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Ivor
24th January 2017, 12:10 PM
Hi all,

There are huge price differences in the insurance policies that are being offered. Specialist photography insurers are the most expensive by far and, in my opinion, offer insufficient third party liability cover. (see below.) Generic insurers seem to offer much better deals if you shop around, i.e. better cover for less money.

The standard amounts offered for cover by photography specialists are nowhere near sufficient.

If you are doing any work for a local authority, (e.g. school photos, journalism photography at Council premises) they will insist of 5 million Third Party Liability (TPL). Aaduki only offer 2 million. Some companies are offering as little as 750,000.

My friend who is an insurance broker said that in one of the insurance professional newspapers there was a case of a photographer who, whilst in a crowd, stepped backwards and knocked over an old woman. She banged her head and suffered brain damage. The courts awarded her 1 million in damages. If that had been a much younger person the damages could have been many times that amount.

Imagine being at a hotel shooting a wedding reception. You have a laptop and projector displaying your images to the guests. The projector catches fire and the hotel burns down. 1 million isn't going to be anywhere near enough. 25% of accidental fires in the workplace are caused by electrical/electronic equipment. (As an aside, does anyone have their laptop, studio lights, chargers, extension leads Portable Appliance Tested?)

Thoughts? Is your insurance sufficient? Have you found a good insurer who offers 5 million TPL as standard?

Membership of professional bodies does not make any difference to the majority of customers (from my market research). I am getting customers irrespective of not having membership. I do appreciate there are other membership benefits of professional bodies and not suggesting people should not join. But, given the cost disadvantages and the relatively limited budget of new small businesses, I conclude that the benefits for me are not good value. Has anyone found otherwise? (Open to persuasion!)

Cheers,

Ivor

iso
24th January 2017, 06:45 PM
Ivor, I am never going to be in the situations you describe. I just thought I would 'wave a flag' for your post, which I hope will get the Pro's responding.:)
On the point of 'letters after the name' and the importance to Punters thereof, nowadays I don't think many look for the 'letters', for their Dentist or whatever, let alone a 'snap taker'. Recommendation is I believe what it is all about. :)

Naughty Nigel
24th January 2017, 11:00 PM
Many organisations require 5 million or even 10 Third Party Liability insurance if you are going to work on their premises. In most cases this can be purchased by buying two or more policies. Alternatively, your Broker may be able to negotiate increased cover with the underwriter concerned.

In my experience organisations often seem to pluck figures out of the air when insisting on certain levels of TPLI, and haven't really investigated the matter properly.

However, my understanding is that Third Party Liability cover is effectively unlimited provided that you were working within the terms of your policy.

Nevertheless, I am doubtful that you would be liable for the full cost of reparations in the cases that you quote unless you were negligent. What if your laptop caught fire on a transatlantic flight resulting in the loss of a 747 with a full compliment of passengers and crew? Do you really think your insurance would be expected to cough up for that?

In cases such as these I would expect the airline or venue's insurance would cover the cost. At the end of the day all of thee things are underwritten in the city, so they usually argue it amongst themselves, or through the courts.

I am not too sure of the law on this point, but it would be well worth looking in to.

With regard to PAT testing, in my view it is a total rip off, and not worth the green paper labels they stick everywhere. The tests are carried out by machine, and are usually performed by people with no electrical knowledge whatsoever. Provided the electrical test is passed there is no visual inspection, so even cables that are not properly secured in plugs will pass. Having once received a nasty electric shock from a kettle that had recently been PAT tested I can vouch for this, but I guess it meant an administrator at Head office could tick a box somewhere. :(

Otto
25th January 2017, 09:20 AM
We bought a PAT tester at work when the law came in, and the first thing that happened was the guy tasked with setting it up got a nasty shock from the machine itself!

An appliance with a frayed cable and loose screws in the plug can still pass a PAT test. It's just another method of making somebody somewhere responsible and traceable if something goes wrong and does little to improve safety.

Business insurance is a minefield - if you can get it at all.

iso
25th January 2017, 07:14 PM
PAT Testing is a con.
Which 'organisation' bought the 'rule' in?
Bit like Energy Surveys, and what was that idea about Home Packs for buyers?
Lots of 'bright sparks' jumped into those:mad:

Ivor
26th January 2017, 08:09 AM
Thanks for those comments. I found a general insurer who was able to give me 5 million TPL insurance plus insurance for my equipment at and away from base for around 85, significantly less than the well-known professional insurers. Checking through the policy T&Cs, the cover is the same. The excess is 250. This covers me for photography and running training courses and workshops.

One quote from a big photo insurer came in at around 300.


I had a long discussion with the broker about professional indemnity. He was saying that for that cover to pay out the client would have to suffered a financial loss. I quoted the oft spouted risk of wedding photographers mucking up their shoot or losing their images. He said that under British law they have not suffered a financial loss so would have no claim.

That will be something I can look at further in the future if I need it.

As an aside, PAT is something I know a bit about professionally having managed the Health and Safety compliance for multiple buildings. There is actually no law that requires a particular frequency of PAT. You do need to ensure that your electrical equipment is safe. If you were to cause a fatality or injury through failure of electrical appliance, then you would be liable for fines and under the Electricity at Work Regulations and imprisonment. If the item caused a fire (25% of fires in the work place are caused by an electrical fault) and you had not set up a routine for testing the equipment, then you could end up with an unlimited fine and imprisonment irrespective of the damage caused. Your insurance won't cover criminal costs"

The Electricity at Work Regs do require users of electrical appliances to be competent at using them safely and to carry out a visual check of the equipment and cable. Likewise, the condition of the equipment, cable and plug has to be checked as part of the PAT. I used to have 2000+ items tested and around 10 or more a year would fail.

The people who carry out the tests also have to be 'competent'. Buying a machine and reading the instructions manual is unlikely to be seen as competence should one end up in court. You would be expected to have been on a certificated training course from a recognised trainer, unless you can persuade the coroner otherwise.

For the small cost of having the equipment tested (15-30p an item), I think it's worth having them done.

Thanks all, interesting discussions.

Ivor

Harold Gough
26th January 2017, 08:21 AM
I have used these for the past 16 years. I am now operating as an amateur but the semi-pro cover is best for me. My main concern was equipment replacement but there is a chunk of public liability cover in there. (Everybody, not just photographers, needs cover).

http://www.gloverhowe.co.uk/photographic-insurance/

Harold

Naughty Nigel
27th January 2017, 12:29 PM
As an aside, PAT is something I know a bit about professionally having managed the Health and Safety compliance for multiple buildings. There is actually no law that requires a particular frequency of PAT. You do need to ensure that your electrical equipment is safe. If you were to cause a fatality or injury through failure of electrical appliance, then you would be liable for fines and under the Electricity at Work Regulations and imprisonment. If the item caused a fire (25% of fires in the work place are caused by an electrical fault) and you had not set up a routine for testing the equipment, then you could end up with an unlimited fine and imprisonment irrespective of the damage caused. Your insurance won't cover criminal costs"

The Electricity at Work Regs do require users of electrical appliances to be competent at using them safely and to carry out a visual check of the equipment and cable. Likewise, the condition of the equipment, cable and plug has to be checked as part of the PAT. I used to have 2000+ items tested and around 10 or more a year would fail.

The people who carry out the tests also have to be 'competent'. Buying a machine and reading the instructions manual is unlikely to be seen as competence should one end up in court. You would be expected to have been on a certificated training course from a recognised trainer, unless you can persuade the coroner otherwise.

For the small cost of having the equipment tested (15-30p an item), I think it's worth having them done.

Pat Testing and Home Buyers Packs were little more than money-making, ar5e covering, box ticking job creation schemes in my view; both of which were rubber stamped by Tony Blair.

We could add "complimentary" Vehicle Health Checks to that list, where the main stealer uses the opportunity to empty their parts bins of old stock. :mad:

The PAT testers that I have come across were not electricians, and they had little or no knowledge of electricity or electrical safety. They had simply been 'trained' to operate the PAT testing machine, which is not the same thing.

As I said previously, I received a nasty electric shock from a kettle in an hotel room which had been PAT Tested only a short time previously, but had a damaged kettle plug, exposing the live terminal! It was clear to me that the plug had been damaged for some time, so what was the point of PAT Testing, other than to cover someone's derriere?

The figure of 15 - 30 pence per item sounds reasonable, but that would only apply to a large business where there are several hundred appliances to test. The relative cost to smaller businesses is much greater. However, what irks me is that the companies selling the PAT Testing services make thinly veiled threats about the consequences of not employing them. :mad:

PAT Testing is essentially a high voltage insulation test, much the same as a Megger* test, but is fitted into a box with a 13A socket to make the job quick and easy for those with no electrical knowledge. I don't even think PAT Testing includes a polarity or earth continuity test.

In most cases the PAT Testers are unable to repair any faults found as they are not sufficiently competent! What does that say?

*(As Otto said, PAT Tester and Megger machines are capable of giving a sharp electric shock.)

Ivor
1st February 2017, 07:31 PM
Pat Testing and Home Buyers Packs were little more than money-making, ar5e covering, box ticking job creation schemes in my view; both of which were rubber stamped by Tony Blair.

We could add "complimentary" Vehicle Health Checks to that list, where the main stealer uses the opportunity to empty their parts bins of old stock. :mad:

The PAT testers that I have come across were not electricians, and they had little or no knowledge of electricity or electrical safety. They had simply been 'trained' to operate the PAT testing machine, which is not the same thing.

As I said previously, I received a nasty electric shock from a kettle in an hotel room which had been PAT Tested only a short time previously, but had a damaged kettle plug, exposing the live terminal! It was clear to me that the plug had been damaged for some time, so what was the point of PAT Testing, other than to cover someone's derriere?

The figure of 15 - 30 pence per item sounds reasonable, but that would only apply to a large business where there are several hundred appliances to test. The relative cost to smaller businesses is much greater. However, what irks me is that the companies selling the PAT Testing services make thinly veiled threats about the consequences of not employing them. :mad:

PAT Testing is essentially a high voltage insulation test, much the same as a Megger* test, but is fitted into a box with a 13A socket to make the job quick and easy for those with no electrical knowledge. I don't even think PAT Testing includes a polarity or earth continuity test.

In most cases the PAT Testers are unable to repair any faults found as they are not sufficiently competent! What does that say?

*(As Otto said, PAT Tester and Megger machines are capable of giving a sharp electric shock.)

The person doing the PAT should have done a visual test too.

The person does not need to be an electrician, but they do have to be a competent person to do that work. The law considers a competent person to be someone who is properly trained by a certified trainer.

If someone is doing a bad job when testing electrical equipment, or pretending they are competent when they are not, then the HSE could send them and their employer to prison. They are breaking the law.

A PAT includes checking the equipment is working properly. If it isn't then the test must fail. It is up to the owner of the equipment to arrange repair by a competent person.

If the person is trained to change a plug or a cable, then they can do that. They don't have to have a full electrical qualification to do it. They just need to be competent. I can change a plug but I am not an electrician. I can change a cable on some machinery. I have been trained to do it. I can't rewire a house because I have not been trained to do that.

I have employed people to carry out PATs. Some companies offer to shorten cables or change plugs if they fail, others don't train their staff to do that and they don't offer it as a service. As the person responsible for the equipment, I would quarantine it until it could be repaired or disposed.

Yes, you can get an electrical shock of electrical testing equipment, which is why people who use them should be trained and competent.

I am happy to have a difference of opinion on this, and I am not going to change your mind, but I would still suggest to people it is worth getting done and carrying out a visual check of studio flashes etc before you use them. The consequences of not making sure your electrical equipment is safe are pretty dire. You could kill someone, start a fire and could end up with a prison term.

Naughty Nigel
1st February 2017, 08:30 PM
I am happy to have a difference of opinion on this, and I am not going to change your mind, but I would still suggest to people it is worth getting done and carrying out a visual check of studio flashes etc before you use them. The consequences of not making sure your electrical equipment is safe are pretty dire. You could kill someone, start a fire and could end up with a prison term.

I wholeheartedly agree with you about carrying out regular visual checks. PAT Testing also has its place, but on its own (from my own painful experience) it seems to be of little benefit in protecting against electric shock.

In this particular instance a visual check was all that would have been required to identify a potentially lethal appliance. A recent PAT Test clearly hadn't identified any risk, even though the plug had evidently been broken for some time.

As a general point, I regularly stay at hotels both in the UK and abroad, and I have to say that electrical safety in British hotels in particular does concern me. I have often seen potentially dangerous wiring and appliances in hotel rooms, whilst fires are by no means uncommon. This is particularly the case in older buildings (rather than newer chains). I'm afraid the little green stickers attached to the plugs do nothing to reassure me. :)

Andrew Riddell
1st February 2017, 08:37 PM
I had a long discussion with the broker about professional indemnity. He was saying that for that cover to pay out the client would have to suffered a financial loss. I quoted the oft spouted risk of wedding photographers mucking up their shoot or losing their images. He said that under British law they have not suffered a financial loss so would have no claim.

That will be something I can look at further in the future if I need it.

Ivor, speaking as a lawyer, if your broker is saying 'no financial loss = no claim' he is talking rubbish. He [U]may[U] be correct if he's saying there would be no claim under the policy, but that would be because a non-financial loss claim was outside the policy wording. In the wedding example, the couple could easily have a claim against the photographer (although a judge might have fun assessing damages), but whether the photographer could claim against his insurer would depend entirely on the policy wording.

Andrew

Naughty Nigel
1st February 2017, 09:06 PM
Ivor, speaking as a lawyer, if your broker is saying 'no financial loss = no claim' he is talking rubbish. He [U]may[U] be correct if he's saying there would be no claim under the policy, but that would be because a non-financial loss claim was outside the policy wording. In the wedding example, the couple could easily have a claim against the photographer (although a judge might have fun assessing damages), but whether the photographer could claim against his insurer would depend entirely on the policy wording.

Andrew

Andrew,
For the benefit of non-lawyers here, under what circumstances would a claim arise against a photographer's Third Party insurance?

The reason I ask this question is that there seem to be many misunderstandings about the need for Third Party insurance and what it covers.

In any case, would Third party insurance even cover bungled wedding photographs?

Ivor
2nd February 2017, 09:53 AM
The biggest risk that PAT protects us from is not electric shock, it's fire. Electrical fires both at home and in the workplace are common. That is why any fire safety training has a big, big section on electrical safety. There are more that 2500 electrical fires per year resulting from wiring, cables and plugs. These lead to over 200 injuries and around 10 deaths per year. PAT and hard wire testing help prevent these. That is why I would recommend people getting their equipment tested.

Although I can claim a fairly solid H&S background, I'm no lawyer so I can only take advice and I take your advice Andrew. (Thanks!)

When I said "He was saying that for that cover to pay out the client would have to suffered a financial loss. I quoted the oft spouted risk of wedding photographers mucking up their shoot or losing their images. He said that under British law they have not suffered a financial loss so would have no claim." Perhaps he meant no claim that would be payable under a professional indemnity insurance, as opposed to no claim payable by the photographer.

I since phoned other insurers and they gave examples and they would not cover the circumstances of the entire shoot going wrong because the customer claimed shoddy workmanship. I guess a breach of the Supply of Goods and Services Act would be grounds to make a claim against the photographer, but the insurers would not pay out in those circumstances. A lesson there for budding wedding photographers.

I wonder how many successful claims there have been in the UK against photographers for shoddy workmanship. I found one last year where the married couple took the photographer to the small claims court last year and won. They had hired a student to take their photos and she did, the couple claimed, a shoddy job. The Photographer had to repay the fee she charged: 605.

Professional indemnity insurance is unlikely to cover those circumstances.

Any reputable photographer, if they had a photographic disaster, would immediately repay the fee anyway, and offer something to compensate on top.

In America, not in the UK as far as I can see (unless anyone know any different), there have been stories of claims by a couple against the photographer for the cost of re-staging the wedding. I guess with our move towards becoming the 51st State that risk might head our way! :rolleyes::eek:

Some insurers would and some would not pay out for loss of data. That's worth checking on policies. With the ability of immediately uploading data to and storing it on the cloud these days, the risk of data loss should be minimal, though it can happen.

I read a story recently in a magazine a while ago, can't remember which one, where a reputable, professional photographer had lost all of the wedding images. He had backed them up, used multiple cards and somehow all the data had been lost. He immediately went to the couple, said what had happened, gave them a full refund and extra photos. No law suit, no compensation claims, no bad name. That has to be a lesson to remember!


(Incidentally, the couple whose wedding was 'ruined' by the poor workmanship seemed to have made a nice amount of income from selling the story to the tabloids!)

Thanks everyone for input so far, it's been really interesting.

Naughty Nigel
2nd February 2017, 12:08 PM
I since phoned other insurers and they gave examples and they would not cover the circumstances of the entire shoot going wrong because the customer claimed shoddy workmanship. I guess a breach of the Supply of Goods and Services Act would be grounds to make a claim against the photographer, but the insurers would not pay out in those circumstances. A lesson there for budding wedding photographers.

I wonder how many successful claims there have been in the UK against photographers for shoddy workmanship. I found one last year where the married couple took the photographer to the small claims court last year and won. They had hired a student to take their photos and she did, the couple claimed, a shoddy job. The Photographer had to repay the fee she charged: 605.

Professional indemnity insurance is unlikely to cover those circumstances.



Third Party insurance and Professional Indemnity insurance are two very different things.

Third-party insurance is essentially a form of liability insurance purchased by The Insured (you), the first party, and issued by an Insurer, the second party, for protection against the claims of another, the Third Party. The first party is responsible for its own damages or losses, no matter how they are caused

Professional Indemnity insurance (PI) is usually held by professionals (whether individuals and companies) who provide professional advice or services. PI helps protect those concerned against costs resulting from negligence or incompetence; such as providing incorrect or incomplete advice, and the costs of defending a claim from a dissatisfied client.

A typical example would be a House Surveyor who fails (neglects) to notice, or report, that a building is suffering from the effects of damp, rot or subsidence. In the worst case, if the Surveyor fails to notice or mention that floors or stairs are suffering from dry rot, and a fatality occurs as a result, the Surveyor's PI insurance would be called upon.

I would be very doubtful that PI insurance would cover bungled wedding photographs, but many businesses hold Product Insurance, which covers the cost of providing repairs or replacement products in the case of technical failure or poor design.

As a point of interest, expert witnesses do not require PI insurance whilst carrying out expert witness work as their only responsibility is to the court.

Naughty Nigel
2nd February 2017, 12:43 PM
The biggest risk that PAT protects us from is not electric shock, it's fire. Electrical fires both at home and in the workplace are common. That is why any fire safety training has a big, big section on electrical safety. There are more that 2500 electrical fires per year resulting from wiring, cables and plugs. These lead to over 200 injuries and around 10 deaths per year. PAT and hard wire testing help prevent these. That is why I would recommend people getting their equipment tested.

I know I am splitting hairs here, but electrical fires are caused by overheating of conductors owing to increased resistance, and only very rarely because of insulation failure.

Where captive leads are fitted PAT Testing can only test insulation resistance and earth continuity (where appropriate). It is not possible to check the current carrying capacity of captive leads without disassembling equipment, which few PAT Testers are qualified to do.

Removable leads and extension leads can of course be checked for their insulation, continuity resistance and load carrying capacity.