Indemnity, liability and risk assessment
6 March 2019
On a professional photography Facebook group recently, there was concern about a requirement from a client to have “£4m professional indemnity” when the photographer’s insurance only covered £50,000.
In fact, the client was just using the wrong terms. They needed £4m Public Liability, which insures against the photographer causing injury or death to individuals or damage to private property – drop your 2 kilo 200mm f/2 lens from a balcony on to the stalls, or trip someone up with your lighting cable, and you may need cover into millions.
Professional Indemnity covers things legal defence against wedding couples who want compensation for missed shots even though you covered everything mentioned in the contract, other photographers claiming you have copied their work, or a subject claiming that you have acted inappropriately by adjusting hair or clothing for a portrait. It may also cover equipment malfunction or errors in critical photo lab orders provided you have done everything correctly yourself.
Most working photographers need both Public Liability and Professional Indemnity, say specialist insurers Risk Alliance PhotoShield, who will advise the right level of cover to suit your type of work.
To be fully covered, you may also provide clients with a Risk Assessment. This can be general, warning clients that there may be mains cables crossing studio floors and lighting stands, tripods, props and sets must not be touched. It can be specific to a job, stating that you will be flying a drone or that you will be using lithium-ion power, or that stroboscopic flash may be used.
If you work with any movable mains powered equipment, remember to have it PAT tested for electrical safety annually. This applies to mains flash units, computers and screens, and printers in the studio as well as mains powered kit you use on location. Your insurance cover may not be valid if equipment is not tested and certified.
The good news is that you don’t need this for any of the new lithium-ion flash heads or other battery powered kit… but fire and explosion risk means that airlines, Royal Mail and couriers already impose restrictions which some venues and other transport services may soon follow. Be compliant to keep your insurance cover valid!
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