Sapelo Insurance: Things to consider as productions begin again

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Rob Jones, President, Sapelo Insurance

As you know, film production insurance is a must in filmmaking and it is only as good as the policy and the company providing the policy. Obviously, everyone hopes the production goes smoothly but the need for a good policy is imperative, especially in these days and times. Your production should have a policy that is tailored and will protect the producers, filmmakers, crew, gear and include each filming location from liability claims.

So what are some of the changes we are seeing in the COVID-19 environment? For certain, it has taken more time to get policies approved with additional questions being asked. We are advising all clients to start the process earlier than before to ensure the production is not delayed due to a delay in the policy issuance.

Insurance companies are now requiring a detailed “COVID-19 Plan” that covers everything from pre-production through post-production. In addition to common set safety protocols, there is a need to describe the process for cleaning and guidelines for testing. The policies we have issued and worked on have a full COVID-19 exclusion – no coverage for cast with COVID-19 or shutdown of production.

Thankfully, organizations like the Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Basic Crafts, and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have agreed to standards that filmmakers can follow to better ensure safety. Recently these groups released “The Safe Way Forward,” a Multi-Union Report on Covid-19 Safety Guidelines. The Guidelines set forth a detailed set of science-based protocols serving as a path for productions in a pre-vaccine, Covid-19 world.

These guidelines and others serve as a necessary element for productions and can be very helpful in preparing the needed information for your insurance policy. You can expect an increase in premium pricing reflective of the current conditions and the risks insurance companies associate with productions – producers need to budget accordingly. Only a limited number of carriers are currently writing film production policies, with a number of them currently under a moratorium.

Sapelo Insurance offers products and services for film production insurance and E&O policies for producers. We have worked with clients on projects across the country including Georgia, Florida, California, South Carolina, Texas and Arizona. If you have any questions about this or any topic related to insurance, please give me a call or email me. (912) 352-3800 or EMAIL here.

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