Fans were devastated with the announcement that the beloved “Star Wars” actress, Carrie Fisher, has died. It is even more painful to the company in which she was insured. Lloyds of London is reportedly forking out $50 million in payment as Disney claimed for her loss. Disney bought contractual-protection insurance with the said company in case of death, which automatically prevented the star from fulfilling contractual obligation. It is yet unknown how much of the claim will actually go to Disney as they are yet to evaluate the situation, as in other forms of insurance claims.
There are several reasons why movie studios get this type of insurance. In the death of Paul Walker in 2013 for instance, he has left a major hole in “The Fast and the Furious” movie series. He died while still filming the movie. As a result, Universal Pictures has to go through a lot just to get things done. They had to hire body doubles. They also had to produce computer-generated images. This cost millions of dollars for the movie studio.
In the case of Carrie Fisher, she has already finished filming for the next movie that is yet to be shown. However, her contract includes being on another film which she can no longer take part. Hence, Disney has filed for insurance claims. This is one of the reasons why they have to spend more money in insuring their stars through talent insurance companies.
Not just for big stars
Aside from movie stars, the contractual-protection insurance is also availed outside Hollywood. Sports stars are also included in the list and so are hedge fund managers. Even authors are in the list since they might die while the book they are writing is yet to be finished. The number of potential clients is what makes the talent insurance business really lucrative. Movie studios, publishing companies, and other agencies shell out a lot each year to pay for this type of insurance.
This business comes with a big risk though as death could happen any time. All these stars are still ordinary human beings like us and if death strikes, there is nothing that they can do about it. The worst part is that the one getting the insurance is not the person who died. Therefore, regardless of the cause of death, they have to provide the insurance claim.
In the case of Fisher, the amount could still go lower after thorough calculation and evaluation with Disney. They would have to compute the cost of her inability to continue filming and how much damage it could do to the movie. Perhaps, the best way for them to make money out of this business is when the contract has already been fulfilled and the star survived.
Therefore, before you start crying that your favorite star has died, think about those in the talent insurance business. They must be in a more agonizing pain as of the moment.
Featured and 1st image by rod [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net