As Australian governments continue to ease restrictions, at least 119 film and television productions paused during the COVID-19 shut down are now mapping out their plans for returning to work. When filming resumes it will be under very different conditions and insurance considerations and risk management strategies will need to be examined and changed accordingly.
A changing picture
Local producers should seek expert guidance about risk mitigation strategies to protect their people, and investors, as every production will have to demonstrate a considerable level of safety on each shoot.
The complex risks faced by producers will differ for each production, filming location and even each unit within a project. To complicate things further, travel restrictions, quarantine periods, sparse and unreliable domestic airline scheduling and working with overseas crew and talent pose additional challenges.
Gallagher has developed a short guideline on what is and isn’t covered by our film insurance in our industry-specific Insurance Considerations brochure.
Industry bodies are set to release COVID-19 guidelines shortly, however, productions should be looking to manage these risks in a number of ways. Some practical examples may include:
- incorporating COVID-19 cancellation clauses within all contracts to avoid or minimise costs or expenses incurred in the event of an incident which temporarily suspends filming
- limiting unnecessary contact between cast and crew
- COVID-19 testing where available
- tracking movements of cast and crew on location to readily identify and triage potential outbreaks
- increased hygiene and cleaning protocols
- maintaining social distancing measures, such as remote working or isolations hubs if and where appropriate.
Challenges to negotiate
In terms of insurance cover, COVID-19 is now considered a known risk and is no longer an insurable event. As a result, specialist film insurers have introduced new exclusions to explicitly remove cover for loss arising from COVID-19, any mutation of the virus or, in some cases, future pandemics.
“Risk management will be paramount for producers. We are working closely with our clients to assist in their navigation of this new world. This includes design and implementation of procedures to protect their cast and crew, legal liabilities and minimising the potential risk to production and their budgets in the event of an outbreak.”
Natalie Allen, Client Manager, Gallagher
The challenge for producers in resuming filming is addressing their investors’ concerns around these risks without the protection insurance affords. Producers in various regions of the world are looking to their governments for help, and these discussions are currently under way.
Gallagher will continue to closely monitoring developments and informing our clients.