When it comes to Hollywood and film production, anything can happen and it usually does. That’s why production companies or film studios have found it necessary to purchase rock solid insurance policies for each of their movies. Some movie production policies have been so detailed in their coverage of people, places, and things that they’ve bordered on the bizarre.
“Anything can happen and it usually does”
The final scene of the 1981 James Caan film “Thief” included a house exploding in a real suburban neighborhood. To accomplish this, a fake house was built in front of a real house. Unfortunately, sparks from the fake house explosion ignited the house behind, burning it to the ground. Insurance wound up paying $900,000 in damages.
Faulty film stock caused scenes in Woody Allen’s 1979 film “Manhattan” to be reshot. Insurance covered this mishap.
Insurance companies have had to complete films disrupted by the deaths of stars in mid-production. Examples include comedian John Candy’s death during the filming of “Wagons East”, actor Oliver Reed’s death while making “Gladiator”, and the death of star Brandon Lee during the making of “The Crow.”
Fireman’s Fund is the insurance company that’s had the longest relationship with the American film industry. Back in the 1920s, they insured swashbuckling star Douglas Fairbanks Sr’s face against injury during his many silent screen sword fights.
When the Iowa cornfield central to the plot of the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” was threatened by a drought, Fireman’s Fund paid $200,000 to install an irrigation system in the field.
In the Martin Scorsese-Leonardo Di Caprio 2004 film “The Aviator”, an airstrip used for some of the movie’s scenes was destroyed by wildfires. The insurance company not only paid for damaged equipment, they paid for the production downtime needed to find another airstrip that reflected the film’s time period.
For the super-high-budget film “Terminator 3”, the producers paid their insurer $2.54 million to protect themselves against any injury or loss of star Arnold Schwarzenegger. If anything happened to Schwarzenegger during filming, the insurer would’ve had to pay a maximum bonded cost of $181.6 million.
Lloyd’s of London
Lloyd’s of London has been the world’s most famous insurer of high-profile people, places and things; and they’ve covered some of Hollywood’s greats. Examples have included Bette Davis’s waistline expansion and Jimmy Durante’s nose. When actress Olivia de Havilland knew that she had to take a sock in the jaw from Ray Milland during film production, she insured her jaw with Lloyd’s.
Insurance has become so important to film production that insurers typically send “loss-control” representatives to shooting locations. These agents analyze each shot in a script for potential risks. During a shoot, they might even require drug testing, or continuous medical treatment for some actors. If a shot appears to be too dangerous, the insurer’s representative has enough on-set clout to dictate specific precautions, such as requiring that a stunt double be used.
Premiums for most Hollywood films typically make up 1% to 5% of a film’s budget.
“Want to Keep that Movie Magic? Insure it.”, Jerry Cobb, MSNBC, URL: (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11643240/)
“Insuring the Blockbusters”, Phil Zinkewicz, Rough Notes, URL: (http://www.roughnotes.com/rnmagazine/2005/may05/05p86.htm)
“Insuring the Flesh”, Steven Yahn, Risk & Insurance, URL: (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BJK/is_5_16/ai_n13650560/pg_1)
“Nicole Kidman’s Knee”, Edward Jay Epstein, Slate, URL: (http://slate.com/id/2119328/)