PPA's "Indemnification Trust" probably (and
hopefully) isn't in your everyday vernacular, but it's there to save your
behind when Murphy's Law strikes.
So, what is it exactly? It's a mouthful, but it's less
complicated than you think! It's like malpractice insurance for when things go
wrong that could generally be considered your responsibility as a service
provider-- things like equipment malfunction, an error or an unsatisfied client
(like a bridezilla, or when something happens with your memory cards)--your
client could easily take you to the cleaners.
That may seem relatively broad, so here are three real
situations where photographers thanked their lucky stars for PPA's Indemnification
Trust and its coverage (names in the examples below have been removed to
protect those involved):
Issue 1: Client's (Lack of) Satisfaction
An Alabama photographer was asked to capture their
client's wedding with an unusual venue constraint (they were required to shoot
certain portions of the ceremony through only exterior windows).
Despite the fact the newlyweds knew of these restrictions
beforehand, they were dissatisfied with the images. As a result the couple sued
their photographer (and the cherry on top: the bride's father was a partner at
one of the largest legal firms in town).
After a nearly year-long series of negotiations the
case was settled out of court with
the aid of locally-appointed legal counsel (courtesy of PPA's Indemnification Trust).
In the end, the photographer's responsibility was only a $200 deductible, while
the Indemnification Trust picked up over $20,000 in legal bills and client
compensation on behalf of this photographer.
Issue 2: Data Loss (and non-recovery of the images)
A California photographer experienced a major hard
drive fail with the images of their three of most recent assignments. The first
attempt to recover images was made in vain with the help of a local company. So
the local company suggested reaching out to DriveSavers (the Indemnification
Trust's data recovery's partner).
Fortunately, the three clients did not go as far
as suing the photographer (like our first story), however compensation was
required. Therefore and with the help of the Indemnification Trust, the
photographer reached a settlement with each of the couples. This involved
arranging for reshoots, refunds, and payment of other damages in addition to the data recovery
service. In the end, the photographer's responsibility amounted to $900, representing
the deductibles for each claim: $200 (Couple A), $200 (Couple B), and $500
(Couple C). In turn, the Trust provided close to a combined $10,000 in
reimbursements to the three clients.
Issue 3: Client Dissatisfaction (AKA Tilted Tiara)
This story starts off happy enough--a photographer in
Texas completed coverage of a wedding without a hitch and delivered the images
to the couple as scheduled. As in most weddings, a part of their assignment required
depicting the bride's attire, including her tiara.
After the wedding the bride contacted the photographer,
absolutely furious to have been photographed wearing an off-centered tiara. She
threatened and followed through on filing a suit in Small Claims Court.
Fortunately, the Indemnification Trust worked with
the photographer to prepare the case's defense before the court and assisted in
securing two jewelry experts that could
attest to how tiaras are worn--one was a beauty pageant coordinator and the
second a master jeweler. The court concluded that the bride's suit was
frivolous and dismissed the case. The incident was settled with no expenses incurred by the photographer!
These situations could happen to anyone. Without
the Indemnification Trust, they would cost thousands of dollars in legal fees
and compensations. Fortunately PPA Members* are covered. This is a
peace-of-mind benefit that is part of your PPA professional active membership!
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you
need to make a claim or fight a client in court, there are a few simple steps
to take (link). Whether the case is
settled in or out of court, the Indemnification Trust will appoint (and pay for)
local attorneys to defend PPA members and pay any damages. You only pay your (small)
If you're not a PPA member, just think of the
savings when something inevitably happens. Faulty memory cards, wardrobe
malfunctions or something from your wildest dreams (no one saw that tiara claim
coming), you'll be covered by the PPA's Indemnification Trust.
portrait photographers are automatically enrolled in the program. Even if you
aren't a wedding or portrait photographer, we strongly recommend members taking
advantage of this benefit. You just need to be up-to-date in membership fees
and reside in the United States, U.S. Territories or Canada. To enroll in the
program, call Member Care at 800.786.6277.