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Thread: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

  1. #1

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    Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    I'm vice pres. of a small local photo club, (about 22 members) do we need to incorporate?
    Do we need liability insurance?
    Any recommendations for insurance companies?
    Real cameras are measured in inches...
    Not pixels.

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  2. #2

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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    Not sure what country your in but you do in Australia.

  3. #3

    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    We have had a large format B&W photo club in Denver for over three years now and the thought of incorporation and insurance never once came up.

    Why in God's name would one need to consider such actions? Here in Colorado we get together once a month to show prints and receive critique and participate in an occasional photo show. Rather like going to a cafe to drink coffee and talk photography. We have all learned from the process.

  4. #4

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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    The clubs I was in in PA had to have insurance to be able to meet at the semi public areas they did - the contracts for the rooms specified that. I don't remember for sure, but I think it was around $300 per year for a million or so of coverage. It means the meeting location won't be held liable for accidents with equipment and things like that. I don't remember all the details, but I think it was fairly standard. There are also different types of organizations for incorporating so that the group can collect dues, but not have to pay taxes on them. If a group got together somewhere and no money changed hands and they didn't have to rent space for those meetings, then incorporating would probably not happen.
    Bethe King
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  5. #5

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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kadillak View Post
    We have had a large format B&W photo club in Denver for over three years now and the thought of incorporation and insurance never once came up.

    Why in God's name would one need to consider such actions? Here in Colorado we get together once a month to show prints and receive critique and participate in an occasional photo show. Rather like going to a cafe to drink coffee and talk photography. We have all learned from the process.
    Watch what happens if someone falls during one of these get togethers and is injured, or worse and consults an Attorney, or if their insurance company decides to get reimbursed.

  6. #6
    Richard Johnson
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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    Why call it a club at all? Friends meet at bars and cafes, keep it informal and limit exposure.

  7. #7
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    I have been affiliated with a photo club (The Houston Photographic society) here in Houston Texasa since the late 1980s. None of that has ever come up that I know of.

    I am currently active with a camera collectors group, also dince the 1980s. This group used to put on the Houston Camera Show near Hobby airport . . .never did a corporation or insurance that I know of there either.

    What Is your concern?
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




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  8. #8

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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    Watch what happens if someone falls during one of these get togethers and is injured, or worse and consults an Attorney, or if their insurance company decides to get reimbursed.
    Exactly our concern. We have been an active group for 30 years, holding meetings at members homes, presenting gallery shows, taking group field trips, etc.
    I'm wondering if having everyone sign a release or waiver would be suitable protection.
    Real cameras are measured in inches...
    Not pixels.

    www.photocollective.org

  9. #9
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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    It depends on the nature of your activities. If people meet in regular public places that do not require prior arrangement, then there's probably little liability. So, a group that gets together socially at a restaurant can usually hide behind the restaurant's liability insurance. But if a photography club meets at a school, the school administration will probably demand insurance indemnification.

    The issue is when someone plans an event at a private or normally inaccessible public location (like a school or the meeting area of a community center) that is not their home. (At home their homeowner's insurance would provide liability protection). If you plan an event, and someone outside the club is injured at the event, or in any way because of the event, the person who planned the event may get sued. Even if the injured person doesn't want to sue, their insurance company that covered their medical expenses may sue for reimbursement outside their control. Even if the suit is without merit, the cost of defending against it will often be more than the person can afford.

    Protection from individual liability is one of the main reasons clubs that hold such events incorporate, and one of the main reasons they buy insurance. Every community band I've been in, for example, was incorporated and carried insurance. In part, the insurance was required to hold public performances in public spaces like schools. And in part, it was to protect the officers from personal liability. The cost of one such group that performs in public half a dozen times a year is several hundred dollars to provide the required $2M in liability coverage.

    It's all about risk, and risk is about exposure and consequences. If the exposure is low enough, even severe consequences might be so unlikely that the risk is supportable.

    Rick "past and present officer of several simiilar organizations" Denney

  10. #10
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    Re: Do photo clubs need insurance, incorporation?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsphotog View Post
    Exactly our concern. We have been an active group for 30 years, holding meetings at members homes, presenting gallery shows, taking group field trips, etc.
    I'm wondering if having everyone sign a release or waiver would be suitable protection.
    If the only attendees are members, then it's probably no issue. Most organizational liability insurance only protects against injury to non-members. If it's a member-based organization, members may not be able to sue on the principle that one cannot sue himself. (Where I knew such law, there was a clear distinction between owner-run corporations and member-run corporations. Most social groups are member-run corporations--it's the members rather than the stockholders who elect officers--and therefore are responsible for their own safety as a group. If someone is injured as a result of the negligence of another member, as it was explained to us, they would have to sue that individual. My wife and I carry personal umbrella liability insurance to protect against things like that, and it is quite inexpensive because the exposure is low.)

    For gallery showings, I think it depends on the gallery and what sort of insurance they carry. If it's a public gallery, the responsibility for safety is probably theirs. If it's a makeshift gallery in a school auditorium, then see my previous post.

    Rick "who had to deal with this last year when a member had a medical emergency that ruined a carpet at a retirement home where we were performing" Denney

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