The next two words you are about to read are so very, very sexy: Photography Insurance.
I can hear the groans now but please, do not be dismayed or close this link because you really need to read this short article.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Catalina Bloch, who is an insurance agent with Aon Reed Steenhouse in Ottawa. However, she is not only an insurance agent, but she is also a photographer…SO SHE GETS IT. When you speak with her, you are getting someone who knows what it is like to run a photography business and what truly happens at events you may be photographing. If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of placing a claim for your photography equipment, you will definitely appreciate her ease of understanding in the world of photography insurance.
For Catalina, her dream was being able to align her career of insurance with her love of photography. Not only does she know what an f-stop is, she also knows how painful it is for photographers to find out they have only depreciative value when they thought they had replacement value.
Her goal was create policies that were not only cost effective for her photographer colleagues, but also easy to understand and efficient when getting quotes or filing a claim. When she was mainly photographing weddings and working as a second shooter, she herself experienced frustration with high deductibles and many, many exclusions in her policy. She knew there had to be something better.
When she came to work at Aon, she approached her company to see if they were interested in creating a photography program that truly addressed the needs of today’s working photographers. She herself assisted in tweaking the policies and had input into specific clauses. At the same time she wanted to give broad coverage in terms of what photographers are exposed to (i.e. intoxicated guests knocking over equipment, or in my case, a guest knocking cream onto my camera and essentially ruining it).
Catalina has been working in the insurance industry for 10 years and firmly believes it doesn’t have to be complicated, or just another bill you have to pay. That being said, you also get what you pay for. If you are paying less than $500 right now, you are probably NOT getting the coverage you need. Generally speaking, the less the insurance, the more the wording/clauses get very specific. There can be a lot of loopholes that come along with cheaper premiums. From a claims perspective, cheaper plans do not support the customer service you require during claims.
A huge thing that some photographers do not realize (and not just the new ones to the industry) is that liability is not something to overlook. In Canada, we are fairly safe because people cannot bring up frivolous claims. However, you are still considered liable. Incidents can happen and the most expensive part of the claim is usually the lawyer’s fees (not the payment to the person suing you).
If you have ever purchased insurance in the past, you may have experienced the painstaking process of creating photographic lists of cameras, serial numbers, etc. It is also a huge headache to call every time you get a new piece of equipment. Catalina’s process is a total insured value of the equipment that photographers have. Their wording is the “agreed upon value:” in other words, you tell them how much you have in value, and you don’t need “the list” to prove it.
At the end of the day, of course, she would prefer all photographers to come to her because they have the best product. Additionally, I (Barb) switched over and couldn’t be happier. I didn’t realize how bad my insurance was until I had to file a claim – and in the end, I was denied because of my insurance’s wording. That’s why I highly recommend even getting just a review from Catalina – she can identify what your business exposures are, etc. so at least then you are aware. Whether or not you decide to move, at least you are educated on the insurance you have currently.
Make a qualified, educational choice. Remember good insurance is important. An “action” you recently purchased can’t replace your camera at replacement value :)
Aon Insurance (a Canadian company) is also coming out with short 30 second videos that explain insurance for photographers efficiently and in terms we can clearly understand. Watch for them soon. These videos and additional info can be found on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/aonprofessionalphotographers.
Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc. is located 333 Preston St, 6th floor in Ottawa and Catalina Bloch can be reached at 613 722-7070, or email@example.com.
Article by Barbara Cameron.