Film Insurance & Financing in India



Themes: Financial Markets
Period : 1998 - 2000
Organization : UTI India
Pub Date : 2002
Countries : India
Industry : Financial Services

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Case Code : FINC012
Case Length : 07 Pages
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"As the investment required for making a good quality film is high it is essential that Film Insurance becomes a defacto standard for the film industry."

- A report from, in 2001.

A New Beginning

In June 2000, when popular Hindi film actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai (Rai) met with an accident, there was another casualty - United India Insurance (UII)1. Though the accident cost the insurance company a sum of only Rs 1.6 million, it attracted substantial media coverage. The reason was that it was the first instance of the Hindi film industry availing the benefits of film insurance - a practice followed in the US film industry since the era of silent movies.

The credit for pioneering the film insurance business in India however goes to the successful Hindi film producer-director Subhash Ghai (Ghai). Ghai was the first Indian filmmaker to have his film 'Taal' insured for a sum of Rs 110 million with UII in 1998. The move was welcomed by both media and film personalities as opening of a new chapter in the Indian film industry. UII Asst. General Manager, Bhandari said, "'Taal' being the first Hindi film to be insured, the policy had to be formulated from scratch." UII even honored Ghai with naming the policy 'The Cine Mukta Policy' after his company Mukta Arts Pvt. Ltd.

By July 2001, UII had insured around 8-10 films, for sums varying from Rs 25 million to Rs 220 million, with many more in the pipeline. The insured films included YashRaj Films' 'Mohabbatein,' Aamir Khan Productions' 'Lagaan,' Farhan Akhtar's 'Dil Chahta Hai,' Karan Johar's 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham' and Dreamz Unlimited's 'Asoka' among others.

Industry watchers were happy to note that the hitherto highly unorganized Hindi film business was finally adopting 'corporate' practices. The fact that the industry had not opted for film insurance till the late 1990s was however not because of the producers' ignorance. A host of other problems that plagued the film industry were responsible for this. The fact remained that the problems with the industry's mode of operations had rendered the standard global practice of getting a film insured taboo.

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1] United India Insurance is a subsidiary of the General Insurance Company carrying on general (non-life) insurance business. It is the second largest insurer in India in terms of premium income and market share of non life insurance. Rai was acting in the movie Mohabbatein, when she met with the accident. The producers, YashRaj Films had insured the movie with UII for Rs 150 million. YashRaj Films claimed Rs 3.5 million from UII as due to the accident, Rai's shooting schedules were disturbed and a set had to be dismantled. (They were awarded Rs 1.6 million by the UII).