Media liability insurance is protection for anyone in the media industry who produces and disseminates content, from publishers, bloggers, authors, and even to movie producers. You need to be able to conduct your business without the fear of liability claims being filed against you.
What Is Media Liability Insurance?
Media liability is a specialized type of professional liability insurance (also referred to as errors and omissions insurance, E&O insurance, or media perils coverage). This insurance policy protects individuals and businesses who create and distribute media content that are accused of defamation (libel or slander), data breaches, breach of nondisclosure, invasion of privacy, and copyright/trademark infringement.
What media professionals need this coverage?
- Marketing Agencies
- Media Companies
- Advertising Agencies
- Music Publisher
- Brand managers
- Public Speakers
Isn’t Advertising Injury Covered by General Liability?
General liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury, third-party property damage, and advertising injuries (i.e. intentional tort), so why would you need media liability insurance? Surprisingly, most carriers of general liability insurance exclude coverage for advertising injury if you are in an industry that is considered high risk. So if you’re in publishing, advertising, broadcasting, etc. you need to get media liability insurance to protect yourself and your business from risk.
How Does Media Liability Work?
If you or your business are accused of any of the following, media liability will provide coverage:
- Data breaches
- Negligence, mistakes, or errors
- Breach of nondisclosure/confidentiality
- Invasion of privacy
- Malicious prosecution
- Intellectual property infringement
- Intentional infliction of emotional harm
Make sure whatever insurance policy you choose covers the perils/torts that you’re most at risk for. If they are excluded from the policy, see if they can be added as an endorsement. If not, it’s time to shop around.
Your insurance company will cover media liability claims lodged against you up to the coverage limits of your particular policy. There is usually a “per claim” or “occurrence” limit and an “aggregate” limit, i.e. the total amount they’ll pay out during the policy period.
What Does Media Liability Insurance Cover?
Here are some examples of the types of claims that are covered:
- Example #1: As a newspaper publisher, you’re responsible for giving the go-ahead for all of your content that is being published/distributed. Your writers all have sources they use for projects whose names and identities are kept hidden. A source for one of your writers was accidentally exposed, and sues your business for breach of confidentiality. Your media liability insurer will provide you with a legal defense and cover settlements if necessary.
- Example #2: You’re in the film production industry and have just released a new movie. A composer hears your soundtrack and believes you’ve used some of his music without obtaining licensing rights. He sues your film production company for copyright infringement and insists on back payment. Luckily, your media liability insurer will cover this claim.
- Example #3: You’re considered a prominent blogger and your website has a large following. You’re always careful to only share vetted and evidence-based information. You recently published a piece about a local restaurant and the numerous health code violations they’ve been charged with. They sue you claiming libel, stating that what you shared was unfounded and caused them to lose business. Media liability insurance will help cover the legal costs and settlements.
Most media liability policies are determined on a claims-made basis.
Exclusions of Media Liability Policies
What’s excluded from media liability insurance?
- Bodily injury or property damage: These are covered specifically in a general liability insurance policy.
- Criminal acts: Your insurance company will provide you with a legal defense and cover court costs—unless you’re found guilty of the crime or admit to committing it.
- Contract/Patent infringements: If you’re infringing on or copying someone else’s patented design, media liability can’t help.
- Breach of contract: If you breach a confidentiality contract that you had with an informer, you can be charged with breach of contract. Insurers will provide someone to defend you.
- Employment practices: If you or anyone in your business are accused of discriminatory practices, you need employment practices liability insurance (EPLI).
- Securities fraud: If you're found guilty of securities fraud, it will not be covered.
Clauses to Be Mindful Of
Check your policy carefully to see if they include any of these clauses.
- International Coverage: Does your policy offer coverage if you touch on international topics that may spark a lawsuit outside of the US? Not all policies include this coverage.
- Punitive Damages: Most policies do include coverage for punitive damages but some exclude it. Punitive damages are rare—but costly, so be sure to check.
- Consent-to-Settle Clause: Some policies have a clause that allows you, the policyholder, the be the one to give final consent on a settlement.
- The “Hammer” Clause: This is another common clause that allows the insurance company to slap you with a penalty if you can’t come to an agreement on a settlement. This often means they’ll cover less of the settlement.
- Retraction Clause: Make sure your policy allows you as the publisher of the content the right to correct or retract content as you see fit.
Lastly, does your policy cover the cost of complying with an injunction? If you have to retract published materials, it can be costly.
Other Business Insurance to Consider
Here are a few other insurance policies to consider:
Cyber Liability Insurance: If you're the subject of a data breach or cyberattack, cyber liability can provide credit monitoring and even pay ransom demands.
Commercial Crime Insurance: If you have a location for your business, consider protecting it's contents with crime insurance.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you hire employees, you're required to get workers' compensation insurance. It covers their medical bills and lost wages if they're injured at work. It also protects the business owner from costly claims.
How Much Does Media Liability Insurance Cost?
Most media liability insurance policies for small businesses offer coverage around $500,000 per claim or $1 million aggregate. Large publishers can often obtain policy limits in the hundreds of millions. Premiums can range anywhere from the low end of $500 to an average of $2,500. Be sure to speak with an insurance agent to determine exact costs for your business based on your unique needs.
Get a Free Media Liability Insurance Quote
Whether you’re looking to switch insurance carriers or seeking out coverage for the first time, we can help! If you’re like more information or want to get a free quote, complete the form at the top of the page or give us a call at 877-907-5267.
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