The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is a Crown entity which administers New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme, which provides accident insurance for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand. In return people do not have the right to sue for personal injury, other than for exemplary damages and exceptions as per the 1992 Amendments to the Accident Compensation Act.
These exceptions can be covered under Employer’s Liability insurance.
Employer Liability insurance is not to be confused with Employment Disputes insurance nor with Worker’s Compensation, which is sometimes called Employer’s Liability in other countries.
Any enquiries should be directed as follows:
Employers: Freephone 0800 222 776
Self-employed: Freephone 0508 426 837 (0508 4COVER)
Employers and self-employed:
Freefax 0800 222 003
Relevant Insurance for Screen Productions
This summary gives the types of insurance generally required by production companies working in New Zealand.
It is important to remember that in many instances people working on a production are not “employees” and these people should carry their own insurances as they cannot rely on a Production Company’s Public Liability, Employer’s Liability or Statutory Liabilities policies as they cover the named production entity/s and employees.
The NZ Film and Video Technicians Guild has such a scheme for independent contractors.
Errors and Omissions
Indemnifies the company for claims arising from libel, slander, plagiarism, infringement of copyright, invasion of privacy, incorrect use of formats, ideas and titles. The policy should take effect from the beginning of shooting, or before, and should usually continue for a period of three years. It may be renewed if required.
This cover is usually a requirement of the Distribution Company.
Indemnifies the production in case of damage to important props, sets or wardrobe and miscellaneous equipment that would cause delays and increase the budgeted production costs.
Provides cover for the company in case of fraud or embezzlement. In some cases the investor(s) may insist on this insurance.
Foreign Co-Productions insurance requires another approach as many of the above covers can only be accessed through the studio and the large USA-based specialist film insurers with local advice to complement those covers and also to liaise with the studio and/or their broker on these local covers that are often particular to New Zealand. This service has become a specialisation within the specialist area of film and television production insurance.
All risks coverage for camera, sound, electrical and other equipment owned, hired or on loan to the production and for which the production company is contractually responsible for insuring. Breakdown cover is an optional extension that film guarantors may insist on.
Provides cover for monies handled by the company, at business premises, in transit and, if necessary, at employees’ homes.
The company should insure all vehicles it owns, but it must give insurers specific details on any “action” vehicles for which cover will be restricted. For hired vehicles, although cover is available from the rental company, it is usually not competitive.
Separate motor insurance for all hire vehicles and those for which the production company is contractually responsible, eg, equipment trucks will generally save premium.
Employees who use their own vehicles in the production must ensure that their policy covers business use. (Production companies are very unlikely to provide cover for employees’ vehicles.)
Cover arranged with New Zealand insurers is only for the current market value at the time of the loss.
The policy does not include cover for the contents/equipment in the vehicles, transformers attached to the back of vehicles, or personal effects. Equipment/transformers are insured under the Film Package “Miscellaneous Equipment” section and personal effects are not insured but remain the responsibility of the owner.
Motor Insurance on rental vehicles, when arranged independently of the rental company, is subject to various legal precedents which, if applicable to the circumstances of the loss, costs may still be the responsibility of the rental company, despite the fact that the production company has arranged its own insurance. This is well known to both insurers and rental companies and is dealt with between the hirer’s insurer and the rental company when a claim is reported.
Negative Insurance/Digital Data/HD
Indemnifies the company against extra costs incurred as a result of loss of, or damage to, raw stock, exposed film, sound stock and recordings. It should also cover the cost of reshooting scenes lost as a result of faults in stock, camera, processing or editing. This risk has changed in recent times as far as insurers are concerned due to the significant increase in the use of CGI footage in a production and further technology changes such as the use of the Panavision Genesis camera system, or Stargate Virtual Backlot, can reduce risk under this section of cover.
The risk of loss of image and cost of reshoot has not disappeared with the change to these new formats.
Pre-Production & Cast Insurance (Producer’s Indemnity)
Indemnifies the company against costs or loss in case of accident, illness or death of the specified key members of the cast and crew during filming and, in some cases, before filming. Such cover requires a medical by the named cast and/or crew before full cover is confirmed by the insurer.
“Essential Element” is a wider form of cast cover whereby the decision to abandon a production following incapacity or death of an insured person is made by the insured and not jointly with the insurer. This cover is usually instigated at the request of the financiers/distributors where a cast member is deemed to be an essential element, in that without him or her there is no production!.
Props, Sets and Wardrobe
All risks cover for props, sets and wardrobe owned, hired or on loan to the production.
Indemnifies the production company against claims for negligent acts made by a third party for damage to property and for which the production company may be found liable.
“Punitive and Exemplary Damages” cover is an extension which is usually included. An individual may sue the production for punitive damages, but not for the injury itself.
Liability arising from the use of aircraft and marine craft is excluded (see “Other Insurances”). Liability from the use of motor vehicles is also excluded, however Third Party Liability cover is provided under the Motor policy.
Use of helicopters and aircraft is increasingly common and the correct Charter Agreements and the obtaining of Certificate of Currency from the aircraft owner’s insurer, naming of the production company as an insured, is critical.
The Health & Safety in Employment Act was amended in April 2016. The aim of the Act is to encourage a pro-active and participative health and safety culture in our workforce. Everyone has a right to go home safely. • It increases the penalties for non-compliance and creates a new three tiered hierarchy of offences
- It replaces the duties owed by employers and principals with a broader duty owed by “persons conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU)
- It imposes a new due diligence obligation on directors and officers • It imposes a new duty to take “reasonably practicable steps”
It is illegal to insure for fines and penalties following prosecution under this Act. However most insurer’s policies will still provide cover for legal costs in defending any prosecutions under the Act and also cover reparation orders as distinct from fines and penalties.
Third Party Property Damage
Covers loss or damage to, or destruction of property or facilities of others, including loss of use while in its custody, care or control. This policy should work alongside but not duplicate the terms of Public Liability.
Other insurances may be necessary depending on the needs of the company, requirements of the script and locations, and whether any (or all) of the film is to be shot overseas:
Aviation and/or liabilities
Foreign insurances (foreign locations)
Kidnap and ransom
Marine craft and/or liabilities
Goods in transit (Marine Transit)
Political risks (contract frustration)
For further information contact:
A New Zealand film insurance broker.
Compiled by Crombie Lockwood.
Sharlene McDonald: +64 9 623 9957
Andrea Clout: +64 9 623 9963
Phil Howard: +64 4 381 8141