When Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a propeller pistol on the set of his upcoming movie “Rust” in New Mexico, killing one crew member and injuring another, many questions arose as to the circumstances of the incident. ‘incident.
While an investigation has been launched by authorities and Rust Movie Productions has also begun an “internal review”, questions remain as to how insurance will play out in the mess.
The 63-year-old actor was rehearsing a scene when he pulled the trigger on the gun and a projectile hit Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography, who later died in a hospital. Director Joel Souza was also injured but has since been released from a hospital.
While on-set tragedies of this magnitude are rare, they are not unheard of, which is why production companies typically spend large sums of money on insurance.
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Anamay Carmel, an expert in entertainment insurance, told Fox News that insurance “should be available to cover production liability for damages suffered as a result of what has happened.”
“Productions buy insurance to transfer the risk of something unexpected happening,” she added. “This horrific incident underscores the importance of ensuring that a production has adequate insurance without gaps in coverage.”
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“Rust” is a low-budget independent film, which likely means an insurance premium that varies widely from what producers of blockbuster films buy, but there is still a standard cost for productions of this size.
“There are different types of policies that the production has likely purchased, including workers’ compensation, liability, production insurance, including casting insurance and extra expenses, property insurance. , automotive and umbrella coverage, ”explained Carmel. “Assuming the production bought the typical list of policies, they probably paid somewhere between six and six figures for insurance. Standard insurance limits run into the tens of millions.”
A lawsuit could be imminent because a lawsuit or claim must be filed against the insured to trigger coverage under a liability insurance policy, Carmel noted, adding: “This is not necessarily an indication of ‘a reluctance on the part of a party to pay, but rather a demand to tap into the larger amounts that would be available under an insurance policy. “
Within a day of the incident, there were reports that crew members expressed concerns and filed complaints about working conditions, with some specifically mentioning gun safety. If producers, including Baldwin, failed to meet certain standards, they could end up in hot water.
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“Failure to follow health and safety rules or laws could result in exclusion under a workers’ compensation policy,” Carmel said. “In this case, other insurance policies, including general liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance, should cover these claims. The ultimate extent of damage involved will likely correspond to the level of negligence or fault. “
When the time comes, insurers “will undertake a careful investigation and look for any reason to pay the full amount under a policy,” the expert said. If responsibility for the incident is clear, there will likely be a reasonable settlement, but insurers could be subject to litigation if there is “an attempt to evade their obligations under a policy. insurance or acting in bad faith “.
When it comes to brass tacks, a handful of people will walk away with heavier wallets. The Hutchins family will likely win a “substantial” settlement, Carmel predicted, although those settlements remain “confidential.”
Souza would be eligible for workers’ compensation, which, according to Carmel, “typically includes the cost of medical treatment, temporary income benefits to replace wages lost during recovery and, in the event of permanent disability, compensation for the loss of future income “.
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However, the manager’s situation could become difficult when it comes to determining who his employer is and therefore which policy applies. Additionally, if it is determined that the injury is not accidental, this would exclude coverage.