By: 5 June 2024
Insights on media and entertainment claims from Alex Nicoll

Claims Media was privileged to speak with Alex Nicoll at this year’s BIBA Conference.

Alex is the head of Sedgwick’s Media and Entertainment claims division in the UK. With an impressive career that spans roles as a Hollywood producer, a media insurance broker, and a specialist media underwriter, Nicoll brings a wealth of industry expertise to his unique role.

In this interview, we explore Nicoll’s unique journey, his insights on the evolving landscape of media and entertainment, and his vision for the future of claims management. 


Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to join Sedgwick?  

Joining the company in January this year, I’ve been tasked with rebuilding and growing the media and entertainment division. 

I come from a unique background, qualifying as a barrister originally, I then worked as an underwriter at Hiscox in their film and TV division.  

I then realised that I was far too young to be stuck in an office looking at Lloyds, so I went to LA, attending the Los Angeles Film School and taking part in a very intensive one-year course where I was taught by actual filmmakers, not teachers.  

After graduating, I got a five-year work visa. I stayed in the US and set up a little company. We made music videos, documentaries, and short films, we won some awards. 


What brought you back to the UK? 

Eventually, I came back to the UK. I worked in broadcast television for a couple of years and then I got asked to join a media brokerage, which I did, but the passion to be in the entertainment industry was still there.  

What I realised at the time was that I didn’t want to work in broadcast TV. I had worked as a senior producer, and it just wasn’t for me. I wanted to make a film. So, the period working as a broker was quite frustrating because I was seeing stuff coming in that I wanted to do.  


How did your journey develop from there? 

I got involved in a sports tech company where we manufactured and sold to the Premier League. I had a lot of experience working with athletes, football clubs and influencers, building a business from the ground. This then allowed me to go back into production.  

I reformed the company that I had with my friends in Los Angeles and for a couple of years before Covid hit, we were developing several projects with companies like Fox and Netflix- documentaries and animated feature films. 


How did the Covid pandemic affect your career? 

Everything was going well, and then Covid hit. Then I was lucky enough to be offered the position of commercial manager for the film and TV restart scheme for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This was a £500 million restart package that replaced the missing cast insurance and business interruption insurance that wasn’t being provided by the insurance market. The government had to step in to protect the industry, and we ended up doing well. We saved 1000 productions, 100,000 jobs and kept the UK film and TV industry going.  


Could you give us some insight into the development and implementation of the restart scheme? 

All the insurers had pulled out of the market and said ‘we can’t write this because they are catastrophic losses’, which a lot of them were. Chubb, for example, pulled out of media and entertainment. It caused huge problems.

The only people who could deal with this type of problem were the government. They were in a position where they had to provide a rescue package for the film and TV industry, which obviously was and still is incredibly buoyant. The DCMS needed someone who could bridge the gap between government, film and TV production and the insurance world. There are not many people out there with a CV to do that. It turns out mine fits.  

It nearly put me in a box, but it was worth it to be a part of history, it was very rewarding. 


How did this experience with DCMS lead to your role at Sedgwick? 

The scheme put me on Sedgwick’s radar because they were one of our loss adjusters. It wasn’t too long before Sedgwick asked me if I would consider joining them. It was such a unique offer in terms of what they were planning to do and what they wanted me to bring to the table. They described it as ‘intrapreneurial’, taking someone with an entrepreneurial background into the company so they can apply that skill set. They also wanted my unique industry knowledge.  

I’ve built a team of cross industry experts, a mixture of traditional technical loss adjusters and people with similar backgrounds to myself who have experience in the media and entertainment world.  


Could you elaborate on the team and the approach you’ve built at Sedgwick?  

What we’re doing is building a cross-industry team that understands the inner workings of the industry.  

The brokers know we understand the industry, their clients, and what they are talking about. We know the problem nine times out of ten because we’ve been there and seen it happen.  

We’ve also got incredible relationships that have been built up over many years with experts in the field who will make sure that our knowledge is current. If something comes across my desk that I don’t know the answer to, there’s someone either in the building or on the end of the phone who can assist.  


With the industry going through so many changes, what are your thoughts on its future? 

There are many emerging risks coming out in this transitional period with film and TV. It’s not in crisis, but it’s going through a state of flux and what it’s going to look like on the other end will be interesting. There’s a lot of consolidation going on. Studios are figuring out what they’re doing, changing their business models on the back of a pandemic, Brexit and a skill shortage. 

But film and TV are not going to go away. People are still going to go to live events. It’s just going to change. The ABBA show and the Sphere in Las Vegas, are good examples of this shift. 

The fusions of technologies and sectors that we’re seeing show that we’re moving into something new. Increasing augmented reality, AI, virtual production, they’re all coming into play.  

There’s going to be a lot of grey areas of risk as the sector evolves and that’s why people like us must talk to the brokers and insurers and add value when we can. The more linked up we are and the more conversations we have, the better the overall experience is for the client.  


Image: Claims Media.


Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media. Emma is a experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury for a major firm. She has attended and reported on multiple brokerage events throughout her career.