The Cannes Report

Greg Jones WebBy Greg Jones

It’s a long day when you are at Cannes. You work the festival hours, and then you come back to the hotel and work your insurance hours.  But the meetings over dinner or drinks or dessert grant a solid 360-degree view of the business.

Today, bankers are the foundation of the independent production world. If they do not lend, producers do not make. For the last four years though, there has been reluctance on the part of banks to lend, as producers have been having a harder and harder time being paid on their pre-sales contracts, and the value of the contracts themselves has been falling. The last two years at Cannes, producers were very stressed about getting deals made.

This year however, that stress was replaced with a lot more sales activity. Pre-sale activity is getting stronger again. As opposed to allowing a large number of individual sales agents to vet deals, and relying on their expertise, banks are now vetting the individual sales agents better than they ever have before. The result is a much smaller field of sales agents that the banks are willing to work with, but the ones who remain have strong relationships and the wherewithal to make sure pre-sales contracts are placed in territories where the money promised will actually be paid. These specific sales agents have the trust of the bank, and so when they secure a pre-sale contract for a producer, the banks are much more confident in the integrity of that contract, and will be willing to use it as collateral.

The other outside factor at Cannes this year is the continued emergence of China as a major player in the motion picture industry. While it has been clear for some time that Chinese capital and audiences would have significant impact on studio tent pole films, it has been less clear as to whether or not China is legitimately the next frontier for the independent business.  It is now clear that it is. The Chinese investors are prepared to back independent film, and the investing rules that Chinese capital follow actually encourage larger budgets in the independents in which they invest.

The results are apparent by observing various companies’ year over year budgets and slates. One specific production company brought four films last year to the market, and none of them had a budget over 10 million. This year they brought seven, and 6 of them had budgets over 25 million dollars.

Independent film production continually renews its financing strategy as key markets and players emerge or disappear. For 2016, and looking to 2017, strong relationships between banks and a few expert sales agents, a better understanding of the various investment funds out there and the strong surge of Chinese investors are enough to see a an uptick in deals being made, and films being financed.

About Greg Jones

Greg has been in the insurance industry since 1977, beginning his career as an underwriter and later becoming a licensed broker. His main focus is production insurance, dealing almost exclusively with independent Film & TV production companies. Over the course of his career, Greg has placed insurance for over 1,000 films, TV shows and commercials. He has given lectures at the University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles and the American Film Institute; and has been featured in such publications as Black Enterprise and Insurance Journal.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 100 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit

Mitula Patel Receives SFV Business Journal CFO of the Year Award

Mitula Patel

Mitula Patel

UPDATE: On June 15th, Momentous’s Mitula Patel was honored by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal with their 2016 CFO of the Year Award! Held at the Sheraton Hotel in Universal City, CA, the award ceremony recognized the work of CFOs across multiple industries that included professional services, technology, manufacturing, retail, real estate, education, hospitality, healthcare and more.

The award comes just after Patel was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a finalist for Executive of the Year. The awards were held during the Business Journal’s annual Women’s Summit on May 23rd, at the J.W. Marriott at LA Live. The event featured a breakfast symposium and awards luncheon, with over 1,000 female executives, thought leaders and entrepreneurs in attendance.

Congratulations, Mitula!

About Mitula

A veteran of financial operations, Mitula brings over 30 years of experience to Momentous. Arriving to the United States from Kenya in 1985, her hard work and perseverance has led her to a number of high-ranking positions and awards. Among her accomplishments are placement on the “International Who’s Who” list of Insurance Professionals; “Insurance Woman of the Year” by the Insurance Women of LA; “Outstanding Dedication and Service in the Insurance Field” by the American Association of Managing General Agents; “President’s Award” by both Momentous Insurance Brokerage and the Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles; nominations for “Volunteer of the Year” and “Executive of the Year” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Mitula is an active leader in the insurance industry, and has held such positions as past President of the Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles, Public Relations Chair, Membership Chair, Communication and Website Liaison and Director for the California Council of International Association of Insurance Professionals. She is a member of the National Association of Female Executives; Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles, Inc.; and is actively involved in A More Balanced World, which supports education for children in impoverished areas around the world. She is also a Notary Public.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 100 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit

Momentous Volunteers at White Point Preserve and Nature Center

On Saturday, May 21st, Momentous volunteers traveled down to the Palos Verdes Peninsula to participate in cleanup and preservation activities at the White Point Preserve and Nature Center. Working through Big Sunday, a nonprofit organization that matches volunteers with community service projects, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC), the group spent the morning watering native plants and weeding large areas of invasive species.

Big Sunday

(Left) Momentous volunteers and their PVPLC team coordinator are all smiles after a hard day’s work; (Right) Cathy Mejia and Reyna Zelaya pose with a wheelbarrow of pulled weeds

About Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy

With the mission to “preserve land and restore habitat for the education and enjoyment of all,” the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) works to preserve undeveloped land for a variety of uses including educational, historical, ecological, recreational and scenic purposes. Since 1988, they have preserved 1,600 acres of land on the peninsula.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 100 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit

Momentous Attends Corporate Volunteer Day at The Painted Turtle Camp

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Momentous volunteers pose for a photo

On Saturday, May 14, fifteen Momentous volunteers took part in The Painted Turtle Corporate Volunteer Day, in Lake Hughes, CA. Along with companies such as Hasbro, Abercrombie and Sony, the volunteers spent the day working on tasks to ready the camp for its summer sessions. Activities included digging weeds, stuffing turtle-shaped pillows, putting together furniture and making encouraging signs for the campers. Over 2,400 children and family members will attend the camp and benefit from these changes, in 2016 alone!

About The Painted Turtle

Founded by Paul Newman, The Painted Turtle is a camp for children with serious medical conditions and their families, that operates free of charge. Each program is a week-long, condition-specific session, with full-time staff, medical staff and volunteers. It allows children to participate in an authentic camp experience, without the focus being on their illnesses. The Painted Turtle has a cabin village, equestrian center, private lake with fishing and boating, archery field, pool, gymnasium, rock climbing wall, wheelchair accessible adventure ropes course, woodshop and organic farm.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 100 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit


Momentous Sponsors 2016 Victory for Victims 5K/10K

On April 17th, Momentous sponsored the Center for Assault Services annual Victory for Victims 5K/10K at Balboa Park. The group of seventeen joggers consisted of Make It Better Committee members, family and friends, plus some adorable pets. In addition to the event sponsorship, Momentous also donated an exhibit table to Hope In a Suitcase, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing foster children with essentials including clothing, toys and of course, suitcases.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 100 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit

About the Center for Assault Treatment Services

The Center for Assault Treatment Services is a program through the Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital Medical Center. It is the only 24/7 program in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, dedicated to providing domestic abuse collection services to adults and children. Read more.

CATS Victory for Victims

Victory for Victims 5K/10K Race








Filming Where No Man has Gone Before

Winnie WongBy Winnie Wong

When it comes to filmmakers, they go “where no man has gone before” to get their story – South Africa, Brazil, China, Russia, India, Bulgaria…Space? There are evidently no “final frontiers” for film. Filming abroad can be very challenging…the language, customs and being in constant motion can result in potential risks even for the most seasoned film producer. Wouldn’t it be great if filmmakers could “beam down” to their destination, conduct their filming and “beam up” in time for supper? I wish it were possible; it would make my job much easier.

As an insurance broker, it is my job to secure a variety of coverages to protect my clients while filming abroad. The policies are as follows:

  • Production Package – provides coverage for cast, faulty processing, props, rented or owned equipment and third party locations. This policy will provide coverage for damage, destruction, theft or vandalism.
  • Foreign Package, which consists of:
    • Foreign General Liability – covers occurrences of bodily injury and property damages that the insured is legally obligated to pay.
    • Foreign Auto – covers occurrences of bodily injury and property damages due to the use of non-owned vehicles.
    • Foreign Workers’ Compensation – pays for medical care and rehabilitation for employees who are injured on the job or contract a work-related illness. Coverage is only provided for US hires and third-country nationals.
  • Guild Travel – provides accidental death and dismemberment coverage for 24-hour business travel. This coverage is required by signatories of guild associations – DGA/WGA/SAG – Aftra.
  • Kidnap and Ransom – provides coverage for kidnapping, extortion, wrongful detention and hijacking.

For a quotation, you would need to provide the following information:

  • Budget
  • Script/Synopsis
  • Provide the number of US citizens and third-country hires
  • Filming locations
  • Length of filming
  • Stunts/Pyro techniques

Before selecting the country you will be filming in, please check the U.S. Department of State website.  The State Department issues Consular Information Sheets for every country that provides helpful information on vaccinations, currency or entry requirements, safety concerns, areas of instability, local laws and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Presently, insurance companies have concerns with any filming that takes place in hostile, unstable countries where terrorist attacks and violent crime can occur. The insurance carriers rely on the travel warnings that are issued by the U.S. State Department.

If the intended country is dangerous to foreigners and there is a possibility of bombings, carjacking, kidnapping, home invasions or burglary, you can anticipate a more lengthy underwriting experience and a higher foreign workers’ compensation premium, since the well-being of your film crew is the underwriter’s primary concern.  As it is not the underwriter’s intent to stifle the vision of the project, risk management tools such as being accompanied by a bodyguards or security guards. You may want to consider providing Kidnap and Ransom coverage as producers, directors and cast members can be targeted.  This coverage will cover ransom payment, loss of income, and interest on bank loans.  In addition, this coverage provides crisis management to assist in any hostage situation.

Plan ahead and utilize a production service company or production studio in the country to locate reliable production personnel.  Take caution when hiring locals to assist you with the language, directions and accommodations. We have had reports that locals are occasionally responsible for lost or stolen property.

In addition, you must find rental houses that can supply production equipment. For instance, if your camera or special lens is damaged you may not be able to find a suitable replacement from a local rental house, or you may have to wait a couple of days for a replacement camera or lens to get to you.

If your film involves stunts or pyrotechnics, it is recommended that you utilize experienced technicians.  An experienced technician should break down the stunts/pyrotechnics exposures, conduct safety meetings and rehearsals.  It is important to establish safety measures to protect participants, the public and equipment.

Besides man-made perils, there are natural perils of which filmmakers need to be cognizant. Proper care should be made when your project involves filming on or near water, climbing high elevations, enduring extreme weather conditions and working around wild animals.

You are not alone when you have insurance coverage in place. The insurance company can provide:

  • 24-hour claims assistance
  • Emergency medical evacuation – arrangement for medical transport to an appropriate medical facility or to return home in order to receive care.
  • Repatriation of remains – arrangement of transportation to return remains in the event of death
  • Crisis Management – designated team to negotiate with kidnappers.

What kinds of losses have been reported on films? See examples below:

  • Car accident occurred and insured had to be transported to US for treatment.
  • Production equipment was stolen out of the car while parked in front of a local restaurant.
  • Camera equipment was stolen out of the hotel the production crew was staying in.
  • An illness put a crew member in a hospital on a ventilator. It was later determined that the illness was viral and was contracted from rat feces in the hotel room.
  • Production equipment was stolen at airport.

Let’s face it, filmmaking is hard and arduous work – but in the end, it’s worth it because your film has the potential to impact and influence an unlimited audience. So, as they say on the Starship Enterprise, “Live long and prosper.” Time to beam me up, Scotty!

Momentous Launches New York Office!

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We are pleased to announce that Momentous Insurance Brokerage will be expanding to New York! The new office at 250 West 57th Street will focus on servicing and expanding our East Coast clientele.

Providing custom insurance solutions for family offices, business managers, financial enterprises, and celebrity clients across the United States, Momentous will now have a dedicated New York staff to manage the specific insurance issues related to the laws and regulations of the region. The new office comes as a response to a massively growing menu of services and clientele that is often bi-coastal.

Located near the Time Warner Center, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, the new office is conveniently situated in the heart of New York City’s commerce and entertainment districts.

Vice President Erin Powers, CIC, who has been in the insurance industry since 1994, will manage the day-to-day operations of Momentous New York. A veteran broker, Erin will bring her considerable experience working with High Net Worth individuals and business managers to the east coast market. She has assembled a team of complementary professionals to handle all lines of insurance, including personal, commercial, entertainment, employee benefits and fine arts.

“We understand the impact that location makes on a client’s insurance needs,” said Diane Brinson, Momentous President and CEO, “Opening our New York office will allow us to further customize coverage solutions and provide the highest caliber of service to our expanding East Coast clientele.”

About Momentous

Founded in 2008, at a time when many companies were closing their doors, Momentous quickly grew to what is now a firm of nearly 200 industry experts committed to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation.

A boutique-style firm with an in-house claims team, General Counsel, and concierge services, Momentous is a proven leader in the insurance industry. Please visit for more information.

Farm Insurance 101

By Christina DiSalvo

Christina DiSalvo

Christina DiSalvo

Owning a farm has grown in popularity in the recent years; everyone is looking for that private retreat back to nature or personal exclusive label.  Here are a few things to think about before buying that orchard, vineyard or backyard dude ranch.

1. Purchasing a Homeowners policy is not enough

Why is a Homeowners policy not enough? For starters—and it’s a biggie—they exclude pollution and contamination.  Whether you are growing grapes, avocados, oranges or raising chickens, horses or cattle, you will have a pollution exposure. A Farm policy has this coverage built in and you can increase the limits.

Water pollution is a huge concern, especially when weather patterns create droughts. A big concern for farmers/ranchers is animal waste leaching into the water table.  This can affect surrounding property and carries a hefty price tag for clean-up.  Spraying pesticides, herbicides or insecticides can also leach into the water table.

You also need to be mindful of air pollution exposures, such as dust from animals or dust caused from harvesting.

Farm policies are also designed to protect you in the event that you have to drive your farm equipment on a public road and have an accident.  Or, they protect you in the event that your produce, wine or animal products (eggs, milk, etc.) make someone ill or cause injury.

Homeowners policies have Personal Liability, but they don’t have Commercial Liability, nor Farm Liability.  Don’t think that you are too small-time to be covered by the right policy.  A gentleman/gentlewoman farmer/rancher has the same risks and exposures as the big cattle rancher or large wineries.

2. Determine who will work on your new Farm, Orchard or Vineyard

FarmWho will maintain your property? Will it be you and your family with a few hired hands? Or will you be hiring an outside service?  If you will be working the property with your family, that’s great.  However, don’t think you don’t need workers’ compensation coverage.  During your big harvest, you may ask for volunteers or hire a couple of people for a few days.  You will need workers’ compensation in the event those volunteers or part-time seasonal helpers get injured.

If you are hiring an outside firm to do all the work, make sure that they name you as an additional insured and provide you with a certificate of insurance.  You will want to make sure that they not only have liability insurance but workers’ compensation coverage as well.

Make an inventory of all farm equipment and machinery you own, lease, or borrow.  A farm policy should include machinery and equipment coverage, equipment breakdown (for your water pumps, irrigation system, generators, etc.) and always have coverage for borrowed or leased equipment. You might not own a scissor lift, but your best friend’s neighbor does.  Even if the neighbor doesn’t have that piece of machinery insured, you will at least be covered if something happens while it is in your care, custody and control.

3. Orchard and Vineyard Tree Coverage versus Crop Insurance

Yes, you can insure your 10-year old trees or 50-year old trees.  This coverage is endorsed on a Farm policy.  Coverage is limited to fire, lightning, explosion vehicles not owned nor operated by you (the insured), vandalism and theft.  The coverage typically starts at $300 a tree or vines up to a maximum $25,000 for damaged trees or vines. Depending on the carrier, this could be increased.

The coverage will also provide a minimal amount of harvested orchard and/or vineyard products once the produce has been removed from the tree or vines. Basically, there is coverage once the avocados or grapes are sitting in a box on the ground.

Now, if you want to cover the fruit, nuts or grapes while they are still on the trees or vines, you will need Crop insurance.  This is heavily regulated and controlled by the federal government and is designed to protect against catastrophic perils, such as frost, hurricane, hail, even insects.  Coverage is always purchased two years ahead of the current harvest year.  Meaning, it’s 2015 and you want coverage on your 2016 crop.  You would have had to purchase that coverage in 2014.

Crop insurance can only be purchased during set months of the year, depending upon the crop.  So, if you are growing avocados and want coverage for 2017, your application should have been submitted before November 20th of 2015.


Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

For more information, contact Christina DiSalvo by email at

Momentous Donates to the Five Cities Fire Authority.

Momentous Insurance Brokerage, Inc. and Allianz/Fireman's Fund grant presentation to Five Cities Fire Authority, CA - Thursday, August 27 2015. $38,093 - $30K for Command Vehicle, $8,093 for Thermal Imaging Camera. Photos by Steve E Miller.

Momentous Insurance Brokerage and Allianz/Fireman’s Fund grant presentation to Five Cities Fire Authority, CA. Photo by Steve E Miller.

On Thursday, August 28th, Momentous Insurance Brokerage made a grant to the Five Cities Fire Authority in Arroyo Grande, CA. The donation will be used to purchase a new customized Ford Interceptor SUV that will serve as a mobile command center, and a 250 series IGS Infrasys thermal imaging camera.

Through Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, this grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program, The Heritage Program, which allows independent insurance agencies and brokers, such as Momentous, to direct the donations to support local fire services.

Momentous Insurance Brokerage, Inc. and Allianz/Fireman's Fund grant presentation to Five Cities Fire Authority, CA - Thursday, August 27 2015. $38,093 - $30K for Command Vehicle, $8,093 for Thermal Imaging Camera. Photos by Steve E Miller.

A firefighter demonstrates the capabilities of the thermal imaging camera.

Jennifer Dantona, Senior Vice President of Momentous, was on hand to present the donation at a ceremony attended by the city council members, mayors and other local dignitaries. This is the second year in a row that Momentous had directed a grant toward the Five Cities Fire Department. Momentous specifically  chose a department where they could see the impact of their donation. With family ties to the community, and a knowledge that the Fire Authority could greatly benefit from the donation, Mrs. Dantona believed that Five Cities would be the perfect fit.

“We wanted to make a donation where it could make a serious difference, …not just a drop in the bucket.” And last year’s donation did make an impact. The Five Cities Fire Authority purchased equipment and another mobile command center that was used regularly. The Fire Authority related a specific incident where equipment purchased with Momentous funds made the difference in a rescue operation. “It was such a great experience…gratifying for us to see that,” said Mrs. Dantona.

The thermal imaging camera provides clear imaging up to 1000° C (1832°F) allowing fire fighters to see heat signatures through thick smoke or walls. Firefighters can then locate trapped persons, or identify fires within walls. Steve Lieberman, Fire Chief of the Five Cities Fire Authority, was reported saying, “We use the camera more often than you would think…quickly grabbing the TIC (thermal imaging camera) can help us determine that there is not a fire threat.”

The new mobile command center is a customized version of the Ford Explorer.  The command center is equipped with emergency lighting,  custom electronics, and features solar panels on the roof to maintain power to its batteries. It is also more fuel efficient than the Fire Authority’s current command vehicle.


Dizzy Feet Celebration of Dance Gala

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Shelly Harris, Cristina Zeleya, Liz Bodie and Mary Policky

On August 1 at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles the Dizzy Feet Foundation held its annual gala. Momentous Insurance Brokerage and our Make it Better Committee are proud donors of this organization, and Momentous employees Mary Policky, Liz Bodie, Shelly Harris and Cristina Zeleya were in attendance at the event.

The evening included phenomenal performances by Body Traffic, Joffrey Ballet dancers Fabrice Calmeis & Victoria Jaiani, Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer and many more.

George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn of West Side Story were honored with the Impact Award. Joe Tremaine received the Gene Kelly Legacy Award and Debbie Reynolds was honored with the Inspiration Award.

Artistic expression and personal achievement are an integral part of a child’s experience, but are often overlooked aid programs are created. To this end, Momentous is proud to support the Dizzy Feet Foundation’s efforts to increase dance education in the United States, specifically in low-income areas.

About Dizzy Feet Foundation

The Dizzy Feet Foundation is a celebrity-based non-profit organization, that was created in 2009 by producer Nigel Lythgoe and director Adam Shankman, among others. The goal of the organization is to support, improve, and increase access to dance education throughout the United States. The group’s mission is threefold:

  • To support the dance education programs of local community organizations, providing children in low-income areas the exposure to the lifelong benefits of dance.
  • To give scholarships to talented children who study at nationally regarded or accredited dance institutions.
  • To increase the quality of education in the United States of all dance styles, in conjunction with credentialing organizations.