Casting actors. Hiring crew. Scouting locations. If not done correctly, pre-production is where some projects can collapse in on themselves, costing investors and distributors precious time and tons of money. To guard against these types of events, producers purchase entertainment insurance and completion bonds to ensure the show goes on.


However, entertainment insurance claims and bonds are expensive safety nets, and it’s better to never need to file a claim.

By staying organized with production management software, you can protect against entertainment insurance claims.

1. Understand risk assessment with script breakdowns

4 Ways Film Producers Can Decrease Entertainment Insurance Liabilities - Risk Assessment Film

Entertainment insurance claims can cost millions of dollars. Making a thorough script breakdown only costs a couple hours of your time.

By mapping out when specific cast members, stunts, and other production necessities are needed, your production departments can better prepare for shoot days. Producers can analyze this report to assess risk which can directly affect insurance claims like Errors and Omission.

Entertainment insurance defined: What are Errors and Omissions (E&O)?

Errors and Omissions (E&O), also known as Professional Liability insurance (PLI), protects filmmakers from lawsuits pertaining to theft of idea, copyright infringement, libel, slander, invasion of privacy, defamation, product disparagement, trade libel, infliction of emotional distress, right of publicity, outrage and outrageous conduct, false light, wrongful entry, false arrest or malicious prosecution.

2. Budget preparation time

4 Ways Film Producers Can Decrease Entertainment Insurance Liabilities - Location Scouts

A script breakdown gives you information that you can act on.

Insurance claims can be avoided entirely by mapping out with locations and their risk and art needs. Knowing what a scene calls for in the earliest stages of production gives your production staff time to communicate what to look out for at locations to minimize General Liability exposures when shooting.

Entertainment insurance defined: What's General Liability?

General Liability (GL) covers filmmaking premises and locations, for bodily injury or property damage from events occurring during your production. Most entertainment insurance brokers will cover this.

3. Craft comprehensive shooting schedules

4 Ways Film Producers Can Decrease Entertainment Insurance Liabilities - Shooting Schedule Template - StudioBinder

Shooting schedules provide a clear and thoughtful agenda to keep a production team on the rails. A disorganized set that has multi-day set overages can and will often disrupt shoots.

A poorly crafted shooting schedule can lead to a bond guarantor taking control of your set. Most video production insurance policies can’t get around this.

Entertainment insurance defined: What's a completion bond?

A completion bond, also known as a motion picture completion guaranty, is a contract in which film financiers and investors are guaranteed that a film will be completed on budget, on time, and delivered to a studio or distributor upon its completion. Many independent feature films and high budget commercials are backed by completion bonds.

In general, bonds are issued for budgets over $5,000,0000 and only once money is in the bank or irrevocably available to producers to begin production.

Like all video production insurance products, completion bonds are incredibly important to purchase to guard against downside risks; however, it is significantly better and in the interests of producers to successfully complete film operations without claims arising.

To do so, there is almost no better way than using thoughtful and well planned schedules.

4. Always use call sheets

4 Ways Film Producers Can Decrease Entertainment Insurance Liabilities - Call Sheet Template

A proper call sheet can put a crew in the right state of mind. It can keep personnel from rushing to set which can more often than not lead to a car accident.

The clear communication of getting all keys and crew to set on time can make the difference between a profitable production and a Hired and Borrowed Auto claim.

Entertainment insurance defined: What's Hired and Borrowed Auto?

Hired and Borrowed Auto covers your production for accidents, injuries and other incidents while using rented and borrowed vehicles. Coverage for Hired and Borrowed Vehicles includes Auto liability coverage for third parties, and also provides Comprehensive & Collision coverage that covers damage to those vehicles, subject to a deductible payment. The best insurance for production companies covers this.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to entertainment insurance jobs, being proactive in the pre-production stages always reduces risk. Video production insurance should always be worst case scenario cushion.

By constantly looking to improve onset operations, you’re not only making a more efficient and pleasant set for cast and crew–you’re guarding against liabilities and risk that can have disastrous implications if something bad happens on set.


Disclaimer: This guest post comes from Film Casualty Insurance Agency. Their mission is to support and contribute to the art of film-craft by keeping film businesses, crew, gear, and projects protected. Please remember, this article should be construed as information, not legal advice. StudioBinder does not provide or offer legal advice to its readers. StudioBinder, its editors and authors will not be held responsible for any legal issues the reader might encounter based on the subjects found in this post. This disclaimer assigns you, our readers, all responsibility for your own decisions.

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