Universal Could Net $50 Million Insurance Claim Following Paul Walker's Death

The death of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker shocked the actor's fans while throwing the production of the seventh film in that franchise into turmoil.

Now, the studio behind the feature could be looking to recoup as much as $50 million in insurance claims. The Universal film is currently in the process of a 13-week shoot to wrap the project, all the while the studio is about to face off with the film's insurer over a possible $50 million claim.

That matters since the film's original price tag--$200 million--will surely go up thanks to the filmmakers trying to make up for Walker's absence. Two of the late star's brothers, Cody and Caleb Walker, will help recreate his character on screen while a special effects crew will use face replacement technology to make Walker's stand-ins resemble the handsome actor.

All of this has proved expensive, and insurance broker Brian Kingman of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. believes Fireman's Fund will have to pay more than $50 million on a film now estimated to cost $250 million or more. A spokesman for Fireman's Fund declined comment, but in a 2012 discussion about the challenges of movie-business insurance, Fireman's Fund entertainment underwriting directorWendy Diaz noted that delays alone can cost as much as $250,000 a day on a big- budget movie, adding up to "millions of dollars....

Fireman's Fund is not on the hook for the entire cost of finishing the movie because Universal must pay what it would have cost to complete the project had the accident not occurred. But therein lies the dispute because it is a matter of judgment what producer Neal Moritz and the studio felt was required to finish the film without Walker. A Universal representative denies any tension, saying the insurance company has been "nothing but supportive."

Walker died Nov. 30 when the Porsche he was a passenger in crashed while moving at very high speed according to law enforcement investigators.


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