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) deductible.
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.
*Wedding or 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.