TV Production Insurance Could Cover All COVID-19 Losses, Says Pillsbury

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NEW YORK—TV production companies that had insurance prior to Jan. 24, 2020, are likely to have most of the financial losses experienced because of the coronavirus pandemic covered by insurance companies, according to a report from Pillsbury Law.

According to Pillsbury’s report, the TV industry has already lost nearly $10 billion in TV ad revenue because of the pandemic. In addition, TV production is down by more than 20% in Los Angeles. The overall financial impact, according to Pillsbury, is “staggering.”

However, production companies will be able to soften the blow if they had insurance policies issued prior to Jan. 24. Because the breadth of the pandemic was not known during this time, insurance policies do not include exceptions for COVID-19 as what can be classified as a “business interruption,” which would be eligible for coverage.

This could likely change moving forward, with Pillsbury estimating that future insurance policies could increase their rates (some speculating as high as 25%), as well as beginning to include specific exceptions for COVID-19.

As for getting production started again, Pillsbury highlighted a number of efforts that production companies are putting in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. These include sequestering cast and crew in hotels, taking temperatures of those on set daily, maintaining social distance whenever possible, wearing gloves and mask indoors, staggering lunch and call times, replacing buffet-style lunches with boxed lunches and even replacing the iconic canvas “director’s” chairs with plastic ones, which are easier to clean.

“The bottom line for studios and production companies that purchased insurance coverage before the coronavirus became headline news in January 2020 is that those policies could cover most if not all of the economic damages flowing from the government shutdown of the entertainment industry because of COVID-19,” Pillsbury surmised. “As a result, studios and production companies facing losses because of the industry shutdown, should consult with an experienced insurance recovery attorney to review their policies so they can help coordinate with insurance brokers and carriers and assist with properly crafting of a claim submission in order to optimize coverage under the specific policy or policies at issue.”

For more information, visit Pillsbury Law’s website (opens in new tab)