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Insurer: 'We Do Cover Blogs, Sort Of'

After all the recent to-do over legal malpractice insurer Chubb's refusal to cover blogging, Chubb has finally issued a big "Nevermind." Problem is, its nevermind is about as clear as a double espresso. New Jersey Law Journal reporter Lisa Brennan first broke the story March 20, writing that a New Jersey law firm put its blogging plans on hold after Chubb told it that blogging was not a risk it would undertake. At the time, Brennan's calls to Chubb for comment were not returned. Yesterday, as Kevin O'Keefe reported at his lexBlog Blog, Chubb issued a statement responding to "confusing media reports about the company's willingness to insure blogs." It went on to say, "Chubb does insure this new form of communication -- and will continue to do so within select parameters."

Those "select parameters" are as confusing as the original confusion. As Chubb's statement explains it, the company "has found that law firm blogs fall into two general classes: informational and advisory." The first type "presents information or offers a forum for discussing issues in a neutral, unbiased way. ... In an advisory blog, however, a law firm offers advice." The statement says that Chubb will evaluate each blog "on its own merits," but suggests that the latter type of blog may pose an uninsurable level of risk.

The problem, as Eric Turkewitz observes at New York Personal Injury Law Blog, is that "there are an unlimited number of shades of gray within this constantly morphing space." He goes on:

"If I decide to rip into Chubb for trying to draw a line that doesn't really exist, does that mean I am not discussing it in a neutral and unbiased way and therefore the blog is now outside their coverage? If I mock them for failing to have counsel review this new policy and I advise them to get it reviewed ... is my posting now advisory instead of informational? If I strongly suggest it was foolish to do this, are my comments advisory or informational?"

Blogs, by their very nature, are rarely, if ever, purely informational. By Chubb's analysis, if they are not informational, they must be advisory, and if they are advisory, they are risky. Doesn't that bring us full circle back to the original proposition? OK, maybe Chubb will insure some blogs, but most, by its own analysis, will be deemed to be risky business.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 5, 2007 at 05:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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