Partner Corner: E&O Know-How

By: Jared Anderson

Is your organization covered for libel or copyright infringement?

Challenge: My association publishes literature and web content promoting our services, products, and staff. Although the final content is put through a strict compliance review, we've been cautioned that we're still at risk for defamation, false light, or copyright infringement lawsuits. Doesn't my association's directors' and officers' or general liability insurance protect us?

Solution: Directors' and officers' and general liability insurance policies may not provide your association the full protection it needs against errors and omissions lawsuits in print and electronic publications or your advertising materials.

Obtaining professional errors and omissions (E&O) coverage is an investment for associations against claims such as libel, slander, and copyright infringement. An important consideration for associations when researching E&O insurance is to find a broad and comprehensive policy that will protect against its unique and varied exposures.

Not only do associations disseminate valuable information through wide-ranging channels to their members and the world beyond, but they are distinct entities in comparison to for-profit businesses because some associations are:

  • Responsible for setting the standards of their members' industry;
  • Managing accreditation and certification programs;
  • Providing consultative services to meet member needs;
  • Selling products via e-commerce.

With the increased reliance on technology, lawsuits could arise from hackers stealing your members' credit card numbers or a virus that infiltrates your website causing damages to virtual visitors.

An association should ensure that its E&O insurance is tailored to include

  • Blanket coverage for the association website;
  • Defense against allegations of unfair or deceptive trade practices;
  • Coverage for personal injury exposure;
  • A favorable consent-to-settle clause giving the association more control over settlement.

It is important to remember that every association's situation will be different and to consult legal counsel whenever in doubt.

Jared Anderson is a senior claims specialist with AXIS PRO, a business unit of the professional lines division of AXIS Insurance, which provides the ASAE-Endorsed Errors & Omissions Insurance to associations. Email: [email protected]