Libel insurance - can you afford to be without
In today's increasingly litigious world writers
face an unprecedented battery of legal threats. But it's
not just the extra threats facing all professionals which
writers need to be worried about. For example, the internet
has elevated the exposure of more work to a global level.
Also, many Publishers are now insisting that originators
enter into contractswhich effectively guarantee the
efficacy of their material. Gone are the days when the buck
always stopped with the Publisher - you have never been
more likely to be sued!
With the NUJ freelance office
receiving increasing numbers of calls from worried members
wanting to protect themselves from these new threats, John
Toner contacted me to ask for help!
discovered that there was no purpose designed insurance
available, that only a very few Insurers could offer any
cover, and none was designed for writers or broadcasters.
He had also found that some insurers required policyholders
to contribute excessive sums if they needed to claim, some
excluded key aspects of cover (e.g. for Libel and Slander),
and most were simply too expensive.
Insurance already provides specialist household, equipment,
and business insurance (including professional indemnity
and public liability) to many NUJ photographer members,
John thought that we were ideally placed to come up with
something similar for writers and
John's request was simple: Could
Imaging Insurance design a suitable policy specifically for
NUJ freelance writer members? "No problem", I said, hoping
that things would be quite straightforward. I am
embarrassed to admit that this was more than 3 years ago,
and it was not until October this year that "Writer" was
Without going into all the gory
details, suffice to say that persuading any insurer to
provide the necessary cover at a reasonable price turned
out to be rather a challenge. The process even involved a
leading insurer pulling out at the last minute when all had
been agreed with the Freelance Industrial Council! But
earlier this year Lloyds Syndicate 2526 A.G. Dore and
Others came up trumps.
"Writer" can provide freelance
members involved in writing and broadcasting purpose
designed Professional Indemnity and Public Liability
Insurance for as little as £251.25 p.a., payable by monthly
instalments if you wish.
"Writer" is exclusively
available to NUJ members and is designed for professional
writers and broadcasters including authors, journalists,
reporters, technical writers, script writers, and
copywriters. The policy is comprehensive and covers Libel
and Slander, Infringement of Copyright, Breach of
Confidentiality, Negligence, and Liability to the Public.
The cover applies to work that you undertake as an
individual and also as part of a joint project.
is automatically included for documents which are
accidentally lost or damaged. Cover is also included for
withdrawal expenses if published material must be withdrawn
from the market and destroyed for reasons covered by the
policy. Legal costs alone can rapidly run into thousands of
pounds, so defence costs and expenses for legal cases
covered by the policy are included as are costs and
expenses in representing you at Official
Cover applies in whatever medium your
material is published or broadcast, including books, local
and national newspapers, magazines, specialist journals,
private publications, websites, TV, radio, video and film.
Subject to EU Law, you are insured wherever in the world
your work is published or
"Writer" is designed to be
tailored to your individual requirements with a choice of
levels of cover for the whole policy, and also for
individual sections. You can even choose how much you wish
to contribute to any claim.
While "Writer" cannot
cover you for problems you already know about, the cover
does apply for work you have produced since your NUJ
membership started. If you already hold professional
indemnity insurance "Writer" will cover you from the first
date from which you have been continuously insured, if this
is before the date you joined the NUJ.
provides you with cover after you have stopped producing
new work, for example if you retire or are unable to
continue working due to ill health. The standard cover
continues for 12 months after the end of the policy year in
which you stop producing new material, but you can choose
to extend this period if you wish.
information, a quote and taking out a policy couldn't be
easier. All you need to do is to is to contact Imaging
Insurance by phone on 01277 243016 [changed Nov 2011] or via our website the Imaging
Insurance website (either direct or by using the link
from the NUJ Freelance site www.londonfreelance.org) and we
will go through the application with you by phone. That
means that there's no need for you to try to complete any
tedious application forms!
As John Toner says, "If
you have any involvement in freelance writing or
broadcasting we strongly recommend that you consider taking
out Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.
If you don't have cover you really could be risking
everything. With the costs of making a mistake potentially
ruinous and the likelihood of being sued increasing all the
time, everyone needs this type of insurance. With premiums
for similar, but non-specialist insurance, exceeding £1,000
"Writer" really does represent excellent value for