Reality TV Show Insurance: No Fear Factor

If you’ve seen any reality TV show these days, you’re probably wondering how those shows take off into prime time TV without any producer ever saying “foul!” for financial loss. The answer could only be summed up in two words: television insurance.

You would expect that producer of reality shows like Fear Factor would think twice about subjecting their contestants to more dangerous stunts and embarrassing situations. So far the opposite has been true. If you’ve been following Fear Factor, you will know that its contestants have run the whole spectrum of stunts in one episode alone – being dragged through mud, being in a pit with hundreds of rats, and clambering over a wet car hundreds of feet up in the air.

Television Insurance and Entertainment

There’s a persistent buzz in Hollywood that is definitely more important than the news on movie stars: no production can ever come from movie and television studios without an insurance policy. For filming regular television shows, an all-risk TV show insurance policy would suffice. But filming episodes of a reality TV show does invite much more risk than the shows that are shot in the studio. There was a lot of doubt if the reality TV genre would last. The math is simple: a broken limb or a bruised ego could result in claims that would hurt the profits of insurance providers, which could result in insurers shying away from reality TV show productions altogether.

Producers, however, have found a way to attract insurers to get the program off the ground, and that is to minimize the risk of injury in an episode shooting. So, the vermin in Fear Factor was probably laboratory rats and the contestants would have had anti-tetanus shots.

Reality TV production insurance is not cheap. A typical insurance package for filming would comprise 3% to 5% of the total episode's budget. An insurance policy written for a reality TV show would cost 20% to 50% more, depending on the stunts involved in the program.

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