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Complete Guide to Understanding Film and Production Equipment Insurance
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.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- BlackBox – Make Passive Income From Your Footage
- Studio Unknown Audio Post – Mention the IFH podcast, and you’ll receive 50% off one day of ADR
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
The Ultimate Guide to Camera Equipment & Production Insurance
As filmmakers, there are a few aspects of the process we may not always enjoy. Budgets can quickly remind us of why we failed 9th-grade algebra. Location permitting takes out all the fun of being a “guerrilla filmmaker.” And then there’s insurance. Production insurance can sometimes feel unnecessary and the cost is often “not in the budget” for us fellow weekend warriors. However, if there is anything that is necessary when it comes to legitimizing your shoot, it is having proper and adequate insurance coverage.
Before I sound too heavy-handed like a nagging parent, hear me out. Insurance does a number of things. Most importantly, it covers you for lawsuits, and it opens doors to work with more esteemed vendors and clients. A lot of equipment owners, both rental houses, and individuals will always require insurance before they lend you their gear–especially if they’re lending it to you at a discounted rate. They want assurance that they’re covered if the gear is damaged or stolen from you, so they don’t have to sue you to recoup their losses…hopefully by now I’ve gotten your attention.
So, I decided to do a little homework and research insurance quotes and coverages from some of the top entertainment insurance brokers in the business today. Specifically, I called seven companies to see who would be the best in supplying me with an insurance policy for my upcoming project. I needed a 4-day policy to cover $50,000 worth of rented equipment.
Alas, below, are quotes, levels of service, and the overall experience I received from each and every insurance broker. Let’s dive into my results.
(Disclaimer, I am not being paid, sponsored or in partnership with any of these companies. I am acting solely independent in my research.)
As expected, it was quite difficult to track down answers and accurate information from most insurance brokers. Some companies didn’t respond for more than a day, and some never responded. Others only communicated via email. What?? Isn’t it 2018?
InsureMyEquipment.com doesn’t do phone calls, only emails. I get it, I myself have moved a lot of correspondence to email and text. However, when it comes to insurance, finances and a deadline looming, I need answers and the reassurance that an actual human will help when questions arise… not a delayed, cold email conversation. Truman Van Dyke was relatively fast to respond via email and TCP Insurance responded after 5 hours which was nice.
Athos Insurance was the clear front-runner when it came to communication. I called. They answered. After 1 and a half rings! And my questions were answered within our 7 min and 36-second call (yes I timed it).
In the age of Uber, Venmo and millennial immediacy, a fast turnaround time for insurance is like asking my Grandma to color correct my feature film. However, some did impress me. Athos’ painless phone call really helped me decide what I needed for a policy and it took me about 10 minutes to buy the policy online after the call had ended.
InsureMyEquipment was simple to use online as well. Like Athos, they have an “instant” online platform where I can buy a policy. And Truman Van Dyke answered pretty quickly.
Film Emporium took a full day and both TCP and Front Row’s time took far too long for anyone…even my Grandma.
Now, let’s talk money. This was a wakeup call for me. One thing I learned is that a lot of insurance companies lock you in at a higher premium because they bake-in unnecessary coverages or terms. For example, Film Emporium requires liability insurance. Therefore my premium was $650 which was too rich for my blood.
Truman Van Dyke and Momentous were far out of my budget in the $1K or higher range. Whereas InsureMyEquipment was extremely affordable at $259. However, they locked me in at a $500 deductible.
The winner here, is yet again, Athos Insurance. At $200 and a deductible of $250, this felt more than doable considering my budget. And if I wanted to buy a bigger policy with more insurance, Athos offered that to me as well.
At the end of the day, I felt confident with a few of these insurance brokers. They were pleasant on the phone, had decent pricing and pretty solid coverage plans. However, there was one that I felt overwhelmingly confident with, and that was Athos Insurance.
When I looked into them a little more, it all made a lot more sense. Athos sounded familiar to me because they are the exclusive partner to ShareGrid. I’ve interviewed the co-founder of ShareGrid before, Brent Barbano and am a big fan of what they’ve been up to. But why it makes sense that Athos is the clear front-runner is because they’re not my Grandma. They get indie production. They are integrated with ShareGrid and have done an amazing job appealing to filmmakers like you and I. Easy to get in touch with, instant/fast insurance and most importantly, affordable.
They also made a video with ShareGrid last year. Both President, Kat Wong and Vice President, Aylene Villarin had some amazing insight on what filmmakers should do to properly cover themselves in today’s filmmaking world. Not to mention some amazing misconceptions and mistakes around production insurance.
BONUS: 5 Things To Ask your Agent When Buying Production Equipment Insurance
Let’s face it—buying insurance is often confusing and time-consuming. But it is a necessary evil, especially in this industry. Did you know that your local agent insuring your personal home and auto probably has no idea how to properly cover your production equipment? That’s because entertainment insurance is such a niche market that not all agents understand your biggest risks.
For example, if your gear is covered under your homeowners’ policy, chances are, the moment you set foot outside your house to actually use it, it is no longer insured.
So, the first step is to find an insurance broker/agent who speaks your language and really understands your needs. After you find that broker, feel free to put them to the test by asking the following questions. If they’re worthy, they’ll pass with flying colors and earn your business!
1. What is covered under my production equipment insurance policy?
A good policy includes basic coverages like accidental damage and theft. Ask your broker to define what accidental damage is. What happens if you fall into your pool with your camera? Does it include accidental damage caused by water? Although you’ll probably drive your insurance broker nuts if you list a million hypothetical situations, it’s a good idea to ask a few pertinent ones.
Make sure that your policy actually protects you from your biggest risks. For example, if you travel outside of the U.S., your policy should include worldwide coverage. If it does, make sure you understand which countries, if any, are excluded. Are you planning a trip to North Korea? That’s probably not the best idea but if you are, just know that your equipment won’t be covered there!
At Athos Insurance, our policy even includes transit coverage so that you don’t have to pay extra for things like UPS insurance when traveling with or shipping your gear.
2. What are the exclusions?
Exclusions exist in every insurance policy. That’s just a fact. Understanding them from the very beginning will help you be better prepared for the unexpected. Does your policy cover your equipment if it is stolen from a vehicle? Your broker will probably say yes. Did you know that most insurance policies require proof of physical break-in such as a broken window?
These types of policies have an exclusion for theft from an unlocked vehicle. Knowing about this exclusion may serve as fair warning to never leave your equipment in your car (it’s a bad idea anyway.) At Athos Insurance, you have the option to remove this exclusion; you can be confident that your gear is covered if stolen from your car regardless of whether there’s a broken window or not.
Do you occasional rent your equipment to others? If so, is your gear covered? What happens when the person who rented your equipment just suddenly vanishes with your $40k RED Camera? For a lot of our clients, this is their biggest nightmare. Insurance policies typically don’t categorize this as theft since you willingly rented your equipment to that person in good faith that they would return it to you.
This is a very common exclusion that you should definitely discuss with your broker. At Athos, we understand that this is one of your biggest risks, which is why we created an optional Voluntary Parting coverage for this very reason.
This leads us to the next question you should ask…
3. What optional production equipment insurance coverage should I add?
If your vintage lens suddenly gets foggy in the middle of your shoot, are you just royally screwed? Maybe. Or you can call your broker to see if you added some bells and whistles to your policy to help you get through this very sticky situation.
At Athos Insurance, we provide free consultations so we can better understand your needs and suggests optional coverages, like Rental Reimbursement which would pay for your rental costs for a similar vintage lens so you can keep working.
And if you just happen to have the worst luck in the world, and you damage the same vintage lens you just rented, we also offer Continuing Rental Fees which would pay the daily rental fee that the rental house may charge you while their lens is being repaired.
4. What is my deductible and why does it matter?
‘Deductible’ is one of those insurance terms that we may think we understand but never really do until we’re forced to. Basically, your deductible is what your responsible for in the event of a claim. Let’s say the lighting package you rented bursts into flames, and it costs $12,000 to replace.
If your policy has a $500 deductible, the most that the insurance carrier would pay for this claim is $11,500. Easy enough? The rule of thumb is, the higher the deductible, the lower your premium. This means that if you want to save some money, ask your broker if a higher deductible is available. At Athos Insurance, we let you decide which of our deductible options is right for you.
5. How do I file a claim?
So now it’s happened. That thing you said you’d never do—leave your equipment in your car overnight—actually happened. Maybe it was a long shoot day and the last thing you wanted to do was make multiple trips to your car to unload your gear. Now you’re staring at your empty car with your trunk wide open and your gear nowhere to be found.
What do you? Call the cops? Call your broker? The answer is both. A great insurance policy is only possible if you have an equally amazing broker who understands that the most traumatic thing just happened to you and you need help. After all, this is exactly why you purchased an insurance policy right?
At Athos Insurance, we have dedicated claims specialists who will answer your questions, remind you to file a police report, and make sure that a claims adjuster is assigned to you right away. We can’t change what happened, but we can make the claims experience less stressful so you can get back to work as quickly as possible.
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BONUS: Filmmaking Resources
- Martin Scorsese’s Film Directing MasterClass (Watch it for FREE for 7 days)
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Welcome to the indie film hustle podcast episode number 257 fun is like life insurance the older you get the more cost Ken Hubbard broadcasting from the back alley in Hollywood. It’s the indie film hustle podcast where we show you how to survive and thrive as an indie filmmaker in the jungles of the film Biz and here’s your host Alex Ferrari.
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Just go to Studio unknown. Now guys today on the show. We’re going to talk about one of the most exciting topics in all of filmmaking. Film and production equipment insurance, but I wanted to have um our guest today Katherine Wong and Eileen villain 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 per 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. Um 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 tens of thousands 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. Given any special deals Athos for them having them on the show. I actually reached out to them and I wanted to put him 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 I leaned 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. Enjoy my conversation with Kathryn Wong and Eileen villain from a’those sentences or welcome to the show Catherine Wong and Eileen veteran from Athos Insurance Services.
Thank you so much for jumping on guys. Yeah. Yeah. Nice to be here. Thank you for having us. It’s been we’ve been trying to do this for a while. 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 could deal with is not having proper insurance and understanding Insurance in 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 Indian any world. I thought it was very important to have you guys on the kind of demystify, uh, production insurance and insurance in general, uh 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? Oh, that’s like good question. Well, I’ll try to make it brief but I basically got into it by mistake. Um, and that’s not a lot of us get into it is uh, so I basically when I was at UCLA. I um, you know, I worked for an insurance firm, um while I was going to college and I got into it.
I learned that people they said it was a very lucrative industry and I you know, I said, you know, I’m going to give it a shot and um, you know, all of my friends were going to business school and I said, you know what I I have that degree, but I’m gonna 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.
Um, but I said, you know, I’m gonna try to do something. That’s that’s more Niche. So I got into sports Insurance believe it or not, like skatepark Insurance. Um, 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 a production insurance and once you do an itch, it’s like it’s a really wonderful. You know great thing because people are then looking for you.
So it didn’t matter that. You know, I looked like a child. That’s why it was really cool because that was why I was really hard to sell insurance because I look so young. Um, so but yeah, it’s been really great for me. I’m very fortunate me and my family, we you know, definitely benefited from this career of mind.
So, you know, we love doing it and I love doing it. Yeah. I used to be the youngest one in the room, too. So enjoy it while you. One day I just turned around. I’m like, wait a minute. I’m not the youngest one in the room anymore. Damn it what’s going on? So you mean to tell me you didn’t have like posters of policies up on your wall as a Nobody Does and if they do reality and if they do they’re psychotic and will probably kill someone I just want point.
So for me, I I was actually in law school. So I had this, you know, This t-shirt that I thought it was going to have and practicing law and it wasn’t what I expected. And so I took a little break and um, my sister was like, oh you should try insurance. I heard it’s a really good, um, 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 co-workers 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, um, you know, there was this opening in my company for um, 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 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 ensure production equipment and kind of revitalize that whole system. And so people kept talkin to me about cat cat this cat Wong like you guys, you know your mind look of cat long and I was just like, who’s 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. Um, and then eventually cat and I met and. I mean, honestly, it was such a light bulb 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 like Hey, you know, I think you’re doing really well. I’m starting this new company. Would you join me and I was. Yes like you 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 an adventure and we enjoy it.
We’re not be here without I mean I work wife. So so basically you two crazy kids that hey we have a dream and we’re gonna make insurance for filmmakers. Kind of very it’s a very hard, um, you know insurance is hard. I have to say very complicated, you know, especially, you know, 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 or 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 for Batum this is what like you need and then if they’re like why don’t have the money for it.
We’re going to be like, okay. Well, you don’t want to pay for it. This is what you’re risking. Okay. So are you ready for that? Yeah, I look I don’t do that. I look I had that conversation with you in January. Yeah, we were going out to go shoot on the corner of ego and desire and we had a lot of gear moving over to Park City the 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 would have had Insurance because because Athos was just so simple and we’ll get into more about Athos later. Um, but it was it was a process and we had the conversations on the phone were like, Well, I want this and you’re like well, this is what you need.
I’m like, I don’t know too much money and you’re like well, then you’re risking this I’m like, I’ll risk it and then you know and 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? Ah, that’s a good question so I think the standard policies that sipc people typically start with would be a general liability policy and that um would cover claims against third parties so people that are.
Not associated with your production, but maybe somehow you know your found liable for their injuries. So an example would be lets 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 be sued you for those injuries.
That’s what a general liability policy would um defend you. Um, yeah and most people you know, they assume like, oh I have liability and they think that means. 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. We’ll get into I have a whole series of questions about work out. Okay, 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. Uh General is the starting point the gear. Yeah, it’s all that stuff. Yeah afterwards. Sure. Okay, and then and then what’s the difference between short-term and annual insurance? Yeah, so short term insurance is usually just defined as one project.
So if 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 looking here. So like one for like a production company that’s doing things. Yeah, multiple and a year-long, you know policy and you have multiple things that you can cover under that and then so basically 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 language much more affordable than getting a bunch of short terms.
Yeah that correct and we usually work with our clients because even if you have let’s say two or three that, you know, you’re gonna have it may not make sense for you to get an annual one because of that upfront cost. It’s almost like a barrier to entry right you have to be able to afford that cost.
Um, and some people don’t know if they’re gonna have it or not, you know, if they’re gonna actually have those you know, or five John. Yeah, absolutely now workman’s comp. The lovely world of workman’s comp. Um, please explain what that is. Um, well that really covers injuries to your casting crew.
Um, 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, 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 in were 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 we’re Compass 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 but it’s again a little bit more expensive and it’s something a lot filmmakers, uh, Don’t get correct. Exactly. Yeah, I mean it’s definitely um something that most people should get and I say most people there are some, you know exceptions that we’ve seen, um, 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. Uh, you’ve seen it get waved in very I mean, it’s not very common that they will waive it. So yeah, depending on it depending on the state that you’re in or in the country you’re in for that matter, uh, right what the 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 was I was covered. I mean my that’s good. I was I was covered by my insurance was everything was taken care of because the production I had on had workman’s comp. If not very lucky. I was extremely lucky because I was that was pretty bad back. So we’re gonna stop is definitely something you should definitely look into now.
What kind of insurance should you get for equipment? That’s a great question. Um, so yeah, and I think that’s a really good question because there’s you know, um, you’re gonna be running 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 DP. 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 the how to film Insurance deductibles were. Um, okay, so it depends on what kind of policy we’re talkin about to simplify. I guess we can talk about the equipment. Let’s do a quick manner that will do uh general liability.
Sure. Okay. So, um for equipment essentially a deductible is what you’re responsible for it, um, if a claim happens, so let’s say, you know, you have a $10,000 piece of gear that you um rented from a rental house and let’s say your deductible for. Fake 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? Um, 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 if 10,000 – the thousand dollar deductible the claim check payment to you will be 9000 and then you have to pay the claim.
So the same amount so the insurance carrier will then cut you a check for 9,000 because it’s 10,000 minus the thousand dollar deductible and same same situation for general liability. If there’s a claim they’re gonna deduct whatever that is, whatever the deductible is and then and the depending on the deductible.
It could be cheaper or more expensive the policy. Yeah, I mean, that’s right. Yeah, and some general liability policies actually don’t have deductibles. And so those are those sent to be like the Richard 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 now. I’m sure in your day. I know it’s impossible to believe but. Have there been false claims ever a lot. You mean to tell me that they’re filmmakers out there who will lie to get money from an insurance company. Oh, yeah. Sure. There’s a lot of fraud that happened. So tell me so tell me what you guys don’t give away the obviously the secret sauce but what do you guys do and how can you smell when something is because I mean obviously look I’m driving.
Let’s say I’ll use my movies and example we’re driving to Utah we park on a at a gas station we go inside and get something when we come out the windows busted and our cameras gone. And let’s say we had $80,000 Alexa sitting back there, you know, like, you know, they just they knew exactly what it was and 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’s that work? Yeah, that’s a really good question. So we actually have an amazing claims team, um 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? Forget the footage. None of 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, um what we call a special investigations unit, you know, but especially on something like that 80,000. Yeah, not a $5000 $2,000 with a lot of money. Yeah, right, right. So, you know and we at Athos we have our own investigative team here.
And so we we do a lot on RN as well. We have our own secret, um sauce that we you um, you have a way that see if it passes the smell test. Yeah on the front end now so on the front before you bring in the Heavy Hitters, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, and I have to say that the amount of fraud has. I mean it has gone up.
Yeah, it’s sad now if someone’s caught doing that what happens I mean they can get in a lot of trouble. I mean insurance fraud is a very real thing they can get prosecuted. Um, we have people go to jail for it. Yeah. We actually have a connection with the FBI. So, um, you know, we’ve turned it goes to the it goes to the FBI doesn’t go to like.
No, no now. Yeah, they can’t take care of it. Yeah. Wow. So everyone listening is some serious stuff. It’s some serious stuff. It’s nothing to play around with K. This will be cool. We’ll just tell him that got stolen. Yeah. No. 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. I know criminals are swapped. No. 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 the 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 gear the camera that fell in the water probably fell in like 2 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 followed up by this to you know, if you don’t have water and he was like I never it wasn’t there and so, you know things like that words like okay, I think if your camera fell in there you could have retrieved it. You could have shown us. Hey, look at this damage camera and so things like that were it’s like, oh I this smells a little fishy.
So we do get a lot of those. My God, 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, we can go on because because you know, I know my people and filmmakers sometimes. I’ve met I’ve met many um now, uh, the one who want Insurance that’s always a little bit.
It kind of catches You by off guard especially filmmakers is e&o insurance or Arrow era and Emissions insurance. Can you please demystify what that is? And then the sesa T of it if you’re planning to sell your movie to a traditional distributor. Yeah, so that’s a really good question. So usually for errors and omissions.
It’s something that you’re gonna have to get if your film gets picked up by a distributor. So, um, so technically you don’t really need it until you’re you know, you’re getting picked up. So, um 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 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 um, you know, that insurance is therefore and so that’s what you really need and all the 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 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 helped set it up for our clients. And again, it all depends because I know a lot of people freak out about things in the movies like oh my God, there’s a cocaine on the counter.
I’m like as long as the cocaine has that killed somebody or you’re doing something erratic with that code can arguably it’s okay to have it in there, but it depends on the scene. It’s like a gray area. This is from my experience over. 20 years of doing this and I’ve had this conversation many times with with the NL 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 a clear is it not clear, you know, are we gonna have to go in with VFX and clean it out?
You know things like that. Um, it’s a weird thing. It’s a weird thing, but if you don’t get you know Insurance, um, and by the way, a lot of times I hear that and it happened to me that the distributor will pay for it that they’ll deal with the ear no insurance if they want the movie like one of our movies.
That we did that’s exactly what they did because we very low budget moving like, oh, we’ll take the e&o insurance. Yeah. Um, yeah, but um, but a lot of times it’s if you don’t go out with like let’s say you self distributed movie with a lot of filmmakers listening right now our self Distributing their their shows or their their independent movies or things like that.
If they don’t have any, you know Insurance, you know Insurance just there basically to protect them from a lawsuit. From Coca-Cola or from Apple because you use an iPhone on there. Yeah, you know, correct is that basically what it’s there for? 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 in yeah, that’s really what needs to happen. This is a fun stuff of filmmaking. I’m telling you this is exciting stuff. And that’s a funny thing is that filmmakers will go the spend $500,000 on their movie a million dollars of their movie.
And if I’ve seen it happen that they like what is no insurance. I’m like, are you kidding me? Someone gave you a million dollars and you guys don’t know what insurances 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 there 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 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 talkin to you talkin to a post guy. Are you kidding you?
They all like you’re behind me and they run out of money with me. Let alone no insurance. Are you 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 gonna talk to in about six months to really gonna give you a hard time.
Yeah, and I think for us it really starts at. 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 um focused they actually give on in terms of insurance educating students. And so yeah, we’ve heard none honestly, I think every school is a little different but at least the students that we work with they’re just like what is this you mean?
What do you mean it costs this much. I only have $50 for insurance and we’re like. If you what do you covering a pen exactly are like, oh now you’re gonna need more than that. So even just help with budgeting, you know, like 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 our clients and most of the time they tend to be students.
There is no information about it at schools. There’s no information because yeah 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. You know, 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 like I just want the new gear. I just want that’s because that’s actually I want our fun. It’s much more fun to talk about camera lenses and cameras as opposed to I gotta sit down and talk about story structure and character Arc. Oh God. I just want to go have some fun and let alone insurance.
So this is none of that information out there. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do this interview with you guys. Yeah. Uh, please help with that now and what should you look for when hiring an insurance broker? Oh, that’s a girly good question. Um, I mean, I definitely think it’s great too.
Um call a bunch of different Brokers. Um, and you know, give them these scenarios that you’re concerned with like for example, if you are a camera operator and you do a lot of underwater film. Um, definitely ask those questions. Like is this policy that I’m gonna 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? Um, well 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 and 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 um, whenever you’re looking for a broker you want to make sure that one they understand your business.
Um exactly what it is that you do whether you do weddings or movies or commercials, whatever it may be and their policy that there. For 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 Ria 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 already given them your business you want to see how fast they respond to you.
Um, 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 were very big on that. We have a really good team here that really focuses on customer service. Um, we’re always picking up the phones we have chat that’s on the website.
If you don’t want to call, um, you know, we really try to make our platforms accessible to everybody. Um, 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. Oh 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 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 probably works. You have to get a good feeling. Yeah, and I mean, I you know, I’m gonna say to you Athens 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 to broker that goes though.
I I knew that. You want a really good. It’s almost like a good business partner. So I think very much 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.
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 girls did not pay this is not a sponsored thing. I just did it because I like what they. 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. Uh, but the reason why I loved working with you guys is one the he’s because Insurance getting production insurance was such. 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 uh, Brent from share grid.
That you guys also ensure share grid and uh when I saw your website and I saw how easy it was. I’m like next time. I have a production. I’m going to 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. Um, 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 is it? So you were very were very very kind with your time. Um for not a huge policy by the way wasn’t lucky we’re getting rich off this policy. But uh, but it was so easy to use it was so streamlined.
I got the insurance, uh certificates right away, and it was just done and I sent them off to. My uh my equipment insurance, so I sent it 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 try to light on what you guys were doing great that makes us happy to hear and and yeah, and you know, we’re always trying to improve our systems to so, you know, we are a growing company and we are also improving our website too.
So that website will get easier to click absolutely. Now I have a couple more questions. Um, when do you when should you add a specialty policy like for pyro or stunts? So yeah animals weapons on set things like that. Um, yeah, that’s a really good question again. Um, so I mean anything that’s really considered a stunt or a hazardous activity.
Um should really be disclosed on the application. So, you know, for example a stun 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 in the water.
For example, that would be a stunt so anything that’s not. Um, just like you’re shooting somebody, um without anything come on. Yeah like a monologue right a sit-down interview or something like that. I think you should definitely disclosed on the application right away because I think sometimes like people in industry.
Tend to think oh, you know, that’s not a sign that we don’t consider that a stunt. Well insurance carriers a little bit different so they consider something stunts where as the industry folks may not so my life. So I think like foreign Productions to for sure. Yeah anytime you’re filming outside the know so basically if and I know this happens all the time.
So if someone gets a policy general liability policy and they didn’t happen to disclose that there was gonna be a lion on set that day. And I all of a sudden or even that’s an extreme case, but even they had a dog on set and that dog bites somebody likes then you’re gonna be sorry. You’re not covered.
Basically. Yeah. Yeah because that’s you know, you basically didn’t um this close it so. Now for 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. 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. Um, and then yeah that dog ended up biting one of I think it was like a crew member, um, but lucky for them. They had work comp under their payroll companies. So that’s another another resource is sometimes when you um higher apparel company an entertainment payroll company, they can offer workers comp.
Yep. And so they got lucky so that person was covered. So very cool. Now I’m gonna ask you what is the craziest claim you’ve ever received? Oh, oh gosh crazy. Like did you like you? Can you sat there going this can’t be real? Okay, so I have one. Wow that was quick. That was quick claims. She is.
Um, I don’t even know if it’s like the craziest but the one that looks like the recent craziest I think was like a head-scratcher was. Um, somebody had uh, like cut out a hole like a it was 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 whole even big enough for an arm like.
Can the arm go all the way in to reach the knob and they like measured it and everything? It was just so bizarre and there are 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, oh what if it’s a guy that has a.
A very long arm like episode of like, I mean as a Murder She Wrote yeah like monkeys and so I man with one arm the man with one arm did it 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 it’s just business person have uh, you know, a history within the industry like are they.
You know, they have a good reputation like all that stuff kind of comes into play. Um, whenever there’s a claim like this where it can kind of go either way and obviously we’re gonna we’re always gonna try as much as possible to believe our insurance right? We’re not out to be like, ah, ha you’re a criminal like that’s not our um, you know our Outlook.
We’re always gonna assume. Hey, if you’re gonna file a claim this is, you know in good conscience and good faith. Then we’re gonna cover it right so innocent until proved guilty exactly and we. Do you work that way? I mean, we’re our clients, um best Advocate. It’s 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 our our business is done like we’re not here to hit a lot. I think we paid like millions of dollars in claims. Yes, and so as much as possible, we’re going to try to advocate for our clients and say hey, you know what?
Yes, if there’s an arm out in the world long enough to reach that knob you guys have to. That one actually paid it. Yeah really, but but it was but it kind of It kind of stuck a little bit you could smell the smell was a little rancid. It was a lot of gear and we had to make sure it wasn’t state.
So you have to prove that that is really something that couldn’t happen. So it was it was definitely a page-turner or not page straight your scratch for sure. Well, I’m gonna eat it. Well, you know, I I wouldn’t know but that’s just me. It just sounds fishy from the stock seen the picture. Yeah, you should see that the like this perfect could have done.
So in other words someone actually sat there drew a circle Made A Perfect Circle. Yeah, but it out and they’re like this is gonna be genius and apparently it work. 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.
Question. Yeah, so I have a few questions I ask all of my guest. Um, can you tell me which book had the biggest impact on your life or career? Um, I can go first. I think um my well my favorite author of all time is Paulo Coelho. So my yeah, I think for me like a life-changing book has to be The Alchemist.
I mean go back to that book every now and then and I swear I I read something different that I haven’t read. Um, and it’s just a different Journey every time you read it. So I always go back to that book book. Yeah. That’s a good one. Yeah for me. It’s got to be a girl boss. Girl,
actually, I mean gay typical little on the nose little on the nose. I’m just saying it’s a little on the night. I love it and I actually saw the series on Netflix. That’s why only reason I know about that book. Oh, yeah, I’m saw the series on Netflix. We’ve got one season, but I really enjoyed it.
It was just this really great story about. I applaud yourself up from your bootstraps and the ball company. Um, all right. So what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or the insurance industry or life? Oh gosh. That’s a good question. Well, we’re getting real now.
Oh, no, this is like Oprah style. So get ready Ru Ru diverting it to us or to your listeners. I don’t do to you guys to you to learn. Um, that’s a good one the longest to learn. Um, I think.
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 like does not exist.
It really bothers me. And so I know kind of a nerd but you know, those salts solving problems is sometimes the answer is no. Answer is it’s not insurable. The answer is it’s just we can’t do it for whatever reason and it kind of kills me a little bit. But I think 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 gone through that at those here in life. There are moments here when I clean and I would look at each other. How are we gonna how are we gonna make it, you know, just like pains and.
You know, we’ve had just like times when it would just grow so fast that it would just seem like just like we couldn’t 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 something always works out and I always loved that just so trust each other and just something will always pull us through and I always.
Just always loved that and you can always trust each other as long as we all just keep working together and just keep plowing forward. That is just always the biggest lesson is just to keep moving forward for sure. Now. This is the toughest question. What are you what are the three favorite films of all time?
Oh, I got it. I just so like I don’t I’m so embarrassed. It’s my favorite film of all time is still Titanic because your heart will go on your heart will go on. Um Jurassic Park Okay. That was my childhood favorite. Sure. Um, what’s my third one? Okay. This is a really cheesy one, but. It’s like this show I don’t even know if it was in the theater.
It’s called mrs. Harris goes to Paris. Wow, never heard that one and Angela Lansbury like my childhood. Like, you know, I loved it. That’s all Angela Lansbury. Anyways, those are my man. Okay, so mine would have to be the Godfather. I love all of them though. So it’s hard to pick. And then even three even like even like three I do like three three is a tough one, but you have to have three though Trilogy you can have to though.
Yeah bill I would argue that Godfather wanted to is one movie and and and it was good enough to hold but I parts of now I think three is I has to be there too. I mean, it’s not my favorite but I think uh, you have to have it um and then beaches. I like cheese. That my sister and I like and watched it like 12 times in fat and fried.
Um so veatch’s and then the other one has to be clueless. I just I know 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, I’ll tell you what when I was when I was in high school. I was working at a video store and the movie that I rented constantly was beaches.
Like I would sell it not me personally. I would rent it to make my eye. I saw I saw it. I teared up I moved on but but my but I would recommend it constantly to people who would come in and people were just bawling. Yeah, and then if I really didn’t like them I put Steel Magnolias right next to it.
Oh, that’s a good one, too. Yeah, I put both those movies and just like if you don’t cry somewhere you’re dead inside. Yeah. Oh man. Now we’re all them as great amazing. Now where can people find uh Athos our website is www.pevs.com.
So working on 2018 2018 guys 2018 we got to work on that. I know no we are we are working on that. Actually. We just hired on a someone to help with that. Yeah, uh, we we have a Facebook page. Okay. I’ll put a link of I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. Not worry. I’m just I’m just I’m just busting your balls guys.
Don’t worry about it. I mean what I mean? I mean seriously like like, you know, what kind of Instagram would with an insurance company have like shots of like policies like 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 do it. 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. Yes. Yeah. That’s all we want. We just want to help people ultimately. Yeah. Thanks guys again. I want to thank Eileen and Cat for being on the show and 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 book Market 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.
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 and sure. If you want to get links anything else we talked about in this episode just head over to indie film hustle. And as always keep that whole going keep that dream alive, and I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to the indie film hustle podcast at indie film Hustle.
By Alex Ferrari |
By Alex Ferrari |
WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.
© IFH INDUSTRIES, INC.
WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.