IFH 257: Complete Guide to Understanding Film and Production Equipment Insurance



Top Apple Filmmaking Podcast

20+ Million Downloads

Right-click here to download the MP3

Understanding the minefield that film production and production equipment insurance is a challenge.  I wanted to bring on the show Kathrine Wong and Aylene Villarin from  Athos Insurance to left the vail on all things filmmaking insurance. Now I know what you are saying,

…a podcast about insurance, snore!

but to be honest it’s a fun episode with tons of knowledge bombs.

Enjoy my conversation with Kathrine Wong and Aylene Villarin from Athos Insurance.

Alex Ferrari 1:49
Now guys today on the show, we're going to talk about one of the most exciting topics in all filmmaking, film in production equipment insurance. But I wanted to have our guest today, Kathrine Wong and Aylene Villarin from Athos insurance to come on the show and talk about insurance about equipment insurance, when you're renting gear to workman's comp to actual yearly policies versus monthly policies or just project policies. You know, when I did on the corner of ego and desire, I actually use their services for the equipment and some other insurance that we needed for the shoot. And I wanted to kind of, you know, talk about it a little bit, because it's something that no one talks about, because it isn't the most exciting thing in the world to talk about. But when you don't have it, it can cost you 10s of 1000s of dollars. So as filmmakers and as entrepreneurs, you need to protect yourself and understand the world of insurance, especially in the indie world. And it's not as expensive as you might think. Now, full disclosure, I am not getting paid a single cent, nor was I given any special deals or Athos for them having them on the show. I actually reached out to them. And I wanted to put them on the show, because I think it's something that that no one talks about. There's not many podcast episodes dedicated to production insurance, and equipment insurance. So I wanted to have cat and Aylene on to kind of demystify what insurance is and what we can do to make sure we're covered and protected when making our independent films even on a micro budget. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Kathrine Wong and Aylene Villarin. And from Athos insurance. I like to welcome to the show, Kathrine Wong and Aylene Villarin from Athos Insurance Services. Thank you so much for jumping on guys.

Kathrine Wong 3:39
Yeah, nice to be here.

Aylene Villarin 3:41
Thank you for having us.

Alex Ferrari 3:42
It's been we've been trying to do this for a while. We're finally we're finally here. And it is you know, I wanted to have you guys on because, you know insurance as I was telling you earlier, not the sexiest part of the whole filmmaking process. But if you don't have it, it becomes one of the most nightmare. Most nightmares that you can deal with is not proper insurance, and not understanding insurance and an understanding the power of it, what to do what to get what not to get on low budgets on big budgets, all sorts of things, especially on indie, an indie world, I thought it was very important. Have you guys on the kind of demystify production assurance and insurance in general, for the indie film tribe. So thank you so much for coming on. Yeah, happy to be here. So how did you guys get into the wacky world of insurance?

Kathrine Wong 4:32
Ooh, that's a good question. Well, I'll try to make it brief. But I basically got into it by mistake. And that's how a lot of us get into it is. So I basically, when I was at UCLA, I, you know, I worked for an insurance firm. While I was going to college, and I got into it, I learned that people they said was a very lucrative industry. And I you know, I said, you know, I'm gonna give it a shot. And, you know, all of my friends were going to business school and I said, You know what, I know I have that degree, but I'm going to give insurance a try. And I can always do that later if I don't want to. And then I tried to sell insurance, and it was really tough. But I said, you know, I'm gonna try to do something that that's more niche. So I got into sports insurance, believe it or not, like skate park insurance. And then from that, I kind of just walked into more of the entertainment stuff, you know, like cameras production gear, through a really unique opportunity at one of the companies that I started at. And then from there, that's when I started to do gear rentals, insurance and production equipment. And yeah, and it was just like a really wonderful opportunity. And that's how I got into production insurance. And once you do a niche, it's like, it's a really wonderful, you know, great thing, because people are then looking for you. So right, it didn't matter that you know, I looked like a child. It was really cool. Cuz that was why it was really hard to sell insurance because I look so young. So but yeah, that's it's been really great for me. I'm very fortunate me and my family, we've, you know, definitely benefited from this career of mine. So, you know, we love doing it. And I love doing it.

Alex Ferrari 6:19
Yeah. So I used to be the youngest one in the room too. So enjoy it while you have. One day, I just turned around. I'm like, wait a minute, I'm not the youngest one in the room anymore. Damn. Dang it, what's going on? So you mean to tell me you didn't have like posters of IKEA, no policies up on your wall as nobody does. And if they do, and if they do, they're, they're psychotic and will probably kill someone at one point.

Aylene Villarin 6:48
So for me, I was actually in law school. So I had this, you know, this feature that I thought I was going to have and practicing law, and it wasn't what I expected. And so I took a little break. And my sister was like, Oh, you should try insurance, I heard it's a really good, you know, a really good path to go into. So I did. And I was for a while selling like employee benefits, which is, honestly, like, I love my coworkers at the time, but it was just not what I wanted to do. It was a little boring, I just was not excited about it. And I really contemplated going back to school. And then suddenly, you know, there was this opening in my company for, you know, their entertainment division. And so I was like, Okay, let me just try to get into that and see if I like a different kind of insurance. And so I did, and I it was, it was funny, because it was actually the exact same program that cat had developed. We didn't know each other at the time, but she had developed this program that basically ensured production equipment, and kind of revitalize that whole system. And so people kept talking to me about Cat Cat, this cat long, like, you guys, you know, you remind me of cat long, and I was just like, Who is this cat girl, like, she's not here anymore. Like, this is my show. Now. It was pretty funny. And then, so I ended up you know, kind of inheriting that program. And, you know, grew it back to its glory days. And then eventually Kat and I met and, I mean, honestly, it was such a lightbulb moment. And at the time, I just wasn't happy with the company that I was working with. But I knew that this was an exciting type of insurance that I was starting to become really passionate about. I love meeting the people that were in the industry, and I just grew a passion for it. And then she was a Hey, you know, I think you're doing really well. I'm starting this new company, would you join me? And I was like, Yes, let's do it. And it's a match made in heaven ever since and I'm so thankful for her I'm so thankful for Athos for giving me this opportunity. And we've just been able to grow this company together. And and yeah, every day is is an as an adventure and we enjoy it. We're not here without Eileen, she's my work wife.

Alex Ferrari 8:59
So So basically, you two crazy kids that, hey, we have a dream. And we're gonna make insurance for filmmakers. Kind of

Kathrine Wong 9:10
It's a very hard, you know, insurance is hard. I have to say it's very complicated. You know, especially, you know, if, if people are coming to try to get protection for themselves. It's hard when you don't even understand what it's saying. Right? So we're trying to kind of, you know, simplify things. We're trying to make sure that when they have insurance requirements that people are giving them that we're reading it and telling them, you know, verbatim This is what like you need and then if they're like, well, I don't have the money for it. We're gonna be like, Okay, well, if you don't want to pay for it, this is what you're risking. Okay, so are you ready for that?

Alex Ferrari 9:47
Yeah. Look, I knew that. I look ahead. I had that conversation with you in January. Yeah. As we were going out to go shoot on the corner of ego and desire and we had a lot of gear good and moving over to parks. ready to shoot the movie? And that was the one time I'm like, you know, I know we have because honestly, if it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't had insurance. Because it because Athos was just so simple. And we'll get into more about Athos later. But it was it was a process and we had the conversations on the phone, we're like, well, I want this and you're like, well, this is what you need. I'm like, wow, too much money. And you're like, well, then you're risking this. I'm like, I'll risk it. And then you just but you make educated decisions. But before we get into that, what kind of insurance do filmmakers generally need for a standard? production?

Aylene Villarin 10:35
That's a good question. So I think the standard policies that typically people typically start with would be a general liability policy. And that would cover claims against third parties. So people that are not associated with your production, but maybe somehow, you're you know, you're found liable for their injuries. So an example would be, let's say, you're shooting outside in a park somewhere, and there's somebody with a little kid and they tripped and fell on like a cord that you had there, and they sued you for those injuries. That's what a general liability policy would defend you. Yeah. And most people, you know, they, they assume like, Oh, I have liability, and they think that means you're covered for everything. And that's where you have to be really careful, because liability doesn't cover your cast for injuries or crew for injuries. That's all covered by work comp. And that's the big one, you know, where people don't want to pay for that.

Alex Ferrari 11:33
We'll get into I have a whole series of questions about work. But generally speaking, so general liabilities is what a film production. So if I'm an indie filmmaker, I've got a $50,000 budget film. I'm going out there. I'm like, I just want some, I want some protection. General legalese is the starting point.

Kathrine Wong 11:51
This writing gear. Yeah, it's all that stuff. Yeah, afterwards. Sure. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 11:57
And then and then what's the difference between short term and annual insurance?

Kathrine Wong 12:02
Yeah, so short term insurance is usually just defined as one project. So it's, it's, you know, just one project. So you schedule that one feature, or, you know, one project, and the annual is multiple projects. So we're

Alex Ferrari 12:18
here. So like, one for like, a production company that's doing

Kathrine Wong 12:20
Yes. Yeah, multiple? And yes, a year long, you know, policy, and you have multiple things that you can cover under that.

Alex Ferrari 12:27
And then so basically, if you're, if you're, if you're planning to do a lot of commercials or music videos, or a lot of short films that you want coverage on, if you can afford it, an annual makes more sense, because in the long run be much, much more affordable than getting a bunch of short terms.

Kathrine Wong 12:40
Yeah, that's correct. And we usually work with our clients. Because even if you have, let's say, two or three that you know, you're going to have, it may not make sense for you to get an annual one because of that upfront costs. It's almost like a barrier to entry. Right? You have to be able to afford that cost. And some people don't know if they're going to have it or not, you know, if they're going to actually have those, you know, job or five jobs. Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 13:06
Now, workman's comp, the lovely world of workman's comp, please explain what that is.

Kathrine Wong 13:15
Well, that really covers injuries to your casting crew. So production related injuries, I should say. So not just any kind, but right. So basically, if there's if they slipped and fell in your shoot, and now they have to go to the emergency room, or they have bills, the you know, the ambulance bill, things like that. That's what that would cover. So anytime people say, hey, I want you know, I have general liability that covers my, my casting crew and all the actors and all the, you know, the people that I'm hiring, and we're like, no, it doesn't actually. And so it's a very different kind of coverage than liability, if you want to think about it, liability is for everybody else that's not related to your production. And then work comp is essentially covering injuries to the people that you're actually bringing on to your project. And that is something that is something you should definitely get. It's a but it's again, a little bit more expensive, and something a lot of filmmakers and productions don't get correct. Exactly. Yeah. I mean, it's definitely something that most people should get. And I say most because there are some, you know, exceptions that we've seen, in terms of California, though workers comp is a statutory requirement, which means that if you go to like a permit house permit office, and you know, you're trying to get permits to shoot at maybe like a public beach, they typically will require it. We've seen it get waived in very, I mean, it's not very common that they will waive it. So

Alex Ferrari 14:42
yeah, depending on it depending on the state that you're in or in the country, you're in for that matter. Right, what their requirements are for workman's comp. Well, I'll tell you, I mean, I was a PA when I was first starting out and I got rear ended by a car while I was delivering film to the lab and I I was I was covered. That mean my back's good. I was I was covered my insurance, my insurance was caught, everything was taken care of, because the production I had on how to workman's comp, if not very lucky, I was extremely lucky because I was, that was pretty bad back. So working stop is definitely something you should definitely look into. Now, what kind of insurance should you get for equipment?

Kathrine Wong 15:21
That's a great question. So yeah, and I think that's a really good question. Because there's, you know, you're gonna be renting a lot of equipment right when you're doing a shoot. So there's the gear that you're going to rent from the production rental houses, so you want to make sure you're covering all of that gear. And then also, if you're hiring DPS, you want to make sure even though they have coverage for their own gear, you're technically hiring these DPS as well. So you also want to make sure you're covering the value of the DPS equipment as well in the rented equipment. So that's usually what we also include in the rented equipment coverage.

Alex Ferrari 16:01
The how to film insurance deductibles work.

Aylene Villarin 16:05
Um, okay, so it depends on what kind of policy we're talking about to simplify. I guess we can talk about the equipment,

Alex Ferrari 16:12
the equipment that will do general liability.

Aylene Villarin 16:15
Sure. Okay. So, for equipment, essentially, a deductible is what you're responsible for, if a claim happens, so let's say you know, you have a $10,000 piece of gear that you rented from a rental house, and let's say your deductible, for simplicity's sake is $1,000. Now when you go through the claims process, there's an adjuster, they'll kind of figure out, hey, how much is this gear worth? And through that whole process? They let's say they find out okay, it is worth $10,000. So the deductible would be deducted from the final settlement amount. So let's say it's 10,000 minus the $1,000 deductible, the claim check payment to you will be 9000.

Alex Ferrari 16:58
And then you have to pay the claim.

Aylene Villarin 17:00
No, so the claim amount, so the insurance carrier will then cut you a check for 9000? Because it's 10,000 minus the $1,000. deductible.

Alex Ferrari 17:10
Yeah, and same same situation for general liability, if there's a claim, they're going to deduct whatever that is, whatever the deductible is. And then and then depending on the deductible, it could be cheaper or more expensive. The policy.

Aylene Villarin 17:22
Yeah, I mean, that's right. Yeah. And some general liability policies actually don't have deductibles. And so those are, those tend to be like the richer type of plans. So that does exist, where there's a policy and there's no out of pocket cost to you. So those policies do exist.

Alex Ferrari 17:37
Now, I'm sure in your day, I know it's impossible to believe, but have there been false claims? Ever? You mean to tell me that there are filmmakers out there who will lie to get money from an insurance company? Oh, yeah, for sure. There's a lot of fraud that happened. So tell me so tell me what you guys don't give away? Obviously, the the secret sauce, but what do you guys do? And how can you smell when something is? Well, cuz, I mean, obviously, look, I'm driving, let's say I'll use my movie. As an example. We're driving to Utah. We parked on a gas station, we go inside to get something when we come out, the windows busted. And our cameras gone. And let's say we had an $80,000 Alexa sitting back there. Oh, man, you know, like it, you know, they just they knew exactly what it wasn't. They grab it and they take off. Right? That could be shady. Or that could be real. How do you know the difference? And how does that work? Yeah,

Kathrine Wong 18:39
that's a really good question. So we actually have an amazing claims team. On the insurance carrier side, they have really good I mean, they can smell it, they will ask all sorts of questions. So like, even in your example, right there, you said you went to a gas station, right to get the footage from the gas station. Okay. Right. Okay, to verify what just happened, how that happened, was there really a break, you know, break in, you know, just to verify the time that someone actually broke in. So just to kind of, you know, verify the location in the time that it actually existed. Now, if all of a sudden there is nothing to justify that, then they kind of need to hire what we call a Special Investigations Unit, you know,

Alex Ferrari 19:29
especially something like that. 80,000 Yeah, I've got a $5,000 claim $2,000 claim with a lot of money.

Kathrine Wong 19:35
Yeah, right. Right. So you know, and we add Athos we have our own investigative team. So we do a lot on our own as well. We have our own secret sauce that

Alex Ferrari 19:49
you you have a way to see if it passes the smell test. Yeah, on the front end now. So on the front,

Kathrine Wong 19:56
before you bring in the heavy hitters, right that's Yeah, yeah. And I have to say that the amount of fraud has so I mean, it has gone up. Yeah, it's crazy. It's sad.

Alex Ferrari 20:08
I don't know, if someone's caught doing that what happens?

Aylene Villarin 20:14
I mean, they can get in a lot of trouble. I mean, insurance fraud is a very real thing. They can get prosecuted. We've had people go to jail for it. Yeah, we actually have a connection with the FBI. So, you know, we've turned it goes, it goes to the

Alex Ferrari 20:27
goes to the FBI doesn't go to the sheriff. No, no, no. Yeah. of it. Yeah. Wow. So everyone listening is some serious though. It's some serious stuff. It's nothing to play around with. Okay, this will be cool. We'll just tell them that it got stolen yet. No.

Aylene Villarin 20:47
No, it's not a good and honestly, sometimes it's like common sense, like people are, can be kind of sloppy when they're committing fraud. Now, criminals are sloppy. Like one example that happened recently was this guy was like, Oh, I was shooting over a bridge. And my camera fell into the bridge and into the water below, and I can't retrieve it. Now let's file a claim. So we had an investigator check, you know, okay, well, where's this bridge? Like, where's this creek below? And then come to find out through the investigation that, you know, it was a very kind of hot day. And so the, the, the gear, the camera that fell in the water, it probably fell in like, two inches of water, because it was the creek was kind of drying up at that time of year. And so they're like, You mean to tell me it was like swallowed up by this to, you know, feet of water. And he was like, I never it wasn't there. And so you know, things like that, where it's like, Okay, I think if your camera fell in there, you could have retrieved it. You could have shown us, hey, look at this damaged camera. And so things like that, where it's like, oh, I This smells a little fishy. So we do get a lot of those.

Alex Ferrari 22:00
Yeah, that's, that's ridiculous. I'm sure. I'm sure I'm sure you get. I'm sure you have hundreds of stories like that. Oh, yeah. Go on. Because cuz I you know, I know my people and filmmaker, sometimes. I've met I've met many, many. Now, the one one insurance, that's always a little bit, it kind of catches you off guard, especially filmmakers is E and O insurance or arrow era and omissions insurance. Can you please demystify what that is? And the necessity of it if you're planning to sell your movie to a traditional distributor?

Kathrine Wong 22:38
Yeah, so that's a really good question. So usually, for errors and omissions, it's something that you're going to have to get if your film gets picked up by a distributor. So So technically, you don't really need it until you're, you know, you're getting picked up. So what that's going to cover is, you know, the content of the film. So traditionally, you would have, you know, a clearance attorney, kind of review all the stuff that you've put into the film, you know, did did the Coca Cola can get clear, did you get the licensing? Did you you know, did you get permission to use all those things, so that you don't get, you know, hit with a lawsuit after you release it, you know, publicly. So that's really what you know, that insurance is there for. And so that's what you really need, and all the things in your contract are going to lay out the terms of that insurance. So when we get you know, when people ask us for, you know, insurance, we review those contracts really, really thoroughly to make sure it meets all the demands of the distribution agreement. And then that's when we help set it up for our clients. And again, it's it all depends cuz I know a lot of people freak out about things in the movies like oh my god, there's a cocaine on the on the counter. And like, as long as the cocaine has not killed somebody, or you're doing something erratic with that coke can, arguably, it's

Alex Ferrari 24:02
okay to have it in there. But it depends on the scene. It's like a gray area. And this is from my experience over 20 years of doing this and I've had this conversation many times with, with no people and with distributors. You know, if someone's wearing a T shirt, I'm like, Well, if there's a logo on that T shirt, is it is it clear? Is it not clear? Do you know? Are we gonna have to go in with VFX and clean it out? You know things like that. It's a it's a weird thing. It's a weird thing, but if you don't get you know, insurance, and by the way, a lot of times too I hear that and it happened to me that the distributor will pay for it that they'll deal with the air now and insurance if they want the movies like one of our movies that we did that's exactly what they did because we're very low budget movie they're like oh, we'll take the you know insurance. Yeah, yeah, but but a lot of times it's if you don't go out with let's say you self distribute a movie with a lot of filmmakers listening right now are self distributing their their shows or their, their independent movies or things like that. If they don't have No insurance, no insurance just there basically to protect them from a lawsuit from Coca Cola or from Apple, because you use an iPhone on there. Yeah. Correct. Is that basically what is therefore?

Kathrine Wong 25:12
Yes, yeah, that's correct. But I think also, even the insurance carriers won't even give that policy unless there's also been like a clearance attorney that's also reviewed all the content. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So as long as that's all happened, then yeah, that's, that's really what needs to happen.

Alex Ferrari 25:29
This is the fun stuff of filmmaking. I'm telling you, this is exciting stuff. And that's a funny thing is that filmmakers will go they'll spend $500,000 on their movie a million dollars on their movie. And if I've seen it happen, that they'd like, what is E and O insurance? I'm like, Are you kidding me? Someone gave you a million dollars. And you guys don't know what insurances?

Kathrine Wong 25:50
I know. And that's, you know, and that's the sad part. And we're always the last part, and they always rush us at the very end, because they're, it's like the one part they don't want to think about, or the one part they didn't, you know, want to budget for, I guess, oh, yeah. You know, and that's fine. You know, we're used to it now. But I think it's also very important that they also spend the time and respect the process of, you know, the insurance part because we're also equally important. You know, you're talking

Alex Ferrari 26:21
to what you're talking to a post guy, are you kidding me? They, like you're behind me, and they run out of money with me, let alone. They're telling me like, Look, we have no money for color or editorial. Like, I'm sorry, I can't help you. Look, the girls down the block you're going to talk to in about six months are really going to give you a hard time.

Aylene Villarin 26:41
Yeah, and I think for us, it really starts with education. I mean, we work with a lot of film students. And I, you know, I'm not sure I've never been to film school. So I don't know, but how much focus they actually give on in terms of insurance on educating students. And so yeah, we've heard none. Honestly, I think every school is a little different. But the at least the students that we work with, they're just like, what is this? You mean? What do you mean it cost this much? I only have $50 for insurance? And we're like, $50? What are you covering a pen? Exactly. We're like, Oh, no, you're gonna need more than that. So even just help with budgeting, you know, to learn how much to budget for insurance. I think that's like the type of education that I know we like to give to at least our clients. And most of the time, they tend to be students.

Alex Ferrari 27:30
There is no information about it at schools, there's no information because at the end of the day, it's not. I've said it a couple times in this in this interview, it's not sexy. It's not the fun stuff, not you know, what's also not fun, like, understanding how to construct a proper story. Like people don't take the time to learn their craft. They're like, I just want the new gear. I just want that because I want the fun. It's much more fun to talk about camera lenses and cameras, as opposed to, I got to sit down and talk about story structure and character arc, Oh, God, I just want to go have some fun, and little Loan Insurance. So there's just not none of that information out there. And that's one of the reasons why I wanted to do this interview with you guys. Yeah. With that now, and what should you look for when hiring an insurance broker?

Aylene Villarin 28:16
Oh, that's a really good question. I mean, I definitely think it's great to call a bunch of different brokers. And, you know, give them the scenarios that you're concerned with, like, for example, if you're a camera operator, and you do a lot of underwater filming, definitely ask those questions like, is this policy that I'm going to get? Is it going to cover if I'm on a boat? Is it going to cover the gear if I accidentally, you know, damage it? while it's being you know, it's filming underwater? I mean, ask the scenarios that matter to you, I would say, and then, you know, you can kind of gauge or a good broker, they'll be either, you know, maybe they're annoyed of all the different questions that you're asking. But at the end of the day, it's our job as brokers to make you feel comfortable with the product that you're purchasing. So can I have sat there for even just the other day, I was on the phone for like, over half an hour going through different scenarios with this person. And, you know, and I think, whenever you're looking for a broker, you want to make sure that one they understand your business, exactly what it is that you do, whether you do weddings, or movies or commercials, whatever it may be, and their policy that they're offering, you is actually going to cater to the type of work that you do. And it may take a phone call or two to do that. But yeah, it's important to interview the brokers. Yeah, interview them. And then it's also good to see how fast their response time is. Because at the end of the day, if you need something after you've already given them your business, you want to see how fast they respond to you. Because Yeah, it's great when you give them their money, but what happens after when you actually need something, yeah, the servicing aspect of it is We're very big on that we have a really good team here that really focuses on customer service.

Alex Ferrari 30:07
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Aylene Villarin 30:18
We're always picking up the phones, we have chat that's on the website, if you don't want to call, you know, we really try to make our platforms accessible to everybody. You know, it's mobile friendly, our website, things like that, that just really help you know, we know that you guys are on the go, we know that you don't have a lot of time to deal with insurance. So whatever we can do to help the process is, is only beneficial for everybody. So

Alex Ferrari 30:42
So you're telling me that if I'm going after car insurance, don't buy it from the strip mall for the guy who's also selling, selling Mexican food and sushi and smoothies?

Kathrine Wong 30:53
Probably whatever works for you have to get a good feeling. Yeah, and I mean, I, you know, I'm gonna say to you at this is, you know, we're also changing too, you know, so you also have to find a broker who is also ethical and humble as well to, to be willing to, you know, talk to you and also say, Oh, yeah, no, I'm sorry. Yeah, no, you're right. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna fix that if there is a misunderstanding somewhere. So, yeah, you don't want a broker that goes, Oh, I I knew that. Exactly what you want a really good, it's almost like a good business partner. So I think so anybody, right, so. So that's kind of what we like to how we are here, you know, we're not going to always know the answers, but we'll try our best to get back to you. So that's how we do things.

Alex Ferrari 31:40
The one thing I loved about working with you guys is that and by the way, everyone listening, I did not get paid for this, these guys and girls did not pay as this is not a sponsored thing. I just did it because I like what they're doing and how they're doing it. And I think it provides value to it to everyone listening, so just want to make complete disclosure. But the reason why I love working with you guys is one the ease because insurance getting production shows was such a, just a pain in the ass, you have to go through all these barbaric systems and, and it was just like a paperwork and paperwork, it was just so hard. And I'm like in today's world, there has to be another option. And then I was introduced to you guys by brands from share grid, that you guys also ensure share grid. And when I saw your website, and I saw how easy it was, I'm like, next time I have a production, I'm gonna use you guys and test it out. And I did and I walked through it. And I called you guys and you were very patient with me. Thank you because I call back like at least 20 times. It's not working. Catherine what's going on the button, Alex, that button right there. I don't understand what. So you were very you were very, very kind with your time. For not a huge policy. By the way, it wasn't like you were getting rich off this policy. But, but it was so easy to use. It was so streamlined. I got the insurance certificates right away, and it was just done. And I sent them off to my, my equipment insurance. So I sent that off to my my crew who was bringing gear and everyone was covered. And it was just wonderful. It was a really wonderful experience. So that's also one of the reasons why I want to shine a light on what you guys were doing.

Kathrine Wong 33:20
Yeah, that makes us happy to hear. And, and yeah, and you know, we're always trying to improve our systems too. So, you know, we are a growing company. And we are also improving our website too, so that that website will get easier to click.

Alex Ferrari 33:35
Absolutely. Now I have a couple more questions. When do you When should you add a specialty policy like for Pyro or stun? So yeah, animals, weapons on set, things like that?

Aylene Villarin 33:47
Um, yeah, that's a really good question again. Um, so I mean, anything that's really considered a stunt or a hazardous activity should really be disclosed on the application. So you know, for example, a sign is like, something that you know, like a fight scene, for example, that's considered a stunt or if you have like a, like a weapon that you're using, that's considered a stunt. Anytime you're going near in the water, for example, that would be a stunt. So anything that's not just like you're shooting somebody without any thing. Yeah, like a monologue, right? A sit down interview or something like that. I think you should definitely be disclosed on the application right away. Because I think sometimes like people in industry tend to think oh, yeah, no, that's not a sign that we don't consider that a sign. Cool. Well, the insurance carriers a little bit different. So they consider something stunts, whereas the industry folks may not so it's a fine line. So I think like foreign productions, too, for sure. Yeah. Anytime you're filming outside.

Alex Ferrari 34:49
Now, so basically, if and I know this happens all the time, and so if someone gets a policy general liability policy, and they didn't happen to disclose it, there was going to be a lion on set that day. Now, all of a sudden or even that's an extreme case, but even the head of dog onset and that dog bites somebody. Yikes, then you're gonna be sorry. You're not covered. Base. Yeah.

Kathrine Wong 35:13
Because that's, you know, you basically didn't disclose it. So

Alex Ferrari 35:19
now if a dog happens to wander in, it's not part of the production. That's a different conversation. I mean, we can we can go into debates forever.

Aylene Villarin 35:24
That's, that's different. Yeah, that's different. Actually. That happened not too long ago, we had a client they did this close it though that they had a dog. And then yeah, that dog ended up biting one of I think it was like a crew member. But lucky for them, they had work comp, under their payroll companies. So that's another another resources. Sometimes when you hire a payroll company, an entertainment payroll company, they can offer workers comp. Yep. And so they got lucky. So that person was covered. So very cool.

Alex Ferrari 35:57
Now, I'm gonna ask you, what is the craziest claim you've ever received? Oh, gosh, craziest claim? Like, did you like you can't if you sat there going, this can't be real.

Aylene Villarin 36:08
Okay, so I have one. Wow, that was quick. That was claims. I don't even know if it's like the craziest but the one that that's like the recent craziest, I think was like a head scratcher was, somebody had, like, cut out a hole, like it was like, it's almost like a fist sized hole in the door. And it was like a perfect circle. And they claimed that somebody had like, cut this perfect circle on the door, and like, reached in and opened the knob to their door and like stole all this gear. And so we had an investigator go in there. And they're like, how do you know, is the hole even big enough for an arm? Like, can the arm go all the way into reach the knob and they like measured it and everything. It was just so bizarre. And there were some disagreements because some of the investigators were like, No, I have to like, like, tear my arm off or something to reach it. And they're like, well, what if it's a guy that has a very long arm, like, episode of like,

Alex Ferrari 37:15
I mean, is the Murder She Wrote? Yeah, he's like monkeys. And so I have a man with one arm, the man with one arm did it.

Aylene Villarin 37:27
And so you get these bizarre claims. And you know, a lot of people are involved in it, because, you know, people have differences of opinion. And, you know, do we is this business person have, you know, a history within the industry? Like, are they? Do they have a good reputation, like all that stuff kind of comes into play? Whenever there's a claim like this, where it can kind of go either way. And obviously, we're going to, we're always going to try as much as possible to believe our insurance, right? We're not out to be like, aha, you're a criminal. Like, that's not our, you know, our outlook, we're always going to assume, hey, if you're going to file a claim, this is, you know, in good conscience in good faith, then we're going to cover it right. So innocent until proven guilty. Exactly. And we really do work that way. I mean, we're our clients, best advocate. Like we're not in the business of denying claims. I know people have kind of a mistrust when it comes to insurance. But can I always say, you know, if we don't pay claims are our business is done like we're not here to hit up? I think we paid like millions of dollars in claims. Oh, yes. And so as much as possible, we're going to try to advocate for our client and say, Hey, you know what, yes, if there's an arm out in the world long enough to reach that knob, then you guys have actually paid it. Yeah, really.

Alex Ferrari 38:46
But, but it was, but it kind of it kind of stuck a little bit. You could smell the smell. The smell was a

Kathrine Wong 38:52
little rancid. It was a lot of gear, and we had to make sure it wasn't staged. Right. So you have to prove that that is really something that couldn't happen. So it was it was definitely a page turner. I mean, are not patient or your scratch. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 39:07
Well, you know, I wouldn't know but that's just it just sounds fishy from this picture. Yeah, you should see that. Perfect. Done. So in other words, someone actually sat there drew a circle made a perfect circle. Yeah, got it out. And they're like, this is going to be genius. And apparently it worked. Well, you know what I always believe in karma. So yes, it karma karma will get you one way or another. So you know, if you do it now, you'll get you'll get something down the line? No question. So I have a few questions. I asked all of my guests. Can you tell me which book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

Aylene Villarin 39:47
Oh, um, I can go first. I think my goal my favorite author of all time is Paulo Coelho. So love my Yeah, I think for me like a life changing book. How To be the alchemists. I mean, I go back to that book every now and then and I swear I I read something different that I haven't read. And it's just a different journey every time we read it. So I always go back to that book for sure. So book. Yeah, that's a good one. Yeah. For me, it's got to be a girl bus. Girl.

Alex Ferrari 40:24
Typical, little on the nose, a little on the nose. I'll just say it's a little. I love it. I actually saw the series on Netflix. That's the only reason I know about that book. Oh, yeah. I saw the series on Netflix. Got one season, but I really enjoyed it. It was just this really great story about how you pulled yourself up from your bootstraps and the bowl company. So what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or the insurance industry or the life? Oh, gosh, that's a good question. While we're getting real now. Oh, no, this is like Oprah style. So get ready.

Kathrine Wong 40:58
My gosh, are you are you reading this to us or to your listeners? to you guys? To learn, um, that's a good one, the longest to learn. Um, I think for me, it's probably that like, the world keeps turning like, it just goes on. Like, if you're having like, a bad day at work, or, you know, there's something that you're just like, for me, like, I get kind of obsessed with things. And so like, if I, if someone comes to me, and they're like, Oh, I want this type of insurance, and it like does not exist, it really bothers me. And so I know, kind of a nerd. But you know, those sorts solving problems? And sometimes the answer is no, the answer is it's not insurable. Or the answer is just, we can't do it for whatever reason. And it kind of kills me a little bit. But I think at the end of the day, I have to remember that the world keeps turning, and it just keeps going on. And there's another day tomorrow, and that's tough sometimes. Yeah, mine is very similar to that. But it's basically like, no matter how bad things get, or how low things seem, it will always get better, no matter how it is. It's just like, we've gone through that at Athens here. It's like, there are moments here when I mean, and I would look at each other and go, how are we gonna? How are we gonna make, you know, pains. You know, we've had just like, times when it would just, it would grow so fast that it would just seem like, just like we couldn't handle handle it. And and you know, we would just just a miracle would walk in with the door with a great new employee or something. And then you know, it's just some Oh, something always works out. And I always love that just so trust each other, and just something will always pull us through. And I always, just always love that. And you can always trust each other as long as we all just keep working together and just keep plowing forward. That is always the biggest lesson is just to keep moving forward. For sure.

Alex Ferrari 43:07
Now, this is the toughest question. What are what are the three favorite films of all time?

Kathrine Wong 43:12
Oh, I got it. This is so like, I don't I'm so embarrassed. It's my favorite film of all time is still Titanic.

Alex Ferrari 43:23
Because your heart will go on your heart will go on.

Kathrine Wong 43:27
Jurassic Park. Okay, that was my childhood favorite. Sure. What's my third one? Okay, this is a really cheesy one. But it's, it's like this show. I don't even know if it was in the theater. It's called Mrs. Eris goes to Paris.

Alex Ferrari 43:44
Wow, never heard that one.

Kathrine Wong 43:45
And Angela Lansbury was like my childhood. Like, you know, I loved it. That's Angela Lansbury. Anyways, those are my three.

Aylene Villarin 43:55
Mad okay. So mine would have to be the Godfather. I love all of them though. So it's hard to pick. And then three of you even like even like three. I do like three. Three is a tough one. But you have to have three though.

Alex Ferrari 44:11
You can have two, though. I would argue that godfather one and two is one movie. And it was good enough to hold but

Aylene Villarin 44:22
I don't know. I think three is has to be there too. I mean, it's not my favorite, but I think you have to have it um, and then beaches that I love. I like cheese that my sister and I liked and watched it like 12 times and sat and cried. So beaches and then the other one has to be clueless. I just I know it's every single word in that movie and can quote it every time I watch it. I have to stop and watch it if it's on TV.

Alex Ferrari 44:54
When I was when I was in high school, I was working out of a video store and the movie that I rented out I constantly was beaches. Like I would sell it not me personally, I would rent it to my my I saw I saw it I teared up I moved on, but but I would recommend it constantly to people who would come in and people would just balling. Yeah. And then if I really didn't like them, I put Steel Magnolias right next to it. Oh, that's a good one. Yeah, I put both those movies in just like if you don't cry somewhere. You're dead inside. Yeah. Oh, man. Great. Amazing. Now, where can people find Athos?

Kathrine Wong 45:35
Our website is www.Athosinsurance all spelled out .com?

Alex Ferrari 45:42
And do you have social media? 2018 Guys, 2018 Guys, 2018. We got to work on that.

Kathrine Wong 45:52
I know. We are we are working on that. Actually. We just hired on someone to help with that. Yeah, we have a Facebook page.

Alex Ferrari 46:01
Okay. I'll put a link of it. I'll put a link to it in the show notes. Don't worry. I'm just yeah, I'm just I'm just busting your balls, guys. Don't worry about it. I seriously like it. Like, you know, what kind of Instagram would with an insurance company have like shots of like policies? Or claims? It's It's It's tough. It's tough. Yeah. But I have I have some ideas I can give you later. So guys, thank you so much for dropping all these knowledge bombs on the tribe today. It's been educational, and I hope it helps. At least one if it helps one filmmaker in the world. It was worth it.

Kathrine Wong 46:33
Yes. Yeah. That's all we want. We just want to help people ultimately.

Aylene Villarin 46:37

Alex Ferrari 46:38
Thanks, guys. I want to thank Aylene and Kath for being on the show. Thank you for dropping those knowledge bombs about something that we all need in life insurance. And again, this might not be an episode you're going to listen to right away. But you should definitely bookmark it when you are about to start production, when you're about to get into pre production, and revisit this episode, just so you kind of put that stuff back in your head, it's really good to understand what you need and what you don't need. Because a lot of times when you're on a small budget film, sometimes the the production manager or the producers will start adding all sorts of unneeded insurance on the bill. And if you know a little bit more about what you need and what you don't need, you can speak intelligently about insurance and save yourself a ton of cash. And then by the way, guys, I did use Athos insurance on the corner of Eagle desire and it was seamless, so easy. So just not cumbersome. Like the olden days of getting insurance. Did it all online. I had any questions, I called them up and they got on the phone and walked me through things that telling me what I needed, what I didn't need and so on answering all sorts of questions. So it was really, really great. So definitely check them out. Athos insurance.com and if you want to get links to anything else we talked about in this episode, just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/257. And as always keep that also going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)



Where Hollywood Comes to Talk

Oliver Stone

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Platoon, Wall Street, JFK)

Edward Burns

(Brothers McMullin, She's the One)

Richard Linklater

Oscar® Nominated Writer/Director
(Boyhood, School of Rock)

Eric Roth

Oscar® Winning Screenwriter
(Forrest Gump, Dune)

Oscar® Winning Writers/Directors
(Everything, Everywhere, All At Once)

Jason Blum

(Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver)

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Get Out, Whiplash)

Chris Moore sml

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Good Will Hunting, American Pie)

(Menace II Society, Book of Eli)

Marta Kauffman sml

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Last Samurai, Blood Diamond)

Emmy® Winning Writer & Showrunner
(Friends, Grace and Frankie)

Free Training of The Week


How to Produce a Profitable Low Budget Feature Film

By Suzanne Lyons

Join veteran producer Suzanne Lyons as she shows you the three key secrets to produce a successful and profitable independent film.