The right insurance for film and TV to roll cameras again
Published 28 May 2020
As Australian governments continue to ease restrictions, at least 119 film and television productions paused during the COVID-19 shut down are now mapping out their plans for returning to work. When filming resumes it will be under very different conditions and insurance considerations and risk management strategies will need to be examined and changed accordingly.
A changing picture
Local producers should seek expert guidance about risk mitigation strategies to protect their people, and investors, as every production will have to demonstrate a considerable level of safety on each shoot.
The complex risks faced by producers will differ for each production, filming location and even each unit within a project. To complicate things further, travel restrictions, quarantine periods, sparse and unreliable domestic airline scheduling and working with overseas crew and talent pose additional challenges.
Industry bodies are set to release COVID-19 guidelines shortly, however, productions should be looking to manage these risks in a number of ways. Some practical examples may include:
incorporating COVID-19 cancellation clauses within all contracts to avoid or minimise costs or expenses incurred in the event of an incident which temporarily suspends filming
limiting unnecessary contact between cast and crew
COVID-19 testing where available
tracking movements of cast and crew on location to readily identify and triage potential outbreaks
increased hygiene and cleaning protocols
maintaining social distancing measures, such as remote working or isolations hubs if and where appropriate.
Challenges to negotiate
In terms of insurance cover, COVID-19 is now considered a known risk and is no longer an insurable event. As a result, specialist film insurers have introduced new exclusions to explicitly remove cover for loss arising from COVID-19, any mutation of the virus or, in some cases, future pandemics.
“Risk management will be paramount for producers. We are working closely with our clients to assist in their navigation of this new world. This includes design and implementation of procedures to protect their cast and crew, legal liabilities and minimising the potential risk to production and their budgets in the event of an outbreak.”
Natalie Allen, Client Manager, Gallagher
The challenge for producers in resuming filming is addressing their investors’ concerns around these risks without the protection insurance affords. Producers in various regions of the world are looking to their governments for help, and these discussions are currently under way.
Gallagher will continue to closely monitoring developments and informing our clients.
Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general information purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient’s industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers’ control.
Insurance brokerage and related services to be provided by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co (Aus) Limited (ABN 34 005 543 920). Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) No. 238312