UK sets up $647 million emergency insurance fund for film and TV

FILE PHOTO: An event worker attaches set parts during preparations for the BAFTA awards ceremony in London
FILE PHOTO: An event worker attaches set parts during preparations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in central London, February 7, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

July 28, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has announced a 500 million-pound ($647 million) fund to help television and film companies restart productions after companies complained they were unable to get insurance because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shoots shut down abruptly in March as the novel coronavirus spread and the government imposed a lockdown. As filmmakers try to get back to work, they are finding some insurers have stopped providing the COVID-19 coverage they need to secure financing.

The government said the insurance fund will be available to all productions made by companies where at least half the production budget is spent in the UK, and is estimated to cover more than 70% of the film and TV production market.

“From award-winning dramas, to iconic comedies and revered documentaries, the UK makes the films and TV shows the world can’t wait to watch. Today’s announcement means more clapperboards snapping into action,” said Oliver Dowden, Britain’s culture minister.

The decision comes after months of discussions with the TV and film industry and was warmly welcomed by it.

“The issue of securing coronavirus-related insurance quickly emerged as the biggest hurdle for independent producers,” said Ben Roberts, chief executive of the British Film Institute, describing the new fund as “really great news for our production business, jobs and for the economy

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison)