In an industry that relies heavily on freelance specialists and limited term employment, insurance cover for contractor exposures warrants particular attention. Here are some of the reasons why.
“Use of contractors is widespread in all types of media and entertainment and there is also a lot more insurer scrutiny around how contractor risks are managed,” says Gallagher Manager Corporate Natasha Barker (pictured).
This covers both production logistics, like providing visual or special effects like pyrotechnics, as well as technical specialisations such as drone footage captures which require the operator to have aviation insurance cover – a common exclusion in most public liability policies which are the standard requirement for contractors.
“Gallagher brokers are asking a lot more questions of our clients and investing the time in understanding how they are managing their risks in order to entice insurers to offer quotes, because they are backing away from higher risk exposures,” Barker says.
Contractor exposure also extends to the talent used in productions. Standard director and officers' (D&O) or employment practice liability policies may only cover claims relating to directors and officers and employees, and they may not extend to the numerous contractors used in most productions.
The #MeToo campaign has also raised awareness of harassment-type incidents or claims and the need for insurance programs to respond to allegations involving contractors, she says.
Barker says she has also noticed mental health exclusions creeping into travel and personal accident policies, necessary for touring productions or location filming.
“This has implications for productions such as reality shows where there are high pressure situations and social media attention on the participants which can lead to extreme stress, anxiety or other mental health issues.”
New threats, new solutions
Other production risk exposures include the potential for an event or entertainment distribution channel to be targeted by extremists seeking widespread visibility or publicity for their actions.
“With the 2014 Lindt Café siege, where television network Channel 7 was the probable original target, and the bombing of pop performer Ariana Grande’s concert at the stadium-capacity Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom in 2017, terrorist activism (and ‘lone wolf’ attacks) remain a real threat to the sector,” Barker says.
“As a result there has been a lot more attention to risk management in this space, along with the emergence of new types of insurance to assist with recovery from the aftermath of an attack.”
This subject is explored in greater detail in the latest Gallagher Market Overview Report, Reflecting on a year of change. The report is available as a digital download.