Broadcasters Liability Insurance

Broadcasters Liability Insurance

Investopedia / Laura Porter

What is Broadcasters Liability Insurance

Broadcasters liability insurance protects radio and television companies from claims of wrongdoing. This does not protect against defamation on the internet unless you're publishing relevant articles.

BREAKING DOWN Broadcasters Liability Insurance

Broadcasters liability insurance protects individuals and businesses within the broadcasting industry from the high expenses attached to defending oneself and the company in case of a lawsuit, as well as paying any judgment the court orders if the plaintiff should win. This insurance is a kind of errors and omissions insurance.

Based on the work they do as reporters, investigators, and commentators, radio and television broadcasters are subject to a higher than average number of liability risks, including claims of privacy invasion, accusations of defamation and product disparagement, and putting their subjects under undue emotional stress. The industry’s need to operate at a fast pace as well as provide explosive, attention-grabbing stories and buzz can mean that broadcasters are more prone to error. Furthermore, there are a significant number of government regulations imposed by agencies like the Federal Communications Commission that, if broken, can incur pricey penalties. A commonplace example of this is the use of obscene language on air. Broadcasters may also be subject to punishments and lawsuits related to claims of plagiarism, breaches of confidentiality, unauthorized use of trademarked or copyrighted material, or inaccurate reportage.

In addition to broadcasters liability insurance, broadcasters will need other insurance products such as property insurance, which covers the expensive equipment the business needs for operation, including antennae, towers, vans, helicopters, and cameras.

Examples of Broadcasters Liability Insurance

There are a host of situations where broadcasters liability insurance covers broadcasters. One hypothetical scenario is a radio station that runs a contest offering the winner tickets to a sold-out show sponsored by the radio station at a local venue. During the event, the winning participant dies, and the radio station is sued by the family for wrongful death. In this case, broadcasters liability insurance helps cover court costs and any damages awarded to the victim’s family.

Another situation where a company wants to have broadcasters liability insurance involves accusations of defamation. If, for instance, a news broadcaster, while on air, incorrectly claimed that a person running for office had been investigated and fired for sexual harassment, the subject of the story could sue, claiming harm to their reputation as well as emotional distress. If the jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded punitive damages, the broadcaster’s liability insurance would either cover or greatly decrease the costs accrued during the trial as well as damages.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Federal Communications Commission. "Obscene, Indecent, and Profane Broadcasts." Accessed Nov. 2, 2020.