Demand for libel insurance surges in Canada

Published: June 26, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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In an age of internet and social media, as well as hyper sensitivity, it is quite easy to talk too much, say the wrong thing, and get into trouble. Saying something you shouldn’t say is just becoming easier to do.

With that, there has been a growing opportunity for insurance companies as the demand for libel insurance has been on the rise. Such coverage offers protection for any media publication or personality and means they are insured if they are sued for libel. It also covers infringement of personal intellectual property.

Ana Bursack, an underwriter for Beazley, says libel insurance is a very broad product:

“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.”

Because of the way we now communicate, the need for libel insurance is increasing and the coverage is becoming popular.

“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.”