A Producer's Insurance Guide

Your Planning - Your Production - What's Needed

  1. Errors and Omissions
  2. General Liability
  3. Equipment, Props, Sets, and Wardrobe
  4. Faulty Stock, Camera, and Processing
  5. Negative Film and Videotape
  6. Third Party Property Damage
  7. Extra Expense
  8. Workers' Compensation



ERRORS AND OMISSIONS

insurance is generally required before your program can be aired or distributed. Distributors or Broadcasting stations require that you indemnify them from claims as a result of the content of your production. Unless you are very wealthy they are going to require an insurance policy to back your indemnification. This policy is commonly called Errors & Omissions.

HINT: To obtain this policy the insurance company is going to require that you obtain the necessary clearances from the actors, all necessary music and script rights, etc., and you may have to submit either your script or a tape for review.

The distributor or broadcasting station will require that the policy cover them for the entire rights period granted. HINT: Try to obtain a policy that will cover this extended period for a one-time premium. Walterry's policy does exactly that.


GENERAL LIABILITY

is a must for all producers and freelancers. It protects you against claims from the public for bodily injury or property damage caused by you, your employees, and in some cases, independent contractors you hire. Before most property owners, including municipalities, allow you to shoot on their property, they are going to require proof of insurance. This is commonly referred to as a Certificate of Insurance which will verify policy number, insurance company, limits and inception and expiration dates.

HINT:Be sure to determine in your planning stages what limits of liability will be required by any property owner whose property you will be using. Don't forget that governments and cities are property owners and will require certificates before they allow you to shoot on their streets and sidewalks.


EQUIPMENT, PROPS, SETS, AND WARDROBE

are equipment which should be insured. This policy provides coverage of "direct physical loss" to any property listed in the policy. Coverage can also be provided for equipment you rent and have endorsed to the policy. Equipment rental firms will generally require proof of insurance before they allow any equipment to leave their premises. HINT: Advance planning is necessary so that your agent has sufficient time to prepare the necessary proof required by the rental firms.

Policy should be written with replacement cost which means that the reimbursement value is without regard for depreciation. HINT: Accidental breakage coverage should also be purchased to cover equipment damaged by accidental dropping.


FAULTY STOCK, CAMERA, AND PROCESSING

reimburses you the cost to reshoot your scene or scenes due to loss sustained as a result of loss or damage to exposed film, recorded videotape, sound tracks, and tapes, caused by fogging or faulty developing, faulty editing, or faulty processing, or the accidental erasure of videotape recordings.

HINT: The limit of this insurance should be your entire budget less the cost of scripts and any rights which would not have to be purchased again in order to reshoot.


NEGATIVE FILM AND VIDEOTAPE

reimburses you the cost to reshoot your scene or scenes due to loss sustained to your exposed film, recorded videotape, sound tracks, and tapes used in connection with your production caused by any direct physical loss or damage, unless excluded in the policy.

The policy does not cover perils insured under the Faulty Stock, Camera and Processing policy and is generally issued as a companion policy.

HINT: The limit of this insurance should be your entire budget less the cost of scripts and any rights which would not have to be purchased again in order to reshoot.


THIRD PARTY PROPERTY DAMAGE

insures property belonging to others that is in your care, custody or control. The General Liability policy excludes this type of property. This policy pays on your behalf if you are legally obligated to pay for damages to this type of property.

An example of this could be a borrowed valuable painting or sculpture to use as background for a scene.


EXTRA EXPENSE

is a policy that is often overlooked, but is a very important policy.

What happens if you rent a location for two weeks, rent the equipment needed, hire the technicians necessary to do the shoot, and when you get to the location it has been damaged or destroyed the day before because of fire? You can't find an available location for a week. In the meantime you have the extra expense of the rental equipment and staff, not to speak of the extra cost of lodging. This policy covers the extra expense you incur because of such interruption.

The policy limit should be the estimated cost of the extra expenses which could be incurred as a result of the loss of use of the damaged or destroyed property.


WORKERS' COMPENSATION

is generally required in most states if you have employees, and should also be purchased if you hire any independent contractors who cannot provide you with a Certificate of Insurance.

This policy pays all medical bills and also provides disability benefits as defined by your state's workers' compensation laws for any employee or independent contractor insured under this policy who is injured in the course of employment.

Most states consider independent contractors as employees if they do not have their own workers' compensation policy. HINT: Be sure if you hire independents to obtain a Certificate of Insurance.

The premium on this policy is finally determined by an audit of your payroll accounts by the insurance company at the end of the policy period.