the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

BECTU works to support the growing freelance workforce serving the UK’s creative sectors.

Whether we're talking about film, broadcasting, independent television production, theatre, live events or other specialist areas such as games development, the union’s freelance members have a wealth of services to call upon.

Low-cost public liability insurance is one union benefit which ranks highly with our freelancers; the policy provides cover up to £10million per claim.

If you are not already a member, you can join BECTU here

To secure low-cost PLI (cost from 1 May 2017, £31 for the whole, or part, year) select the option on the form and we’ll contact you about payment; existing members who need the cover should contact (please quote your membership number).

Don’t risk it for the sake of £31 

At a cost of just £31 (policy period 1 May - 30 April) the BECTU members Public Liability Insurance (BECTU PLI) offers members unparalleled cover at unbeatable value.

(Members in the Republic of Ireland please note the cost of the policy for members resident in the Republic of Ireland is £110. We can offer the cover to 50 members only in the ROI). 

Provided that you work within broadcasting, entertainment, cinema, theatre and live events, BECTU PLI will cover you to a £10,000,000 limit of indemnity in respect of your individual activities.

BECTU has chosen industry specialists Hencilla Canworth Ltd (Hencilla) to administer the BECTU PLI policy and to support members with advice and ancillary services.

If you have any queries about BECTU PLI cover, please contact Hencilla on 0208 686 5050 or email

NOTE: Your BECTU subscriptions must be up to date in order for BECTU PLI to remain operative.

Q: What is the level of cover under the BECTU PLI group policy?

A: The standard limit of indemnity is £10,000,000.

Q: What type of incident is covered?

A: This policy will cover the financial consequences of legal liability claims against you for accidental bodily injury and/or property damage to any person not your employee arising from your individual employment within broadcasting, entertainment, cinema, theatre and live events.

NOTE: If you have any concerns about whether your activities or employment are covered by this policy please contact Hencilla on 0208 686 5050 or email  

Hencilla can usually arrange cover for members where their activities fall beyond the scope of this insurance.

Q: When am I not covered?

A: You will not be insured for any activity involving employment not within broadcasting, entertainment, cinema, theatre and live events.

Q: Is the cover worldwide?

A: Yes, provided that you live in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. With regards to all members, including those resident in the Republic of Ireland, the cover provided by this policy only applies to judgements against the member in the Courts of Law of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Q: Does it cover legal liability for material property belonging to a third party for which I am responsible?

A: Yes, if you are legally liable for loss or damage to items which are loaned or entrusted to you then this policy will compensate you to a maximum of £25,000 in any one claim subject to a £500 policy excess.

It will not cover items that are owned, leased, hired or rented to you. You should arrange your own policy in such circumstances.

Q: Is my BECTU related Limited Company covered by this policy?

A: Yes, provided that you are the only director and employee other than one director who is family member employed for clerical duties only.

Q: Am I covered when working in partnership with another?

A: Yes, provided they too hold cover with the BECTU PLI policy.

Q: Shouldn’t the production company cover me?

A: In many cases your activities will fall under the production company’s insurance policy. That said, you can never rule out the possibility of a claim being brought against you so it is advisable to have the BECTU PLI in such circumstances.

Q: Can a production company require me to take out insurance by way of my contract?

A: There may be occasions when the production company imposes responsibilities on you by way of your contract.

In some cases the BECTU PLI will cover some of these requirements, in others additional cover may be required. Hencilla will be happy to assist you with any enquiries that you may have.

Q: Am I insured to use special effects and pyrotechnics?

A: You will not be insured whilst using physical special effects and/or pyrotechnic special effects at film and television sites or live events unless you have complied with the BECTU Special Effects Code of Practice and are working within your grade as specified by the Joint Industry Grading Scheme (JIGS). More information here:

Where you do not hold a grade as specified by JIGS and conduct work at theatrical and live event sites using publicly available stage pyrotechnic devices you must have completed a basic BECTU recognised Operational Pyrotechnic Safety Awareness Course for cover to be effective.     

More information here:

Q: Are there any other exclusions?

A: Yes, the following are excluded from the cover:

  1. Personal injury to any employee (including freelance and self-employed persons under your control).
  2. Ownership or use of any aircraft etc or watercraft exceeding 8 meters. Ownership or use of any motor vehicle, trailer or plant where compulsory insurance is required.
  3. Costs of repair, recall or replacement of defective products or works.
  4. Advice, design or specification for a fee.
  5. Aviation or nuclear products.
  6. Pollution or contamination unless sudden, unintended or unexpected.
  7. Offshore risks.
  8. Fines and penalties.
  9. Claims arising from asbestos.
  10. Cyber liabilities.
  11. The policy excess - being £250 for property damage increasing to £500 for damage to third party property in your custody or control.
  12. The use away from the insuredÕs premises of any welding, cutting or grinding equipment, blow lamps/torches, hot air guns/strippers, asphalt, bitumen, tar or pitch heater or thermal lance.
  13. Stunt work.
  14. Special effect (see previous question – above).
  15. War and nuclear risks.
  16. The failure of any electrical device to recognise the time or date.
  17. Owned or hired equipment.

Q: Are there any conditions?

A: The policy contains certain conditions, which include the following:

The insured must:

a)      maintain the premises, machinery, plant and equipment in a satisfactory state of repair.

b)      take all reasonable precautions to prevent(i) loss, destruction or damage to the property insured.(ii) accident or injury to any person or loss, destruction or damage to their property.

c)       comply with all legal requirements and safety regulations and conduct the business in a lawful manner.

Q: What do I do in the event of an incident covered by this policy?

The insured must:

a)      tell Hencilla Canworth immediately of any event or occurrence which may result in a claim.

b)      notify the police immediately of loss, destruction or damage caused by malicious persons or thieves.

c)       provide Hencilla Canworth with a written claim containing as much information as possible regarding the loss, liability, destruction, damage, accident or injury.

d)      not admit or repudiate liability, nor offer to settle, compromise, make payment which may result in a claim, or pay any claim under this policy.

e)      follow the insurers claims procedure as detailed in the policy.

Members should refer to the BECTU PLI policy document at  for full terms and conditions.

Q: Are there other insurances I might need?

1) Additional public and employer’s liability Insurance

The BECTU PLI covers you as an individual only (other than a family member referred to above).

If you employ others or engage freelances to work on your behalf, you will require Employer’s and additional Public Liability Insurance.

2) Loss or damage to owned or hired in equipment and other property

It is strongly advisable that you insure your own equipment/goods and the equipment/goods that you hire from others against loss or damage.

It is also advisable that you ensure other items in your custody or control are also insured for their full value as the BECTU PLI only covers legal liability cover to £25,000.

You are also advised to cover yourself against the cost of hiring alternative equipment following the loss of your own equipment/goods and also continuing hire charges which you may incur.

You may also need to insure studio/office buildings and contents and other property.

3) Professional indemnity

Members providing advice, design or specifications are well advised to purchase professional indemnity insurance. Such cover insures you against loss following professional errors or omissions.

4) Personal accident

If you are injured either at or away from work you may be unable to fulfil your obligations leaving you financially exposed over a period of time.

Personal accident cover is available at a relatively low annual cost so should be considered when assessing your insurance requirements.

5) Travel Insurance

For those working and travelling abroad, travel insurance is a must. Usual travel insurance excludes those undertaking work, so you need to ensure that you have cover whilst working abroad.

Travel insurance will cover you against medical expenses following illness or injury, cost of repatriation, personal accident as well as loss of baggage and money.

Last page update 28 April 2017.