How Insurance Helped This Filmmaker When Client Footage Was Lost

We share the story of how two different insurance products—contents insurance and professional indemnity insurance—helped a filmmaker when their hard drive failed and client footage was lost.

30Mar'20

In the latest episode of Unsure? Insure! we share how insurance helped this filmmaker when client footage was lost.

This situation started with a damaged piece of equipment and developed into a client claiming damages. What made this situation unique was that two different insurance products came into play to ensure the best outcome from a bad situation.

Let’s start at the beginning.

This freelance filmmaker’s hard drive was scratched internally after being accidentally damaged. This meant he had difficulty retrieving the footage that was on there. That footage was client work.

To be more specific, it was a 6-day job with multiple people involved, fees, travel, accommodation and food and drink expenses.

Because the hard drive was damaged, the filmmaker’s contents insurance covered the cost of recovering the data using a data recovery service. This is an expensive process costing over £5000 with no guarantee that any footage can be recovered.

Unfortunately, the news wasn’t great. The data recovery company couldn’t retrieve any of the files from the damaged hard drive, meaning the filmmaker’s client had no footage from their shoot.

As an ex-photographer myself, I can say that this was one of my biggest fears! A corrupt hard drive or CF card causing me to lose client work. This fear was especially prominent with work that couldn’t easily be staged again, like weddings.

Sadly, for this filmmaker that’s exactly what happened.

What followed was a difficult conversation between the filmmaker and their client. Whilst the damaged equipment was nobody’s fault and was an accident, from the client’s perspective there was nothing to show for a shoot they had invested a lot of time and money into.

I don’t have the details of how that conversation went, but I do know that what happened next triggered the filmmaker’s professional indemnity insurance.

The client said that not having the footage had negatively impacted their business. They had paid for travel, accommodation, fees, and arranged for people to be involved in a shoot who believed they’d be taking the footage home.

Because of this, the client felt their reputation had been damaged and their business had been impacted negatively. It was on this ground they sought compensation.

If a client is looking to seek compensation from you it could trigger your professional indemnity insurance. Professional indemnity insurance covers claims—whether written or oral—made against you for compensation. In this instance they were looking to recover over £3000. The insurer covered the cost of this, minus the policy excess.

If the filmmaker didn’t have insurance, the compensation along with the recovery service would have cost just under £9000!

To recap, here's how insurance helped this filmmaker when client footage was lost:

  • When the filmmaker’s hard drive was damaged, his contents insurance paid for the files to be recovered
  • Your contents insurance will cover damaged equipment, but not natural wear and tear. Make sure you’re not relying on old equipment and have multiple back-ups
  • When the recovery wasn’t successful and client footage was lost, the client wanted compensation to protect their reputation and recoup some of the costs they’d lost
  • Your professional indemnity insurance could be triggered if a client seeks compensation from you

We asked ourselves one important question …

What do we want out of an insurance provider?

With Jack is the answer