Personal Injury Exposures - Nothing to LOL about
How many insurers would have predicted 20 years ago that the Internet would create personal injury exposure for them?
Yet with social media use growing exponentially, it’s increasingly clear that cyberspace is becoming a fertile environment for personal injury claims activity within homeowners’ policies. The root of the problem is “anti-social” media: where tweeting, texting and blogging is used to defame or bully; where “sexting;” or uploading videos to YouTube, breaches privacy. Then there’s the growth in so-called gripe sites, for example, created by people to criticize a business, which can attract slander or libel litigation.
Litigation activity has yet to reflect the exposure - but it is trending and juries seem willing to award significant damages to plaintiffs. So what are the implications for homeowners and personal umbrella carriers?
Insurers need to examine their personal injury endorsements to find out the extent of their potential exposure, where, for instance, an insured violates another person’s right of privacy. Insurers might be surprised to find themselves exposed to multiple limits losses in one policy year and/or over multiple policy years.
And it’s not only a personal lines issue. Personal Injury coverage is also provided in Commercial General Liability (CGL) and Commercial Umbrella (CU) policies.
It seems inevitable that Internet-based claims will proliferate. Carriers should think hard about the amount of personal injury coverage they can handle - before the trickle of Web-based claims we’re seeing today becomes a torrent.
If you'd like to learn more about personal injury exposures, read our Insurance Issues publication.