Social Media Brings Growing Opportunities and Liability

Are you a fan of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn? If you are one of the millions who interact on these social networks every day, do you ever consider the risks as you tweet, message, share and “like†?

A new white paper from the I.I.I. observes that like any other new technology, social media brings enormous opportunities and benefits.

Yet as businesses and individuals navigate this shifting online risk landscape, they face a range of evolving social media related liabilities including privacy, security, intellectual property and employment practices liability.

The proliferation of social media use comes amid growing concerns over cyber security. Businesses that store confidential customer and client information online are exposed to increasing liabilities and costs as a result of cyber attacks and data breaches.

A massive data breach at Sony Corp’s online game networks in April 2011 resulted in the theft of more than 100 million online accounts, for example. Just months later in October 2011 Sony’s Playstation Network and other online entertainment services were hit in a second attack that compromised 93,000 user accounts.

Coming in the wake of the 2010 Wikileaks breaches of classified data, these high profile data breach incidents have served to increase both public and government scrutiny of cyber security practices.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued guidance urging publicly traded companies to disclose significant instances of cyber risks and events. Description of relevant insurance coverage was included in the SEC’s list of appropriate disclosures.

While traditional insurance policies typically have not handled these emerging risks, in recent years limited coverage under traditional policies has become available.

But as reliance on traditional policies is not enough, specialist social media and cyber insurance policies have been developed by insurers to help businesses and individuals protect themselves from an ever-evolving range of risks.

To learn more about this emerging risk area, check out the I.I.I. white paper “Social Media, Liability and Insurance.†

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