Vintage Theatre Spotlight

Film Insurance: Why You Need to Take Action Before the Credits Roll

Writing the script. Finding the right cast. Scouting locations. These are essential steps for filmmakers, large and small. However, there’s another, lesser known activity that is just as important, perhaps more so: finding the right insurance provider.

While not as fun as editing special effects or spending a day on set, obtaining film insurance cannot be overlooked. In the best case, a robust policy will have maximum coverage at an affordable price. Without it, you’re left vulnerable to a variety of risks.

One very common risk is injury to those who are not involved in your production. Your cast and crew will be covered under workers compensation. But what about someone that happens to be passing by the set and ends up hurt? General liability insurance is your answer, particularly if you’re in a public setting.

Public filming almost always requires a permit and most regulatory bodies will not grant one, unless general liability coverage is in place.

There’s also a plethora of equipment to worry about, including: cameras, lighting, tripods, microphones, cables, rigs, stabilizers and so much more. None of this comes cheap and there’s always the chance it may get lost, stolen or damaged. Luckily, film equipment insurance will cover any rented or owned equipment.

Once a film, television show or commercial is complete, the typical goal is to distribute the work for some financial benefit. That may prove difficult without Media Liability (Errors & Omissions) insurance.

This is a critical policy for defending your work against copyright claims and any legal liabilities related to alleged unauthorized use of titles, formats, ideas, characters, plots and breach of contract. It also provides coverage for any alleged plagiarism and unfair competition.

Film insurance coverage isn’t limited to the latest Hollywood blockbuster. It’s available to any person or organization that plans to film video for distribution. That includes a wide range of independent film projects: short documentary episodes, travel shows, cooking shows or even advertisements for the local car dealership.

Nowadays theaters and televisions are far from the only place to present content. Video is everywhere from social media to streaming services to a screen in the back of a taxi cab. In 2021 anyone can be a content creator and if you can put it to video — film insurance will cover it.

While COVID-19 did bring almost all production to a screeching halt, every aspect of the business, film insurance included, is back up and running. People did not stop developing pitches and writing scripts. What we’re experiencing today is a significant surplus of content that’s begging to be filmed.

For each and every production, film insurance is an essential tool to guard against any potential risks.

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Aaron Ma
Aaron Ma

Aaron Ma has over 20 years of entertainment insurance industry experience, beginning his career at a leading entertainment insurance managing general agent — underwriting property, casualty, workers’ compensation and contingency lines of coverage. In 2006, he joined Take1 Insurance, a leading provider of insurance solutions for the entertainment industry. For more information, visit…

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