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.






Chubb PDF T3-FilmEqTheft-3-19

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

Film Production Insurance for Renovation Shows

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 9, 2019 3:09:19 PM

reno shows film insurance

film production insurance for renovation shows

Arranging film production insurance for your renovation (reno) show should be done with the help of a specialized entertainment insurance broker.

The following information is to be used as a general reference only and does not alter the insurance policy wording for your specific production. In all cases, actual coverage is subject to the policy language, terms and conditions of the long form policies to be issued by the insurance company. Additionally, the following is not intended to be legal advice but rather are general recommendations intended to reduce your exposure to an insurance claim. When entering contracts with anyone you should consult a lawyer to draft appropriate language for your specific circumstances and to ensure that you are adequately protected.

With renovation shows we suggest that you consider the following guidelines:
  • Hire a general contractor to oversee major changes and the general contractor should be responsible for hiring subcontractors.
  • Insist that the general contractor and subcontractors provide you with proof of liability insurance for their operations in the form of an insurance certificate issued by their insurance  company.
  • The insurance certificate should evidence coverage for Products and Completed Operations, should contain a cross liability and sever ability of interest clause and name the production company as an additional insured.
  • Homeowners should review and sign a release containing a hold harmless and waiver of subrogation clause against the production company.
  • Where possible homeowners should be included in the renovation decision making process for each change made.
  • Your contract with the general contractor should contain a hold harmless provision protecting prod co from any claims arising from work completed by the contractor.  You should also consider an indemnity provision requiring the contractor to pay you back for any expenses, claims or suits brought against you resulting from their negligence or faulty workmanship.
  • Have you made arrangements with the contractors to come back and fix problems with the homes?  Does the contractor provide a warranty on work performed?  The contract should be between the homeowner and general contractor (not the production company).

Ultimately the homeowner could sue the production company and the contractor if they feel work was poorly done but adopting some of the guidelines above, having contractors who are properly insured and including the homeowner in decisions being made would greatly reduce your exposure to loss.

Decorating shows that involve changing room colours and adding new furniture etc. are less risky than more major renovations but when you are working on any third party properties there is a greater risk of something going wrong. Use a specialized film insurance broker to ensure you are properly covered.

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker, entertainment production insurance

Effortless and Affordable Short Term Film Insurance

Posted by David Hamilton on May 27, 2016 3:49:23 PM

short film insurance

Short film insurance can be arranged quickly through us, usually over the phone.  Our program is very popular with new and established film makers because of the low cost and the simple process to arrange a policy. 

Note that we can only assist individuals that live or have a company in Canada at this time; however, worldwide coverage is available to our Canadian film makers. 

To provide you with a short film insurance cost, we need a few details. The fastest way to receive a quote is to complete the short application telling us about your project by clicking the link below. 

Get a 2 Minute Quote

Short Term Equipment InsuranceWe can provide Short Term Equipment Insurance starting at $300!

If you would like to add film location liability for one week , we can do so for a small additional premium.

We can also provide affordable coverage for: 

If you would like an annual policy to cover multiple productions, please visit our D.I.C.E Page (Documentaries, Industrial Films, Commercials, Educational Films – it also covers short shoots, music videos and feature films with lower budgets).

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Short Film Production Insurance, Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Location Insurance

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, Canada Film Broker, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Camera Insurance Broker

Front Row Insurance Brokers opens an office in Los Angeles

Posted by David Hamilton on Feb 20, 2014 5:17:00 PM

Canada's largest Film Insurance Broker expands to LA.

Vancouver, Canada - - February 20 2014 -- Front Row is pleased to announce the opening of their first office in the United States. The US company will be known as Front Row Insurance Brokers, LLC and will be located at: 14156 Magnolia Blvd, Suite 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 .

The Los Angeles office will be headed up by well known film insurance veteran Kent Hamilton. Kent can be reached at 424-529-6700.

Kent will be supported by Mike Groner and Tina Ortiz.

Front Row is licensed and registered in every province and is Canada's largest specialized film insurance broker. Front Row represents: each of the four major film insurance companies: Chubb, Premiere/Everest, Allianz/Firemans Fund and Travelers / St Paul.

"An opportunity arose to bring Kent and his team into Front Row and we quickly worked to make that happen," says David Hamilton, President of Front Row based in Vancouver. "We are delighted that Kent decided to join Front Row given the multiple offers that he received from other brokerage firms." Kent was previously a Senior Vice President at Truman Van Dyke in Los Angeles where he specialized in arranging insurance coverage for film and TV productions.

Front Row is an independent film insurance broker that works on behalf of producers to transfer the risks of filming to insurance companies for a premium charge. Should a claim occur, Front Row ensures that the production company receives the money that they are owed per the insurance policy as quickly as possible.

Front Row also has offices in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver with a combined staff of 31.

Topics: Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Kent Hamilton

Front Row Insurance Brokers announce merger with Globalex of Montreal

Posted by David Hamilton on Sep 23, 2013 5:31:00 PM

Canada's largest film insurance broker is created.

GlobalEx InsuranceVancouver,Canada - - September 23, 2013 -- Front Row is pleased to announce a merger with Globalex gestion de risques after five months of discussion.  Globalex is one of the largest specialized film insurance brokers in Quebec with 12 staff located in their Sherbrooke St office.
The combined company is licensed and registered in every province and is the largest broker as measured by premium volume for each of the four major film insurance companies: Chubb, Premiere/Everest, Allianz/Firemans Fund and Travelers / St Paul.

"Our volume with the insurance companies gives us a competitive edge when negotiating coverage, premiums and claims settlements for our clients," says David Hamilton, President of Front Row based in Vancouver.

Front Row is an independent broker that works on behalf of producers to transfer the risks of filming to insurance companies for a premium charge. Should a claim occur, Front Row ensures that the production company receives the money that they are owed per the insurance policy.

Front Row also has offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production Insurance Premiums, Canadian Insurance Broker, Canada Film Broker, Front Row Insurance Brokers, film insurance underwriter, Globalex Insurance

How Can Travel Delay Insurance Protect You?

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 4, 2013 4:12:00 PM



Travel Delay Insurance protects your film production budget when cast do not show up on set.

Travel Delay Insurance coverage is an Extra Expense coverage that is part of some film production insurance policies. The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company defines Travel Delays in their insuring agreement as:

“For reasons other than weather, we will pay for loss due to the closure of any departure airport used by your personnel or used to transport your property, when such airport closure either delays or precludes the timely arrival of personnel or property to a filming location of the Insured Production”.

EXAMPLES of extra expenses covered by Travel Delay coverage:

  • There is a problem with the baggage belt within the airport delaying baggage & equipment from being loaded onto the plane.
  • There is a temporary bomb scare which results in a delay in cast or crew’s flight out of their departure airport.
  • As with most other coverages, there are some standard exclusions that apply to Extra Expense coverages. Please see the policy wording for a full description of the coverage, or call a specialized film insurance broker such as Front Row Insurance.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production Companies

How can Ingress & Egress Coverage protect your Film Production?

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 3, 2013 9:44:00 AM

Ingress & Egress Insurance

Road ClosedAt first read, Ingress & Egress may sound like a type of leakage. In the case of this Extra Expense (EE) sub-coverage though, it actually refers to circumstances which may arise where persons or property are unable to either gain access (ingress) or leave (egress) a building/location in order to continue work as required.  This coverage is similar in nature to the Civil & Military Authority EE sub-coverage, with the exception that the inability to access or leave the building/location in question is not decided by the authorities.

As with other Extra Expense coverages, the sub-limit (sum insured) attributed to the sub-coverages is the maximum amount given for that sub-coverage, and all Extra Expense claims cannot exceed the policy Extra Expense maximum limit.

Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (Allianz) defines Ingress/Egress in their insuring agreement as:

“We will pay for loss due to your inability to access or leave a facility within your care, custody and control due to the closure, by other than a civil authority, of that facility’s access road, meaning a road that affords access into and out of that area within your care, custody and control, which is necessary to be used in connection with an Insured Production to which this Coverage applies.”

some losses/delays covered by Ingress & Egress:

  • Road access to the studio the Insured company is renting is blocked because a sinkhole  has collapsed in the road.
  • Your film director is unable to leave his hotel on time because the street in front of the hotel has large fallen trees on it due to a windstorm the previous night.

NB: As with most other coverages, there are some standard exclusions that apply to Extra Expense coverages. Please see the policy wording for a full description of the coverage, or call a specialized film insurance broker such as Front Row Insurance.

Need help? Contact Front Row.

Topics: Film insurance broker, Film Production Insurance Premiums, entertainment package insurance

Umbrella Vs. Excess Liability Insurance Coverage for Film Production

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 2, 2013 9:33:00 AM

Umbrella Vs. Excess Liability Insurance

A typical production company will purchase liability insurance to provide coverage for claims relating to third party bodily injury and/or property damage caused by the production’s activities. As the majority of production companies will use vehicles on/off set, along with mobile equipment, watercraft and/or aircraft, they must also consider liability protection for these exposures too.

Whichever type of liability policy or policies are selected by a production company; there is a “primary” layer of coverage.  Depending upon the limit of the primary general liability coverage, a production company may wish to purchase additional limits of protection: a filming location may require 10mil or more of coverage although 5mil is a common limit of coverage in Canada.

This additional layer of liability coverage is called umbrella or excess coverage.

Either Excess or Umbrella coverage is triggered when the primary protection’s limits have been breached, i.e., the underlying policy limit is exhausted.

Theoretically, an Umbrella Policy supplements its excess coverage to include miscellaneous and unidentified loss exposures that are not covered by an underlying policy. This is an advantage of an umbrella liability policy. Since there isn’t a source of primary protection for these exposures, a form of high deductible, called a self-insured retention, is applied to such losses.

An Excess Policy does NOT provide broader coverage; it only serves to supplement whatever coverage exists in the primary layer.  It’s becoming increasingly common for such coverage to be provided on a Following Form basis.  These forms are written so that they track the coverage, exclusions, and provisions of the underlying policies.

Simply stated, an Umbrella Policy will provide additional protection for your production company with different coverage that may not be in your underlying policy. An Excess Policy will further protect your production company by adding extra protection onto the limits of your underlying policy.

If you seek additional coverage for your production company, be sure to pay attention to what is stated in the form. The term "umbrella" may be used even when the form does not provide true umbrella coverage. For additional information relating to the above, please contact Front Row Insurance Brokers.


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 Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker, Film Production Insurance Premiums, Front Row Insurance Brokers, entertainment package insurance

Firearms on the Film Set and Film Insurance

Posted by David Hamilton on Dec 14, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Man with gun on film set
Firearms on Set - Insurance Concerns

The cost of film insurance for a production that uses firearms & guns on set can be minimized by following protocols that make the insurance underwriter comfortable. Insurance underwriters charge more when they are uncomfortable with the perceived risk.
Hire a good firearms wrangler and ensure they follow these protocols for a safe set and the lowest film insurance cost:

1.            Take charge of all firearms and ammunition and keep an inventory of them

2.            Know all the requirements for handling, transporting, and storing firearms, ammunition and black powder

3.            Comply with all local, provincial, and federal regulations for firearms

4.            Be familiar with the specific firearms being used and their safety requirements. Know how to load, unload, dismantle, clean and reassemble the firearms

5.            Check firearms before and after each use

6.            Clean all firearms daily after use

7.            Load and Unload all firearms (if this is not practical, supervise the handling, loading, and unloading of firearms by designated, trained assistants) as follows:

  • Use the lightest load of blank ammunition necessary for the scene
  • Allow any actor who will be standing near the line of fire to witness the loading of the firearms

8.            Train actors and stunt performers in the safe use of firearms

9.            Take firearms away from actors and stunt performers between takes whenever possible

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 Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production Insurance Premiums, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Stunt Insurance, SPFX Insurance, Special Effects Insurance, stunt & SPFX, Hazardous stunts, film insurance premium