Solving clearance conundrums for errors and omissions insurance a major, but little known, job in film and TV

Someone on the set of the TV series “Fargo” liked the pop of colour a vintage clown game gave to an ominous scene in a dank, cluttered basement, so they moved it forward in the shot.

The problem? After the scene was filmed for the second season, the studio wasn’t sure it could show the garish carnival game without being sued _ even though it’s there for less than 10 seconds.

“Several high-level MGM executives spent weeks on that clown game,” producer Kim Todd recalled during a recent visit to a Calgary sound stage where Season 3 was being filmed.

Countless hours go into making sure anything featured in a TV show or movie _ whether it’s a character’s name, a brand-name product or a work of art _ won’t get the studio into legal trouble. Outside businesses are hired for what’s known in the industry as clearance _ scouring scenes for any potential pitfalls and flagging them in reports for studios.

It took some detective work, but the “Fargo” clearance team eventually tracked down the maker of the clown game in Montreal and got the permission it needed.

Hunting down the rights owners of tacky garage-sale tchotchkes for the show’s second season, set in the 1970s, was a huge undertaking. Ditto cheap figurines manufactured by the millions in China.

“Bad art is a character in ‘Fargo’ _ it just is,” said Todd.

Frustrating as it is, she said she understands where the clearance folks are coming from.

“It’s this plodding thing and I have to be very respectful of people who do it because they’re working for the studios who don’t want to get sued.”

Characters have also caused headaches on occasion. Ray Stussy _ one of two brothers played by Ewan McGregor in the show’s third season _ came up as a potential problem after the name had already appeared in the show’s promotional material.

It turned out that the real Ray Stussy the clearance team found is an African American man in his 70s _ different enough from the one on the show to quell any potential concerns over using his likeness.

Jim Erickson, a retired set decorator who won an Oscar for his work on the 2012 film “Lincoln,” said clearance concerns were a huge headache at times during his 40-year career.

When he first started out, it wasn’t so much of a problem. But then in the ’90s, studios appeared to get increasingly nervous about litigation.

Working with the clearance team to track down permission for items used on set became such a big job that he had to eventually hire someone full-time just for that.

“So the legal department was starting to dictate what we could or couldn’t put on sets and that was really, really disturbing,” Erickson said from his home on B.C.’s Salt Spring Island.

“I was in fights all the time and I would just always lose.”

Clearance is required for studios to get errors and omissions insurance _ similar to malpractice insurance in the medical field _ for their productions, said Amy Lennie, president of The Rights Company.

The Toronto-based firm does intellectual property rights research and clearance for films, television shows, web series and video games around the world.

“They need to cross all the t’s and dot all their i’s to make sure that things are done properly and any potential lawsuits out there are not going to happen,” she said, adding most in the industry understand how important it is.

“Everybody’s a professional and they’re reasonable people. It’s common sense.”

Ideally, all clearance quandaries are tied up before shooting even begins, said Chad Mathis, a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and founder of The Clearance Lab.

Slip-ups can be fixed in post-production, but it’s expensive.

Mathis said clearance tends to trip up those new to the business who might not even think about it until after they have a distribution deal.

“It kills a lot of projects, failure to pay attention to these matters,” said Mathis.

“It’s easy to get wrapped up in the creative _ and you should. But you can’t leave out the rest, or you won’t be around for long.”


The ILScorp offices will be closed Monday, May 22, 2017, to mark the Victoria Day holiday.

The ILScorp offices will be closed Monday, May 22, 2017, to mark the Victoria Day holiday.

Long weekends are an excellent break from the craziness of work. Unfortunately, they can often slip away quite quickly, somehow leaving you with more to do than before the weekend started and no idea of where your time went. So how can you make the most of your long weekend?

First, get your CE done. Does it sound lame? You bet. Will you be glad you did it? Yes. Get online and get to work. You know you’re going to be completely slammed at the end of  May, that’s just how things work.

So a least get a head start this weekend, spend a few hours completing your CE requirements, instead of fruitlessly trying to find time at the end of the month when you’re stressed out. With ILScorp accredited continuing education courses, you have unlimited access anytime and anywhere you have an internet connection. You can complete your CE on the patio, at the beach or wherever the long weekend takes you. True, not many people like looming continuing education deadlines, or studying/working on the weekend, but nearly everyone likes the bragging rights of when they’re DONE. Just focus on how much better things will feel afterwards.

The best part? Completing your CE online with ILScorp is fast and easy. You’ll have time to do all the long weekend fun stuff, and you won’t have to feel guilty or stressed.

ILScorp and ILSTV wish you a productive, safe and fun May long weekend. Your weekly dose of insurance news returns to your inbox on May 24.

Please note our offices will be closed Monday MAY 22.

You can still purchase or renew your ILS CE Subscription online and access your courses anytime and anywhere you have an internet connection.


Five Pitfalls Of Cybersecurity Insurance: Lessons From The United States

Five Pitfalls Of Cybersecurity Insurance: Lessons From The United States

Article by Ruth Promislow and Ethan Schiff

Given the increasing threat of cyberattacks and the corresponding costs, businesses are increasingly considering cybersecurity insurance. But insurance is only as effective as the scope of the coverage. Though Canadian courts have not yet interpreted insurance policies in the cybersecurity context, American cases highlight five noteworthy pitfalls.

  1. Coverage Denied Because the Insured Did Not Comply with Underlying Obligations

Just as health coverage may be contingent upon the insured maintaining a healthy lifestyle, cybersecurity insurance may be contingent upon the insured meeting certain technical standards. In Columbia Casualty Co v Cottage Health System, the insurer denied coverage and alleged that the insured failed to comply with required “procedures and risk controls”, which imposed an obligation to “follow minimum required practices”.

  1. Coverage Denied Because the Incorrect Party Was Injured

In P.F. Chang’s v Federal Insurance Co, the insured (P.F. Chang’s) made a claim on its insurance due to a data breach resulting in stolen records belonging to its customers. P.F. Chang’s did not suffer an injury. The court concluded that the relevant insurance policy did not cover P.F. Chang’s because the policy required that the claimant suffer an injury. The policy at issue was marketed as “a flexible insurance solution designed by cyber risk experts to address the full breadth of risks associated with doing business in today’s technology-dependent world.”

  1. Coverage Denied Because the Incorrect Party Caused the Injury

In Zurich American Insurance Co v Sony Corp of America et al,1 Sony made a claim on its insurance for defence and indemnification due to losses resulting from a data breach by criminal hackers. The policy provided coverage for “oral or written publication in any manner of the material that violates a person’s right of privacy.” The court held, however, that the policy only provided coverage if Sony published the material itself. Since the hackers published the material, Zurich had no obligation to indemnify Sony.

  1. Coverage Denied Because the Cyber Activity Was Merely Incidental

Cybersecurity insurance may only provide coverage if the loss clearly results from cyber activity. In Apache Corp v Great American Insurance Company, the insured became the victim of fraud after an employee wrongfully determined that a known vendor’s telephone and email request to transfer money was authentic. The request turned out to be fraudulent and the insured reimbursed the vendor. The insured made a claim based on its insurance which covered for “loss of, and loss from damage to, money, securities and other property resulting directly from the use of any computer to fraudulently cause a transfer…”. The court held that the circumstances were not covered because the computer use was not the direct result of the loss, but rather was “merely incidental”.

  1. Coverage Denied Because the Litigation Was Outside the Scope of Covered Claims

Insurance may provide coverage for certain claims to the exclusion of others. In Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v Federal Recovery Services Inc, the insured made a claim based on costs incurred for litigation resulting from a tort claim for intentional misuse of its data storage activities. The insurer denied the claim because the policy only provided coverage if the loss was caused by “any error, omission or negligent act.” The court held that the lawsuit against the insured for “knowledge, willfulness, and malice” was outside the scope of the coverage.


The United States case law highlights the importance of understanding your company’s risks and vulnerabilities in order to define the precise scope of cybersecurity insurance required. A risk and vulnerability assessment is a critical component to establishing an overall cybersecurity plan that will mitigate risk and corresponding damages.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

How Great-West Life became an insurance titan

Excerpted article was written By Darren Bernhardt, CBC News

Great-West Life’s roots date back to 1891, when the company was founded in Winnipeg and a man named Jeffrey Hall Brock had a dream that many called impossible.

At the time, there were 40 insurance companies in Canada and 31 of those were foreign-owned. None of the nine Canadian ones were based in Western Canada, according to George Siamandas, a Winnipeg historian who runs The Winnipeg Time Machine blogsite.

Brock was a local insurance agent who promoted the idea of a Winnipeg-based insurance company, thinking a local company would be more sensitive to the needs of westerners, Siamandas wrote.

Brock was scoffed at and told that his dream would not fly, that it was impossible. But he persevered and the company was incorporated on Aug. 28, 1891, and had leading citizens like hardware magnate James Ashdown on its board. Brock’s goal was to take in $1 million worth of premiums in the first year, Siamandas wrote.

At the board’s first annual meeting, he reported they sold $2.7 million.

The company’s first death claim was in 1893 for $1,000, and in 1912 two policyholders who died on the Titanic were covered.

By 1896, the company served clients across Canada and in 1906 it opened its first office in the U.S. in Fargo, N.D. The next year, it was the largest insurance company in Canada and had 100 employees in Winnipeg and 600 agents across the country.

In 1911, the company built its head office in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, on the corner of Rorie Street and Lombard Avenue.

In 1942, GWL became the first Canadian company to enter the accident and health insurance business.

In 1960, the company moved to a new building on Osborne Street — constructed on the site of the old Osborne Stadium — across from the legislative building, and in 1983 it expanded into another new building at Broadway and Osborne.

Still headquartered on Osborne and a publicly-traded company, Great-West Lifeco (GWL) is now one of North America’s largest financial holding companies.

Indirectly controlled by Montreal billionaire Paul Desmarais, through his stake in the Power Corporation of Canada — a Canadian holding company — GWL now serves more than 13 million people across Canada, offering insurance as well as investment, savings and retirement income plans and annuities.

In 1997, it took over the then-123-year-old London Life and in 2003, GWL acquired another one of the country’s oldest insurance companies, paying $7.3 billion CDN for the then-156-year-old Canada Life Financial.

The company’s network includes The Great-West Life Assurance Company, London Life Insurance Company, Canada Life Financial, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co., Irish Life, and Putnam Investments.

DYK that you can Safeguard Your Jewellery with Jewellery Insurance

Hub Connects 

Tips to ensure proper coverage and replacement of lost or stolen precious items.

Statistics Canada reports that breaking and entering is the most common form of property crime.[1]  In addition to apparel and electronics, jewellery including rings, necklaces, watches and other luxury items are the most frequently cited items among home-loss claims.[2] And with higher prices for gold and silver, the cost of insurance claims has increased as well.

While jewellery is covered under most standard home insurance policies, carriers often limit coverage to about $1,500 per item, though some may offer higher limits. If you own valuable jewellery that couldn’t be repaired or replaced for this amount, you need to consider increasing your insurance coverage.

One option is to “schedule” individual pieces of jewellery through the purchase of a supplemental policy, like jewellery insurance or a valuable articles policy. These policies generally offer broader coverage than a standard home insurance policy. For instance, if you lose an earring while showering, it would be replaced under this type of policy, but under not a standard policy. Supplemental policies range in price, but expect to pay about $1-2 per $100 value of the item per year.

No matter what jewellery insurance option you choose, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself in the event of a loss. Carriers are experiencing an increasingly high volume of claims in this area. So take the following precautionary measures to make sure you are properly and efficiently reimbursed in the event of a claim.

  • Document your valuables. Insurance carriers will tell you that the most important thing you can do is to document all your valuables and store that information in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box. The inventory should include receipts, appraisals, certificates of authenticity and photographs. Cataloging your jewellery will go a long way in creating a smooth insurance settlement process.
  • Have your jewellery appraised. For items without a receipt, it’s a good idea to get the piece appraised to make sure you receive the proper replacement cost value (RCV). All jewellery covered by a supplemental policy must be officially appraised, as well. Insurers have specific guidelines for what constitutes a proper appraisal, so make sure yours will adhere to their requirements before scheduling it. Since the price of gemstones changes over time, it’s important to have your items reappraised every few years.
  • Understand the conditions of your policy. Read your jewellery insurance policy thoroughly to understand exactly how and when your jewellery is insured. For instance, will your coverage change if you move to a different neighbourhood? Will your item be replaced if it is lost in a fire? What if it’s lost on the beach? Or what if you lose the centre gem but not the entire ring – does your policy cover partial loss? Reading the fine print will help you spot any gaps in coverage and give you the opportunity to purchase additional protection before anything unfortunate happens.

While nothing can replace the personal loss of a cherished ring, necklace or watch,  jewellery insurance can at least reimburse you for the monetary value of the item. If you have special, high-value pieces that you want to protect, talk to your HUB agent about what your current coverage offers and the supplemental insurance options available.



Got an idea for positive change in your community? We’ve got $1 million to help

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2015 /CNW/ – Aviva Canada, one of the country’s leading insurance providers, is pleased to announce that its 2015 Aviva Community Fund competition is officially open. Starting Sept. 15, 2015 Canadians with ideas for positive change can submit them to the competition for a chance to win a share of the $1 million fund.

“We are investing $1 million in project funding because we want to help create positive change in Canadian communities and help people bring their ideas to life,” said Debora Hendrickson, Aviva Canada’s Senior Vice President of Customer & Marketing. “It all starts with an idea, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this year’s competition.”

New to the competition this year is fewer voting rounds. In prior years, ideas had to go through two rounds of voting to make it to the finals; this year there is only one round of voting. Ideas can be submitted in one of three categories – Community Resilience, Community Health and Community Development, as well as two funding levels – Small Ideas under $50,000 and Large Ideas $50,000 – $100,000. With only one round of voting, followed by judging, the 2015 Aviva Community Fund competition makes it even easier to win project funding.

“I encourage anyone with a worthwhile idea to enter the competition,” said Bob Rymarchuk, Rotary Project Chair for the New Home for the Lake Country Food Bank, one of the 2014 Aviva Community Fund Grand Prize Winners. “Make sure that your idea is well thought-out and then use social media, emails, public service announcements, handouts and posters to gain supporters. Get your message out there to your community in as many ways as possible and you will have a great chance at winning.”

To kick off the start of the 2015 Aviva Community Fund, the Lake Country Food bank hosted an event to celebrate their new facility and their 2014 community fund win. To see video highlights of the event, including b-roll footage, click here.

Start making a difference today. Visit the Aviva Community Fund website for more information about the competition and to submit an idea. Idea submission ends on Friday October 2, 2015.

About the Aviva Community Fund
Since 2009, Aviva Canada has provided $5.5 million to 192 winning projects from coast to coast. With over 10,000 ideas submitted so far, the Aviva Community Fund has more than one million registered participants, who cast approximately nine million votes.

About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in Canada providing home, auto and business insurance to more than three million customers. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc and has more than 3,000 employees, 25 locations and 1,700 independent broker partners.

For more information visit, our blog or our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

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