Frequently Asked Questions

Workers’ Compensation Glossary

 

AD&D

First, you will need to contact the Sales Department and they will assist you in getting started. They will send you the appropriate start forms depending on whether your show is union or non-union. The forms must be filled out accurately to avoid delays. That includes a complete start form with position and rate as well as complete federal forms, the W-4 and I-9. Once you have complete start forms for your crew they should also complete time cards, which the accountant on the production will break out and send in alphabetical order to their Media Services payroll coordinator.  Once in-house at Media Services, your payroll and starts will be processed and you should receive an edit from the coordinator within 48 hours. Then the edit should be approved and processed. Download union & non-union forms here.

Additional Insured

An additional entity covered by insurance that is carried by the Named Insured. Additional Insured coverage applies only to claims that are caused by the Named Insured. No coverage applies to claims caused by the Additional Insured; they need their own insurance. Usually, the production company is the Named Insured; its subsidiaries are Additional Named Insured; and all the locations, vendors, and other service suppliers, such as Media Services, are Additional Insured. Most productions buy insurance that includes an unlimited number of Additional Insured because every location and vendor needs insurance. Clients must furnish a Certificate of Insurance that names Media Services as an Additional Insured in case Media Services is sued for claims caused by the production. Download Sample Certificate of Liability Insurance form here.

Additional Named Insured

An Additional Named Insured has the same coverage as the Named Insured. This is different from an Additional Insured. The Additional Insured has coverage only for claims caused by the Named Insured (or Additional Named Insured). No coverage applies if the claim is caused by the Additional Insured. Usually the production company is the Named Insured; its subsidiaries are Additional Named Insured; and all the locations, vendors, and other suppliers, such as Media Services, are Additional Insured.

Aircraft Liability Insurance

Pays for injuries and property damage to third parties caused by the use of aircraft. For example, if a helicopter crashes into a hospital, Aircraft Liability insurance covers injuries to the people inside, as well as damage to the hospital building and its contents. Aircraft Hull Insurance covers damage to the helicopter itself. Workers’ Compensation covers injuries to production worker employees.

Special Note: Media Services cannot pay aircraft pilots but may be considered upon receipt of acceptable aircraft certificates are approved by Media Services Risk Management prior to the flight activities.

Productions must name Media Services as an Additional Insured on their Non-Owned Aircraft Liability insurance using the language noted above in Additional Insured. We also require a Certificate of Insurance naming Media Services as an Additional Insured on the Aircraft Owner or Supplier’s Liability and Hull coverage with a Waiver of Subrogation on the Hull. Aircraft activities are considered hazardous and Risk Management approval is required prior to processing payroll for the pilot.

Auto Liability

Productions need this insurance to obtain film permits and to pay claims caused by their use of automobiles. For example, if a production vehicle causes a collision with a car on the freeway, Auto Liability insurance covers the damage to the other person’s car and the injuries to the other driver. Workers’ Compensation covers injuries to the production worker employee.

Productions are required to provide a Certificate of Insurance naming Media Services as an Additional Insured on their Hired Auto and Non-Owned Auto Liability coverage (Owned Auto coverage is also needed if the production owns vehicles). Please refer to Additional Insured above for the wording to be used.

This is necessary in case Media Services is sued for claims caused by the production’s use of vehicles. “Hired Auto” means private passenger cars, trucks, motor homes, and other hired, loaned or donated vehicles used in production. An example of a Non-Owned Auto would be a vehicle owned by an employee (not owned by the production company) used during production.

Certificate Holder

This is the name and address of the entity or person requesting the Certificate of Insurance. The Certificate Holder language for Media Services is:

Media Services D.B.A. (payroll company name), its parent, subsidiaries, related and affiliated companies, its officers, directors, agents, and employees
500 S. Sepulveda Blvd., 4th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90049

Certificate Of Insurance

This document, issued by an insurance broker, provides evidence that a policy is in force for a specific Named Insured. The entity requesting the Certificate is called the Certificate Holder. Liability Certificates often add the Certificate Holder as an Additional Insured. Productions must furnish Media Services with a Certificate of Insurance; including Media Services as an Additional Insured on their Liability policies (refer to Additional Insured for the exact wording needed). Sometimes productions need a Workers’ Compensation Certificate issued by Media Services. Please contact Risk Management at 310 440 9675 to request a Workers’ Compensation certificate.

Combined Single Limit

These words appear on Certificates of Liability Insurance. It means that the policy will pay up to the Combined Single Limit (usually $1,000,000) for any combination of bodily injury claims and property damage claims. For example, it might pay $20,000 in property damage and $980,000 in bodily injury. Or, it might pay five bodily injury claims at $200,000 each. Limits include defense costs and indemnity payments. Insurance companies never pay more than the policy limit. Sometimes judges and juries award damages that far exceed the limits on the policies. If the limits are exhausted, or if there is no insurance, or if a claim is denied because of exclusions in the policy, then the insured pays “out of pocket” for attorney fees, as well as the court-awarded damages.

Deductible (Retention)

This is the amount the insured must pay before the insurance company pays. “Retention” is another word for “deductible.”

Defense Base Act

This legislation provides special federal benefits to employees working under U.S. Government contracts. Please advise Risk Management 310 440 9675, if your project is being done under a government contract.

 

Defense Costs

Liability Insurance policies usually pay for defense and indemnity. “Defense” means the insurance company pays attorney fees to defend the insured, even if the claim is totally without merit. “Indemnity” refers to the amount paid for court-awarded judgments for claims caused by the insured.

Disability

A weekly benefit paid to a worker during a period of time the worker is unable to work due to non work related injury or illness.

Employer First Report Of Injury

This is a State required Workers’ Compensation claim form that Media Services generates using information that the production company provides on the Media Services Accident Report Form.

Excess Liability

This is a Media Services policy that provides higher limits on top of the underlying policy. For example, a General Liability policy has a limit of $1,000,000 and an Excess Policy has a limit of $4,000,000. The total limits available would be $5,000,000. Sometimes, Excess coverage is called an “Umbrella” policy. Contrary to popular opinion, Umbrella policies do not “cover everything” – they provide higher limits over an existing underlying or primary policy.

Exclusion

Something in an insurance policy that is not covered. General Liability policies typically exclude coverage for claims involving aircraft, autos, foreign locations, war, nuclear accidents, intentional acts, fraud, asbestos, illegal acts, and mold (to name only a few). Workers’ Compensation coverage excludes claims arising out of intoxication by either alcohol or a controlled substance, self-inflicted injuries, felonious acts, off-duty recreational activity (such as voluntary participation in a company picnic baseball game), and claims reported subsequent to termination or layoff among other things.

Explosions (Pyrotechnics)

These are considered hazardous activities. Please contact Risk Management at 310 440 9653.

Foreign Liability Insurance

Pays for claims occurring in locations outside the Unites States, its possessions, and Canada. Productions filming in foreign locations are required to provide Media Services with a Certificate of Insurance that names Media Services as an Additional Insured on their Foreign Liability coverage (please refer to Additional Insured above for the exact language we need). Also, productions planning to film in SANCTIONED COUNTRIES, must submit proof to Media Services of permission from the U.S. Department of the Treasury before Workers’ Compensation coverage can be confirmed. Media Services Employees are normally covered for Workers’ Compensation in foreign locations. Media Services usually provides Workers’ Compensation for its employees wherever they are working. Media Services does not provide Workers’ Compensation for foreign hires working overseas. Productions should insure foreign hires and foreign activities by purchasing a Foreign Package Policy from their brokers.  Contact Risk Management at 310 440 9653 for assistance.

General Liability

Productions need General Liability insurance to obtain film permits and to cover injuries and property damage to members of the public that are caused by the production’s activities. For example, the production stages an explosion that causes the windows of a nearby house to blow out and causes injury to the homeowner. General Liability covers the damage to the house and the injuries to the homeowner. General Liability policies exclude claims involving autos, aircraft, and watercraft (separate policies are available). Media Services must be an Additional Insured on the production’s liability policies for claims caused by the production.

Guild Travel Accident

This coverage provides benefits to union members working on union shows, as required by the various collective bargaining agreements. Benefit amounts are determined by the various industry guilds and unions, such as AFM, AFTRA, DGA, IATSE, SAG, WGA, Teamsters, etc. A union show means the production company is signatory to one or more of these collective bargaining agreements. Productions should maintain their own Guild Travel coverage.

Hazardous Activities

These include use of wild animals, watercraft, aircraft, stunts, pyrotechnics, and foreign locations. Please contact Risk Management at 310 440 9653.

Hired Auto Liability

Hired Auto means private passenger cars, trucks, and other hired, loaned, or donated vehicles used by the production. Productions need this coverage to obtain film permits and to pay claims involving their use of autos (see Auto Liability above). Media Services must be an Additional Insured on the production’s Auto Liability insurance.

Hull Coverage

This insurance pays for damage to the hull (body) of an aircraft or watercraft. For example, if a helicopter crashes into a hospital, Aircraft Hull insurance covers the damage to the helicopter itself. Media Services requires that aircraft owners/suppliers name Media Services as an Additional Insured on their coverage and include a “Waiver of Subrogation with Respect to Hull.” This means that if the hull is damaged, and the owner/supplier’s insurance company pays for it, then insurers cannot seek reimbursement from Media Services.

IIPP

Injury and Illness Prevention Program. All employers are required to have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Production is responsible for the day to day activities of the production and therefore responsible for accident prevention by providing a safe work environment for all workers. Your IIPP and safety guidelines as required by the various guilds and unions. Serious citations can result for failure to comply with State and/or Federal OSHA requirements. Media Services offers tools to assist clients. Contact Risk Management 310 440 9675.

Insurance Requirements

Media Services requires clients to maintain production insurance and name Media Services as Additional Insured (refer to Additional Insured above) in accordance with the Personnel Services Agreement. Media Services must be an Additional Insured on the production’s General Liability and Auto Liability coverage. For filming activities outside the United States or Canada, the production must have Foreign Liability coverage and name Media Services as an Additional Insured. If the production uses aircraft or watercraft, Media Services must be an Additional Insured on those policies as well. Media Services requires that productions maintain their own Workers’ Compensation coverage to cover people who are injured while auditioning or rehearsing (prior to employment through Media Services), interns, volunteers, foreign hires working overseas, and others who are not covered by Media Services’ program. Productions should also maintain their own Guild Travel coverage for situations where the production company is the signatory.

Your Media Services workers’ comp representative can discuss insurance requirements with you further when setting up a show for payroll.

Interns

Interns are usually students or recent graduates who work on productions without getting paid in order to gain valuable on-the-job production experience. Because interns are not paid by Media Services they are not covered by its policy. Contact your broker to inquire about adding an “if needed” workers’ compensation policy to your production package to cover anyone not covered by Media Services policy (i.e. interns, people auditioning, volunteers, foreigners working overseas, etc.)

Jones Act

This legislation provides federal benefits that broaden Employer’s Liability Coverage for Masters and crew members of a vessel. This coverage can also be provided by boat owners under a Protection & Indemnity (P&I) policy.

Liability Insurance

Productions need this coverage to obtain film permits and to pay for injuries and property damage to members of the public that are caused by the production company’s activities. There are various kinds of liability coverage, including General, Auto, Foreign, Aircraft, Watercraft, etc. Media Services must be named as an Additional Insured on our clients’ liability policies in case we are sued for claims they cause (see Additional Insured).

Limits

The total amount of insurance the policy provides. Insurance companies never pay more than the policy limit. Sometimes judges and juries award damages that far exceed the insurance limits. If the limits are exhausted, if there is no insurance, or if a claim is denied because of an exclusion in the policy, then the insured pays “out of pocket” for attorney fees and court-awarded damages.

Loan-Out Company

An entity used by an actor, director, producer, writer, or crew member to contract their services to a TV, motion picture, or commercial production company. The contract specifies the services to be provided by the individual “loaned out” by the entity. Media Services can pay a loan-out company and provide Workers’ Compensation for the individual loaned out, provided the loan-out has a U.S. Tax Identification number. Loan-outs are NOT eligible for disability coverage. Some loan-outs may employ other staff besides the individual artist, so the loan-out should maintain its own Workers’ Compensation coverage also.

Media Services Accident Report Form

This form is used to report work-related injuries. Click here for the form.

Monopolistic States

States only allow workers’ compensation coverage purchased directly from a state plan.  No private insurance is permitted.  These states are North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming. Media Services maintains coverage in each of these states.

Named Insured

The entity that purchased the policy and is insured by it. Usually, the production company is the Named Insured. An Additional Named Insured has the same coverage as the Named Insured. However, an Additional Insured has coverage only for claims that are caused by the Named Insured (no coverage applies if the claim is caused by the Additional Insured). The locations, vendors, and other suppliers (such as Media Services) are named or included as Additional Insured to protect them for claims caused by the production (the Named Insured).

Non-Owned Aircraft Coverage

Pays for injuries and property damage to third parties caused by the use of aircraft. For example, if a helicopter crashes into a hospital, Aircraft Liability insurance covers injuries to the people inside, as well as damage to the hospital building and its contents. Aircraft Hull Insurance covers damage to the helicopter itself. Workers’ Compensation covers injuries to production worker employees.

Special Note: Media Services cannot pay aircraft pilots unless acceptable aircraft certificates are approved by Media Services Risk Management prior to the flight activities.

Productions must name Media Services as an Additional Insured on their Non-Owned Aircraft Liability insurance (see Additional Insured). We also require a Certificate of Insurance naming Media Services as an Additional Insured on the aircraft owner or supplier’s Liability and Hull coverage, with a Waiver of Subrogation on the Hull.

Non-Owned Auto Liability

An example of a non-owned auto would be a vehicle owned by an employee (it is “non-owned” from the production’s point of view) that is being used during production. Productions need Non-Owned Auto Liability insurance to get film permits and to pay claims caused by their employees’ use of automobiles. For example, an employee driving his or her own auto causes a collision while running an errand for the production (to pick up lunch or deliver a script, for example). The other party sues the employee and both co-employers (Media Services and the production). If a court finds the production company was negligent, Non-Owned Auto coverage pays for damage to the other party’s car and injuries to the other driver. Injury to the employee should be covered by Workers’ Compensation. Damage to the employee’s vehicle should be covered by his or her personal auto insurance. Productions are required to provide Media Services with a Certificate of Insurance that names Media Services as an Additional Insured on their Non-Owned Auto Liability coverage in case Media Services is sued for auto claims caused by the production worker employee (see Additional Insured).

Non-Owned Watercraft Coverage

Productions need this coverage when they charter boats because most boat owner’s policies exclude commercial activities, such as filming. Non-Owned Watercraft Liability insurance pays for damage and injury caused by the production arising out of its use of watercraft. Media Services must be named as an Additional Insured on the production’s Non-Owned Watercraft Liability and Hull Insurance in case we are sued for claims caused by the production (please refer to Additional Insured above). Because watercraft activities are considered hazardous, please contact Risk Management at 310 440 9653 for more information.

Notice Of Cancellation

Certificates of Insurance usually include “30 Days Notice of Cancellation.” meaning that the insurance company must notify the Certificate Holder at least 30 days prior to canceling coverage. The most common reason insurance companies cancel policies is nonpayment of premium. Many insurers give 10 days notice of cancellation for non-payment of premium.

OSHA

This acronym stands for Occupational Safety & Health Administration. This is a governmental agency that sets standards for safety in the workplace. It requires employers to report injuries and keep logs of certain types of work-related injuries. OSHA fines employers that do not comply. Because Media Services does not have a presence on the set, nor do we control the safety of the workplace or the activities of the employees, our Personnel Services Agreement states that the production shall be responsible for compliance with OSHA requirements. These include timely reporting of serious injuries to OSHA, maintaining an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), providing workplace health and safety training, supplying protective equipment and clothing, providing workplace harassment training, and maintaining documentation of all of the above.

P & I (Protection & Indemnity)

This is a form of watercraft insurance, usually carried by owners of vessels. Sometimes productions purchase this coverage when they use a “bare boat charter” (only the boat is supplied – no crew or insurance). In these situations, Media Services must be named as an Additional Insured on the production’s P&I policy in case Media Services is sued for claims caused by the production’s use of watercraft. Often the owner’s coverage is only for pleasure use; it does not cover filming activities. This is why the production should purchase its own coverage. Watercraft activities are considered hazardous. Please contact Risk Management at 310 440 9653 for more information.

Production Insurance

Productions must carry insurance as outlined in the Personnel Services Agreement. Media Services must be an Additional Insured (please refer to Additional Insured above) on the production’s General Liability and Auto Liability coverage. For filming activities outside the Unites States or Canada, the production must have Foreign Liability insurance and name Media Services as an Additional Insured. If the production uses aircraft or watercraft, Media Services must be named on those policies as well. Media Services highly recommends production include an “if needed” workers’ compensation policy in their production insurance package to cover people who may be injured while auditioning or rehearsing (prior to employment through Media Services), interns, volunteers, foreign hires working overseas, and others who are not covered by Media Services’ Workers’ Compensation. Productions should maintain their own guild coverage for situations where the production is the signatory and Media Services is processing payroll.

Pyrotechnics (Explosions, Fireworks)

Because the use of pyrotechnics and explosives is considered a hazardous activity, please contact Risk Management at 310 440 9675 for more information.

Risk Check List

For hazardous activities, productions should send a completed Special Handling Questionnaire to advise Risk Management of activities involving wild animals, watercraft, aircraft, stunts, pyrotechnics (explosions), foreign locations, or other hazardous activities.  Contact Risk Management at 310 440 9653.

Repatriation

This part of a Workers’ Compensation policy reimburses the employer for necessary costs (subject to certain limits) incurred while transporting injured U.S. employees from a foreign country back to the Unites States.

Retention (Deductible)

“Retention” is another word for “deductible.” This is the amount the insured must pay before the insurance company pays.

Statute (Statutory)

Means a state or federal law.

Stunts

Action sequences that involve possible injury to performers or others on the set or stage. Please advise Risk Management at 310 440 9653 for more information.

Subrogation (Waiver of Subrogation)

After an insurance company has paid a claim, it can then seek reimbursement from the entity that was responsible for the loss. This is known as subrogation. In most cases, the subrogated claim is fought between two insurance companies disputing who was ultimately responsible for the loss (it does not usually involve the insured parties). A Waiver of Subrogation prevents the insurer from seeking reimbursement from the responsible party. An example of subrogation would be when an employee is injured in a vehicular accident on the freeway. The Workers’ Compensation carrier pays for the employee’s injuries, and then subrogates against (seeks reimbursement from) the owner of the vehicle who caused the accident. For aircraft insurance, Media Services requires a Waiver of Subrogation with respect to hull coverage. This means that if the hull is damaged and the owner’s insurer pays for the damage, then it cannot seek reimbursement from Media Services (because the damage was not caused by us).

Umbrella Policy

This is a separate policy that provides higher limits on top of the underlying policy. For example, an underlying General Liability policy has a limit of $1,000,000. The Umbrella policy provides for a higher limit when necessary. Contrary to popular opinion, umbrella policies do not “cover everything.” Umbrellas only provide higher limits on top of an existing underlying or primary policy.

U.S. Hires

This term relates to people who reside in and are hired in the Unites States who usually have acceptable “right to work” I-9 documentation. Media Services provides payroll and Workers’ Compensation for U.S. hires. Media Services does not provide payroll or Workers’ Compensation for foreign hires who work overseas.  Direct inquires to Risk Management 310 440 9653.

USL&H

United States Longshoremen & Harbor workers Act. This legislation provides broader Workers’ Compensation benefits for the Masters and members of the crew of a vessel. This coverage can be provided by boat owners under a Protection & Indemnity (P&I) policy. Media Services’ Workers’ Compensation includes USL&H insurance for those who qualify for it. These benefits are costly, and watercraft activities are considered hazardous.  Contact our Risk Management at 310 440 9675 for more information.

VPDI

Voluntary Plan Disability Insurance. Media Services offers California residents an alternative to State Disability Insurance (SDI) called VPDI. The benefits under VPDI are better than the SDI benefits.

Waiver Of Subrogation

This means an insurer that has paid a claim is prevented from subrogating against (seeking reimbursement from) the entity that was responsible for the loss. For aircraft activities, Media Services requires a Waiver of Subrogation with respect to hull coverage. This means that if the hull is damaged and the insurer pays for the damage, then it cannot seek reimbursement from Media Services (because the damage was not caused by us). Some locations require a Waiver of Subrogation on the Workers’ Compensation Certificate. This means our Workers’ Compensation carrier cannot seek reimbursement even if the employee’s injury was caused by the owner of the premises.

Watercraft

Productions need Non-Owned Watercraft coverage when they use boats. This insurance pays for damage and injury to third parties caused by the production’s use of watercraft. Media Services must be named as an Additional Insured on the production’s Non-Owned Watercraft Liability and Hull Insurance (see Additional Insured). Watercraft activities are considered hazardous. Contact Risk Management at 310 440 9653 for more information.

Workers’ Compensation

Covers injury or illness arising out of and occurring in the course of employment. State laws require that all employers provide Workers’ Compensation benefits to their employees who are involved in work-related injuries. There are five types of Workers’ Compensation benefits: medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation services (some exceptions apply), and death benefits. The benefit amounts are statutory, which means they are determined by state laws, and each state is different.