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

How a Specialized Film Insurance Broker can help your Production

Posted by David Hamilton on Feb 29, 2016 9:39:49 AM

But first, what are insurance brokers?

Insurance Brokers work for the client to represent their interests, negotiating the lowest possible premium and the broadest coverage available. This is very different from an insurance agent, who represents the interests of an insurer. Brokers must take on-going to courses to maintain their licenses, which must be renewed yearly. They must be insured in each province for which they provide advice, so producers should check to see that their broker is licensed in the province in which they will shoot to prevent the production company from being fined.

 

What is a brokerage?

logo5Front Row, for example, is a brokerage, housing a group of national experts – brokers who have specialized in the study and practice of insurance for film production, TV series, documentaries, webisodes, music videos and more. A brokerage must carry its own E&O insurance because brokers are responsible for their actions and can be sued for professional negligence if their advice is deemed to be faulty. It’s important to know the limit of the E&O insurance the brokerage holds:  $1,000,000 may not be enough once legal fees are deducted from the limit. The strength of a brokerage will determine its relationship with the four film insurance companies which underwrite productions in Canada: Chubb, Fireman’s Fund, Everest and Travelers.  Because of its size and specialization, Front Row has a unique relationship with these insurers, allowing its brokers to get the best coverage at the best price from the right insurer.

 

What can a specialized broker do for you?

  • Make sure the insurance company pays the amount of the claim you are entitled to
  • Help you to understand the specific language shown on Film Production Policies
  • Act as a conduit between you and the insurance company. 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 you on ways to limit potential liabilities during production
  • Review your existing insurance policies to reveal gaps or deficiencies in the coverage
  • Comprehensively review your production to assess the amount and type of insurance required
  • Help you understand what coverage you have and do not have and explain any limits to the coverage

 

Some tips on working with a broker

  •          Make sure they are licensed wherever you shoot
  •          Ask about their E&O coverage
  •          Make sure they offer specialized, knowledgeable advice in a clear and easy-to read format

 

Topics: Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker, Specialized film insurance broker, Canada Film Broker, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Camera Insurance Broker

FILM PRODUCTION INSURANCE PREMIUMS: ONE WAY TO SAVE MONEY

Posted by David Hamilton on Jun 30, 2014 5:03:00 PM

One of the simplest ways to reduce film production insurance premiums is to lower the net insurable budget. The net insurable budget is the amount left once various budget line items are removed from the definition of insurable costs. The rate that is negotiated with the insurance company is applied against the net budget.

A typical rate might be .70 cents per hundred dollars of net budget depending on the current insurance market conditionspical rate

To illustrate, let us assume a cable TV movie needs to be insured with a budget of $2,000,000. Typically, we would remove the following lines items as costs that do not need to be insured: 

  1. Story and scenerio - we will assume this amount is $50,000 (I know writers are never paid enough).
  2. Post Production costs - we will assume this amount is $200,000

Claims that happen during post production are covered; however, due to the low risk of claims in post, the insurance company does not apply rate to post costs which is why it has been removed.

$2,000,000 less script and post costs leaves a net insurable budget of $1,750,000. $1,750,000 times the negotiated rate of .70 reults in a premium of $12,250. If the net were less than $1,750,000 the premium would go down.

Other budget costs to consider removing from our sample budget might be:

  1. Producer fees ($50,000)
  2. Development ($20,000)
  3. Publicity ($5,000)
  4. Overhead ($35,000)
  5. 50% of contingency ($25,000)

Removing the above items would lower the net insurable budget by $135,000 to $1,615,000 and would result in a premium savings of $945.

Once the budgeted cost is removed from the net insurable budget it is no longer insured in the event of a claim so producers need to be sure before removing from the insured budget.

As specialized film insurance brokers, we can help guide you to an appropriate net insurable budget for your film production.

Topics: Short Film Insurance Cost, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film Production Insurance Premiums, film insurance premium

Film Production Insurance: Smoke and Fog Safety on The Film Set

Posted by David Hamilton on Dec 7, 2012 4:52:00 PM

To keep your film insurance premiums to a minimum utilize best practices when using fog and smoke effects on set.

The following substances are typically used to create smoke or fog:

1.            Propylene glycol, dipropylene glycol, butylene glycol, and polyethylene glycol

2.            Glycerin products

3.            Highly refined mineral oils

4.            Cryogenic gases such as carbon dioxide or liquid nitrogen

The choice of substance depends on whether it will be used indoors or outdoors, and whether the cast or crew will be exposed to it for significant period of time.

Film Production Insurance and Smoke Fog SafetyEnsure that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using any of these substances. You should not alter the mix. Never heat substances above the temperatures specified in the guidelines.

Use the minimum chemical concentration for the minimum time necessary to achieve the desired fog or smoke effect. Check  the Regulation to see if the substance you are using has an exposure limit. Do not exceed exposure limits or reduce the oxygen concentration in the air below the normal level.

If necessary, have an occupational hygienist assess ways to reduce exposure and confirm that the oxygen concentration in the air is sufficient.

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)

Topics: Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film insurance broker, Specialized film insurance broker, Specialized film insurance broker, Film Insurance claims, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Stunt Insurance, stunt & SPFX, Hazardous stunts, film insurance premium, Film and HD Production Companies

Film Production Companies and Camera Cars: Reducing the Risk

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 26, 2012 5:42:00 PM

The camera car should  be engineered specifically for film and television production. The insert-camera car operator has the authority to suspend operation of the vehicle if they believe the vehicle is unsafe in any way.

General Guidelines – Follow these safety requirements when working with insert-camera cars:

  • Inspect the car – including the brakes, tires, electrical system, and towing equipment – before and after each use
  • Qualified, experienced workers must rig the car
  • When using an insert-camera car at night, install two portable tail lights on the towing vehicle
  • Do not transport crew members or equipment not directly needed for the shot sequence
  • Do not ride on the tow bar or on the exterior of the towed vehicle. Crew members may ride on a towed camera platform specifically designed for this type of work, as long as they use the necessary restraints and harnesses.
  • In most cases, insert-camera cars require a police escort during operation 

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 contact us if you have any questions.

Topics: Film Production Insurance, Film Gear insurance, Film Insurance, Production Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker, Film Production Insurance claims, Film Production Insurance Premiums, Specialized film insurance broker, Film Insurance claims, Film Production Equipment, entertainment package insurance, Film Production Companies, film insurance underwriter

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)

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

Film Production Companies and Lighting Safety

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 19, 2012 11:05:00 AM

Lighting – Set up  Film Set Lighting Safely

 

  • Use appropriate fall protection equipment when setting up lighting
  • Ensure that all lighting fixtures are supported so that they will not fall ie. Use safety wire or chain to suspend fixtures
  • Ensure that all lighting stands are property weighted with sandbags
  • Cover arc-type lamps such as HMIs in wet weather to prevent rain from entering the unit and ballast
  • When using open-faced lighting units, provide protection from shrapnel in case the bulb explodes
  • Ensure that scaffolds or other metal grids that are used to support the lighting are grounded
  • Before using any grounded equipment, test for continuity between the ground pin on the plug and the metal parts of the lighting equipment
  • Before relamping or repairing a light, turn it off and disconnect it from the power source.

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)

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Call Sheets Help Reduce Film Production Insurance Costs

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 14, 2012 5:44:00 PM

Daily Call Sheets are a useful way to alert cast and crew to potential hazards for that day’s shooting schedule, and to inform them about which safety precautions they might need to take.  Film Insurance underwriters appreciate the risk management component of a call sheet and take this protocol into consideration when assessing the film insurance risk of a film production.

The following should be included on Call Sheets:

  • Scheduled stunts
  • Any special effects that will be used
  • Scheduled use of firearms
  • Potential hazards specific to the location
  • Any required personal protective clothing and equipment and how workers can get it
  • The name, contact number, and location of the first aid attendant
  • The location of the first aid kit or facility
  • The location of the nearest hospital or emergency facility
  • Any other health and safety concerns that the cast and crew need to be aware of

Safety guidelines should be attached to call sheets ie. If any special effects are to be used on the set, then a safety guideline should be attached specific to the type of special effects that will used. For example, if you are shooting near a thoroughfare with lots of traffic, it may be useful to add notes about this on the call sheet. What are the weather conditions like? Will the crew require special footwear or clothing for extreme temperature? What about sunscreen or hydration requirements?

Along this line of thought, it is important to include information such as the nearest hospital, along with any other emergency numbers that are specific to your location.

Have you thought about:

Putting up safety posters in common areas around the set location as a reminder to pay attention to certain hazards around the workplace and certain locations ie. Aerial filming etc.

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)

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Focus on Safety to Reduce Film Production Workers Compensation Claims

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 13, 2012 2:06:00 PM

Film production companies have an obligation towards their cast and crew members, and must ensure their health and safety.

Production Companies should:

  • Develop and implement health & safety programs
  • Provide first aid equipment and emergency procedures for workers
  • Provide personal protective clothing and equipment for workers where required by the Regulation
  • Hire qualified, Competent Workers with the proper tickets and qualifications
  • Report all incidents involving medical treatments or lost time from injury or disease to the WCB.
  • Investigate all incidents, involving near misses
  • Ensure that cast and crew follow all WCB, municipal, provincial and federal requirements

Cast and Crew must W.A.I.F.

  • Wear personal protective clothing and equipment when required
  • Alert the supervisor or production company to potential hazards
  • Immediately report work they consider unsafe to their supervisor
  • Follow safe work procedures

Production Companies should form a joint health and safety committee that is responsible for identifying potential hazards or unsafe work practices and providing suggestions to improve conditions. The committee delegates should ensure that regular workplace inspections are carried out, and confirm that incidents are investigated. Above all, it’s important to consider and respond to heath and safety recommendations from the cast & crew.

Some examples of task allocations per position are:

Production Manager – Ensure that sets and locations are inspected for potential hazards and that potential hazards are eliminated or controlled.

Production Coordinator – Communicate the distribution of information to cast, crew members and various departments within the production company.

Director – Support assistant directors in their occupational health & safety responsibilities

Director of Photography – Make safety a priority when placing cameras and setting up lighting

Construction Coordinator – Ensure that the construction mill has a first aid facility stocked with appropriate supplies

Location Manager – Assess all locations for potential hazards (starting from the time of the initial scout)

SPFX/Stunt Coordinator – Hold safety talks immediately before any scheduled special effect or stunt

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

Topics: Film Production Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker, Film Production Insurance Premiums, Film Production, Film Insurance claims, Film Producers, Film Production Companies, Workers Comp insurance

Film Insurance Brokers: Proper Licensing Protects Your Production

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 4, 2012 1:27:00 PM

Did you know:

  • Your Film broker must be licensed in each province that they place business in?
  • There are penalties for conducting business as a Film Insurance broker in a province in which one is not licensed?
  • There are potential consequences for a broker’s client if their broker isn’t properly licensed?

 

Each province has it’s own Insurance Act. Each province is in charge of enforcing the rules according to their unique Act. Given that the auto market within each Province has separate laws and regulations, insurance will be governed by separate rules within each Province

If a broker is found in violation of a Provincial Insurance Broker Act, they will potentially face not only fines and possible imprisonment, but also have their credibility and reputation tarnished.

An insurance company could reject a claim on the basis that the broker wasn’t properly licensed. Make sure the Film Insurance Broker you are dealing with is licensed in the province where you have incorporated your film production company.

Front Row is a specialized Film Insurance Broker that is licensed and registered in all Canadian provinces.

 

 

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