Note from Rich: Today’s blog post is a guest entry written by Utah photographer Jon Williams. This is Jon’s story of his experience of having his camera equipment stolen last year. I am sharing it here since I feel Jon is sharing important info for any photographer to hear.

By Jon Williams

I was one of the unlucky photographers that fell victim to the “Temple Square Thieves” last November. I lost a large Lowe Pro bag filled with Canon equipment. The loss was around $6000.00. The bag was stolen from my locked van which was parked at Crown Burger and/or Pictureline.

They had watched me shooting a wedding at Temple Square, and then watched where I stowed away my gear in the back of my full size Ford van (the van has my company name on the doors).  They then just needed to follow me until I stopped somewhere. I went in Crown Burger to use the restroom. I was in there maybe four minutes. I then stopped at Pictureline for maybe ten minutes. I parked where I could watch the van, but they still got me.

They drilled out the key hole, unlocked the power door locks, opened the rear, took the large bag, and relocked the van. I didn’t even know I had been robbed until that evening when I was on my say to shoot the wedding reception. Whoops! No camera gear! My brides temple pictures were also taken.

I thought I was well insured through Hill and Usher/Hartford. It wasn’t too good as it turned out. I found the claims process to be slow and tedious. Also the coverage did not allow me to buy what I had lost. Did you know they deduct 15% depreciation for items that were supposedly covered for “full replacement value?” Also many small items were not covered because I had not individually listed the items on the insurance inventory. Examples: Flash bracket, PC cords, Diffusors for flash, back up flashes etc. This added up to around $300.00. (I have since listed a Misc. package of unspecified equipment of $ 450.00 on my insured listing)

Salt Lake City police tried their best to catch this “ring” but with no luck.

This theft really – set me back– in terms of lost time, lost work, and reparations to the bride. Even though I received about $4000.00 from insurance, I have been forced to sell some of my beloved Hasselblad equipment to pay for new digital gear. My insurance company would not pay for anything under “Errors and Omissions” because they determined that I did not make any errors (strange but true).

I have been paying about $700.00 per year for this Hill and Usher policy which is advertised as “Package Plus” for Professional Photographers and endorsed by WPPI. I think there must be a better way to go after my experience.

Professional photographers need to carry a wide variety of insurance and it may not be feasable to have one insurance provider. I plan to send out a carefully worded RFP to several insurance companies to see if I can obtain a comprehensive policy to cover camera equipment, facilities, buildings, liability, computer equipment, office equipment, etc.  I’ve been told that Travelers Insurance is very good.

This is a good website and I appreciate the chance to share my story with other photographers.

Jon Williams
Professional Photographer
Ogden, Utah