COVID-19: The insurance position for Film & TV production businesses returning to work

May 15, 2020

This week, we have seen the first notable signs that production companies are looking to start shooting again as the “lockdown” very slowly starts to ease. With this being the case, it’s really important for our clients to understand the implications for their insurance cover and companies’ responsibilities for the cast and crew.

The insurance position, although not favourable, is very clear. Aside from a very limited number of annual policies in force prior to the pandemic, UK insurers are not offering any cover for claims arising due to Covid-19. This effectively leaves the production company, agency and end client picking up the tab for any costs should a production be relocated, cancelled or postponed as a result of Covid-19. The only area of cover where insurers do not exclude coverage is under Employers Liability, but it would have to be proven that the cast or crew member caught the virus whilst on the production and that you have been negligent. Another area to consider in order to control overall costs, is to have standbys for key roles just in case anyone falls ill during production.

With “essential travel only” currently permitted, we would recommend any clients looking to book trips to refer to us before committing to overseas work so we can give clear advice on the extent of any cover. Some insurers in the market have started to remove policy cover if a trip is subsequently cancelled due to Covid-19.

Away from insurance, the focus on shoots will, increasingly, be on the safety of cast and crew. The number of people on-set will certainly need to be limited and the key areas to plan and adhere to will be social distancing, health monitoring, hygiene and cleaning. Risk assessments will also be essential in all aspects of your business. Companies returning to offices, those finding locations and undertaking auditioning, should all ensure risk assessments have been carried out and that they meet the obligations under the Health & Safety Act. Leading industry safety consultants, First Option, are providing assistance with these areas and template risk assessments – click here for further details.

Should you require any cover for annual or short period production policies, or need advice on the above please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01638 675993 or email simon.miller@yutree.com

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