Why Your Businesses Need Personal & Advertising Injury

You can generally get personal and advertising injury as part of your general liability policy.  The coverage can also be part of an umbrella or excess liability policy, as long as you have advertising injury scheduled as an underlying coverage.  When your operations are primarily media or internet, you will not be able to get coverage for personal and advertising injury under a general liability policy. 

The benefits of personal and advertising injury insurance

Having this coverage will provide payments for damages that result from your advertising services or products when a third party alleges:  slander or libel; release of proprietary information; copyright infringement; trade dress or slogan.  It will also provide defense for any lawsuits that allege the preceding triggers.  However, this coverage only protects you if you unintentionally and unknowingly cause the injury. 

How personal & advertising injury works

Personal & advertising injury protects you from having to pay out of pocket expenses for defense costs & damages associated with a covered personal advertising injury claim.  Your primary coverages will be limited to the policy limits.  However, if you have an umbrella or excess liability policy that goes over this coverage, then your excess liability will provide protection above the primary policy. 

What is not provided by personal and advertising injury coverage

As previously discussed, this coverage will not cover intentional or known acts:  Specific exclusions are:  knowingly violating the rights of another;  knowingly publishing false information;  publishing material prior to policy period;  criminal acts;  contractual liability;  breach of contract;  quality or performance of goods;  wrongful description of prices; and using another’s name or product without authorization. These exclusions are very clear and mean what they say.  Additionally, specific exclusions include:  infringement of copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret, which means there is no coverage for actually using someone else’s copyright, patent, or trademark, but these exclusions won’t apply to unknowing or unintentional infringement of copyright, patent, or trademark in your advertising.  

Further exclusions include:  media, internet, chat rooms, and bulletin boards.  These exclusions apply to businesses in that industry, including social media marketing and digital marketing.  For example, when you’re a caterer and own your own website, you may also participate in internet marketing, and/or are a member and user of a chat room or bulletin board.  Since you’re primary operation is catering food, this exclusion may not apply to you.  However, if you participate in social media & digital marketing you’ve now become a marketer.  This leaves you open to liabilities associated with advertising.   

Why businesses in media, internet, electronic chat rooms, and bulletin boards excluded

Businesses that fall under these exclusion include:  advertising agencies;  broadcasting;  publishing;  telecasting;   designing or determining content of websites for others;  internet search, access, content or service provider; and hosts, owners, or business that exercise control of chat rooms or bulletin boards.   Advertising injury is the primary business exposure for these type of operations, and is also a new exposure for all businesses that participate in social media or digital marketing, which is why these coverages are essential.  


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