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18 May 2017
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By Maslow
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Blog

What You Don’t Know About Insurance Could Cripple Your Production

So what do you do when your lead actor breaks her arm on set? Or your key grip falls on his keys? What if your producer puts his or her back out?

What then?

Accidents inevitably happen, and injuries often follow – regardless of your production’s size, budget, or star wattage. That’s why - even more so than the script –film and video production insurance is quite possibly the most important component to be signed off on prior to the first day of shooting.

Film and video production insurance generally refers to legal, contractual, and asset protection coverages – with policies varying in length and largely dependent upon what kind of film is being made (documentary, short film, feature, etc.)

While general liability coverage is essential to protect against damage or injury to a third party during your shoot, it is also the production or producer’s legal responsibility to obtain workers compensation for the cast and crew through private carriers. This type of insurance provides reimbursement and medical assistance for those who sustain injuries on set.

However, this wouldn’t be the entertainment industry without the potential for high-stakes drama. Worker misclassification has increased exponentially over the last decade, with productions erroneously labeling crew as independent contractors in an effort to avoid workers compensation premiums. Some do this knowingly, others as a result of innocuous confusion. Whatever the case, having uninsured workers on set could have disastrous consequences. Should an independent contractor suffer an injury, and later be determined to fit the mold of an employee – he or she could sue on the basis of misclassification and bring your production to a screeching halt.  

Another insurance-related wrinkle facing film and video productions these days is shooting abroad. While various tax incentives continue to make overseas productions appealing, filming in foreign locales can drastically complicate matters in a number of ways, as every country has its own stipulations regarding coverage, and because many do not share U.S. safety standards.

Securing all necessary coverage prior to departure is the most critical step in mitigating risk while shooting in foreign locales. Coverage for equipment and the producer’s portfolio; workers’ comp for both U.S. and locally hired workers; and automotive policies are strongly suggested, in addition to general liability protection.  

Overwhelming, isn’t it? Fear not, as an Employer of Record, Maslow Media Group handles all payroll, insurance, taxes, and compliance for your occasional and fulltime freelancers, and can arrange for everything from general liability insurance to traveling abroad and marine coverage.  If required, we can manage the transition process from 1099 to W-2, and we protect clients from the misclassification of employees and independent contractors per IRS rules governing workers in the TV industry.

In short, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to learn more! 

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Written by Maslow