Getting Your Insurance in Order

Hello all – we’re pleased to be writing our first piece on the IMIS blog.

As Insurance Brokers with over 20 years experience in the Film and Media industry we’ll be providing some insight into some key topics over the coming months.


To start with, as we move into Autumn I thought it would be worthwhile to provide some reminders of certain things you should review and keep in mind from an Insurance perspective;

1. Understand your figures

Your insurance policy may contain elements that require an estimate of your wage roll, turnover or hiring fees for the coming year.  Again, these figures should represent your estimate for the COMING YEAR, as last year may have been a different story.  Reviewing these periodically will help you ensure that you have sufficient cover in place at all times.

2. Do an Inventory

Whether you are a Limited Company with a fixed asset register, or a sole trader or partnership, keeping track of what kit and other assets you have, what you have disposed of, and what you are likely to purchase in the coming months is important.  For insurance purposes, you should not allow for depreciation as most policies provide cover on a “New for Old” basis, meaning that the value of your assets that you provide to the insurer should be the value to replace everything you have, as new, at today’s prices.  If you have some items that you do not wish to insure, you should specifically mention these to your insurer, otherwise their value could be counted in the event of a loss, leaving you under-insured.

3. Consider where you are likely to use your equipment

Whilst we at Performance automatically cover your equipment on a Worldwide basis, some policies stipulate that you can only use your equipment in certain territories (usually at your Premises only, UK-wide, in the EU, or Worldwide) and travelling outside of these territories can leave you uninsured.   If you are likely to go abroad, ensure that you have cover for your kit on the right basis – you can split your kit between territories and don’t need to have everything covered at the same location (e.g. you can have £10k at Premises, £50k in UK and £20k in EU).  Just make sure that the sum insured you have in each is sufficient to cover the jobs you have, and that you amend these if an unexpected opportunity comes your way.  Remember to also count any accessories for your kit, as these can add up.

4. Think about any changes to your business

As a Policyholder, you have a duty to disclose any Material Facts to underwriters.  Material Facts are usually defined as “Any fact that may influence a prudent underwriter in the acceptance of or rating of your policy”.  Over the last year, has anything occurred that you may need to tell your insurers about?  Is anything going to happen in the foreseeable future that may?  Examples of Material Facts could be convictions, changes to the security or construction of your premises, insolvency, other policies being cancelled or restricted in some way, changes to your business activities, etc, etc.  The golden rule here is that if you are in any doubt as to whether a fact is Material or not, you should disclose it.   If there is a possibility that something may occur in the future, discuss this with your insurer advisor in advance, so there are no surprises down the line.

5. Review your Contracts and Terms of Business

Always a good idea is to review your own terms of business and those of anyone you do business with, just to make sure that they are still robust enough to offer you the protection they should, and that nothing has changed over time that may invalidate any of the terms.

6. Review your working practices (Risk Assessments, Disaster Recovery Plan, Health and Safety Policy, etc)

If you have recently reviewed your policies and practices, it is a good idea to let your insurer know, as some may give discounts for having these in place.  It is also imperative that if your insurer has previously asked for a copy of, for example, your Health and Safety Policy and this has changed, that you provide them with an up-to-date version.

7. Check your supporting documentation and organise your papers

You may also have certification that requires review or renewal and it is a good idea to get hold of the most recent copies of these and retain them on file.  In addition, if you have any valuations or purchase receipts that need updating, copying or finding, then there’s never a time like the present to get these together, as you may be required to provide these in the event of a claim under your policy.   Most business records need to be kept for a certain period – seven years is usually long enough (most are six, but if the paperwork straddles two accounting years, then seven is safer) but your accountant will advise you on this.  From an insurance-perspective, this same period is fine, although it is good practice to keep hold of your Employers Liability Certificate for as long as possible. The most convenient way to do this is to scan the papers into a PDF, as there is no need to hold on to the original.  Just ensure that the PDF is backed-up somewhere.

However you review your business at the end of the year, organisation and taking time to do this is the key, as well as seeking advice from your insurance advisor, accountant, and any other business support services you may use.

For more information please visit call me on 02082564929 or Email me at

Also, IMIS members are able to receive an exclusive discount with us on all your media and kit insurance needs. Find out how to take advantage of the discount in the Member’s Section of the website.

Best Wishes

Gareth Graham

Starting Pre-Production

Making a film takes a lot more work than it seems. In fact, it is hard to tell how much work has been put onto a film just by looking at the final result, although we can definitely get a hint of it by looking at the ending credits. What do all of those people do? Are there that many things to work on?

While the first question is too vague and would take ages to reply, the answer to the latter is a resounding “yes”. There are an awful lot of things to work on, especially at the inception stage. Let’s talk about these in terms of a short film, where they are generally more condensed in comparison to a feature.

The very first step where every film begins is the script. This might sound very obvious, but checking this box can actually become a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding one based on a good idea. There are two ways you can get a script: you can buy/obtain one from someone else (in which case I would make sure to choose the right one, mainly according to your financial possibilities), or you can write it yourself. The second option will give you more freedom at the time of adjusting it when some things go wrong – believe me, they will- but the important thing is to have a draft that is as close as possible to the representation of the story sought after by the director (this might be the same person as the writer), to reduce the amount of those things that will go wrong.

So you’ve got the script, now what?

If you decide to give writing one a go, check out this very useful article about scriptwriting: The Script Board: A Guide to Screenwriting

Like in most aspects of business, the two determining factors of a film are time and money. Therefore, it makes sense to start by creating a budget and a schedule. These don’t need to be set in stone, but they should act as a reference to define the extent of what can be achieved in terms of production: locations, actors, crew, equipment, production design, props, costumes, editing, music, catering, publicity and festivals… these are some of the main parts that the budget should cover.

The schedule should work in a way that it sets deadlines to complete the different steps. Without a schedule to adhere to, the production will be all over the place and will turn into a mess. Deadlines will also prevent you from leaving things unattended. It is not difficult to fall into procrastination, which will make different tasks overlap and therefore this will lead to a waste of time and possibly money, which is far from ideal.

In order to figure out a schedule, try to work out how long it would take to complete each task. For example, in terms of location scouting, how long is it going to take to speak to the relevant people, find out what the availability for that location is, how much is it and when can you pay for it to eventually lock it. Or in terms of casting, how many days of auditions do you need to carry out, where and when can you hold the auditions, how much is the audition room, when are you going to have callbacks and when are you going to make a decision on the cast.

Budget and schedule ready, now the rest

Once you have the budget and schedule in place, there’s a valuable technique called script breakdown. It is normally carried out by the 1st AD, however in a short film this may be done by the director himself or the producer. It consists of, while going through the script, identifying key elements such as characters, locations, costumes, props and VFX shots and colour-coding them to be able to know what you will need and how long for. This is tied-in with the production design, which is the visual concept for the film. A good production design should be consistent with colours, costumes, the way sets are dressed and props, since it is an essential part towards the look of the film.

A good pre-production is crucial for the correct development of the film, especially since most elements of production and post-production are sorted out during this stage. In terms of the shooting, you will need to find a crew, the people behind the scenes. Also, the equipment that will be used will be decided from very early on (camera, lenses, grip, sound, lighting). This is important in order to be able to find and compare deals by different rental houses and be able to bargain with them. Or for example, an important on-set element that can’t be overlooked is catering. People work better with their stomachs full, so make sure you keep them well fed.

In regards to post-production, you need to determine aspects such as where are you going to edit the film, what music are you going to use (is it going to be a buy-out, copyright free, originally composed) or if you need VFX shots, which you need to plan in advance.

Last but not least, you also have to keep in mind distribution and publicity. You should think about where your film is going to be seen (streamed online, particular venues), or maybe you’d like to do a festival run, in which case you need to allocate some money for submissions. As for publicity, is the film going to be promoted through social media? Is it going to have a poster? Will there be still photographs?

And by the way, you will find that forms are very much necessary to keep everything organised and most importantly to cover your back mainly against legal issues. Completing location recces, risk assessments and making the relevant people sign release forms will definitely keep you from getting more than one headache.

Come See Us at the BSC Expo and BVE!

Hey everyone!

IMIS is proud to be a partner of the BSC Expo at Battersea Evolution on 3-4 February,Booth 232.  We are also partners for BVE at the Excel Centre on 28 February – 2 March.

If you are interested in joining or curious to see what we’re up to, come check us out.