Blogging Insurance

There is quite a bit of back and forth between Denise and Evan on Jeff Jarvis’ idea of a Bloggers’ Legal Defense Society.  Evan suggests the AmLaw 250 step up to the plate and contribute some cash to begin a sort of legal defense fund.

While it would be nice for the companies who provide most of the blogging software and services out there (Six Apart, Google, and now Microsoft) to contribute to a blogger defense fund, I think a better idea is to have the blogging companies provide some sort of blogging insurance as part of their service. 

The insurance could provide bloggers in limited circumstances (such as Jason Kottke’s) with a defense, even if damages were ultimately to be paid by the blogger.  I can’t imagine the cost of the insurance — spread among thousands (millions?) of bloggers — would be all that expensive.  And the public relations boost to the blogging service that steps up to the plate first would be immeasurable.  Having such insurance coverage available may even move more bloggers to a paid service from a free one. 

Are there any insurance types out there who would like to work out the details with me on developing blogging insurance?  If the big services won’t do it themselves, there may be thousands of bloggers out there who may pony up some of their own cash for a modicum of protection.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

8 Responses to Blogging Insurance
  1. Kevin O'Keefe
    December 4, 2004 | 8:10 pm

    Steve Rubel, a pr person in NYC, brought this to my attention a few days ago, perhaps because in my former life I practiced law for 17 years.

    If you are blogging as part of any business, insurance is the answer. Used to be that any general business liability policy would cover claims for personal injury which included defamation claims and the like. This would be seperate coverage than lawyers E & O insurance but all lawyers with offices will have a seperate business policy. I found it out years agao when an insurance company sued me for defamation for an ad I placed looking for other victims of their bad faith practices. My general business policy provided defense and coverage. They lost and I did not have to pay for lawyers.

    Insurers now exclude such coverage in general policies. But defamation, copyright claims etc can be covered under additional coverages. It is going to cost me $5,000 more a year for such coverage these days. Terribly expensive and though I do not expect to provide anyone the basis to bring a successful claim, the defense costs for a lawyer in a fight with a big player would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    This is not a good option for the average blogger but an awful lot of bloggers are doing so because it is an effective form of marketing themselves. The cost of insurance is then a cost of business.

  2. IR
    December 5, 2004 | 4:01 pm

    Kevin,
    I wonder if you see the irony of your post. You are, based on your commnents, a plaintiff counsel (at least concerning your reference to the defamation suit)…You are making a point to focus on the increased cost to secure the endorsement on the broad form coverage. You, also, refer to the cost to defend the claim regardless of its merit.

    Any guesses as to why the costs are so high (both for the policy endorsement and the necessary defense)? Look in the mirror pal. The “fox” has come home to roost.

    Want another example… link to law.com The short story is that lawyers are upset that they have to disclose coverage information to the public because it would be like “painting a target” on their backs.

    Oh what a crooked web we weave…eh?
    Cheers
    IR

  3. Kevin
    December 6, 2004 | 10:49 am

    A reciprocal exchange may be a better solution. See link to techlawadvisor.com

  4. Cathy
    December 7, 2004 | 1:25 pm

    There is a subtext to the proposal that the blog hosts provide some sort of coverage, and it’s similar to a subtext I see in some of the other articles considering where bloggers would stand in terms of shield law privileges, etc. – things we associate with “The Media.” And that is, that you have no legitimate claim to being the Press unless someone else owns your press.

    I opted to self-host for that very reason – I did not want any other entity to be able to claim any sort of ownership control over my work. It’s my press, my voice. So if we, even inadvertantly, start forcing bloggers into the corporate web for “protection” we may very well eliminate the benefit of independent media that the blogging revolution has brought. We need to make sure that these independent voices can stand protected on their own.

  5. The Privilege of Blogs

    Journalists’ privilege has been quite the topic lately. That is, does a journalist have the ability to promise anonymity to a source and be able to maintain that promise, even in the face of compulsion to testify. It’s a right…

  6. grumpOps
    January 3, 2005 | 1:32 pm

    Insurance for Blogging

    How will the major blogging services begin to differentiate
    themselves?  There are the standard business things, such as
    quality of service and branding.  But which will be the first to
    offer href=”http://thenonbillablehour.typepad.com/no…

  7. ben
    November 23, 2005 | 11:50 am

    getsurance, the leading online resource for consumer comparison shopping for insurance and the dominant online lead provider to the insurance industry.

    http://www.getsurance.com

  8. ben
    November 23, 2005 | 11:52 am

    getsurance, the leading online resource for consumer comparison shopping for insurance and the dominant online lead provider to the insurance industry.

    http://www.getsurance.com

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