Public Liability and the IPPA

Friday, Mar 23rd, 2007 in The IPWS Blog by Alan Murphy | 7 Comments

The IPPA seem to be getting their act together of late.  Recent innovations such as "Happy Faces" and Orientation Days are to be welcomed – indeed we have acknowledged the work on this blog.  But in a recent letter to all members the president Gerry O’Leary outlined a requirement for public liability to the amount of €6.5 million.  I do believe that all professional photographers should have adequate insurance cover but I would like to know how the amount of €6.5 million was arrived at.  Before going any further all professional photographers should know that every €1 million cover costs approximately €100 extra per annum.

In the UK the standard cover for Professional Photographers is £2 million sterling*.  If work is being undertaken in high risk areas, like airports etc.,  this can be increased to £5 million but this is generally done on a temporary basis.

The OPW has confirmed to IPWS that the minimum cover required is €1.5 million but a more acceptable figure is €2.6 million.  This is the body who control many of the public parks and monuments around Ireland.  Despite enquiries from IPWS a number of other bodies haven’t been able to confirm their insurance requirements.  This lack of clarity can really only mean that they don’t have definite policy requirements.

So why then are members of the IPPA required to have such a high cover?   I wouldn’t have thought we are particularily high risk and in all my years in the industry I have never heard of a claim to a fraction of the amounts being set as a requirement.  I trust they aren’t taking guidance only from O’Brien Finlay who advertised only policies for Public Liability limits of indemnity of 6.5 million in the 2007 IPPA insurance leaflet.  When I enquired with the IPPA I was simply informed that it was "council policy" but they were mindful of feedback from members. 

Perhaps the IPPA might revisit this requirement and bring it into line with what the industry really needs and thus save photographers a large wedge of cash!  Then they might set about lobbying the various bodies to accept a figure inline with the OPW because the things we need here are consistancy and representation – not larger bills! 

I would welcome your views.

Alan M

*Please note neither of these sample companies sell into Ireland but Towergate do – and by the way IPWS gets no funding from any company involved in selling insurance – but we welcome support from any quarter.

Insurance Company 1

Insurance Company 2 Uk

7 Comments:

  1. Dominic
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Alan, I remember a TV ad in the late 70’s for a Motor Magazine, which ended with the line “You can trust the Dealers in Car Buyer Magazine” It always made me laugh out loud.
    I had a similar experience when I read your line about the IPPA-“but they were mindful of feedback from members”. Hysterical!
    Dominic

  2. Margaret Moore
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Margaret Moore made this comment in the forum but it is relevant to the debate. She wrote
    “You are saying €1.5million cover should be adequate for IPPA to request of it’s members?
    That would barely cover legal costs in a medium to large claim.
    The OPW is hardly relevant to this debate. The day will come soon when all premises will require PL Insurance of anyone entering to provide a service on the premises e.g. schools, hotels, building development sites.
    Think how badly members would be affected if they suddenly couldn’t cover a wedding in a particular hotel or chain of hotels because of inadequate PL Insurance?
    The IPPA is ahead of the game in this matter. This is yet another storm in a very small teacup….”

  3. Posted March 26, 2007 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    In response to Margaret Moore’s posting below.
    Margaret,
    Thanks for your comments.
    With refernece to your first question I want us to be in line with best industry practice but not over insured. The OPW is very relevant to the debate because photographers use their sites on a daily basis and they at least can state a policy – the IPPA, todate, on the other hand are quoting heresay and using scare tactics to justify this inflated premium.
    As I stated at the outset – of course all photographers should have PL Insurance but not at 6.5m.
    BTW With regard to your question regarding particular hotel chains – why not reverse the situation – how could a hotel chain operate without wedding photographers? Or does the IPPA have no power when talking to the Hotels Federation, Hotel chains etc. We don’t need an association ahead to it’s game at our expense – we need an association that can represent us in a professional and proper manner.
    By the way I found your final comment dismissive of my point of view. I am merely raising an issue I feel strongly about – I may be wrong but I am entitled to comment and I welcome open debate.
    Regards
    Alan M

  4. Posted March 26, 2007 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Alan, the comment before mine is inflammatory and dismissive – is it not?
    This insurance requirement won’t just be for photographers – it will apply to any service providers and not just in hotels. Unfortunately I do not think that a single hotel would lose a cent of revenue if photographers couldn’t or wouldn’t operate in them – the reverse is not the case. Legal costs are high and a fact – not hearsay. The IPPA are not being inaccurate.
    Incidentally, all three local authorities in Dublin require €6.5m PL cover – not hearsay.
    I’m not dismissive of your point of view. I am dismissive of jibes – who wouldn’t be?

  5. Alan Murphy
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Margaret,
    Thank you again for your comments. I have a number of points I will address in a longer and more considered response but can you confirm as quoted in the IPPA letter of Feb 2007 that this is the current situation:-
    “6.5 million is the minimum Public Liability indemnity requested by Local Authorities, State Agencies including National Monuments & heritage sites/buildings etc and large companies including Hotels, etc.” As I stated at the start I am only trying to see how the figure of 6.5m has been arrived at.
    Regards
    Alan M

  6. Posted March 27, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi guys,
    This is my first post – I REALLY hate typing! Without trying to “stir the pot” I would like to add my view. I also queried the requirement for 6.5 million with the IPPA. Dont get me wrong, I am impressed with the direction the IPPA is going and totally support the registered, insured & qualified direction BUT…. I have a policy for 2.5 million + costs and am wondering where the 6.5 came from. I talked to a senior manager in one of the large Dublin Hotels (off the record) last week as I had just photographed her wedding and she was amazed that a figure of 6.5 was being bandied about. I also am going to Altamount Gardens (Duchas) in a couple of weeks and have left my policy there with no problems either. I would be afraid that we are overkilling the insurance requirement – in my case it will add E400 per year to my premium! To me 2.5 + costs is WELL insured considering the risks ( No dangerous machinery here!) and I am worried that we are allowing a precident to be set which is both unnecessary & costly. Of course if you ask any public body what insurance cover they would like (bad question!) they will say 6.5m or 12.5m or 20m…..They dont care as long as somebody else covers the cost. Same with hotels. I would argue that if we as an organisation all have 2.5 certainly the hotels will be happy. I would be reluctant to let any outside party dictate where I get my cover or who from.
    Anyway enough …work tomorrow….

  7. Dominic
    Posted March 28, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Nigel, I’ll give you 3 guesses who’s brandied about the 6.5 Million Euro insurance cover?
    Right 1st time, the insurance companies!
    It is possible to take out insurance for a particular job at a particular location, as is the case with car hire or taking a school trip bowling etc. Which may be useful for those who only require it occasionally.
    Dominic

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