McNaught still remembers underwriting a new show called "Survivor."
"It was like, you want to go to an island in the middle of where to do what with people and not feed them for how long?! Oh my God, are you crazy?" she recalls.
Wendy Diaz, entertainment underwriting director at Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., says insurance premiums for a reality TV show typically run 1 percent to 2 percent of the overall budget.
Aon, Fireman's and other entertainment insurers have dedicated underwriters and claims adjusters, as well as seasoned onsite loss-control safety experts to approve the stunts and make sure the cockroaches are safe to eat.
A typical entertainment insurance package includes: cast insurance; workers' compensation; nonowned and hired auto; property coverage for sets, props, wardrobe and media (film, video and digital); third-party property insurance for location shoots; and errors and omissions coverage to protect the show's intellectual property. For reality TV, general liability coverage takes the place of cast insurance.
"Reality TV doesn't have 'casts' per se; it has 'participants' that are covered under general liability," says Diaz.