15 August 2017

Our insurance guide for filmmakers

By Performance
Black and white picture of filmakers

Why do you need insurance?

Insurance is necessary. It covers and protects your assets such as your equipment and media, and it can also protect your liabilities. You can only insure things that you have an “Insurable Interest” in. For example, you have an insurable interest in your Arri Alexa, particularly that it works as intended without any damage.

How to make the quotation stage easier

It’s always best to get a quotation early. Before you obtain one, make sure that you have contracts in place with the hire company, location, cast and crew. It also helps to clarify who is responsible for what.

You’ll also need to be aware of your production budget, wage roll (for any employees) and the sum insured – this is the maximum amount that would be paid out to you in the event of a claim and is made up of the value of your equipment and your hiring fees etc.

If you have any action scenes, with dangerous stunts or props, ensure you have a risk assessment. This can prevent things going wrong, ensures all people involved are on the same page, and shows the insurer that you have a good understanding of any risk and dangers involved in your shoot.

It’s always beneficial to have details of any previous claims to hand, including date, cost and circumstances – always mention how you would prevent this from happening again, or any additional measures you now take because of the loss.

When you receive the quotation, be sure to check and understand your policy terms. Be aware of your cover and your excess and ensure your broker is made aware of anything that could affect your insurance!

Insuring your Kit

It is essential that you insure all of your equipment, preferably on an annual basis. Anyone else bringing their own kit to the set should also have this insured their kit themselves. The sum insured should represent the cost of replacing the equipment at today’s prices.

Hired Equipment

In order to insure hired equipment, you should have a written hire agreement in your name. This will set out the terms and conditions of the hire, making you responsible for insuring the kit (giving you Insurable Interest). The hire agreement must be in the same name as the policyholder (name shown on the insurance document). The sum insured will be given to you by the hire company, which saves you guessing!

Continuing Hire Fees/Loss of Hire

The hire company can continue charging their usual rate of hire after you return the equipment to them if the kit needs to be repaired or replaced. This is because they are effectively losing income as they are unable to use lease that equipment out to someone else. You need to check this is covered on your policy. Whilst most insurance policies will cover this automatically, sometimes this cover is limited to a maximum of weeks – check the hire agreement to be sure of how many weeks after the hire period you are liable for.

Employers Liability

This protects you if a claim is brought to you for injury or illness (arising from employment by you) by anyone working on the production, such as an employee. An employee can be defined as a volunteer, freelancer, even the neighbour’s kid – it does not matter whether or not they’ll be paid! It is a legal requirement to have Employer’s Liability cover if you have anyone working for you; you have a duty of care.

Public Liability

Public Liability protects you from claims brought to you for bodily injury to Third Parties, or damage to Third Party property. For example, if someone trips over a cable, or a light causing burn damage to a wall on location.

Although it’s not a legal requirement, you will not be able to obtain a permit without it, and any Third Party usually asks you to produce it before working on their premises. Most local authorities would ask for a minimum cover limit of £5m when you are shooting on their property – check with your broker.

Multimedia (also called All Risks Negative and Video Tape cover)

Multimedia Insurance can compensate you in the event that damage or accidental loss of the multimedia adds an additional cost to complete the production. It can even cover the cost of the production if it is abandoned due to accidental loss or damage to the media.

Producers Indemnity

You’ll need to provide the production budget for Producers Indemnity. It covers you against the additional cost to complete the production, or expenses incurred if the production is abandoned for “any reason” beyond your control. It covers you should a member of the cast or crew become ill, have an accident, or die; typically anything that prevents the production continuing. Other reasons could be damage to property or facilities that the production relies on, but there will be exclusions to “any reason”, so ensure you’re familiar with these!

This is just a brief explanation of the various insurance solutions you should consider as a filmmaker, please click here to read the full fact sheet.  Make sure you obtain advice before making a decision and purchasing insurance.

If you would like impartial advice about your insurance needs or for a specific production/shoot you have coming up, please feel free to get in touch with the Performance team on 020 8256 4929, or  contact us here.