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Burbank film insurer's goal is to keep cameras rolling

September 04, 2013
  • Cleaning up on the set of "Apocalypse Now" after a typhoon halted production, 1976...
Cleaning up on the set of "Apocalypse Now"… (Fireman's Fund…)

Filming on the next installment of "The Hunger Games" won't begin for another month, but Paul Holehouse already is assessing the risks. Holehouse will fly to Atlanta this week to check for asbestos in an old warehouse — one among many sites that will be used during filming of the "Hunger Games" sequels.

He told the Los Angeles Times that he will also meet with stunt coordinators to review action scenes, plans for pyrotechnics and training for actors to ensure they are prepared to film various fights and chase scenes.

PHOTOS: Fireman's Fund Insurance Co.

He's not directing or producing the movies. An entertainment risk consultant for Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., which insured "The Hunger Games" and is covering the next two films, he's watching out for the accident or unforeseen delay that can shut down production and cost a big-budget movie $300,000 to $500,000 a day.

"We don't want to have any down times or delays, because that's what kills you in this business," Holehouse said.

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Few companies know that better than Fireman's Fund Insurance, which has been taking a gamble on Hollywood since "The Valley of the Giants" and other movies from the silent film era.

The California company, owned by German insurance giant Allianz Group, is celebrating its 150th anniversary, including a century in the film industry, where it is the largest provider of insurance. Based in Novato, Fireman's Fund employs 60 people in its entertainment division, which has its headquarters in Burbank.

In recent years, Fireman's Fund also has expanded into new areas and opened new offices in Toronto and Britain as production has become increasingly global. In addition to movies, Fireman's Fund also underwrites about 60% of reality TV shows as well as live concerts, music festivals and special events such as the Super Bowl halftime show and the Grammy Awards.

PHOTOS: Hollywood Backlot moments

On Tuesday, the company will host an event at the former Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood to mark its anniversary. On display will be artifacts and memorabilia from some of the classic movies it has insured over the decades, including "Spartacus," "The Godfather,""Apocalypse Now" and more recent blockbusters such as "The Dark Knight Rises."

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