The 1999 film Taal, directed by Subhash Ghai, was one of the first films to get insured and ever since insurance has become an indispensable part of films in Bollywood. Until 2009, filmmaking was treated as project insurance, where the cover ceased on completion. However, in 2009, after an outbreak of Swine Flu, the then Democratic Front government ruling Maharashtra ordered a shut down of public places like schools and theatres. This badly hit the collections of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey and Rumi Jaffery’s Life Partner. This episode prompted the development of the ‘distributor’s loss of profit’ cover.
And now it seems that the distributors of the upcoming period film Padmavati can make a claim for losses due to delay in the release of the film. This is possible due to the new insurance cover that evolved after the swine flu incident. New India Assurance, is facing claims of Rs 3 crore following damage to the film’s sets by the producers. The insurance company has also insured the film for Rs 80 crore loss in box office collections if the screening is affected or if the audiences are not able to access the theatres. The officials at New India Assurance have confirmed that they are in receipt of claims for Rs 3 crore at the production stage, which was insured for Rs 140 crore. New India Assurance chairman G Srinivasan said that the policy covers strike, riots and even weather-related events. However, he made it clear that it does not cover any loss if the film is banned by any government. Moreover, the cover comes into effect only after the film is released. This might prove detrimental as Padmavati is been banned in five states – Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Also, it’s release date is not known. The film was to release on December 1 but has been postponed indefinitely.