Tag Archives: Oscars

Minimizing Human Error At The Oscars

One week since we were left scratching our heads following the botched best picture announcement at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony, the liability ripples from an apparent act of human error continue to spread.

Just to recap: the mix-up occurred after a PricewaterhouseCoopers partner mistakenly handed presenter Warren Beatty the wrong envelope for the best picture award.

As the LA Times reported early on, the mistake instantly turned into a public relations nightmare for the accounting firm which has handled the balloting process for the Academy Awards for 83 years.

For its part, PwC quickly moved to mitigate damage to its brand, issuing an apology and accepting full responsibility for the mixup.

Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the two PwC partners involved, have been permanently removed from all Academy activities. PwC said the partners did not follow through protocols for correcting the error quickly enough.

Whether or not the Academy will terminate its contract with PwC, industry lawyers say there are a number of potential liability issues that could arise, per this article by The Hollywood Reporter.

Others say public perception and doubts about PwC’s expertise could be a costly risk factor going forward.

As the fallout continues, the two PwC accountants involved now need security protection due to the public backlash.

While this human error did not happen in the process of crunching the numbers, it does highlight how important it is for businesses to manage their professional liability risks.

Insurers have developed professional liability policies to meet the unique needs of a wide range of industries. Crisis response and helping businesses to protect their reputation are among the services insurers provide.

Oscar Time

Forget the category for Best Picture. With the Academy Awards just two days away, it’s the riskiest films of the year that insurers are thinking about. And, the awards go to “2012,† “Crazy Heart,† “Inglorious Basterds,† and “Nine,† according to Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, the leading insurer of major Hollywood films for more than 85 years. Over to Wendy Diaz, entertainment underwriting director at Fireman’s Fund: “While people enjoyed watching these movies, most weren’t aware of the risk challenges involved when filming complex sequences that included air and watercraft stunts, strenuous dance sequences, air balloon explosions, and simulated natural disasters.† She notes that these types of scenes contribute appreciably to a film’s overall risk and Fireman’s Fund helps by creating solutions to cover specific exposures. Take Best Picture nominee “Inglorious Basterds.† Filmed in Germany and the UK, this period piece is based in World War II and includes many stunts, fight scenes and pyrotechnics. International locations also pose a wide variety of challenges for filmmakers, including the set, transportation of film, equipment and costumes, and the potential of dealing with illness in a foreign country. During the filming process movie studios must protect themselves from a variety of insurance risks and liabilities to their cast members, crew and the production process. Tailored insurance solutions, such as those provided by Fireman’s Fund, can help producers and studios attain the artistic results they are seeking, while also ensuring the movie is filmed safely, on-time and within budget.