Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do You Blog? Let Your Insurance Agent Know.

The Cincinnati Insurance Board in its January 2011 newsletter posted a great article about the risk that bloggers face. If you blog and or spend time writing in chat rooms on the internet you should contact your friendly Fey Insurance Services agent to discuss. Read why:

Blogging and the Possiblity of Lawsuits- CIB Jan 2011 Newsletter

A growing number of lawsuits are targeting individuals who blog or post allegedly libelous material on the Internet according to the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI). One report indicates a 216 percent increase in libel lawsuits against bloggers and online posters in the last few years.

These postings and blogs can result in nasty lawsuits. For example, earlier this year, a Florida man was sued for $15,000 over a negative remark he posted on eBay against the seller of a reportedly defective clock. A blogger in Georgia was sued for $2 million over his claims about the alleged misdeeds of a local government employee. Are these types of claims covered under a standard, unendorsed homeowners policy? What type of protection, if any, does the homeowners policy offer for these types of lawsuits?

The liability insuring agreement under nearly all homeowners policies pays for damages arising only from bodily injury or property damage, not from any type of personal injury, such as libel. In most cases, the only way that these claims might be covered is if the insured's homeowners policy includes a personal injury endorsement.

So it is a good idea to remind your clients who are active bloggers and online posters of the wisdom of procuring personal injury coverage and a personal umbrella policy (which typically provides even broader personal injury coverage). Clients should also be advised that if the blogging is related, say, to a home-based business, there will likely be no coverage under either of these options due to various business exclusions and restrictions. A home-based business endorsement is essential in these situations.

In addition, you should know that the Internet is not a law-free zone where anything and everything goes. There are ramifications to consider for those avid and active posters and bloggers, ramifications that can turn out to be painful and very expensive