Damage Control – By Bob Baker, Owner & Senior Vice President, Gales Creek Insurance
It’s been a perfect day of shooting in remote Eastern Oregon. The weather, the location, and the way everything gelled couldn’t have been better. Now the light is starting to fade and it’s time to pack up and make the long drive back to town.
It’s at this peaceful moment that you’re blindsided by your assistant’s announcement that today’s film was accidentally exposed and the whole day was wasted: $5,000 an hour in production costs down the drain—plus the nightmare of rescheduling and the frustration of trying to capture the same magic again suddenly lands in your lap.
But fear not. Film production insurers have policies available for this and the other unique exposures of the film business. Though insurance can’t eliminate the hassles of rescheduling or recreating the magic, it can still pay for the out-of-pocket expenses needed to re-shoot. Even with modern video and digital technology this type of accident can still occur before a protection print or backup copy can be made. The policy form used to recoup the costs of a re-shoot because of the accident above is Faulty Stock, Camera and Processing Protection.
Many of the claims that we see are for equipment loss or damage. Whether you own your equipment or you rented that $80,000 camera pack, it needs to be replaced when it falls off the tripod or gets dropped in the ocean after you’re hit by a sneaker wave. A Miscellaneous Equipment form insures this type of exposure so that you can turn on a dime, get a replacement, and get back to work.
The claims manager of St. Paul/Travelers Specialty Film Department says that a majority of losses that they see fall under Third Party Property Damage coverage. This is another Property/Inland Marine form that pays for damage to premises that you do not own and that are in your “care, custody, and control.” If you’re shooting at a mansion that was made available to you for the day, and at the end of the shoot realize that your crew has managed to trash a very expensive looking oriental rug, hopefully you have this coverage in force.
There is a myriad of other insurance coverages essential to a production company, and these will be discussed in the following sections.
Protecting Your Assets – By Dave Peterson, President, Midlakes Insurance
There are many aspects to consider when purchasing insurance for your production. Here are a few questions (and answers) to keep in mind when planning your next production project.
HOW DO WE HANDLE INTERNS AND
VOLUNTEERS FOR WORKERS’ COMP
In the state of Washington, the Department of Labor and industries does not have any classifications for interns or volunteers. These very important members of a production staff will not be covered under your Workers’ Comp account, for any on the job injury or illness. So what to do?
1. Do not allow any volunteers or interns on the
2. Put them on payroll.
3. Have an airtight release for them to sign.
HOW SHOULD WE COVER OUR CAST MEMBERS?
When using indispensible cast members, it is imperative to cover those persons with a Cast Protection Endorsement on your Production Policy. This type of coverage will provide extra expense reimbursement for costs incurred by the production company due to postponement, interruption or cancellation of the production resulting from an accident, illness or death of a declared artist, or director, during the filming of principal photography.
High impact animals also can qualify for this type of coverage, and when you are planning your production, please consult your agent about the advisability of Cast Coverage. It can save a bunch of headaches.
WHY DO WE NEED NEGATIVE FILM AND VIDEOTAPE COVERAGE?
What the heck, we only use digital cameras and there is no film involved in any process of filming, so why cover negatives and videotape? Negative Film & Videotape Insurance provides coverage as a result of direct physical loss, damage or destruction of materials—such as raw film or tape stock, exposed film (developed or undeveloped), videotape, matrices, lavenders, inter-positives, positives, working prints, cuffing copies, fine grain prints, color transparencies, cells, art work and drawing, software and related material used to generate computer images, soundtracks and tapes used in connection with a production—that occurred during a policy period. The key words in the case of digital imaging are “software and related material used to generate computer images.”
Additional Available Coverage – By Dave Tucker, McDonald Insurance
The other sections in this article touch on film stock, equipment, property damage, and cast coverage—but there are many more coverages available for your production. Following is a listing and description of some of these:
Props, Sets, and Wardrobes: Covers against the loss, damage or destruction of props, sets and wardrobes during the course of a production.
Extra Expense: Covers the extra expense an insured would incur due to a delay or cancellation of a shoot because property (including props, sets, wardrobe and equipment) or a location is stolen, damaged or destroyed.
Agency Reshoot: Covers increased costs associated with production deals involving advertising and other related agencies when a covered loss causes a reshoot.
Talent Costs: Includes increased cost to secure the talent used in the original shoot.
Office Contents: Covers business personal property for insureds that do not have enough property to need a separate property policy.
Money & Securities and Blanket Employee Dishonesty: Are the same coverages found in standard property policies, once again designed for insureds who are small enough not to need a separate policy.
If this seems like an awful lot of information to process, don’t fret! This is where an experienced production insurance broker can step in and save the day. Before you get started on a production, it behooves you to contact one such broker.
Says Gales Creek’s Bob Baker, “They may not be able to help you capture the magic, but they may end up giving you a chance to do it again when everything that can go wrong does.”