Commercial Umbrella Coverage

Umbrella, or excess liability, has become an increasingly critical component of a well-designed insurance program. A bit of a misnomer, umbrella coverage is designed to respond when the underlying liability limits of your various other policies have been exhausted by a claim.

Traditionally umbrella policies were thought of as only necessary for the most sophisticated and large-scale businesses. Today, we help clients understand the value of excess liability at any stage of their business life cycle. The reason? Umbrella coverage, as a function of premium paid for dollars of protection, is relatively inexpensive. Adding protection in increments of a million dollars through excess liability can result in a total limit that is much more suitable in today’s day and age, where lawsuits and their dollar amounts seem to know no limit.

Personal umbrella liability is also available for the owners and stakeholders of a business through Mason & Mason’s personal lines practice.

Guard against:

  • High-dollar claims for property damage and bodily injury where general liability limits can quickly be exhausted
  • Personal Injury
  • Lawsuits involving accusations of libel or slander (some carriers)
  • International risk

We suggest a full review to assess the risk to your business’s current and future value in comparison to your program’s current limits of liability.

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Your Commercial & Small Business Insurance Team

“They have always been there for us in years past, and we are very confident they will be there for us whenever we need to call on them in the years to come.”


Joe Scanzillo, Scanzillo Corporation

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Internet Defamation – Words Have ...

Social media is a great way build your business’s reputation. Interactivity between merchants and customers has helped many unheard of boutique shops become Internet darlings with maxed out sales. However, fostering social media on your website or participating in social media on another’s blog can be dangerous.

The danger is Internet Defamation.

What is Internet Defamation?
Defamation is when a person makes false statements about your business such as stating that you use discriminatory practices in hiring, or you use dishonest practices dealing with your customers. Making statements like these and putting them on the Internet for anyone and everyone to see is libel. There are important elements for a statement on the Internet to earn the label of a defamatory.

  • The person who published the statement was not the person defamed
  • The statement is a false statement of fact
  • The false statement was understood to be:
    • About the plaintiff and
    • Designed to harm the reputation of the plaintiff
  • Should the plaintiff be a public figure he or she must also prove malice.

Businesses with a presence on the Internet, especially if the Internet site encourages comments and dialogs among visitors need to be especially vigilant monitoring about what other users post on their site. There is a powerful federal law known as Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code (47 USC § 230). This federal law is part of the Communication Decency Act of 1996. This law has precedence over any local or state laws and protects owners of interactive computer service providers from claims of defamation from postings made through reader’s comments and entries of guest bloggers. In other words, this law gives you, as a web host, protection from claims made from hosting information written by third parties.

Then why should a business watch what third parties say on their site? This is a valid question. You want your site and blogs to promote your brand, not distract from that purpose by allowing a “flame war” on your sites.

Allowing an offensive statement to stay on your site — even when written by a third-party — is off-putting to potential clients and customers.

Imagine: your own employee gets baited into a discussion and tries to defend your business. He then engages in Internet Defamation costing you customers and even cash if a lawsuit against you goes to court. Words have power.

Insurance for Internet Defamation
Even though the Section 230 language and the truth – if what you said is true it is not libel – help keep the threat of you being successfully sued for Internet Defamation lower, it is a risk that your insurance advisor can cover through your BOP policy, your General Liability Insurance, or an Umbrella Policy.

Talk with one of our risk specialists to understand your exposures and the best way to cover them with insurance.