There comes a point in your filmmaking career where you will be required to purchase Public Liability Insurance. For most it’ll be something you calculate when you are ready to get. For me it was more like “I can get paid work next week if I organise this now”.

Either way you need to start from the beginning… What is Public Liability Insurance?

According to the ACCC, public liability insurance protects individuals, businesses or organisations against the financial risk of being found liable to a third party for death or injury, loss or damage of property or ‘pure economic’ loss resulting from negligence by the insured.

For us arty-types, some of whom don’t also love to the business side of things, this can be as helpful as Klingon. And unfortunately there is no iSelect for Public Liability Insurance in the film and television industry. So I thought I’d share my experience with you in the hopes it will help you when the time comes.

The first thing you’ll discover when you google “public liability insurance” is that there is a lot of Public Liability Insurance policies out there. However, a lot of those policies are for tradies or more tradition businesses than film and television production. When you look for Public Liability Insurance for the film industry, there is far less to choose from.

It was through personal recommendations and my own research that I found the following companies:

3. AON

“At Aon, we recognise that people within the film and television industry face varying and unique risks, therefore we have created insurance solutions to meet your specific needs.”

AON is one of the first to pop up on a Google search. Often that tells you you’re on to a good thing; a strong, well-known business. But a small independent film producer and big business don’t often go hand-in-hand. While this large company can provide little ol’ me with Public Liability Insurance, at $1200 (and almost twice the price as all my other quotes) I would have had to have sold a kidney to do so.

If you can afford that, go for it you lucky S.O.B.

2. H W Wood Australia

“We have staff dedicated solely to Film and Entertainment Insurances – individually with up to 30 years experience in the industry. Our specialists have an excellent reputation for knowledge and service and are particularly well regarded for prompt response and attention whilst films are in production.”

H W Wood Australia is also at the top of the Google list. It was also recommended to me by a local cinematographer. They were quick to respond to my enquiries and at just over $880, quite reasonably priced too.

Their policy wording was entertainingly friendly and their “Gentle Reminder of one of the General Exclusions” eliciting a giggle in the midst of a mundane insurance research session.

The only reason I did not purchase insurance through H W Wood Australia is because there was someone even cheaper.

1. Latitude Underwriting (formally Cinesure)

“Latitude Underwriting has been operating in the niche area of Film & Television in excess of 30 years.  We specialise in providing insurance on Film & Television production risks for individuals and companies including small independent productions through to large studio financed blockbusters.”

At just over $760, Latitude Underwriting was the cheapest quote I received. Latitude Underwriting was recommended to me by my Mentor, and the fact that I had of heard Cinesure all throughout my time a film school made me lean towards this policy. They also didn’t want to pigeonhole me in one particular job title, which is great because if you’re like me you work in various roles in various departments. So according to Latitude, my occupation covers from assisting to directing to producing.

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What I found interesting during my research is that there was very little difference between the policies of the different companies. It made it difficult to see why I needed to spend the extra money on one policy over another. It may be the amount of customer service you receive when dealing with a claim. I guess, only time will tell.

Of course, Public Liability Insurance is an extremely personal choice. I am just hoping to give you a little extra help to hopefully make the decision making process a touch easier.

The most important things to remember is that a lot of production companies won’t allow you to work with them unless you are covered by Public Liability Insurance. And not having Public Liability Insurance is just putting yourself and your production career at risk.

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Q: Have you purchased Public Liability Insurance recently? Got any of your own advice you want to pass on?