Do you blog? Are you inflammatory? Are you just looking for a little bit more security? Ever ready to rush to protect in any niche market imaginable, the insurance industry has trotted out a new product designed to protect bloggers from the hazards of their trade. Law.com reports on the availability of liability insurance through the Media Bloggers Association.
There is some merit to this. Blogging certainly exposes the blogger to some of the same types of liabilities that traditional media outlets face, such as defamation, invasion of privacy, intellectual property claims and other competitive torts. There are also provisions in traditional homeowners, general liability or legal professional liability policies that may limit their reach under the circumstances of blogging.
But do you really need blogging insurance? Traditional policies are not completely inapplicable. If you are a personal blogger and your policy contains the broadened coverage for “personal injury”, there may be some protection for defamation and invasion of privacy afforded. Business bloggers, however, are out of luck under their homeowners policies, which exclude business liabilities.
If you are a business blogger with a general liability policy utilizing the older forms, there may be limited intellectual property coverage, defamation and invasion of privacy coverage available. Newer general liability policies, however, do have limitations regarding on-line activities and most general liability policies covering “personal injury” or “advertising injury” or a mash-up of the two risks are subject to exclusions for those who are in the business of publishing or broadcasting.
Professional liability policies also may contain limited coverage for wrongful or negligent acts related to the practice of the profession, but may exclude traditional “personal injury” or “advertising injury” -type liabilities or internet risks.
Before assuming that this product has “got your back”, however, you should review a copy of the coverage. It is important to understand before buying just what is and is not covered. For example, it is not unusual to see entertainment policies that exclude the major risks arising out of entertainment exposures. This blogger’s liability insurance in reality may be covering a limited area of risk at a premium that makes little economic sense.
When it comes to any insurance product, good risk management practice requires that you consider your own potential exposure based on your specific activities and read your existing coverage to determine whether your activities fit within the currently covered ambit. Are you a personal blogger with little involvement in controversial subjects? Are you a business blogger but essentially serve as a reporter on industry news such as breaking cases? You might be fine with your existing coverages. If your reach extends to more controversial areas, true professional practice, or more traditional journalistic activities, then it might be worth exploring this new niche insurance product.