Media Liability Insurance

What is media liability insurance and does your business need it?

 Liability insurance for media companies

Simon Taylor

Chartered Insurance Broker Last reviewed: 16/06/2023

If you act as a publisher, broadcaster, advertising agency, video or film producer, or provide any other types of media service, your business should consider media liability insurance

 

What is media liability insurance?

Media liability insurance, otherwise known as media insurance, is a package liability policy designed to cover businesses that provide media services to their clients. Publishers, broadcasters, producers, advertising, marketing and other media companies are exposed to a variety of liabilities from breach of contract, breach of professional duty, breach of copyright, defamation (libel and slander), misleading statements, invasion of privacy, intellectual property infringement, and trademark claims.

When it comes to producing, broadcasting, publishing, or advertising, there’s always the small chance that a mistake, error or omission can occur. These mistakes could have significant financial consequences for your clients or third-parties. Whilst seeking to limit your liability under contract and excluding consequential losses is your first line of defence, it doesn't mean that you could face expensive legal expenses and damages awarded against you. Media liability insurance coverage can provide access to specialist legal support to defend you against claims for compensation, and pay for damages awarded by a court or settled by the insurer.

 

Media professional indemnity insurance

Media liability insurance, also known as media professional indemnity insurance, can offer financial protection against third-parties seeking to claim compensation through the courts. Companies will typically arrange a policy if they provide a media service to their clients to guard against expensive legal fees and awards made by the courts.

Why media liability coverage is important?

We work in a digital age where massive amounts of information is consumed on a daily basis. Businesses will commonly use the internet, digital platforms, and digital marketing to reach a wider audience of customers. However, by accessing a wider audience with fewer barriers means that media companies are exposed to an increased risk of litigation and claims for damages.

Media companies can be exposed to liability claims arising from:

  • Negligence
  • Breach of Contract
  • Breach of Copyright
  • False and Misleading Statements
  • Defamation (libel and slander)
  • Intellectual Property Infringement
  • Invasion of Privacy
  • Trademark Infringement

Media liability insurance is vitally important to protect the businesses against both frivolous and justified claims for compensation. Clients will put a high value on their company brand, products, and reputation - this can rightly be justified, especially when dealing with some high-profile names who could seek millions of pounds of damages for product or brand disparagement. 

Liability insurance for media companies will offer protection against a wide range of contractual and tortious liability claims. The policy will typically be provided on a 'civil liability' basis which means the insuring clause will cover any third-party claims for damages in a civil court. Below we take a closer look at examples of media companies and the potential risks they are exposed.

 Is media liability insurance important?

Media professional indemnity insurance Vs media liability package insurance

Media professional indemnity insurance, otherwise known as professional liability insurance, can also be called errors and omissions (E&O insurance). They are different terms for the same type of insurance. E&O insurance is more commonly used in North America, whereas professional indemnity insurance is more commonly used in the UK. A package media liability insurance policy includes the above, but can also include additional policy covers, such as employers liability insurance, public liability insurance, cyber liability insurance, or directors and officers liability insurance.

Looking for media liability insurance? Talk with one of our expert insurance brokers about your business needs

Get indemnity™ media liability insurance quotes can start at £322 annually or £26.83 monthly

Media liability insurance coverage examples

There are many different types of business activities that could benefit from the protection provided by a media liability insurance policy. Below we identify different business activities and consider media liability claims examples.

TV & film production

Whether producing films, television programmes, or theatre shows, you should ensure you purchase the most appropriate policy coverage to meet your contractual requirements. The largest exposure for film and television producers is the obtaining and clearing of licenses and consents from third party contributors. Note we can include purchasers, distributors, co-producers or any third party that has a financial interest in the production as an additional insured on the policy to satisfy any contractual liability. TV and film production insurance can offer flexible coverage for the length of time the production is to be broadcast.

Advertising & marketing

Communicating a client's brand and message correctly to stakeholders has the potential to cause significant claims. Simple mistakes can't be rectified easily, and high damages may be sought when dealing with recognisable brands. Advertising agencies, direct marketing companies, public relations companies, media buyers, social media agencies, market research companies, and marketing consultants will all need media liability coverage to protect from claims.

Publishers

Whether publishing your own content or publishing content on behalf of others, the persons responsible can become the target of civil litigation. The reach of the internet has increased the risks historically associated with print media, such as defamation, intellectual property infringement and breach of privacy. It's worth noting the value associated with copyrighted and trademarked content or brands is remains very high and businesses will seek to claim compensation should you damage their reputation.

Content creation

The expansion of the digital world has created made new forms of media more readily available. Content creators, copywriters, journalists, bloggers, digital marketing, video content creators, photographers, videographers and editing services, will all require media liability insurance. Defamation claims, breach of privacy, copyright infringement, and breach of contract claims are common areas of concern for companies involved in producing content on behalf of their clients.

Broadcasters

Whether you manage a TV studio, radio station, or podcast, you can be held responsible for the content you broadcast. The impact of legal action arising from libel, slander, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, trademark infringement and contextual mistakes, carry a significant financial risk. Live talk shows, documentaries or reality programmes with unscripted dialogue remains challenging. With the threat of defamation difficult to manage and costly, the ability to find the right policy coverage can be difficult.

Social media influencers

Social media has changed the marketing landscape, transforming the way consumers make purchasing decisions. Many brands have increased their spend on social media channels, utilising celebrities to endorse their products and services. Breach of contract, advertising legislation, and privacy regulations should be key considerations for all social media influencers.

Who needs media liability insurance?

Any company which provides a media service should consider media liability insurance. Technology has reduced the boundaries media can be distributed to achieve a global audience. These opportunities also create new risks, which companies should ensure they are protected with the most appropriate policy cover. Below we take a look at some of the more challenging media business activities to find insurance cover for.

Low to medium risk media activities

Advertising Agencies, Audio Visual Design, Authors, Bloggers, Branding, Broadcasters, Commercial Film Producers, Content Creators, Copywriters, Creative Agencies, Digital Agencies, Digital Marketing, Freelance Writers, Independent Contractors, Editing Services, Event Organisers, Festival Organisers, Film Distributors, Film Production, Freelancer Producers, Graphic Designers, Illustrators, Image Consultants, Market Research, Marketing Consultants, Media Buying, Multimedia, Music Production Agencies, News Broadcasters, Photographers and Videographers, Public Relations Agencies, Press Agencies, Podcasts, Post Production, Public Relations, Publishers, Radio Stations, SEO Agencies, Social Media Agencies, Social Media Influencers, Theatre Production, T.V Production, Videographers, and Visual Effects.

Higher risk media activities

Computer Games, Direct Marketing, Lead Generation, List Broking, Music Publishers, Printing Services, and Social Network Platform Operator. Content involving: Adult Material, Celebrity Orientated, Gambling, Investigative, Reality TV, Talk Show, and Politically Motivated Content.

Example media liability insurance claims

Music copyright infringement - A movie production company was received a demand for damages for copyright infringement by a music publisher who claimed that the production company used a song in a movie without obtaining a license from the publisher.

Incorrect marketing campaign - A client claimed financial compensation when a marketing campaign contains incorrect information. A well-known brand sought £500k worth of damages after a marketing campaign made reference to a competitor.

Plagiarism - A writer alleges that a film production used their storyline and brings an action for copyright infringement and misappropriation. A drawn-out dispute means over £350k was spent on defence costs.

Defamation - An online newspaper publishes a negative review of a local restaurant after it failed to pass a health inspection. The restaurant owner brings a claim against the publication for libel, arguing the allegations were false.

Disgruntled employee - Publishes confidential information online about a client before leaving the company. The sensitive nature of the information meant the claimant was seeking damages for £2 million. 

At 'Get Indemnity' we work with a wide range of media insurance companies

To secure to most appropriate coverage at the most affordable cost, we work with a wide range of media insurance companies. The premiums charged by insurers will be indicative of the risk of a potential claim made against the policy. For example, a small business that creates online video content with a turnover less than £100,000, could expect to pay £322 annually or £26.83 monthly for £1 million media professional indemnity. However, as your business grows measured by your last reported turnover, so will your media liability insurance cost. It's not unusual for companies that have a turnover in the millions to pay over £10,000 annually for a package media liability policy.

 

Frequently asked questions

What is media liability insurance?

Media liability insurance, otherwise known as media insurance, is a package liability policy designed to cover businesses that provide media services to their clients. Media liability insurance coverage can provide access to specialist legal support to defend you against claims for compensation, and provide indemenfication for damages awarded by a court or settled by the insurer. 

Why media liability insurance is important?

Media liability insurance is more important now than ever before, given the litigious environment, implementation of digital technologies, global reach of publications, and riskier strategies to grow audience base.

Litigious environment - However diligent, mistakes happen and society is increasingly litigious. Claims for defamation, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy and negligence are commonplace.

Geographic scope - Digital content is effortlessly accessible, and widespread, with no geographical boundaries. Trends are emerging for riskier material with an emphasis on speed over accuracy.

High court awards - Providing content in the modern world is fraught with danger and open to potentially devastating claims that can destroy reputations and balance sheets.

What additional insurance policies are arranged by media companies?

There are a variety of different business insurance covers available to help offer protection from liability claims. Below we take a look at some additional insurance policies purchased in conjunction with media professional indemnity insurance.

Intellectual property insurance - Your intellectual property is an asset that requires insurance protection, particularly from competitors. The cover can offer financial assistance and legal support to pursue persons that may infringe upon your brand, patents, copyright or trademarks.

Directors and officers' insurance - Will help protect the board and their own assets whilst making decisions on behalf of the business. Directors and board members should consider their personal liabilities when making decisions on behalf of the company.

Cyber insurance - The costs associated with recovering from a malicious attack, employee action, or vendor failure, can be very expensive. Operating in an increasingly digital environment with a reliance on technology, means cyber insurance is becoming increasingly important. 

Office insurance - Allows businesses to combine your public liability, employers' liability, building and contents covers under one office insurance policy. Every business operates differently, however office cover is flexible and can be tailored to meet the needs of a wide variety workplaces.

How much media liability insurance do I need?

It can be difficult to determine how much media liability coverage your company will need. A number of different factors should be considered, including the size of the contracts your contracts, where your clients are located, under which law and jurisdiction you contract under, are you working with contentious materials, and how much coverage have your clients requested you arrange. Talk to your insurance broker about your needs.

How to get a media liability insurance quote?

We recommend you complete our digital onboarding application in the first instance, or arrange a call with us to discuss your needs. Insurance for media companies can be complicated. Media liability products will vary between different insurers, therefore its worth working with a specialist media insurance broker such as 'Get Indemnity' to discuss your options.

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