Whether you’re tweeting or appearing on TV news, the platforms from which to say something you shouldn’t appear to be growing daily – and that brings greater demand for libel insurance.
The coverage can apply to any media publication or personality in the event of a libel lawsuit, infringement of intellectual property rights and more. According to Ana Bursack, a media underwriter at Beazley, the cases can be far-reaching.
“One of the most important things brokers should know about libel insurance is if your clients are putting content out there to the public, whether that be written via social media or spoken via personal appearances, your client is at risk of a libel claim,” Bursack said.
“We’ve seen cases where even a Twitter retweet has resulted in a libel claim. Unlike professional liability, D&O, cyber, there aren’t many markets in Canada that specialize in this media insurance, so it’s essential to have given how expensive they can be to defend.”
Indeed word is rapidly spreading about the product – almost as rapidly as a libelous tweet.
“I would definitely say the demand has increased,” Bursack said. “It’s probably more so in the US, just because it’s more widely purchased and claims are more expensive, but I have noticed it in Canada too. The other day I got a less high profile individual come across my desk, a television personality who’s not contentious and they heard about the policy from someone else. I would say the demand is increasing.”
It’s become increasingly important too, because of the sheer scale of the price to pay if things go wrong - expert media lawyers are expensive and crisis management teams do not come cheap.
“Smaller or medium sized enterprises won’t have these contacts or they won’t be able to afford them,” Bursack said. “Once a tweet has gone out and they need to mitigate a claim, essentially a PR and crisis management company can come in and take over their Twitter page. If there are any issues they can draft responses, it’s a really useful thing to have to mitigate a wider claim from potentially happening.”
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