It is important that all productions have appropriate insurance.
There are a number of different types of insurance that are available for productions, some of which are compulsory legal requirements (e.g. employer’s liability, road traffic act/motor) and others are voluntary.
Many broadcasters / production companies have an insurance broker and policy or scheme they prefer to use. They may also choose to self-insure certain areas, this is certainly the case with some of the larger companies, broadcasters and studios.
It is generally the responsibility of the Producer and Line Producer to ensure the production is adequately covered. The Production Accountant should have copies of the insurance policies, noting premiums, exclusions and deductibles.
Basic production package contents
The basic Production Package will cover the following areas:
- Media – negative / tape and digital media cover, including sound recordings, faulty processing and accidental damage / all risks
- Cast – key talent cover for Actors, Directors, DoP etc
- Miscellaneous equipment
- Props, set & wardrobe cover
- Cash cover
- Third party property damage
- Production office content
Negative, tape and digital media cover
The insurance is to cover the additional costs of re-recording, arising from loss or damage to the recording media e.g. film or tapes including sound recordings.
Key talent cover
Key talent usually refers to main cast and the Director(s), but can include any other key talent where filming would not be possible if they were unfit to work. The policy indemnifies the production against additional production costs or abandonment incurred in the event of accident, sickness or death of certain specified people during the period of principal photography, plus a period prior to the first camera day.
The key talent named in the insurance policy will require medicals, the cost of which is covered by the production. The result of the medicals may lead to some exclusions from the policy, e.g. pre-existing conditions or pregnancy. The Producer or Funders may decide that the key talent cannot be used if the exclusions provide too high a risk for the production.
The policy can include ‘all risks’ cover for all camera, sound, electrical, editing and other such equipment whether owned, hired or on loan to the production and for which they are liable. (Note: the definition of ‘all risks’ will be specified in each policy document.) Cover should commence when the production first becomes liable for equipment e.g. upon commencement of set design/construction. It should be maintained until all hired equipment, including editing equipment, has been returned to its owner.
Props, sets & wardrobe cover
Loss or damage to props, sets and wardrobe can be covered in the policy.
There may be separate limits applied to valuables such as antiques.
The period of insurance should run from when the props/sets are being designed and constructed until all hired/loaned items have been returned.
The policy can cover the petty cash, but the policy will specify how the cash is handled and stored. There will be maximum cash limits covered depending on the cash rating of the safe and the security over cash in transit.
Third party property damage
This is to cover loss or damage to third party property in the care, custody and control of the productions, e.g. dry hire of equipment or locations. This area may also be included in the public liability insurance, therefore only areas not covered under the public liability insurance should be included here.
Production office contents
This insurance provides all risks cover for office furniture, fixtures, equipment and supplies, whether owned hired or on loan to the production and for which the production is responsible for. The insurance of individual’s tools of trade should usually remain the responsibility of the equipment’s owner.
Commercial vehicle physical damage
This covers damage to or destruction of action vehicles, mobile equipment vans, mobile studio units. Coverage applies to declared vehicles for amounts up to specified values or limits. Coverage may also apply to motor vehicles owned by the production company or any rented private passenger cars, if specifically endorsed to the policy.
Provides indemnification to the production company for the value of an animal that dies during a production or for the net loss due to illness or destruction of an animal used in a production. Values of animals have to be established in advance and current veterinarian certificates are required.