Insurance language is often confusing. To help film makers understand their unique insurance requirements, we at Film Emproium have put together an informal “dictionary” of commonly used film insurance terms. If we have left out a word, please let us know and we will add to it.
This informal dictionary is for reference purposes only and no coverage should be bound based on these definitions. For actual terms and conditions, call your broker or refer to your policy.
Above the Line In the movie industry, above-the-line expenditures (ATL) are negotiated or spent before filming begins. These costs can include rights for the material on which the screenplay is based and salaries for the screenwriter, lead producer(s), star actors and director. ATL personnel customarily do not include the Line Producer, Unit Production Manager or other salaried players.
In television production, above-the-line expenses include salaries for the positions mentioned above (typically all employees working under individual contracts) but are budgeted on a weekly or episodic basis for the run of a series.
Additional Insured A person or entity that is protected against loss by the terms of the policy, in addition to the named insured.
Adverse Weather Coverage for extra expense incurred by the interruption or abandonment of the production due to adverse weather conditions at the location.
Advertising Injury Arises out of oral or written publication of material that slanders or disparages a person or organization or its products or services; publication of material that violates a right to privacy; misappropriation of advertising ideas or style of doing business, or infringement of copyright, title or slogan, but not infringement of trademark and trade names alone.
Aircraft Insurance Required when a plane or helicopter is rented, leased, or borrowed for use as a picture plane, to scout locations, or for aerial photography. Hull coverage may also be required if the production company is responsible for physical damage to the aircraft itself.
Animal Mortality Provides indemnification to the production company for the value of an animal that dies during a production or for the net loss due to illness or destruction of an animal used in a production. Values of animals have to be established in advance and current Veterinarian Certificates are required.
Auto Coverage (owned/rented) Legal liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage claims arising out of the filming of the picture. Coverage may include the use of owned or non-owned vehicles, including physical damage to the vehicles. Coverage is required prior to filming on city or state roadways, or location sites requiring filming permits. Coverage does not apply to aircraft or watercraft, which must be separately insured.
Below the Line In a motion picture or television production budget, below-the-line costs include salaries of non-starring cast members and technical crew, use of the film studio and its technical equipment and travel, location and catering costs, etc. In contrast to above-the-line costs, the below-the-line budget is usually fixed. Some of the positions in the below-the-line category are director of photography, assistant directors, gaffer, grips, etc.
Bereavement Family Bereavement is an extension of Cast insurance. It indemnifies the production company for the net loss or for extra expenses to begin or complete principal photography of an insured production, due to serious illness or death of an immediate family member of any insured artist or director. (See cast insurance).
Bodily Injury Liability The liability that arises from the injury or death of another person.
Care, Custody and Control Provides legal liability coverage for loss, damage or destruction of property belonging in the care, custody or control of the production company.
Cast Insurance This coverage usually is purchased on feature films or TV productions (except documentaries) but also may be purchased for other types of production. It indemnifies the production company for the net loss or extra expenses to begin or complete principal photography of an insured production, due to death, injury or illness of any insured artist or director. Insured persons are initially covered for accident only, until they are examined and complete a medical questionnaire. The insurer then will expand the coverage to include illness. Coverage also can be extended to include kidnapping and bereavement.
(See bereavement above).
Cast insurance normally begins four weeks before the first camera day; however, additional time can be purchased (Extended Pre-Production Cast Coverage).
Certificate of Insurance The insurance company document that verifies insurance.
Civil Authority Coverage extension under Extra Expense that reimburses a production for delays due to the action of a government authority.
Claims Made Policy provision limiting coverage to claims that are filed during the policy period (as opposed to an occurrence policy provision).
Clearance Procedure Procedures recommended by the clearance attorney for the production company to follow that mitigate the potential for Errors & Omissions claims.
Completion Bond A written contract that guarantees a motion picture will be finished and delivered on schedule and within budget as required by the bank or other financiers funding an independent film.
Copyright Report A research report outlining copyright procedures required to obtain Errors & Omissions Coverage.
Cost of Hire The budget costs for vehicle rentals -- used to determine auto insurance premiums.
Crime Coverage Reimburses the production company for loss of money, securities, or inventory resulting from crime such as employee dishonesty, embezzlement, forgery, robbery, safe burglary, computer fraud, wire transfer fraud, counterfeiting and other criminal acts.
Declaration The formal addition of a new production to an existing insurance program. Also the first page of an insurance policy that summarizes key information specific to the policy; sometimes called a dec page.
Deductible The amount for which an insured is responsible before the insurance company pays a claim.
DICE A type of production package policy. Acronym for Documentary, Industrial, Commercial, Educational.
Distributor Errors & Omissions Legal liability coverage, including defense costs, for claims alleging unauthorized use of titles, format, ideas, characters and plots; plagiarism and unfair competition. Also provides coverage for libel, slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy.
Employment Practices Liability Provides defense and indemnity insurance for claims arising from the employer/employee relationship. The policy shields employers from claims of harassment, discrimination, failure to hire, wrongful termination, and includes all current, former and prospective employees, directors and officers, even the corporate entity.
Endorsement A document that changes the policy; changes to the policy language.
Entertainment Package The standard policy that covers all property and business interruption expenses on all types of productions.
Errors & Omissions Legal liability coverage, including defense costs, for claims alleging unauthorized use of titles, format, ideas, characters and plots; plagiarism and unfair competition. Also provides coverage for alleged libel, slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy.
Essential Element Essential element refers to a person who is essential to the production. This is a policy endorsement added to cast coverage wording. A claim is made under the cast coverage if death or injury or sickness for a specified time of an essential element during pre-production or principal photography prevents the completion and delivery required by the distributors and makes it necessary to abandon the production. A separate charge generally applies.
Exclusion A specific loss or risk not covered by the policy.
Extra Expense Indemnifies the insured for extra expense incurred as a result of interruption, postponement or cancellation of a declared production as a result of loss or damage to property such as props, sets, wardrobe or miscellaneous equipment, including third party property.
Faulty Processing Covers loss, damage or destruction of raw film or tape stock, exposed film (developed or undeveloped), recorded videotape, matrices, lavenders, positives, interpositives, working prints, cutting copies, fine grain prints, color transparencies, cels, art work and drawings, software and related materials used to generate computer images, sound tracks and tapes, resulting from fogging or use of faulty materials (including cameras or videotape recorders), faulty sound equipment, or faulty developing. Faulty coverage does not include loss caused by errors of judgment in exposure, lighting or sound recording, from use of incorrect type of raw stock or faulty manipulation by the cameraman. Faulty Stock, Camera and Processing coverage can be purchased only with Negative, Film and Videotape coverage.
Fine Arts Jewelry/Fine Arts coverage is generally sub-limited under the Props Sets & Wardrobe coverage. Amounts over the sub-limit must be scheduled in the policy.
Foreign Liability Covers Bodily Injury and Property Damage liability arising out of accidents and fortuitous occurrences outside the United States of America and Canada.
General Liability General Liability covers payments the insured will become legally obligated to pay as a result of Bodily Injury or Property Damage to 3rd parties arising out of an occurrence during filming activities. An example of a covered loss under Bodily Injury could be third party "trip and fall" accidents (people hired by you are not covered under general liability. Workers compensation covers potential injury to people hired by you).
Property damage for rented premises under the general libilty section is limited to major structural damages. Third Party Property Damage is the recommended coverage for the rented premises.
Gross Production Costs All costs, including overhead, chargeable directly to the production stated at the time of declaration of an insured production or series of productions. The following costs are not included: story, scenario, music rights, sound rights, royalties, residuals, continuity, premiums paid for the insurance, interest on loans and taxes.
Guild Travel Accident Travel accident coverage with limits required by the guild or union contacts with the producer. Coverage also may be extended to non-union employees, up to $50,000 each.
Hired/Non-Owned Auto Reimburses the leasing company or an individual for comprehensive and collision damage to a hired or rented vehicle used in an insured production, for which the Production Company has become legally liable.
Illness Coverage Indemnifies the production company for the net loss or extra expenses necessary to begin or complete principal photography of an insured production, due to death, injury or illness of an insured artist or director. Insured persons are initially covered for accident only. The insurer will expand coverage to include illness, if the person qualifies, based upon a medical examination and questionnaire.