Sunday, May 18, 2008

Insurance for bloggers?

Discussion about insurance for bloggers has come up within another group I'm associated with, and it got me thinking about food bloggers and if anyone has been required to get liability or errors and omission insurance to take freelance writing jobs. Here is one blog that generated discussion about insurance requirements for bloggers.

In the same vein, what about adding disclaimer statements on food sites re: food allergies or anything else that might stimulate someone to bring legal action? I'm curious to know if any food bloggers have added such disclaimers or felt the need to get insurance for their own personal blogging.

Here are some other related articles:

Online Publishing Risks Create Need for Libel Insurance

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Legal Guide for Bloggers

This Post was written by Andrea from Andrea's Recipes.


Allergy Mom said...

Since my blog is geared toward food allergies, I do have the following disclaimer in the sidebar:

"This site is a source for recipes and tips for cooking and living with specific food allergies, and should not be construed as medical advice. Remember to read the label of every food purchase, including the labels of ingredients listed here, to verify they are safe for you. Manufacturers can and do change ingredients, shared equipment, or facilities without notice."

I don't have a legal background, so I don't know if this disclaimer would help or hurt me in case of a lawsuit! Simply as a "food allergy mom" I wouldn't feel comfortable NOT having that information prominently displayed. I would never ever want to be even indirectly responsible for a potentially fatal allergic reaction, because someone saw an ingredient used on my blog and assumed it was safe. Libby

decobabe said...

Unless we undertake to give medical advice, I can't believe any of us is more liable for what we write than cookbooks, magazines or newspapers, and their recipes and articles are not hedged about with warnings.
In the end, people are responsible for knowing their own sensitivities and seeking medical advice to pinpoint allergies and then to avoid what is not good for them.
It will be a very dull world indeed the day that each od us must use only the ingredients to which no one is sensitive!
This sounds like an attempt to sell insurance. If you are already bearing the cost of a website and internet services, why should you insure against others' neglect of their own wellbeing?

kitchenmage said...


Let me preface by saying, I've been writing professionally for over a decade, have written books for a number of publishers; some so small you've never heard of them (on one end) and houses like Microsoft Press (on the other). Never had E&O insurance because it is ungodly expensive.

Some publishers I have worked with want writers to have it. Every single one has been content with a contract clause that indicated that E&O were *my* issue, not theirs, rather than insurance. I know people who freelance for arms of the NY Times (waves at Kevin) and I don't believe they have to have E&O coverage.

Allergy mom, I like your disclaimer. My guess is that would cover you for most things. In fact, does anyone have a copy of Shauna's book handy? Did she have a disclaimer of some sort? My guess is that she doesn't have E&O because it is stupidly spendy.

I'm on a book deadline and don't have time to look at the links beyond the first one, but if I was looking for advice, I'd read the EFF. The chrisbrogan link is great for the heads up but for actual info that made a difference financially, etc. I like the EFF.

I also expect Elise to come wandering in here soon and have additional thoughts. grin


ps - When you are all done wrapping your heads around E&O, then consider the actual business model you want to implement...sole proprietorship. LLC, corporation...? I'm thinking this decision comes LONG before you start buying esoteric insurance. (We incorporated a number of years ago, so I am a CEO and that brings a whole other layer of headaches.)

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I have been thinking about this lately. I have an additional concern because I am a licensed medical professional. Although I don't blog in that capacity, I do make reference to it from time to time, and may give my opinion on the healthfulness (or not) of certain foods.

Personally, I can't imagine suing anyone over something I read on blog, but this is a crazy world, and it never hurts to CYA. I don't have any sort of disclaimer now, but I'm thinking I should. But do you then have to take steps to insure that people actually read it?

Any food bloggers who hold professional health-related licenses, I'd be interested to hear your take on this.

Owen said...

Well - try taking a look at the 'disclaimer' in most of the medical books out there. They all just say - hey if you have anything real see a doctor (that's paraphrasing) and leave it at that.

I don't want to be part of or live in a world where it is necessary to disclaim things and hedge things and so on - so I don't. So far so good.

I guess my point is that if medical pros don't feel the need to do all; that much then food bloggers REALLY don't need to do this.

I think allergy mom has the whole idea right - she's doing what she is comfortable with and in an open and honest way.

As a professional writer and editor (making ALL of my living that way for all that time) for over 25 years I have NEVER had insurance and actually would never take a job that required it - just another sign of lack of professionalism on their part - and that includes a publisher - if they want it and won't pay for it themselves then they are essentially hiding behind the writer rather than backing them - not a good sign.

Survey$Center said...

Hillary will HATE u guys!

Allergy Mom said...

kitchenmage & owen,
thanks so much for the feedback. I did a lot of thinking and reworked the wording several times when I first started my blog, so I'm glad it makes sense.
Btw, who is Shawna, and what book did she write? (I'm still pretty new.)
Thanks, Libby

Alanna said...

Shauna is Shauna James from Gluten-free Girl whose book of the same name came out awhile back.

Janet said...

I used to write for a newspaper whose editors were paranoid about food safety issues, but they were protecting the newspaper, not me, the freelancer.

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