Insurance acts as the great and powerful Oz behind the movie screen, protecting against the loss of life, limb and livelihood of everyone on set; the intellectual property of the writers and director; the potential liability of location shoots; and the substantial investment of the producers.
But on those rare occasions when insurance has been featured as part of the film itself, it often results in a surprising plot twist or memorable cameo that makes for marvelous moviegoing.
"By itself, insurance is pretty boring and uncinematic," says George Pelecanos, producer and Emmy-nominated writer on the hit HBO series "The Wire" and author of best-selling Washington, D.C.-set crime novels including "The Cut." "But the way that the movies have made insurance work is by throwing sex into it. And good-looking people."
When insurance takes center stage, it often returns "reel" dividends in lessons learned about the use (and more often misuse) of indemnity, the manipulation of policies for profit and the fundamental fairness of shared risk.
We asked Pelecanos to grab the popcorn and come along as we selected the 10 best insurance movies of all time.