Gareth Graham of Performance Insurance talks to us about the importance of ensuring your film project is properly insured, the specialised services his company offer filmmakers, and their support for independent film through work with film festivals and running their own short film competition.
Hello Gareth, thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. Insurance isn’t usually the first thing that tops a short filmmaker’s budget but it's a key part of the production. Can you tell us about your role at Performance and how the company started?
Thanks for having me, it’s great to talk to you. I am an Account Executive and my role is to get more filmmakers, production companies and the like to use Performance. I also support the Associate Director in building our strategy and planning the direction in which we are taking Performance. Find me on Twitter @PerformanceGG – shameless plug!
Performance began as a brand in 1995 when an opportunity was realised to join a select few in providing bespoke insurance for productions. In recent years we have adapted our approach to ensure we maximise our support to filmmakers which has proved really successful for us.
Can you tell us more specifically about the services on offer to filmmakers?
We provide Production Insurance to filmmakers with budgets of all sizes. From your low (or no!) budget short to the multi-million pound feature films. We also like to support our filmmakers help find the right people they need to connect with where we can as well – we truly believe that the better network everyone has, the more chance of filmmakers achieving what they can.
You’ve set up a specific insurance package that caters to short film projects, can you tell us a bit more about this?
Yes, for 7 years now we have had an online system built specifically for filmmakers and have recently re-invested tens of thousands to ensure this continues to provide a really smooth option for filmmakers needing to arrange their insurance – usually at the last minute!
While the insurance is arranged online, any client will also still have the benefit of speaking to our team as and when they need to! Best of both worlds! More information about our short film offering can be found on our website.
Can you give us an example of your cover in action, where a claim has been made?
Of course! I’ll provide an example of where the Policy would operate.
One of the more frequent claims we see is for the theft of equipment that has been hired from an Equipment Hire company. We’ve had a claim where our client has needed to leave some heavier items of equipment in their vehicle while staying at a hotel overnight. The client moved all cameras and lenses from the car into the hotel but left some tripods and other smaller accessories in the vehicle.
Our policy with Aviva has a condition whereby all equipment that is kept in any unattended vehicle must be concealed from view and all security devices for the vehicle must be in operation.
As this was the case, our Policy responded to meet the cost of replacing the stolen equipment and also met the costs of the hire continuing. This is an important point which I will elaborate on, as this is the reason why it’s important to work with a specialist insurance broker.
When you hire equipment from a hire company their terms and conditions will usually have a wording within them which says that the hire will continue until such time the equipment is repaired (if damaged) or replaced (if stolen). This cost depending on the value of the hire can quickly add up so make sure any policy you arrange includes Continuing Hire cover.
What sort of risks to filmmakers face when choosing not to insure their projects in a bid to save money?
We all know that cutting corners to save cost never usually ends up as a positive. There are a few areas when making a film where you will have to buy insurance otherwise you won’t be able to go ahead. For example;
- Hiring equipment; if you are hiring equipment from an equipment hire company they usually will not release the kit until you have provided evidence of sufficient insurance
- Public Liability; in order to secure a filming permit you will have to produce evidence of sufficient insurance in most cases before this permit will be provided.
Ultimately the decision rests with the filmmaker but we’ve seen some real horror stories and would recommend that you take advice from a specialist insurance broker in your decision making process.
To further support short film projects, you’ve set up your own short film competition. Can you tell us about this, who’s involved and when it takes place?
Yes, with pleasure! I mentioned earlier that we have been looking at ways in which we can support fiilmmakers and although there are a number of great funds and competitions out there already we wanted to add to this and hopefully get some more projects made while bringing the filmmakers and our network together.
Last year we ran a competition in London and Belfast where we had great support for both. This year we’re running one competition in London but have doubled the amount of prizes we had for London which is very pleased.
We’ve had brilliant support from a number of people and business and particular shout outs must go to Reviewed & Cleared (media lawyers), Pro Motion Hire and New Day Pictures (Kit hire companies) and Goldcrest Post Production who are supporting the competition with prizes.
The competition is currently open to entries, you can find out more at our website.
You’re very active as a company in working with organisations involved with film and film funding. Can you tell us about some of the partnerships you’ve already forged?
Being at so many events across the industry we commonly talk with filmmakers who have the common issue around getting funding and there being enough funding for the number of quality filmmakers looking to make projects.
We’ve supported Film London’s London Calling & London Calling Plus schemes over the last 10 years which unfortunately no longer exist in the same framework but were great schemes to help filmmakers launch their careers.
We’ve more recently teamed up with Genera Films, headed up by CEO Christian Parton in order to help him achieve his goals of funding more short films.
What advice would you give to a filmmaker looking to secure cover for their project?
Very simple – always go to a specialist insurance broker who provides insurance for filmmakers!
What are your hopes for Performance for the future?
We’ve got a great team headed up by Michael Wood (@PerformanceMW_ on Twitter!) and we’re constantly looking at ways to enhance and develop our offering and support to filmmakers. We’ve got a few irons in the fire at the moment and our aim, as it has always been, is to be the go to insurance broker for Filmmakers!
For more information about Performance Insurance visit their website.
Follow Gareth on Twitter: @PerformanceGG