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E-conomy, E-mail, E-coverage?

As companies expand the use of the Internet as an everyday business tool, they open themselves up to additional risks, including online copyright infringements, computer viruses, Web site business interruptions, and more. These problems leave companies open for potentially devastating financial setbacks.

Consequently, insurance companies are now offering policies that provide coverage for many Internet-related exposures. Intended to meet the needs of companies that have some Internet exposures (not dot-coms), the policies are expected to be available in more than 30 states this year. Most cover the following risks:

· Internet-related and advertising injury coverage protection for liabilities arising out of a computer network, including the Internet

· Worldwide coverage extending to the entire Web site, and including Web site advertising for others via banner ads and links

· Electronic vandalism for data damaged by hackers or viruses

· Virus damage and Web site vandalism that cover data and equipment damaged by viruses

· Coverage for business income and extra expense losses due to the alteration of a policyholder’s Web site

· Coverage for loss of income or extra expenses incurred because of an interruption in Internet service, Web hosting, or e-mail access

· Good faith advertising expense that covers advertising costs incurred to regain customer faith after a covered loss

Industry experts predict coverage for Internet-related exposures will be nationwide by the end of the year, but they caution policy buyers to ask questions and make sure they understand the policy before purchasing it. As with all insurance purchases, it is best to discuss coverage needs in detail with an insurance agent.