Following its intervention in the trade credit insurance market back in May, the UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has just announced the launch of a Government-backed scheme worth £500 million pounds for domestic film and TV productions that are struggling to get COVID-19 related insurance. The inability of producers to access such insurance through the open market has had a considerable impact on the ability of the creative sector to fully restart work on productions and filming as lockdown restrictions are eased in the UK.
The Government hopes that the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme (“Scheme”) will help to get TV and film productions that have run into problems over insurance to get back up and running, by giving productions the confidence they need that they can get support if future losses are incurred due to COVID-19. The aim is to cover the gap left by the lack of insurance for COVID-19 related losses for cast member and crew illnesses and filming delays or disruptions.
The Government has said that this is a temporary measure, supporting productions that start filming before the end of the calendar year and to cover COVID-19 related losses through to the end of June 2021.
Subject to state aid approval, the intention is that eligible productions will receive compensation for costs caused by COVID-19 delays up to a value of 20% of the production budget, with abandonment of productions due to coronavirus to be covered up to 70% of the production budget, upon agreement with the Government that abandonment was necessary.
Precise details of the Scheme are yet to be published but it seems that:
- There will be a total cap on claims per production of £5 million.
- Productions will need to pay an excess when claiming under the Scheme, as well as a fee upon joining the Scheme.
- Productions will still need to buy insurance to cover non-COVID-19 risks in the usual course to ensure their production is otherwise adequately insured.
The Government says that it will provide further details of the Scheme shortly. Watch this space for further news.