#Insurance Coverage for Emerging Social Media Risks

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There are 1.3 billion people on Facebook, half a billion “tweets” every day, and countless other ways to communicate that did not even exist five years ago. In response to this social media revolution, smart companies are increasingly unleashing social media strategies to reach their customers, while their employees are using social media to ”stay connected” twenty-four hours a day.

Despite the many ways in which social media can improve a business’s bottom line, social media also creates the potential for new types of liability. From discrimination claims when hiring decisions are based on information gleaned from an applicant’s Facebook page, to vicarious liability for cyber-bullying or defamation, social media in the workplace presents new risks that were unheard of just a few years ago. In response to these new risks, the insurance industry is still in the process of creating new products—and policy exclusions. Further, there are few court decisions to guide risk managers on whether social media claims are covered under the traditional suite of commercial general liability (“CGL”), errors & omissions (“E&O”), and employment practices liability (“EPL”) policies, not to mention newer media liability policies that purportedly were designed with social media exposures in mind.

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