Written by Shona Smith on Apr 29, 2020. Posted in General Interest

Production Insurance in the wake of COVID-19

With the lifting of lockdown restrictions within sight for much of Europe, productions are keen to get to work again. Production insurance is a critical component to any project but in the wake of Covid-19 it is more important than ever that productions understand their coverage. Juan Hernandez, an Insurance Broker at Media Insurance breaks down the current situation.

"In general, there is now a Covid-19 exclusion across the insurance market” he says. “As you well know, this pandemic is a moving beast. But what I can tell you is that the pandemic has forced insurers to apply an exclusion for claims relating to Covid-19 under all new policies and potentially, new risks declared to existing policies. This is why it’s really important to discuss existing and new productions with your broker. Your broker will be able to advise as to whether there is a policy that suits your needs. In some cases, brokers such as ourselves are being able to provide liability (Public and Employers Liability) cover and overseas medical expenses for claims resulting from Covid-19. Our aim is to gain as much cover as we can for the client. For example, a production insurer writing new business is highly likely to apply a Covid-19 exclusion under the cast and extra expense sections. This means the production budget will be exposed.

Suspended productions that already had policies in place, including those that had to halt in the middle of filming may also be affected. If you have an existing policy that was incepted prior to Covid-19 and there was an amendment made on that policy, a Covid-19 exclusion may have been applied from that date of the change” explains Hernandez. An amendment that amounts to a material change could be a period extension or an increase to the budget. “These amendments may influence insurers in wanting to apply the exclusion. Your broker will be able to tell the producer, the client as to whether the material change warrants the exclusion” stresses Hernandez.

For productions to be viable in the months before a vaccination is found, stringent health and safety measures will be necessary along with adhering to government guidelines and restrictions. Production companies and industry associations are already drawing up proposals and guidelines that will allow sets to function albeit in unfamiliar ways, such as the recently published protocol from the Association of Spanish Advertising Producers. "A lot of the productions that I work on, health and safety companies are offering advice to assist production companies through the pandemic” says Hernandez.

Hernandez urges producers, clients to communicate with health and safety, follow government guidelines, contact their insurance representative/s and update financier/s to mitigate against potential Covid-19 losses. “When budgeting, thinking about a contingency amount for potential Covid-19 related delays is a good idea. This fund could be very useful in the event that extra expense costs are needed”.

“At this moment, the priorities are if you are going to continue to work through the pandemic and in addition to what has already been advised, exercise due diligence”.

Juan Hernandez is an Insurance Broker at Media Insurance, email Juan@mediainsurance.com for direct contact.

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