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Commercial General Liability: Personal and Advertising Injury Coverage

Winter 2022 Issue

What does Commercial Personal and Advertising Injury cover? What types of insureds need Personal and Advertising Injury coverage? How is it different from the Personal Injury coverage under the homeowner or farm owner programs?

All commercial coverage forms, other than the GL100 and GL600, provide for Personal and Advertising Injury coverage automatically. Rule 8.21.1 in the CGL manual allows for the addition of Personal and Advertising Injury when using the GL100 or GL600 as an optional coverage.

Coverage P

Personal and Advertising Injury is known as Coverage P in the schedule of liability coverage when shown on the declarations. Personal and Advertising Injury is also offered under the Home-Based Business coverage as an option. You cannot purchase just personal or just advertising injury coverage. The coverage is one limit for both personal and advertising injury combined. The limit for each occurrence for Coverage P will be the same limit as the Coverage L limit and any losses incurred will roll into the General Aggregate limit.

Coverage P is different from the Personal Injury offered under the homeowner or farm owner programs in that it only applies when personal or advertising injury “arises out of an offense committed in the course of ‘your’ business.” Individuals still need personal injury coverage that is offered as part of their homeowner or farm owner coverage form for personal injury loss that may occur outside of their business operations.

Personal Injury

Personal Injury coverage applies to injury resulting from oral or written publication of material that slanders, libels or disparages another’s goods, products or services or that violates a person’s right of privacy. It also covers such offenses as false arrest, malicious prosecution or wrongful entry, eviction or invasion of privacy committed by the owner, landlord or lessor.

Examples of Personal and Advertising Injury

Examples of losses under Personal Injury may be an accusation of the insured slandering someone on Facebook, detaining a suspected shoplifter at an insured’s retail store who later claims false arrest, or a claim of wrongfully evicting someone from their apartment or rental dwelling.

Advertising Injury applies to injury resulting from oral or written publication that slanders, libels or disparages someone’s goods, products or services or that violates a person’s right of privacy. In addition, it also applies to misappropriation of advertising ideas or style of doing business and copyright, title, slogan, trademark or trade name infringement.

An example may be someone making and selling craft items that use a logo or team mascot without getting written permission or licensing from the owner of the logo first. We often think of advertising injury losses as those that may come from radio, newspaper or TV ads. Today, insureds often use an online presence for their business including Facebook, a website, a blog or other online formats. These formats may all lead to personal or advertising injury claims. Most commercial insureds need Personal and Advertising Injury as part of their overall insurance protection.

Questions for the Underwriter

It will be important for the underwriter to read the coverage form and understand exactly what this coverage provides and any limitations and exclusions to the coverage.

For instance, if the insured knowingly makes a false statement slandering someone, then coverage does not apply. There are several instances where coverage would be denied based on what is shown in the coverage form.

The underwriter will then need to determine what the insured is doing and if they operate their business fully understanding how to avoid personal and advertising injury claims. Some questions to ask are:

  1. Does the insured make something, sell something or offer space for rent?
  2. Do they have an online presence such as on Facebook, their own website or do they advertise by other means?
  3. Does the insured know and understand how the law impacts their business operations?
  4. Does the insured have a written rental agreement in place when renting space to someone else?
  5. Does the insured work with a lawyer who reviews their written statements, logos and contract language?

These are all concerns when reviewing the insured’s business and determining how to avoid losses of this type. We suggest asking about these exposures and how the insured protects against loss as part of the loss control inspection process. Knowing that the insured has done their part in avoiding loss can help to put the underwriter at ease.

Your WRC underwriting consultants can help you navigate this coverage and look for ways to help avoid loss. Please reach out whenever you have questions or are looking for additional guidance.