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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Protecting The Bottom Line

Considering the costs of the equipment you rely upon to make a living as a photographer, understanding how to insure that gear is of paramount importance


Where To Find Coverage
Most people dislike shopping for insurance, and photographers are no different. “I’m not happy with [my current] insurance company, but haven’t pursued changing companies, as I always find it a pain,” says Boyne City, Michigan-based photographer Angela Lawson.

In an effort to ease the pain associated with shopping for insurance, a number of photographers’ organizations have established relationships with insurance agents and/or companies to make it easier for their members to secure insurance at competitive rates. Organizations like the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) have made arrangements with insurance agents and companies to make various types of insurance, including health, life, GCL, equipment and even automobile and homeowners insurance, available to its members.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has gone a step further and developed a commercial insurance program dubbed Prosurance specifically for professional photographers and offered exclusively to its members. The program, which is underwritten by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, is described in a white paper available on the ASMP website (www.asmp.org/join/Prosurance_overview_2007.htm). Even if you’re not a member and aren’t considering the Prosurance program, the white paper is worth reading as it provides a useful summary of the types of insurance coverage that ASMP deems to be absolutely critical to a professional photographer, as well as the different sorts of optional coverage available.

While there may be benefits to working through association-established programs, it may also be worth spending some time with your local insurance agent. Some insurance companies offer multiple policy discounts.

As with nearly everything else in business, you should do your homework when selecting a local insurance agent. Saunders suggests finding an agency that has been in business for many years and that has a good reputation in the community. Indeed, the longer the agency has been in business, the easier it should be to find someone in the community willing to express their satisfaction with the agency.

 

 
The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has gone a step further and developed a commercial insurance program dubbed Prosurance specifically for professional photographers and offered exclusively to its members.
 
Hedge Your Bets
In these difficult economic times, it might be easy to rationalize cutting back on insurance coverage and taking a somewhat greater risk. However, the more prudent course of action is to hedge your bets. Proper insurance coverage—neither more nor less than necessary—permits individuals and small businesses to assess and limit liability and exposure, which in turn helps ensure a positive bottom line.

Samuel Lewis is a Board-Certified Intellectual Property law specialist and partner at Feldman Gale, P.A. in Miami, Fla., and a pro photographer who has covered sporting events for a quarter century. Reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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