Gov't Extends £500M Film And TV Insurance Scheme

By Martin Croucher
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Law360, London (December 21, 2020, 2:26 PM GMT) -- The government has further extended a £500 million ($665 million) insurance fund to support television and film productions as it seeks to jump-start the country's battered arts and culture sector.

The so-called film and TV production restart scheme, which will provide cancellation insurance to studios, will now be open for registrations until April rather than February, the government said on Sunday.

The initiative was launched to provide insurance on commercial terms to movie productions that have been unable to find appropriate cover. Many insurers have introduced sweeping exclusions to policies over cancellations or delays caused by COVID-19.

"The extension of the film and TV production restart scheme means the U.K. will be producing even more great content as the cinema industry recovers," Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, said.

The fund was originally only available to productions that had started shooting before the end of December, but that was extended to February. Now all TV shows and films which start shooting before April are eligible to join the scheme.

The fund launched in October after a delay in getting approval under the European Union's rules for state aid. It has insured more than 100 productions, the government said Sunday.

The program is expected to support more than 40,000 jobs across the British film and television production industry, which contributes over £12 billion to the economy every year, according to the government.

Policies sold under the scheme will compensate productions when they incur costs because of delays by up to 20% of the total budget. Studios will be covered up to 70% of the production budget if they have to abandon a shoot altogether because of the pandemic.

But there is a total cap on claims per production of £5 million. Producers will also have to buy standard insurance to cover losses caused by factors other than the coronavirus.

The government said the policy wording has also been amended so that cast and crew over the age of 70 can also be included in the cover.

"The changes to the scheme will enable productions to receive compensation for COVID-related delays affecting up to two cast or crew members over 70 years old," the government added.

--Editing by Ed Harris.

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