Insurance doesn’t have “appetite” for consumer protection

Thinking of a career in consumer advocacy?

You might want to think again.

This is a true story of my efforts to get insurance that would protect me against litigious business owners. (Hey, it’s happened before.)

Just before my last insurance policy expired, I realized I couldn’t simply renew. I have a new book coming out about scams, and many of my media outlets changed. My insurance agent asked me to apply online with a company called AXIS Express Solutions.

I filled out the form, fully disclosing my outlets and activities.

Here’s the response I received:

Thank you for submitting the Book Author, Freelance Writing and Blogging insurance application through the AXIS Express Solutions portal.

Unfortunately, your submission does not qualify for the WriteInsure program and coverage will not be offered.

We don’t have an underwriting appetite for writing activities that focus on investigative/expose or consumer complaints. We also don’t offer coverage if there have been any claims or lawsuits related to writing activities.

I’m sorry we couldn’t help you with this WriteInsure submission.

How interesting.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a safe bet. Chances are pretty good that someone, somewhere down the line will try to sue me again. They will not prevail, but the resulting SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) will cost me time and money.

I can certainly understand an underwriter’s reluctance to write a policy.

At the same time, isn’t that what insurance is for — to protect a journalist and consumer advocate from frivolous lawsuits? Is WriteInsure for birdwatchers or mombloggers who only write about “safe” topics?

I’m disappointed by the rejection but not surprised. I’m afraid consumer advocacy is a high-risk profession, and all but uninsurable.

I guess I’ll have to take my chances out there.

(Photo: Breath taking Photo/Flickr)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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