More small and medium-size companies are using social media in their marketing strategies, which has led insurance professionals to believe their client’s risk exposure will increase over the next year. In a survey conducted by Torus Insurance, 58 percent of insurance professionals expect to see the need for media liability policies increase. Of these, sixteen percent believe the need for these policies will see a significant increase.
Thirty-three percent of responders said they are primarily concerned with data leakage. Assistant vice president of Torus, Christopher Cooper believes that publishing of company secrets or certain company information can present problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulations.
Twenty-seven percent of responders are concerned with the lack of control over content posted by employees which could be potentially damaging to a brand. For example, an employee could inadvertently post political commentary on the company’s social media account instead of his personal account.
Other areas that insurance professionals are concerned about include: personal injury exposure, copyright and trademark infringement, and the lack of certain risk management policies.
Cooper explained that small and medium-sized companies have the same risk exposures that large companies have when it comes to social media marketing. The only difference is that small and medium-sized companies lack the resources to train employees, monitor postings, and have legal advice readily available.
Cooper said that the lawsuits over inappropriate postings are increasing. He used an example from last year of the fashion designer who was offended by a posting aimed at her by singer, Courtney Love. The designer sued Love, and Love spent approximately $500,000 for her defense. He said, “It’s the off-the-cuff comments and knee-jerk reactions that can cause damage.”
Even with legal training and the training offered by marketing teams, mistakes can still happen. Brands need to limit their employee’s access to their social media pages to only a few employees. Companies need to create formal rules about postings and the protocols to take postings down quickly. Companies also need to hire an attorney that can be on stand-by for social media related issues.
With digital marketing and social media marketing, nearly every business today is a publisher. This opens up new exposures associated with publisher liability.