Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. Reveals the Riskiest Movies of the Year

March 1, 2010

As the Oscars quickly approach, many are speculating what film and actors will win Hollywood’s most coveted statue. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., a Novato, Calif.-based insurer of major Hollywood films for more than 85 years, is unveiling the riskiest films of the year. The awards go to “2012,” “Crazy Heart,” “Inglorious Basterds,” and “Nine.”

“While people enjoyed watching these movies, most weren’t aware of the risk challenges involved when filming complex sequences that included air and watercraft stunts, strenuous dance sequences, air balloon explosions and simulated natural disasters,” said Wendy Diaz, entertainment underwriting director. “These types of scenes contribute appreciably to a film’s overall risk and Fireman’s Fund helps by creating solutions to cover specific exposures.”

“2012” was a big budget film that focused on the end of the Mayan calendar as the world faces natural disasters, such as volcanoes, typhoons, earthquakes and glaciers. This action film included many stunts, explosions, aircraft scenes, underwater filming and earthquake sequences that were loss controlled by the insured and Fireman’s Fund.

“Crazy Heart” included Oscar-nominated performances for Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film about a faded country musician that is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life included risky elements such as a hot air balloon crash, car weaving and rollover, and a boat sequence on a lake. These type of scenes are risky requiring precision, expert driving and experienced stunt people to do safely and successfully.

Nominated for Best Picture, “Inglorious Basterds” was filmed in Germany and the United Kingdom. It’s a period piece based in World War II that includes many stunts, fight scenes and pyrotechnics. International locations pose a wide variety of challenges for filmmakers, including the set, transportation of film, equipment and costumes, and the potential of dealing with illness in a foreign country, the insurer said.

The musical movie “Nine” was filmed in the United Kingdom and Italy with an all-star cast. Musicals have potential issues as the actors must rehearse and perform physical dance numbers. In the past, Fireman’s Fund has had numerous claims as a result of dancing, so the cast must be underwritten with dance injuries in mind, the company said. The movie also featured high wire sequences, which loss control was involved with. In the event that a cast member is injured this can result in filming delays, rescheduling or the production potentially shutting down until the actor recovers or is replaced.

During the filming process movie studios must protect themselves from a variety of insurance risks and liabilities to their cast members, crew and the production process. Insurance can help film producers and studios attain the artistic results they are seeking, while also ensuring that the movie is filmed safely, on-time and within budget, the company said.

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