Internet Accountability: Cyberbullying Claims Could Fall under Your Homeowner’s Policy

The Internet has been in our homes since the 90’s and bullies have been around even longer. Put these two ingredients together and that could make for an unwanted recipe with your homeowner’s insurance. In recent years there has been an increase in awareness regarding online harassment, also known as “cyberbullying”. It is a way to denigrate people while remaining private and avoiding accountability for actions. People’s homeowner’s insurance has come under fire for this activity and now carriers are assessing whether to cover these activities or not. Some policies are excluding it entirely while others are allowing for amendatory endorsements or covering the exposure through umbrella policies.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “the percentage of students age 12-18 who reported being bullied at school has increased 24.5 percent since 2003, with the latest data samples from 2007.” Also an article in Best’s Review Monthly Insurance News Magazine states data collected by the Pew Internet and American Life Project puts 95 percent of teens using the internet. The article also indicates that the same study found 41 percent of teens who use social media say they have experienced at least one negative outcome from their online exchanges. If you have teens that enjoy social media connections, this could open up potential liability that may fall under homeowner’s insurance.

Insurance carriers are researching what they will cover and what they will not. With most cyberbullying coming from underage users, homeowner’s policies could allow provisions for this coverage. Some policies may be non-restricted and allow for some coverage of electronic aggression when the offender is a minor through either an amendatory endorsement or an umbrella policy. However, companies may require parental control and monitoring to reduce the risk of negligent supervision.

Coverage may also be available through a semi-restricted policy which further limits coverage through modifications to the definitions and exclusions in existing homeowners endorsements or personal umbrellas. Coverage would also be limited to minors only.

Restricted policies would be the least permissive and items under the cyberbullying definition may be removed to exclude coverage for various aspects of this electronic aggression. Restricted policies would also cover minors only.

As you can see, internet interactions can possibly become a liability with the increase in social media activity by young people. Should you have any questions about your specific homeowner’s policy, and whether your policy covers this potential liability, your advisors here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency are only a phone call away. We look forward to hearing from you!


Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown at COSI This Weekend!

Our Go! Weekend Pick this week will have you traveling to COSI, the Center of Science and Industry, which is located in Ohio’s Capital city. There is a big adventure in store if you decide to make your way to Columbus this weekend. The Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown Exhibit will provide plenty of family fun!

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For those familiar with COSI, they opened their doors in 1964, and have been growing ever since. They started out in downtown Columbus at the old Memorial Hall and in 1999 moved to a new 320,000 square foot building at 333 West Broad Street in Columbus. As their website says, the center “inspires the scientists, dreamers, and innovators of tomorrow.” COSI is an interactive science center where children, teens and adults alike can learn while having loads of fun! They were also named America’s #1 science center for families by Parents Magazine.

The Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown Exhibit is an Indiana Jones type cavernous exhibit with lots of different terrain that definitely transports you to another world. It feels like you actually leave COSI and are transported to a remote island. This interactive exhibit provides a map and you embark on a scavenger hunt to find the treasure of knowledge. The science of logic and reason are primarily used on this activity. This is something the whole family to enjoy, because the logic challenges start out very simple and grow in their difficulty. This is perfect for parents to get involved in helping to solve challenges alongside their kids! This exhibit is open during COSI’s normal operating hours.

There is something for everyone at COSI and there is just too much list! Just go to their website for directions, operating hours, exhibits, live shows, demos, Extreme Screen Theater, and much more.

COSI’s mission has held true since its founding in 1964, and is posted on their website:

“COSI provides an exciting and informative atmosphere for those of all ages to discover more about our environment, or accomplishments, our heritage, and ourselves. We motivate a desire toward a better understanding of science, industry, health and history through involvement in exhibits, demonstrations, and a variety of educational activities and experiences. COSI is for the enrichment of the individual and for a more rewarding life on our planet, Earth.”

We here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge, hope this weekend is a fun filled adventure for you and your family where ever the road takes you!