director involved: think the  “Rocky” franchise. A distributor would probably not want “Rocky IV” if Sylvester Stallone was not able to complete. The distributor would not want the film with another actor. 

Has a distributor or financier made their participation contingent on your actor being involved being involved? If so, I can assist in my role as a specialized film insurance broker at Front Row Insurance Brokers.

Get a Quote


Tags: Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Cast Insurance, Essential Elements Cast Insurance

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