Especially for newer, more junior film producers, it is a common mistake to neglect producer’s errors and omissions (producer’s E&O) insurance when putting together their budgets. Producers may then only consider E&O insurance as an afterthought, after the production has been shot. But the reality is: it will be next to impossible (and inadvisable) to find professional distribution for the project if E&O insurance isn’t in place. So, best to consider E&O from the beginning if you want to find distribution!
So, what does producer’s E&O insurance cost? That depends on various factors. You’ll just have to request a quote and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
There are plenty of examples of film projects that overlooked E&O due diligence, resulting in some nasty legal disputes. And there are other projects that did their E&O due diligence, allowing them to more easily win court cases. Let’s review some examples below:
Boys Don’t Cry (1999) invasion of privacy suit
One of the characters depicted in the feature film Boys Don’t Cry (1999) brought an action for breach of privacy because of the manner in which her life was depicted. The woman sued Fox Searchlight and the producers of the movie just before its release for the unauthorized use of her name and likeness.
The parties eventually settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A film producer’s E&O policy will pay judgment costs if the insured producer is found liable. Until a lawsuit happens, it provides peace of mind.
Avatar (2009) copyright claim case
Take James Cameron’s Avatar as another famous example. One day, a man spoke out and claimed that he pitched this multi-award winning movie to Cameron. Cameron eventually won the ensuing lawsuit.
In the event of a lawsuit over a situation like this, if you have E&O insurance in place, the insurance carrier will cover legal defence costs associated with the suit.
The Shape of Water (2017) ongoing legal dispute
There is an ongoing copyright-related legal dispute over the story of Guillermo del Toro’s 2017 romantic fantasy drama, The Shape Of Water. The estate of deceased American playwright, Paul Zindel, claimed that del Toro infringed Zindel’s stageplay, Let Me Hear You Whisper (1969). Searchlight Pictures and the makers of the film have denied that the movie was at all based on the play.
The lawsuit was originally thrown out in 2018, but in June 2020, it was reported that the lawsuit has been revived in an appeals court. Whatever the final outcome of this case, there is no doubt that the legal process has been expensive for all parties involved. Any production studio would want to have producer’s E&O insurance in such a circumstance, as the coverage would pay for legal fees.
Download FREE eBook on film producer’s E&O!
Interested in learning more about film producer’s E&O? It is a complex subject, and this blog post only scratches the surface. Consider downloading Front Row’s free eBook on film producer’s E&O, E&O Insurance 101 – How to protect your film project.
Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance brokerage that provides film insurance, including producer’s E&O insurance, for the lowest possible cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row ensures that all clients receive the money that they are owed per the policy, as quickly as possible. Front Row has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Nashville, LA and NY.
[box] DISCLAIMER: Informational statements regarding insurance coverage are for general description purposes only. These statements do not amend, modify or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your broker for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services and programs which may be available to you. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to the final determination of underwriting qualifications and acceptance by the insurance underwriting company providing such products or services. This article does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss, or type of claim or loss, under any policy. Whether coverage exists or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any policy depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss and all applicable policy wording. [/box]