Filmmakers and Producers Insurance

Posted by David McLeish on Nov 5, 2018 12:18:55 PM

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Let’s Make Art Together.

You’re a prolific filmmaker with a full production slate. Like most creative people, you‘d rather focus on your work. The problem is that since each project requires its own insurance policy, it often feels like the more you work, the more time you have to spend dealing with insurance!

Worse, while you’ve always received good service from your broker, they don’t quite “get” what it is you do. It’s a hassle getting certificates for your vendors and cast and crew. Too many irrelevant questions are asked by the underwriter. When something unusual comes up like a drone shoot or stunts, there are delays. There has to be a better way.

Luckily, there is. Unlike most insurance professionals in Canada, we specialize in the business of entertainment insurance. It’s not just what we do, and what we’re good at; it’s what we’re passionate about.

Front Row Insurance Brokers is the largest entertainment insurance brokerage by premium volume in Canada, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Nashville, Los Angeles, New York and Denver.

In 2017, we insured over $4 billion of productions worldwide and wrote more than $45 million in film premium. The 38 dedicated film insurance staff in our Canadian offices are experts in TV and film production, so you know you’ll be dealing with someone who understands what you do. Even better, we have staff licensed in every province.

Filming in sunny Saskatchewan? No problem, we’ll get you covered. Perhaps most importantly, as part of our commitment to exceptional service, we will work hard to ensure that the money owed to you is paid if you ever need to make a claim under your policy.

Moreover, our excellent working relationship with the five major companies writing entertainment insurance in Canada ensures that you get more than just the best rates. It also affords us the opportunity to design studio programs which offer coverage tailored to the unique needs of your production slate. A studio program is a custom policy designed by the broker working in concert with the insurer. The advantage to you is that it’s designed around your specific production slate. You won’t have to pay for coverage you don’t require, and your policy will be customized for you by experts in entertainment insurance who understand your needs. Some examples of the benefits available under a studio program include:

  • No cast medicals required for film budgets under $15,000,000, rendering it unnecessary to schedule and attend tedious doctor exams, and saving you the $130 exam fee.
  • Automatic coverage for test shoots, promo shoots, pilots for budgets up to $50,000: no need to call us.
  • Quotations provided immediately for any new project. Rates locked for 12 months. Coverage can be activated and certificates issued on the same day for office rentals, payroll, etc.
  • Insurance wherever you film

Let us leverage your production slate, combined with our premium volume, for your advantage. We pride ourselves on being the simplest line item on your budget—fast, without the drama.

We can also offer you a Low-Claims Bonus: ask us how.

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Filmmakers and Insurance: What Moves You

Posted by Casey Budden on Nov 5, 2018 11:59:13 AM

 

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What Moves You?

More than 100 years after their invention, “moving pictures” still seem to command our collective imagination. We often have very personal emotional attachments to movies: we say that certain films inspired us, moved us, shaped our childhood, shocked us, or opened our minds.

What is unique about the medium of film? What explains this continuing fascination despite all the other technological delectations our age offers up? Is it because film promises us a total escape from the everyday? Provides deep insight into the human condition? Or is it simply good entertainment?

Probably, it’s all of the above. 2017’s total box office results were the highest in history, with over $39 billion in takings worldwide despite the fact that public attention is more divided than ever, with video games, streaming services, and downloads all vying for a slice of their entertainment dollars. Clearly, movies aren’t going anywhere.

What is changing is the way content is delivered. Creators are both rapidly influencing, and being influenced by, new technologies. This is not anything new: the history of film is one of periodic disruption followed by renewal in response to the changing tastes of audiences.

Early “talkies,” which began to appear in the mid-to-late 1920s, were often compared uncharitably to earlier, silent films. Critics often felt that the spoken dialogue made for tawdry, artistically inferior pictures. Audiences loved them, however, and by the early 1930s, the majority of films were being produced with sound.

Starting around the same time and lasting until the late 1940s was the Hollywood “studio system”—a system of production characterized by complete vertical integration of the production process. The studio system totally dominated filmmaking during this period. Studios “owned” talent, cast was repertory, and filming was done mainly on elaborate sets or backlots rather than on location. Props and sets were also frequently recycled through various productions. Many venues were owned by studios, who could thus control when, where, and for how long a film screened. Theatres that were not studio-owned were subject to a practice called “block booking” in which they were required to take on and screen entire slates of lesser-quality films from a studio in order to obtain screening rights to a single anticipated hit. (This is where the term “B movie” comes from).

As might be expected, this arrangement provided steady and reliable revenue for the studios. The big stars of the time were household names. Studios were nicknamed “Dream Factories” due to their ability to quickly churn out genre favorites—westerns, musicals, romances. Fantasy and spectacle were favored over realism, and audiences gobbled them up. But new technology was already sowing the seeds of change: the rapidly growing popularity of television, as well as a landmark antitrust case in 1948 which forbade studios from owning movie theatres and curtailed the practice of block booking, placed the film business on shaky ground by mid-century. The severe slump which ensued was not truly reversed until 1972, the year The Godfather was released.

The collapse of the studio system was both good and bad. As major studios were no longer guaranteed a theatrical release for their films, they became more risk-averse, tending to focus on properties they knew would make money. On the other hand, the proliferation of smaller studios and the uncoupling of distribution from production allowed many up-and-coming directors to make their mark. The 1970s ushered in the emergence of a raft of American auteur directors—Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, and Stanley Kubrick among them. These directors were influenced by European art-house cinema of the 50s and 60s and approached filmmaking with a markedly different aesthetic. Their films featured greater realism and frequently controversial subject matter. Like their European contemporaries from decades past, more scenes were shot on location. Dialogue was less frequently dubbed. Increased emphasis was placed on characterization and dialogue.

Simultaneously, and progressing in a completely opposite artistic direction, another trend was taking shape: the “Hollywood blockbuster.” Designed to maximize ticket sales for large studios, these films featured larger-than-life spectacle and action, supported by cutting-edge technology and special effects. Star Wars (1977) represents the most obvious example of this phenomenon. Audiences flocked to the cinema for the first time in decades to be part of an experience they could not replicate with equipment available at home. The modern action-adventure spectacle was born (and continues, in the guise of the ubiquitous superhero movie).

The 1980s accelerated these changes in filmmaking. Major studios could no longer afford to back a loser, so often doubled down on grand special-effects laden productions that audiences would be guaranteed to love, or else reliable franchises such as Rocky, Rambo, Indiana Jones, Friday the 13th,, A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. The advent of home video technologies such as VHS and Betamax meant that a significant proportion of a film’s income now came not from box office, but home video revenues. This further opened up the playing field, as it was now economically viable for a small independent producer to market their film “direct-to-video” and make a profit.

Cut to the present day where, in addition to the multiplex, you can now watch a film on your phone, tablet, smart TV, portable music player, or game console. Streaming services are the latest disruptive innovation and have changed the way episodic TV content, for example, is presented (no more “previously on…” and no more commercials). It’s arguably never been easier for a creator to get their work out there.

Audiences flocked to the “dream factories” of the Golden Age of Cinema because there’s no magic like film magic. This hasn’t changed, and we don’t think it ever will. Film is the only medium that addresses has the ability to inspire both our intellects and our hearts while completely engaging our senses.

At Front Row Insurance, we are “Passionate about the arts…better at insurance.” We love creatives and the creative work that they do. That’s what moves us. What moves you? Whatever it is, we probably have a policy that will suit you. Contact us.

Tags: pre production insurance for filmmakers, film school insurance, educational film production insurance, insurance for film set, Film Extra Expense, Studnet Film Insurance, Film Location Insurance, Public Liability Insurance for Film, Film E&O, Film and entertainment insurance

How To Call A Wrap On Top Film Insurance Claims

Posted by Adam Grenville on Jun 12, 2015 9:00:00 AM
http://reelwest.com/Chubb_Insurance

The average moviegoer only hears about film production insurance when it makes theReel West Productions headlines. After the tragic death of Paul Walker during the filming of Fast & Furious 7 in November 2013, the trade and popular media reported how it led to the largest movie insurance claim in history — reportedly as high as $50 million. High-profile feature films usually buy cast insurance for such rare but catastrophic claims, but all film productions face a host of other risks that don’t usually make the headlines.

 

Every production is unique and presents its own mix of risk factors, but common risk management issues confront all productions — from large studios with big budgets and sophisticated risk management programs to small indie filmmakers approaching production risk for the first time, from nonprofits creating educational videos to corporations investing in informational videos. The most common insurance claims in production are equipment theft, vehicle damage, damaged locations, and equipment failure in extreme climates. 
 

Equipment Theft

Here’s a true story: A container of film equipment disappeared while being shipped from Los Angeles to Louisiana. Although no one was aware of what happened to it, the missing container illustrates one of the top film production risks. Equipment is often one of the most valuable assets involved in filmmaking. From cameras to film stock, hard drives, and microphones, production equipment is also quite portable. The risk is complicated by the fact that film sets can be mobile, too, and located in foreign or multiple locations. Workforces made up of contract employees power these productions, adding more risk to this script.

Establishing security on the set is one potential solution for equipment theft. Visible security is especially important in public and international locations, where producers might not be familiar with the locale or confident in the local police. A common security measure is to close and lock doors. Another step to protect equipment is to return it to the rental company each night – though it could be inconvenient, this step leaves the equipment in secure hands.

Vehicle Damage

Damage to a "run-about" — rental vehicles used by production assistants to run errands—are also a common claim on production sets. Production assistants are often younger employees and, due to the nature of their job, they may also tend to be in a hurry on the set. The combination of a more youthful driver and haste could mean that the next scene involves a production assistant colliding with another vehicle.

To help mitigate the risks associated with rental vehicles, consider taking the following steps. Film productions can conduct background checks on all drivers. Safety training might also provide a measure of protection. A third important step is to be familiar with vehicle rental contracts and know who is responsible for property damage and liability if an accident occurs.

Although damage to on-set vehicles is rare, it is still an important consideration, particularly when it comes to a "hero vehicle." If the General Lee goes down during Dukes of Hazard or the Batmobile crashed while filming, it will impact production and could lead to an insurance claim. For such vehicles, have backup parts and even a spare vehicle to prevent downtime if and incident occurs. Consider using a mock version during stunts. 

 

Damaged Locations
Scratch the hardwood floor in a historic home during shooting, and a production — and its insurer — could be looking at $30,000 to replace it. Damage a few vintage light fixtures, and the bill could include the cost to replace every light fixture to ensure they resemble the originals. Film directors make location decisions based on their desired look and feel, but they should be aware their productions could become quite costly if care isn’t taken.

The answer is not to sacrifice that look and feel for safety but to instead take precautions. Respect and protect the private homes and other locations where filming is taking place. Ahead of shooting, film productions should also document a location. Is there pre-existing damage? All parties benefit when knowing exactly what happened if damage is claimed.

Doing stunts or pyrotechnics in a location poses its own risks. In this case, calling in loss control experts and engineering specialists, as well as the local fire department, can help ensure stunts are well planned and safe. For instance, such professionals can assist in making sure that any sprinkler system is properly disengaged for a fire-related stunt, and then turned back on when finished.

Faulty Equipment in Extreme Climates 
A director filming in a frigid environment wrapped plastic around his cameras. It wasn't to protect them from the cold; rather the plastic casing protected the equipment during breaks from condensation that could form when those cameras were brought inside. Whether in freezing or tropical locations, electronics can suffer water damage and malfunction. These extreme and isolated locations present additional risks as well, as it is unlikely that there will be a film equipment rental facility nearby to obtain replacement gear. To help prevent the loss of equipment due to climate-related issues and potential production delays, it’s important to protect equipment appropriately. Even when filming in less extreme locations, such as forests or urban areas, productions should be careful to protect equipment from dirt or anything else that could damage it. Productions should test equipment prior to traveling to the set location--try out a camera in a freezer or a sauna, or wherever else best approximates the shoot environment.

Insurance Can Be a Value Added
Insurance might be considered a budget line item for some film productions or a requirement from their distributors or financiers, but insurance professionals can also provide a wealth of knowledge and assistance. Productions can contact their insurance companies ahead of shooting, and as partners in the process, the insurer

may be able to offer the assistance of risk management and loss control specialists to help establish procedures to avoid costly delays and losses. Insurance professionals specializing in the film and entertainment industry have seen the above common claims repeatedly — and those headline-grabbing, not-so-common claims as well — and can help mitigate them before and during filming.

 

For Information on Reel West visit their WEBSITE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Adam Grenville Chubb Insurance, Chubb Film insurance, Vehicle damage claim, damaged location claim, equipment failure claim, Chubb Insurance Canada, Theft insurance claim, Film and entertainment insurance

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