No Coverage? That’s When You Learn the Value of Your Insurance Reps.
by Anne Walsh, Aon Affinity Travel Practice Claim Manager
Most insurance policies, including the Aon Affinity Travel Professional Liability Insurance policy, exclude coverage for copyright infringement. While coverage is available through the optional Advertising Injury Liability Endorsement, unfortunately not everyone opts to add this protection.
If a claim is made alleging copyright infringement and one of our travel agents or tour operators does not have the necessary endorsement, at Aon Affinity Travel Practice, we don’t simply say, “Sorry,” and hang up. That’s when you learn whether or not your insurance people are worth the money you’re paying them.
Recently, our claims department received a claim submitted by a travel agent insured through our professional liability program. An attorney representing a well-known photographer had contacted our insured alleging their agency had used four of his client’s images without permission, resulting in a copyright infringement claim. The attorney’s letter went on to demand $27,000 to satisfy the claim.
When reviewing the client’s coverage, I noted they had not elected to purchase the optional Advertising Injury Liability Endorsement. Sadly, there was no coverage under the policy. I called the insured to discuss the situation. They admitted they had used the photographer’s work on their website, but questioned if the attorney’s letter was legitimate. Having seen similar claims from the same law office, I advised the owner of the agency that it was real.
Using my knowledge of the travel industry, insurance sector and past history regarding similar copyright infringement claims, I walked the owner through a few different options on how to respond to the attorney. Armed with a full understanding of how to proceed, our insured drafted a response letter to the attorney and forwarded it to me to review and provide additional suggestions.
The end result was the insured was able to amicably resolve the matter with the attorney for significantly less than demanded. During a follow-up call with the owner of the travel agency, they expressed how extremely thankful they were for our assistance. They also stated that for peace of mind, they would be adding our Advertising Injury Liability Endorsement to their policy.