Hollywood’s “Disgrace Insurance” On The Rise To Cover Productions’ Sins And Losses

For TV producers who lose their shows because their stars are racist trolls zonked out on Ambien, they have insurance for that now. It’s called “disgrace insurance,” and it covers production losses due to a wide range of disgraceful and illegal behavior by members of the cast and crew.

The ins and outs of disgrace insurance was the subject of a panel discussion today at the PGA’s 10th annual Produced By Conference, which is being held on the Paramount lot.

Bob Jellen, managing director of HUB Entertainment Insurance and the guru of disgrace insurance policies, said he’s written more than 4,000 of them, but noted that they’ve only been invoked five or six times. They cover loses due to sexual harassment, assault, drug arrests and even murder by a cast and crew member.

He noted, however, that Rosanne Barr’s Twitter meltdown that caused ABC to cancel her hit series Roseanne probably wouldn’t be covered because her known propensity for making outrageous statements would have made it unlikely that any insurer would have offered the coverage.

Kevin Spacey’s firing on All the Money in the World because of sexual assault allegations probably also wasn’t covered because few feature films ever obtain disgrace insurance. Still, the producers of House of Cards might have a valid claim if they had the policy.

“Because of the #MeToo movement,” Jellen said, “we’re seeing a lot more claims coming in.”

Normally, he said, insurance costs producers 1%-2% of their budget, and disgrace insurance can double that.

The panel, titled “What Do You Mean That’s Not Covered?” examined numerous other types of disasters, large and small, that can befall productions and trigger insurance claims.

Mark Ballin, a partner at Claim Specialists International, recalled a show that was shooting in Mexico that had to high-tail it out of the country after receiving a threat that the cast and crew would be killed if they continued shooting there. “That was a claim that was covered,” he said.

Jellen noted such an incident is covered by “imminent peril coverage,” and that producers should make sure their policies contain the words “threat of” imminent peril.

“Many years ago,” Jellen said, “filming in New York was difficult because of the mob. You had to pay people off.” (He didn’t say whether or not that would be covered as a production loss, and several panelists agreed that that’s no longer the case in New York.)

Peter Oillataguerre, MGM’s president of physical production, noted that insurance covered many of the losses incurred on the James Bond film Spectre when actor Daniel Craig was injured on set. “It was pretty nutty, but we got through it and made the release date,” he said.

“We have seen many cases,” Ballin said, “where actors don’t make it to work where drugs were involved the night before — it causes chaos with production.” Sometimes that’s covered, he said, “but if the actor has a history of it, it’s not covered.”

“Every scenario is different,” said Jacqueline Volver, senior entertainment underwriter at Chubb Insurance.

Touched with Fire producer Jeremy Alter noted that insurance covered a wide range of difficulties faced on that 2015 film, ranging from the director of photography giving birth on the second to last day of shooting to Katie Holmes being mercilessly hounded by paparazzi.

Box-Office Preview- ‘ Mission- Impossible Fallout’ Eyes $50M Plus U.S. Debut

Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout will easily winthis weekend’s box-office race. The big question is how close it comes tomatching the $55.5 million domestic launch of the last film in the actionfranchise, starring Tom Cruise as indefatigable spy Ethan Hunt.

Glowing reviews could prove a major boost for the sixth outing inthe film franchise. Presently, the $178 million pic boasts a 97 percent freshrating on Rotten Tomatoes, the best score for a Mission: Impossible film,as well as for any Cruise film (the actor’s next best is Risky Business with96 percent).

Heading into the weekend, Hollywood’s leadingtracking service, NRG, shows Mission:Impossible 6 debuting to $50 million. Other services show itopening in the $52 million to $57 million range.

Overseas, the late-summer event film makes a major pushtimed to its U.S. launch, opening in its first 36 foreign markets. A releasedate has yet to be announced for China, where Cruise is a huge star.

Similar to other Hollywood event films, Mission: Impossible hasincreasingly pulled in huge grosses offshore. The last entry, Mission: Impossible — RogueNation, opened to $55.5 million in late August 2015 on its way togrossing $195 million in North America and $487.7 million for a global total of$682.7 million.

The Mission:Impossible series has never attained the lofty heights ofother well-known franchises in terms of box-office grosses, but many of the movieshave been profitable for Paramount (and Cruise). Mission: Impossible — GhostProtocol, released in 2011, earned the most globally ($694.7million), not adjusted for inflation. That film also marked a comeback for Cruise.

In terms of openings, Mission: Impossible II holdsthe record ($57.8 million), not adjusted for inflation.

Fallout reunites Cruise with his Rogue Nation director,Christopher McQuarrie. Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris,Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin all reprise their roles from previous M:Ipics, whilenewcomers include Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby.

The plot follows Hunt and his crew as they try tooutsmart a CIA agent (Cavill) who is trying to kill them after an assignmentgone wrong.

Mission: Impossible — Fallout, in keeping with its recent globe-trotting predecessors,was shot in five countries. Cruise, 56, once again performed a number ofhigh-risk stunts, one of which resulted in the actor breaking his ankle in London. Production was suspended foreight weeks, with insurance covering much of the tens of millions in addedcosts.

The only other movie daring to opennationwide opposite Fallout isWarner Bros.’ family entry TeenTitans Go! To the Movies. Tracking suggests the movie will open inthe $13 million to $15 million range, if not slightly higher. It also boasts astellar score on Rotten Tomatoes: 95 percent.

Teen Titans is the first feature film adapted from the popularchildren’s animated series on Cartoon Network. The story follows the titularheroes — including Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), Robin (Scott Menville), Cyborg(Khary Payton), Raven (Tara Strong) and Starfire (Hynden Walch) — as they tryto convince a Hollywood director (Kristen Bell) to develop a movie based ontheir exploits. Complicating matters is the villain, Slade (Will Arnett).

New offerings at the specialty box officeinclude A24’s HotSummer Nights, starring Timothee Chalamet and Maika Monroe. Thecoming-of-age drama, which has been awaiting release since premiering at SXSWmore than a year ago, currently has a 42 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

PAMELA MCCLINTOCK

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PPB Agent Ltd. (PPB China) established in 2017. We are specialized insurance intermediary focusing on film and entertainment industry. We are based in  China.

Providing comprehensive insurance services for Film and TV production, including Production Insurance, Producers Errors & Omissions Insurance (Financial Loss), Group Personal Accident Insurance, Event Cancellation Insurance and Risk Management.