Posted by David Hamilton on Jun 29, 2021 2:33:12 PM

Save money on your film insurance premium

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 typically applied against the net budget; however, note that not all of the insurers rate on net insurable, as was the case a few years ago.

A typical rate might be .70 cents per hundred dollars of net budget, depending on the current insurance market conditions. 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 line items as costs that do not need to be insured:

  1. Story and scenario - 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 results 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 anything from the insured budget.

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

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Related Video: WHAT IS A PREMIUM?

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance premium

Video: What is a Premium? What is a Deductible?

Posted by Grant Patten on Apr 28, 2020 7:54:34 AM

What is a Premium? What is a Deductible?

Disclaimer: the deductible amounts disclosed in this video are current to April 2020 and are subject to change.

What is an insurance premium?

An insurance premium is the amount of money an individual or business pays for an insurance policy. Premiums are collected and kept in reserve in order to pay out claims as they arise. The insurance company must anticipate how much premium they will need to collect in order to have the funds available to pay out losses when they occur. In layman’s terms, they have to make an educated guess.

Wondering why your premium has changed? Well, the changes in premiums this year are a reflection of the overall loss ratio on the insurance program. In order for an insurance program to remain viable, the amount paid out in losses cannot exceed the amount collected in premiums.

What is an insurance deductible?

A deductible is the amount of the loss that you are responsible for covering before the insurance policy will respond. Say you have a USB drive stolen. Replacing it would cost $60, but your deductible is $350. Although, “technically” the claim would be covered, it is below your deductible, so the insurance company wouldn’t be responsible for paying any part of the claim.

Another example: you drop your camera, but it only costs $200 to fix. Although it is the kind of damage that would be covered under the policy, you are responsible for the first $350 of the loss. In this case, again, the insurer would not have any responsibility to pay the claim, because the expense was not more than the $350 deductible.

If you damage a $500 lens, though, you would pay for the first $350 (your deductible), then the insurance company would cover the next $150.

A review of the Front Row online insurance program deductibles (in Canadian dollars):

Photography insurance ( deductibles:

  • Equipment deductible: $350 per occurrence
  • Photographer’s Enhancement Pack deductible: $500 per occurrence
  • Theft from an Unattended Vehicle deductible: $2,500 per occurrence
  • Outside Canada and United States of America (“Out of Country”) deductible: $750
  • General Liability deductible: $500 per occurrence

The deductible applies to any one incident, not per item. Only one deductible, whichever is highest, would apply per claim.

DigiGear insurance ( deductibles:

  • Owned Mobile Equipment  - $1,000
  • Owned Fixed Equipment - $1,000
  • Rented Equipment - $1,000
  • Lessors' Contingency Coverage - $1,000
  • Commercial General Liability - $1,000

Short Shoot insurance ( deductibles:

The rented equipment deductible is $1,500 per event. This applies to any one incident, not per item.

Musical instrument insurance ( deductibles:

The equipment deductible is $250 per claim. Again: This applies to any one incident, not per item.

SOLO Theatrical Insurance ( deductibles:

The deductible for Each Occurrence is $500.

Event insurance ( deductibles:

  • Rented Equipment Coverage: $500 Per Claim
  • Rented Tents/Marquees: $250 Per Claim
  • Wedding Enhancement Package Coverages: $250 Per Claim
  • Birthday Party / Bar/Bat Mitzvah / Anniversary Package Coverages: $250 Per Claim
  • Cancellation Coverage: None
  • General Liability, Each Occurrence: $500 for claims of Bodily Injury / Property Damage
  • Tenant Legal Liability: $500 Per Claim

Workplace Office insurance ( deductibles:

There are various deductibles under the Workplace policy. The deductible will depend on the coverage. For example, the deductible for theft of office property is $500.

Get Insurance with Front Row

Whether you’re interested in film insurance, photography insurance, event insurance or another insurance product, consider Front Row Insurance for your insurance needs.


Topics: Musical instrument insurance, Short Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance premium, Office Contents Insurance, Theatre Insurance, Event insurance Canada, Photography insurance, DigiGear

DICE Insurance Policies: Annual Protection for Multiple Film Projects

Posted by David McLeish on Aug 24, 2018 4:14:34 PM

What are DICE Insurance Policies? 

Many film and video companies engage in multiple productions throughout the year. These types of companies, known as DICE Producers (Documentaries, Industrial Films, Commercials and Educational films), benefit from an annual insurance policy known, conveniently, as a DICE Policy.

Somewhat like an annual travel insurance policy that covers all the trips you take in a year, a DICE insurance policy will cover all the productions you undertake in a year, so you don’t need to keep re-applying for insurance for each individual production. This gives DICE Producers the freedom and flexibility to provide certificates of insurance and lock locations at a moment’s notice (many municipalities require $5 Million in Commercial General Liability to secure a film permit). An annual policy also means you only have to think about the insurance once a year, and unless you’re insurance nerds like us, once is probably enough!

There are some limitations: a DICE policy won’t cover feature length films, productions with shooting periods over 90 days, or TV series, episodes, or specials. But it will cover productions like short subjects, music videos, and photo shoots, along with the DICE staples—virtually everything except feature films and TV series.

Canadian Producers - Click Here

Calculating your DICE premiums:

The policy premium is based on your actual annual gross budgets. Coverage is purchased with a deposit premium that is based on your provisional, estimated annual gross production costs (say, you expect to do $500,000 that year). Then, at the end of the year, you report a final gross production cost and the premium is adjusted up or down accordingly. If you weren’t as busy as you had anticipated, the unused premium is refunded to you, or, if business was booming and you did better than expected, you can pay for the additional coverage used at the end of the year. This means you’re only paying for the insurance you actually needed during that year. Our DICE policies have a minimum annual gross budget of $220,000 and no upper limit, so whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, Front Row’s DICE Policy can be tailored exactly to the needs of your production business.

Additional Coverage is also available for:

Visit the Front Row Insurance Website for more information or a fast, free no obligation quote!

Canadian Producers - Click Here




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Topics: Film insurance premium, DICE Insurance, Corporate video insurance, Music video insurance

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.

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. "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 insurance premium

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 insurance premium

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, Film insurance premium

Film Production Insurance & Mechanical Devices on Set

Posted by David Hamilton on Dec 10, 2012 9:42:00 AM


Mechanical device film setImage source: Shutterstock

If a mechanical device or an articulated set is used in a production, the film insurance cost can be minimized if the production company ensures that:

  1. The device or set is capable of safely performing the functions for which it is used
  2. Workers operate the device or set in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, safe work practices, and the requirements of the regulation
  3. The device or set is properly inspected, tested or maintained

If a production company requires that a mechanical device or articulated set be created for a production, the production company is considered the supplier of that device or set. As a supplier, the production company must provide directions for the safe use of the device or set and must ensure that the device or set is safe when used as specified. Such directions could be developed in consultation with a qualified person such as a professional engineer.

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 equipment insurance, Film Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Insurance claims, 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


smoke on film set

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 claims, Stunt Insurance, Film insurance premium, Film 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 in Filmmaking

Camera car

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.

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 [Amazon Affiliate Link] on the towing vehicle
  • Do not transport crew members or equipment that are 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.

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Topics: Film equipment insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Insurance claims, Film insurance premium, Film Production Companies

Film Production Companies and Watercraft Use | Filming on Water, Boats

Posted by David Hamilton on Nov 22, 2012 4:32:00 PM

Filming on boat

Film Set Guidelines - watercraft use

Use boats safely to protect your cast and crew during your film production. The following suggestions will result in the best film insurance premium with the deductible:  

  1. Follow all boating regulations

  2. Ensure that the operator knows how to operate the boat competently and safely

  3. Make sure that the boat is seaworthy

  4. Know the boat’s load capacity, do not overload the boat

  5. Allow only essential cast and crew members on the boat (all others should remain on land)

  6. Do not smoke on board. Fire at sea is a serious potential hazard

On the Boat - Guidelines

  1. Put equipment and tools in their place and use straps to secure tripods and other filming gear

  2. Secure hatch covers so they will not slide or shift

  3. Keep passageways clear and do not block emergency exits

  4. Keep the deck clear of potential slipping and tripping hazards

Boats that are tied to the dock during filming and are not on the water under their own power will be covered under props/sets/wardrobes coverage on the entertainment package insurance policy. Talk to your film insurance broker if the boat is under power.  

Have backups in place so you will be ready if anything goes wrong during filming.  

Emergency Backups re: Watercraft

  1. A reliable communication system

  2. Safety lines, nets, observers, or divers for filming in rivers or other bodies of water where potentially hazardous conditions exist (e.g., swift currents, thick underwater plant life, or rocks)

  3. Stationing emergency rescue workers downstream of having a safety boat nearby

  4. A specialized film insurance broker is best able to present the risks associated with your film production to the film insurance underwriter to ensure that 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.

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