April 9, 2018
By Nancy Tartaglione
EXCLUSIVE: Payroll, accounting and production management outfit Cast & Crew has launched Media Guarantors Insurance Solutions. Led by principals and industry vets Fred Milstein and Scott Nicolaides, the completion bond company will run as a separate entity and is looking to innovate amid a changing landscape.
Milstein is President and CEO of the new company. The exec has years of experience in the sector and calls Media Guarantors “a better kind of completion bond company focused on offering the highest level of singular service. We know every project is different and we will create tailored solutions to fit each of our client’s particular situations. Our combined expertise and experience, plus the financial strength of our insurer, means clients will be supported from start to finish.”
The company describes its role thusly: to confirm a project is achievable as conceived; cap financiers’ exposure; guaranty delivery to specifications; make distribution agreements bankable; keep production on track; and supervise production to the degree necessary.
Milstein most recently was CEO of Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Entertainment & Media and was previously Managing Director Worldwide Marketing and Business Development at Aon/Albert G Ruben Insurance Services as well as the President and Founder of CineFinance. His other positions have included roles at Completion Bond Company, Miramax and William Morris.
Nicolaides is MG’s SVP and was most recently Executive Director, Entertainment Bonds, at ProSight Specialty, and previously was a production exec at Vendome Pictures; SVP of Production at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment; SVP-Production at CineFinance, and VP at Buena Vista/Walt Disney.
Eric Belcher, CEO of Cast & Crew, notes that Media Guarantors brings “unmatched experience, flexibility, security and responsiveness to a wide range of domestic and international filmmakers and productions.”
With his extensive international background, Milstein tells me there’s a desire to expand Media Guarantors to markets like the UK, Canada, Latin America and China.
Overall, “we want to be the value player, not the volume player in the market,” he says. The idea is to “provide first class client service and play a key role in assessing and managing the risk on a production, delivering them on time and within budget. Not just a generic piece of paper.”
With so much disruption in the indie finance space, there’s “an opportunity for a company that doesn’t only look at completion guarantees in a traditional way. We want to be innovative and see ways of bringing technology into our business.” It’s a business that has been “largely unchanged for 60 years,” says Milstein.
The company also sees itself as a member of the team. “What we’re hearing from financiers and producers is they would like us to be a resource and help the filmmakers… We want to support creative talent and their visions,” Milstein adds.
As a specialized Managing General Underwriter, Media Guarantors serves as Program Administrator for completion bonds issued directly by Indian Harbor Insurance Company, a member of the XL Catlin group of companies. Beneficiaries are covered from the first dollar. The XL Catlin insurance and reinsurance companies provide property, casualty, professional and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises worldwide.