Preventing Film Equipment Theft – Tips & Tricks

Posted by Grant Patten on May 7, 2019 6:38:08 AM

All this lovely gear was stolen! Don’t let this be your gear. All this lovely gear was stolen! Don’t let this be your gear.

Thanks to cooperation between the FBI, the US embassy and Argentinian federal police, this massive haul of film production gear worth ~$3M was recovered in September 2018. The thieves had apparently targeted equipment in Hollywood and other US cities and then smuggled it into Argentina. As of May 2019, four people have been arrested in the US and 17 suspects have been identified in Argentina.

Film Equipment Theft – Prevention Tips

We’ve provided some tips & tricks for how to guard your film equipment, as well as some information on how to insure your equipment so you are protected in any worst case scenario situations.

1. Exterior/Location Filming

  • Key individuals should be responsible and accountable for transporting equipment from trucks and trailers to the filming set/location
  • There should be a tracking process established for logging equipment in/out when transported between destinations
  • Securely store equipment when not in use, especially hard-to-replace items like custom props, sets and wardrobes
  • Station security personnel within sight of exposed equipment, ideally at all times
  • Heighten security presence whenever filming in crime-ridden neighbourhoods

2. Interior Filming

  • Always favour buildings that have a central security alarm system, and check with building facilities that the system is actually running properly
  • Favour buildings that have security guard personnel on site
  • The building ideally has a concierge who facilitates logging in/approval of visitors
  • If you need to store equipment in the building overnight, double-check that the room is secure and inform security personnel about it

3. Employee/Crew Theft

  • Have written policy in place informing cast/crew that it is unacceptable to take any objects from set as “souvenirs”; clearly communicate policy to cast/crew
  • Conduct reference/background checks on all new employees/crewmembers
  • All employees/crewmembers should wear highly visible ID badges while on set
  • Make use of sign-in/sign-out sheets for entering/exiting locations
  • Conduct inventory checks on regular basis

4. Vehicles (including rental cars, vans and trucks)

  • Ensure vehicles transporting valuable equipment are as nondescript as possible (don’t call attention to the vehicles)
  • Any equipment stored in a vehicle should always be locked and kept out of sight (e.g., covered with blankets)
  • Ideally have multiple drivers available to limit the number of extended stops and take turns monitoring the vehicle during stops
  • If overnight: ideally stay at reputable hotels; hotel parking lots should be well-lit and monitored by cameras and security guards

5. Air Travel (planes carrying production equipment)

  • Always have a clearly marked luggage tag and have a card with emergency contact information placed inside the luggage/container
  • Whenever possible, carry some valuable items onto the plane instead of checking them in, such as laptops and smaller cameras
  • Maintain an inventory listing the shipped items, along with planned shipping itinerary and equipment serial numbers

Consider Film Equipment Insurance – DigiGear

There seems to be no published information on whether or not the equipment involved in the Hollywood-Argentina smuggle was insured. If it wasn’t insured, no doubt, the owners of said equipment were likely kicking themselves after this massive theft occurred.

Avoid a similar fate by insuring your film equipment with Front Row under a DigiGear policy.

RELATED POSTS:

INSURANCE FOR THEFT OF CAMERA AND FILM EQUIPMENT

THEFT FROM VEHICLE: PHOTOGRAPHY INSURANCE EXPLAINED

CITATIONS:

https://news.sky.com/story/huge-haul-of-stolen-hollywood-film-equipment-found-in-argentina-11498283

Chubb PDF T3-FilmEqTheft-3-19 https://www.chubb.com

Topics: Film equipment insurance, Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Equipment, digigear

Film Equipment Owners: You May not be Covered under a Homeowners Insurance Policy if you have used your gear Professionally

Posted by David Hamilton on May 23, 2016 12:18:22 PM

Equipment_insurance_banner.jpgYou arrive back at your apartment to find your door pried open and your camera, sound and lighting gear missing. You take out your phone and call your insurance broker to report the claim under the homeowners policy that you purchased. An adjuster is assigned. The claims adjuster does a  web search and sees  that you have credits on IMDB for various productions. Because you are hired with your gear as a part of your weekly rate, your gear is now considered “commercial” equipment and as such, not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy which is intended to cover “personal” film gear that is not used for commercial purposes.

You tell the adjuster that you only worked  twice in the last 12 months on two low budget music videos and made less than $300. The adjuster shrugs, “It doesn’t matter, even if you shoot a birthday party for 60 minutes for $50, you are a professional and your gear is  considered commercial and is no longer covered under a homeowners policy”.

This is a difficult, pricey lesson that is better learned before there is a loss. Our experience tells us that many professionals assume they are covered by their homeowners insurance policy when in fact they are not.

If you use your gear to make money, check your insurance policy and make sure your coverage is appropriate.

We have created a 5-minute online insurance solution called DigiGear:

Available at:  https://digigearinsure.frontrowinsurance.com

The policy term is for 12 months and coverage is provided throughout Canada and the USA.

All equipment is covered for replacement cost for:  theft, damage, fire and loss of use. Rental coverage is also available.

The online link ensures industry-low prices:

  • $10,000 equipment coverage: $80 plus a fee
  • $2,000,000 location liability coverage: $500.  Liability covers property damage and bodily injury to third parties. Pays legal fees too.
  • $1,000 deductible for gear


For a limited time get $50 off.  Use code: $50discount at: https://digigearinsure.frontrowinsurance.com

"We wanted to make the insurance process easier, faster and cheaper for musicians,” said David Hamilton, President of Front Row “Given that there is no need to speak to a broker and an insurance company underwriter is not involved, the cost to process an on line film equipment  insurance policy is much less  and we have passed the savings onto the gear owner. The savings is expected to be 30% compared to standard film equipment policies. Although the DigiGear policy is online, we are still available to answer questions by e mail or over the phone if required.”

Topics: Film equipment insurance, Film Gear insurance, Camera Equipment Insurance, online camera Insurance, camera equipment insurance policy, digigear