Adult Production Insurance in Jeopardy

PORN VALLEY — Veteran insurance agent Greg Zeboray recently sent a letter to his adult industry producer clients, and it wasn't good news.

"I have literally contacted every entertainment insurance company that I am aware of, and every one has declined to insure adult productions," the letter reads. "I even talked to a few carriers that have no entertainment experience. Of those, one indicated an interest in the market. However, once they reviewed DICE [Documentary-Industrial-Commercial-Educational] policy provisions and forms they declined to pursue the business. They were my last possibility, and they notified me Tuesday of their decision to pass."

As all adult producers know, in order to shoot adult movies in the Los Angeles area, the state requires that producers obtain both production insurance and shooting permits — and in fact, one can't get the permit without the insurance.

Zeboray has been continually updating clients since July when this problem started.

"I've been working almost non-stop on it since the end of June, which is when we were notified that our last remaining carrier was considering getting out of adult production insurance," Zeboray told AVN. "All my clients have known for a couple of months that we have a problem."

Upon investigation, AVN has learned that of the four national insurance firms that typically handle insurance for the entertainment industry, three have had a long-standing policy not to write insurance for any adult-industry-related projects, and the last one announced that it too would leave the adult market in early July.

The reason for the now-universal lack of interest in the adult industry's business is apparently the balance between revenue and shame. It seems that mainstream Hollywood spends more on production insurance for just three blockbusters like Live Free or Die Hard than the entire adult industry spends on that same type of insurance in a year, and the insurance companies don't feel that the revenue they obtain from insuring adult is worth the infamy they suffer for doing business with the adult industry.

Or as one company put it, "We don't want the flack of insuring porn for no money."

What that means, however, is that companies that don't currently have production insurance will be unable to get it, and those that do may only be safe until the end of their policy term — and that's as long as they keep paying their premiums timely.

"My existing clients are fine," Zeboray assured. "In fact, I have some people that renewed this month, so those people are fine all the way until September 2009."

Without insurance, though, a company will be unable to obtain a shooting permit, and shooting without a permit is against the law.

"Jeez," said one producer when informed of the insurance situation, "I don't want to go back to the bad old days of trying to hide what I'm shooting from the cops. I don't need people in uniform busting into my set and confiscating my tapes."

In the meantime, Zeboray is continuing to attempt to find another carrier, but for the time being, he's removed his adult production insurance offerings from his Website.

"If someone were to call me now looking for new production insurance, I would just have to say I can't help them," he said. "It does sound negative, and I hate to have to cut off that chunk of my business but I can't stroke people around and I'm not going to."

"I'm not anti-adult," he continued. "If [an insurance company] called me tomorrow and said, 'We're going to do adult again,' it would be business as usual, but I had to take it off my site because there's no point in having people call me thinking I can help them. This is a major, major problem, much bigger than I think people realize."

Zeboray wanted to stress that only production insurance is affected. Clients who have their health insurance or other types of insurance through his agency will be unaffected by the current problem.