After Walker’s Death, Cast Insurance May Save ‘Fast & Furious 7’

Paul Walker (center) and cast at the World Premiere of 'Fast & Furious 6' in London on May 7th, 2013. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP) Paul Walker (center) and cast at the World Premiere of 'Fast & Furious 6' in London on May 7th, 2013. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)

Paul Walker, 40-year old star of the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, perished this month by the side of his best friend, Roger Rodas, in a car crash moments after leaving a fundraiser for Walker’s charity organization, Reach Out Worldwide.

Walker’s death in the high-octane crash of Rodas’ 2005 Porsche Carrera GT is mesmerizing, both for its tragedy and terrible irony.

It also halted the popular film franchise in which Walker starred.

"At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on 'Fast & Furious 7' for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise,” stated a press release from Universal Studios.

That is the difference between our fantasies on the screen and us in the actual driver’s seat: we have no guaranteed happy ending.Life is no show, but it goes on. Universal told entertainment news sources that editors have begun reviewing footage shot with Walker to re-work it into a finalized script.

Universal told entertainment news sources that editors have begun reviewing footage shot with Walker to re-work it into a finalized script.

Insurance, of course, comes into play when considering the costs for such tasks. “When an artist in a film is injured, dies or becomes ill, cast insurance, in conjunction with general liability, reimburses the filmmaker for having to re-film parts that have to be replaced or continued with a new actor,” says Donna Mescall, underwriting manager at Philadelphia Insurance Companies, which offers film production insurance for smaller-budget films and documentaries.

“Rarely will an entire project be scrapped because of the loss of a cast member, but the film may have to be reshot to work around them.”

Cast insurance, which is nearly always included in a film’s budget based on production costs, covers a production company for expenses incurred to finish making a movie if a cast member dies, becomes too ill to work or is kidnapped.

Several films have been continued after the death of an actor, such as “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” after Heath Ledger’s overdose in 2008, and “Brainstorm” with Natalie Wood who died in a boating accident in 1981, using script re-writes, body doubles or clever editing.

“The hard thing is that, seeing the situation from afar, Paul Walker looked like a good person and an actor with a good loss history. He died in an accident in which he wasn’t even driving the car,” says Tim Ehrhart, vice president at Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, which offers coverage for film producers.

“An insurance company may stipulate that any death or injury occurring outside of film production may not be covered, depending on the individual’s hobbies, such as car racing, without their written consent.”

Though both Walker and Rodas were known and experienced racers—Rodas, a financial planner, owned his own car shop—they may have been no match for the purported unreliability of the Porsche they were joyriding.  The L.A. Times reported about the 2005 Carrera GT’s dark record, and found that it was involved in the deaths of two sports drivers in 2005.

Ehrhart says that cast insurance will likely come into play in allowing the film studio to proceed with bringing the next “Fast & Furious” film to life.

A studio can continue filming, but what about the unquantifiable risks such as backlash from the franchise’s fans?  

Says Ehrhart, “As a fan of a series, would you as a consumer not go see the movie if an actor you like is no longer in it? It’s possible, but not likely.”

About the Author
Anya Khalamayzer, PropertyCasualty360.com

Anya Khalamayzer, PropertyCasualty360.com

Anya Khalamayzer is Assistant Editor of Risk for PropertyCasualty360-National Underwriter. Khalamayzer graduated from CUNY Baruch College after intensive internships with Time Out New York Kids and Crain’s Investment News. Keenly interested in environmental science, music and the arts, her articles have been published in Gotham Gazette, Wonkster blog and Ear to Mind magazine. She can be reached at akhalamayzer@summitpronets.com

Comments

Resource Center

View All »

EPLI Programs Crafted Just For Your Clients

Bring us your restaurant clients, associations and other groups and we’ll help you win more...

Is It Time To Step Up And Own An Agency?

Download this eBook for insight on how to determine if owning an agency is right...

Claims - The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Fraudulent claims cost the industry and the public thousands of dollars in losses. This article...

Leveraging BI for Improved Claims Performance and Results

If claims organizations do not avail themselves of the latest business intelligence (BI) tools, they...

Top 10 Legal Requirements for E-Signatures in Insurance

Want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases when adopting e-signatures? Learn how to...

Get $100 in leads with $0 down!

NetQuote's detailed, real-time leads have boosted sales for thousands of successful local agents across the...

The Growing Role of Excess & Surplus Lines in Today’s...

The excess and surplus market (E&S) provides coverage when standard insurance carriers cannot or will...

Increase Sales Conversion with this Complimentary White Paper

This whitepaper will share proven techniques - used by many of the industry's top producers...

D&O Policy Definitions: Don't Overlook These Critical Terms

Unlike other forms of insurance where standard policy language prevails, with D&O policies, even seemingly...

Environmental Risk: Lessons Learned from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate...

Whether it’s a chocolate factory or an industrial wastewater treatment facility, cleanup and impacts to...

Looking for Markets?

Search Kirschner’s Insurance Directory to help service your hard to place risks.

497 Risk Categories | 70,000 P&C Insurance Markets

kirschners
Specialty Markets Insight eNewsletter

Receive updates and analyses on hard to place and challenging coverages. Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.