US Filmmakers: Entertainment Insurance 101 (for Budgets under $100K)

Posted by David Hamilton on May 15, 2020 10:51:00 AM

US Filmmakers: Entertainment Insurance 101 (for Budgets < $100K)

FILM PRODUCTION INSURANCE 101 FOR US FILMMAKERS | USA FILM INSURANCESource: Shutterstock Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 735595339

So you wrote a killer script, put together a budget, found your talent, and you’re ready to shoot your first project. You set the dates, bright-eyed, excited, and you go to rent some production equipment, and maybe a couple of props or costumes.

You get the quote from the prop house, and it requires insurance. You call your personal auto insurance agent, and they don’t know how to help.

You scour blogs, resource pages, and ask your friends whom they talked to for their production insurance. Once you talk to a broker, it’s like they’re speaking a different language. You feel confused, frustrated – “I just want to rent some cameras and shoot!”

WHAT IS FILM PRODUCTION INSURANCE? | FILM PRODUCTION INSURANCE USA | US-BASED FILM PRODUCTION INSURANCE

At Front Row, we understand how confusing production insurance can be because many of us were filmmakers (in prior lives) and have been there ourselves!

Every film production insurance policy needs to be tailored to the company, or to the project if a short-term film policy. A film insurance policy is based on the best offerings from insurance companies that provide entertainment production coverage.

A SOLID FILM INSURANCE POLICY WILL PROTECT THE PRODUCER FROM:

  • liability related to injuries on set
  • accidents in working vehicles
  • theft
  • loss and damage of rented and owned equipment
  • can also protect producers from libel or copyright infringement claims

Pro Tip: If you are a producer on a project, you carry the majority of the responsibility if something goes awry. This huge responsibility can have financial, legal, even criminal ramifications to you personally.

So, now we know what production insurance is, or at least get the general idea. But just because you purchased insurance, don’t think that everything you touch will necessarily be protected.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE FILM INSURANCE POLICIES OFFERED BY FRONT ROW FOR US FILMMAKERS:

PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT INSURANCE

Covers against risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction to cameras, camera equipment, sound & lighting equipment, grip equipment, portable electrical equipment & generators, mechanical effects equipment and similar miscellaneous equipment.

This coverage also typically includes loss of use of property of others for which the renter or producer is legally liable. The limit of coverage for production equipment should be sufficient to cover the replacement cost of ALL equipment being used on the project. Most equipment rental houses will include in their contract a statement confirming the renter’s requirement to fully insure the equipment in their possession.

This coverage may also be known as Inland Marine, or Rented Equipment coverage. If there is a loss for an item you rented, the insurance company will pay the amount to replace it. When your broker asks you for a replacement value, they are not referring to how much you are paying to rent, but how much it would be to replace this item. If you ask most rental/prop houses, they will add it onto your invoice if it isn’t already noted. Note: When Rental Equipment Value is greater than $25K USD, General Liability is mandatory and cannot be removed.

If you own more than $5,000 USD in production equipment, it’s best to purchase a separate Annual Equipment Floater Policy that covers your Owned Equipment Worldwide. It’s much more cost effective than purchasing the coverage for one project.

Equipment Floater Policy US quote.

SHORT-TERM PRODUCTION INSURANCE (SHORT SHOOT)

Short-Term Production Insurance is perfect for the new or indie filmmaker who may not have more than one project scheduled in the next six months. This coverage is ideal for singular projects and can satisfy insurance requirements from film schools, rental houses, permit offices, prop houses, and/or studio location rental space.

Pricing starts at around $500 USD for minimal coverages. The premium amount for 1-10 days of coverage is the same price and it will increase with the more days you add, but 60 days is the maximum coverage period for short-term policies.

Short Shoot US quote.

DICE INSURANCE (ANNUAL)

Q. What's the difference between short-term production insurance versus annual?

A. Short-term production insurance covers your productions on a project-by-project scale. Purchased on this scale, short-term policies can cover as little as one day of production (although you should cover your prep days, too).

Planning to shoot multiple times throughout the year, and have an estimated budget over $15K USD? Then you’ll want an annual (DICE) policy. This coverage can be much more cost effective than Short-Term Production Insurance. Pricing starts around $2,500 USD for the year. Financing may be available.

Although DICE policies can be completely customized to fit your productions need, the following coverage options are available:

DICE US quote.

FILM PRODUCER’S E&O INSURANCE

If your project is being sold or distributed, Errors & Omissions (E&O) coverage may be for you; in fact, most distribution contracts will require this coverage. All television, streaming services, and feature films will require this coverage.

E&O coverage protects your production and covers any legal cost if another party accuses you of an unoriginal idea, e.g., title, characters, plots.

Pricing starting around $3,000 USD for three years of coverage.

Film producer’s E&O US quote.

OTHER FILM INSURANCE COVERAGES TO CONSIDER:

GENERAL LIABILITY

Although film policies vary widely, you’ll always need general liability. General liability covers bodily injury and property damage that occurs during the course of filming. Cast and crew are exempt from this and covered separately through a workers compensation policy. This coverage is required by most city/county permit offices.

The standard minimum policy is $1 million USD, and when the location is open to the public or sells tickets, it quickly jumps into a $5 million USD umbrella. The umbrella covers the possibility that more than one person gets injured in the facility during filming or live shows.

Example: you are filming on a sidewalk and a bystander walks by and trips on a cable; this would be a loss that would be covered by general liability. Now, if a cast or crew member trips, that would not be covered under general liability; that would be workers compensation (see below).

WORKERS COMPENSATION

Workers compensation protects you should something happen to your employees on the job. It's important to go over how you are covering crew (employees) and independent contractors.

YOU NEED A WORKER COMPENSATION POLICY IF:

  • You work as an independent contractor or freelancer
  • You are paid full rate, no taxes withheld (from a provided invoice)
  • You provide the production with a W-9 for labor or labor & gear

YOUR WORKERS COMPENSATION POLICY:

  • Can cover your payrolled cast & crew, 1099 freelancers and volunteers
  • Can cover your working crew in periods outside of general production
  • Protects you from claims arising from injuries to your crew
  • Provides for you in the case of injury on the job
  • Covers medical costs, loss of work or death benefits if injuries occur on the job

Note: If there are Hazardous Activities/Scenes (e.g., animals, stunts, guns, fight scenes, car chases, water scenes, aerial shoots), then Workers Comp is excluded and cannot be added. You must obtain Workers Comp either through a payroll company or through your local State Fund (if in California, contact https://www.statefundca.com). This will take extra time, so if you have a shoot this weekend, you may want to reconsider how important that stunt is to the project.

THIRD PARTY PROPERTY DAMAGE

Legal liability for damage to or destruction of property belonging to others (including loss of use of the property) while the property is in the care, custody or control of the production company and is used or to be used in an insured production.

Physical damage to your location or other rented premises is not included unless Third Party Property Damage (TPPD) is purchased. If you are filming in a studio or using a platform like Peerspace for your project, this cover will most likely be required. Note: TPPD excludes the home/property of the producers, cast and crew of the project.

NON-OWNED/HIRED AUTO

Hired/Non-Owned Auto Liability covers damages and injuries sustained by other motorists that your production rental vehicle accidentally hits when your production is considered “At Fault”.

Hired/Non-Owned Auto Physical Damage covers accidental damages of the rental vehicle itself. The personal vehicles of the named insured/company owner and its officers are excluded. Personal auto insurance of cast/crew is primary coverage and Hired/Non-Owned Auto Liability of the production policy is excess/secondary coverage.

UMBRELLA LIABILITY

This policy provides additional limits to the general liability, auto liability, employers’ liability (under workers’ compensation policy) and third party property damage coverages. Some locations will require higher limits than the standard general/auto liability policy of $1mil USD.

GUILD/UNION TRAVEL ACCIDENT

Provides travel accident coverages (accidental death and dismemberment) as required by the guild or union contracts to which the producer is signatory. Coverage is blanket and the limits of liability meet all signatory requirements. Coverage may be extended to non-union employees, usually with a benefit limit of $50K USD each person.

PRODUCTION PACKAGE

A production package is an accumulation of coverages to protect multiple or singular projects such as features, TV series, or documentaries. If you have an annual gross production cost over $100,000 USD and are looking for annual coverage, a production package will be necessary.

Note: Most carriers do not sell just the production package; you most likely will be required to purchase general liability as well. Minimum premiums start around $6,000 USD. Some coverages available in a production package are:

Cast Coverage Example: the lead actor of your feature is running three hours late and may not come in because they have food poisoning. Your cast, crew, makeup artists have all shown up and are waiting. Cast Coverage would cover any loss associated with the actor not being present; expenses for that shoot day would be covered.

Negative Film — direct physical loss, damage or destruction of raw film or tape stock, exposed film (developed or undeveloped), videotape, matrices, lavenders, positives, inter-positives, working prints, cutting copies, fine grain prints, color transparencies, cells artwork and drawings, hard drives, software and related materials used to generate computer images, and soundtracks and tapes, up to the amount of the insured production cost.

Negative Film Example: you just wrapped up all the post work on a TV series and are running late to go meet a potential investor for coffee. You ask the new PA to hand-deliver the hard drive to the network, which is a few blocks away. The PA receives a phone call, leaves the hard drive on the roof of the car, and drives away… Negative Film would cover up to the gross production cost in the case of a loss.

Faulty Stock — loss, damage, or destruction of “negative film” caused by or resulting from fogging or the use of faulty materials (including cameras), faulty sound equipment, or faulty developing. Faulty coverage does not include loss caused by errors of judgement in exposure, lighting or sound recording; from the use of incorrect type of raw stock; or faulty manipulation by the cameraman unless a separate extension is included in coverage.

Props, Sets, and Wardrobe — provides coverage on props, sets, scenery, costumes, wardrobe and similar property against risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction during the specified production period, subject to certain policy exclusions. Coverage for jewelry/furs/fine art is included with sub-limits. Animals can also be added. Coverage may also include loss of use of property of others for which the production is legally liable.

Miscellaneous Equipment — covers against direct physical loss, damage or destruction of camera, sound and lighting equipment, portable electric equipment and generators, mechanical effects equipment, grip equipment, and similar equipment for which the production company is legally liable. Coverage may include loss of use of property of others for which the production is legally liable. This coverage generally extends to cover physical damage to rented vehicles also.

Extra Expense — indemnifies the insured for extra expense incurred as a result of interruption, postponement or cancellation of a declared production as a direct and sole result of loss of (including damage to) property or facilities contracted by the insured (props/sets/wardrobe, miscellaneous equipment, third party property) in connection with the production insured. Coverage extensions are available for civil authority, ingress/egress, imminent peril, power interruption and strikes.

Office Contents — provides coverage on office property and computers, including laptops and similar property against risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction during the specified production period.

Money & Currency — provides coverage for actual physical loss of funds during production (i.e., petty cash) against robbery, theft, embezzlement, or forgery of checks.

Q: Still have questions about your project, or have a specialty risk? No problem. US-based filmmakers can contact the LA office:

14156 Magnolia Blvd., Suite 200
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
PH: 424 529 6701
Email: LAoffice@frontrowinsurance.com

If calling from the United States, contact:
Mike Groner
Ph: 424-529-6704
Email: mike@frontrowinsurance.com 

for California:
Kathryn Hoffman
Ph: 424-644-1411
Email: kathryn@frontrowinsurance.com

Kent Hamilton
Ph: 424-529-6700
Email: kent@frontrowinsurance.com

Doug Hodges
Ph: 424 329 2480 
Email: doug@frontrowinsurance.com

for New York:
Stacie O'Beirne
Ph: 646-849-4114
Email: stacie@frontrowinsurance.com

for Nashville:
Tom P. Corley
Ph: 615-326-4226
Email: tom@frontrowinsurance.com

RELATED:

Getting a film permit in Los Angeles / film permits LA

Book on Amazon: Film Insurance 101

FREE eBook: E&O Insurance 101

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, DICE Insurance, US Film insurance broker, non-owned auto insurance, Third Party Property Damage, Workers Compensation

Legal Expense Insurance

Posted by Grant Patten on Jan 13, 2020 8:26:34 AM

Legal Expense Insurance

Legal Expense Insurance

With legal expense insurance, your legal risks are well managed.

We know you’re busy. You’re running your business and working hard at it. But whenever you have an unforeseen legal issue, we know it means more time and work for you – and it takes you away from doing what you love.

Front Row Insurance and DAS have partnered to save you time and effort by offering the option of legal expense insurance (LEI) as a part of your Front Row policy.

How would LEI help you and your business?

A legal expense insurance policy:

  • provides you with financial coverage for a variety of potential legal events,
  • empowers you to pursue or defend your legal rights, and
  • provides you with unlimited access to a general Legal Helpline

Legal expense insurance saves you time and money by helping to:

Defend or pursue your legal rights, such as:

  • Employment Disputes: If you face legal action from an employee or ex-employee
  • Legal Defence: If your business faces criminal charges, a police investigation or an occupational health and safety investigation
  • Contract Disputes and Debt Recovery: If you face a dispute with a client or supplier in regards to a breach of contract or failure to pay an amount owed
  • Statutory Licence Protection: If your business faces a suspension, alteration or cancellation of its business licence
  • Property Protection: If there is trespass or legal nuisance to your business property
  • Bodily Injury: If you or one of your employees is injured on the job as a result of someone else’s negligence
  • Tax Protection: If you face an audit or wish to appeal a decision from the CRA

With policy limits of $100,000 per claim and $500,000 in total per policy year, DAS provides you the financial security to continue your legal action over time and against well-funded foes.

You also receive unlimited access to the DAS Legal Helpline

You will not need to search the internet or pay out of pocket for answers and assistance to your legal questions or issues. Legal information is provided, even if the issue or question is not covered by the policy. We make it easy for you as our Helpline lawyers are available:

  • 8:00 a.m. to midnight local time
  • 24/7 in an emergency situation

To learn more, please contact us.

Related Posts:


About: DAS Legal Protection Inc. is the Canadian market leader and managing general agent specializing exclusively in Legal Expense Insurance. Working with brokers and corporate partners, we create access to justice solutions so Canadian individuals, families, and business owners can exercise their rights, preserve their budget, and be confident when facing an unforeseen legal event. DAS Legal Expense Insurance policies are underwritten by Temple Insurance Company, and both companies are members of Munich Re (Group). To learn more, please visit www.das.ca.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Workers Compensation, legal expense

Workers’ Compensation Explained

Posted by Mike Groner on Jul 21, 2016 9:30:21 AM

Workers Compensation for Film Crews

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION EXPLAINED

Crew members on film productions, short films, commercials, documentaries and music videos should always be covered by work comp insurance - the risk of going without is too great.

If you are a crew member working on a low or micro budget film production, you should always ask the producer if they have workers’ compensation coverage for the crew and general liability coverage for the production in general.

Workers comp. will provides benefits to workers injured on the job such as: medical costs, rehab costs and loss of future earnings all per the policy wording. In most states and provinces the film maker is obligated to provide coverage for any cast or crew that they hire. In some cases coverage is arranged through a private entertainment insurance broker and in some cases it is arranged directly through the state or provincial agency responsible for providing workers’ comp.

The benefit to the producer is that once the injured crew member accepts the workers’ comp benefits, they usually waive the right to sue the producer. This is good insurance for the producer.

Sometimes the insurance company or government workers’ comp agency will not provide coverage if the crew and cast are not being paid, as there is no way to determine loss of future earnings. For this reason, the producer should arrange to at least make nominal payments to cast and crew.

If you are a crew member that gets hurt on the job and there are no work comp benefits available to you, then you are faced with the prospect of suing the producer while recovering from your injuries - difficult and unpleasant.

Always ask the producer if you will be covered by workers’ comp even when volunteering on a short shoot in any capacity.

GUILD / UNION TRAVEL ACCIDENT

Provides Motion Picture/Television (IATSE/NABET/SAG/DGA) and other Guild or Union contract requirements for accidental death, dismemberment and/or disability insurance to all production company cast or crew members. Coverage is blanket and the limits of liability meet all signatory requirements. It covers various modes of transportation; including extra-hazardous work, underwater filming, etc. as recited in various Guild agreements.

To obtain coverage a no obligation insurance quote for your project, please click on one of the links below:

Film Production Package For a Single Production:Film Production Package for a single production: features, television series, documentaries, and more.

Blanket Annual Production Package:    A convenient way of administering your insurance if you anticipate multiple productions in the next twelve months. This type of policy covers Documentaries, Corporate Videos, Commercials, Educational Films, Music Videos, Shorts, and more.

RELATED BLOG POSTS

FILM PRODUCTION CREW: ALWAYS ASK IF YOU ARE COVERED BY WORKERS COMP
 
FOCUS ON SAFETY TO REDUCE FILM PRODUCTION WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS
 

Topics: Cast Insurance, Workers Compensation

Volunteers and Interns on Set: Worth the Risk for Your Film Insurance?

Posted by David Hamilton on Jun 30, 2014 4:21:00 PM

VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS ON SET

Insurance for Volunteers Worksafe BC will not provide work comp (WC) coverage to unpaid interns or volunteers: there are no wages to base loss of future earnings on. WC provides medical costs, rehab costs, loss of future earnings and most importantly, once the injured employee accepts the WC benefits, they waive the right to sue their employer.

We suggest that you have the intern sign a waiver acknowledging the inherent dangers of a film set. A sample waiver can be obtained from your lawyer or we would be happy to send you one as well.

We can provide you with an accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policy for $75 per volunteer that will pay a cash settlement for a specific list of injuries ($50,000 for loss of eye, $100,000 for loss of leg, etc); although, this in no way replaces WC. The injured intern could still sue the employer. For this reason I would recommend against hiring a volunteer. Your film insurance does not provide work comp benefits for interns and volunteers.

Let us know if you would like us to send you an AD&D application. We need to know the name, nationality and dates of work for each of the volunteer employees.

Contact us now if you have any questions. 

Topics: Intern Rights, Workers Compensation

Focus on Safety to Reduce Film Production Workers Compensation Claims

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

Workers comp on film sets

Film production health & safety / Workers Comp

Film production companies have an obligation toward 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 Workers' Compensation Board (WCB)
  • Investigate all incidents, involving near misses
  • Ensure that cast and crew follow all WCB, municipal, provincial and federal requirements

Cast & Crew should:

  • 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)

Related Blog PostS

WORKERS' COMP EXPLAINED

WORKERS COMPENSATION FOR FILM CREWS

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Insurance claims, Film Producers, film insurance premium, Film Production Companies, Workers Compensation

Film Production Crew: Always Ask if you are Covered by Workers Comp

Posted by David Hamilton on Jun 14, 2010 3:18:00 PM

Workers Compensation for Film Crews

Workers Compensation for Film Crews

Crew members on film productions, short films, commercials, documentaries and music videos should always be covered by work comp insurance - the risk of going without is too great.

If you are a crew member working on a low or micro budget film production, you should always ask the producer if they have workers compensation coverage for the crew and general liability coverage for the production in general.

Workers comp. provides benefits to workers injured on the job such as: medical costs, rehab costs and loss of future earnings all per the policy wording. In most states and provinces, the filmmaker is obligated to provide coverage for any cast or crew that they hire. In some cases coverage is arranged through a private entertainment insurance broker and in some cases it is arranged directly through the state or provincial agency responsible for providing work comp.

The benefit to the producer is that once the injured crew member accepts the work comp benefits, they usually waive the right to sue the producer

Sometimes that insurance company or government work comp agency will not provide coverage if the crew and cast are not being paid as there is no way to determine loss of future earnings. For this reason, the producer should arrange to make nominal payments to cast and crew.

If you are a crew member who gets hurt on the job and there are no work comp benefits available to you, then you are faced with the prospect of suing the producer while recovering from your injuries - difficult and unpleasant.

Always ask the producer if you will be covered by workers comp even when volunteering on a short shoot in any capacity.

RELATED BLOG POSTS:

WORKERS' COMP EXPLAINED
 
FOCUS ON SAFETY TO REDUCE FILM PRODUCTION WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS

RELATED LINKS:

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

Claims

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production, Film Producers, Commercial Production Insurance, Documentary Insurance, Film Production Companies, Workers Compensation