Liability insurance important for SA social media users

Simon Colman, Executive Head: Digital Distribution at SHA Specialist Underwriters

In South Africa alone, 16 million people use Facebook, 7.7 million are on Twitter and LinkedIn has 6.1 million users, according to the Ornico SA Social Media Landscape report for 2018. By simply using these platforms, all these millions of users unknowingly expose themselves to possible law suits, which could cost them hundreds of thousands of rands in legal defence costs or pay-outs if found guilty.

This is according to Simon Colman, Executive Head: Digital Distribution at SHA Specialist Underwriters, who says statistics show that 85% of Facebook users access the platform via their mobile phone, up 77% from 2016. “Increased usage of social media platforms on mobile phones has even further increased the ease of with which people can post to any social media platform. It simply takes one, usually unintentionally, offensive post to spark an outrage on social media platforms, which can lead to major defamation or invasion of privacy legal actions.”

In order to make social media insurance cover accessible to all South Africans, even those who don’t currently have an insurance broker, SHA has partnered with Surestart Online Financial Services to make cover of R500 000 readily available for just R120 a year.

The policy (underwritten by Santam Ltd) covers the costs of the legal fees associated with defending oneself in court following an allegation of defamation or invasion of privacy while using any form of social media, he says. “If the policyholder is found liable by the court, the policy also pays the damages and if there are no prospects of a successful defence, the policy may pay out a settlement to the aggrieved third party without going to court.”

Colman explains that earlier this year, SHA launched the liability product called the Social Liability Insurance Policy (Slip-uP) through its traditional broker database, but  the product is now available via the Surestart Online financial services website (www.slipup.co.za) who act as the digital broker intermediary on behalf of SHA/Santam.

The policy will not cover the individual should they have published racial slurs on social media, he says. “SHA has specifically excluded defamatory or offensive comments relating to race, culture or religion as the underwriting manager believes that it would be against public policy to entertain such claims.”

He states that there are numerous examples where people have found themselves in hot water in social media communities for saying something they believed to be fairly innocuous, which was taken up in the wrong way. “It’s safe to say that any social media user could make a statement that is not meant to cause any harm but that may lead to public outrage, which can have devastating consequences for the individual. People just don’t realise that they are practically walking around with a digital publishing company in their pockets, without applying the same levels of sensibilities that a professional publisher or journalist would. To make matters worse, just retweeting or sharing someone else’s post on social media can put the individual in the chain of liability.”

“While it is vital for all parents to educate their children on the importance of being respectful and careful when posting on social media, slip ups do happen. As a result, the policy automatically extends to cover the family as a whole. Children are often not aware of the real impact their digital footprint can have but this does not mean the parents aren’t in the firing line in court” he adds.”

In summary, the policy is a legal defence cover, ensuring that the accused party has access to proper legal counsel.  Should the policyholder be found guilty of defamation or invading the privacy of a third party on social media, the policy covers the award made by the court. It is also then the responsibility of the individual to remove the offensive content from the internet or platform,” he explains.

Those interested in obtaining the cover should chat to their broker about adding the cover to their existing personal lines policies. If they don’t have a broker they can visit the Slip-up website to find out more.



Latest


16 Feb 2021
Transition management services partnership announced

Standard Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chicago-headquartered financial services company Northern Trust, to partner on the…

Transition management services partnership announced

Standard Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chicago-headquartered financial services company Northern Trust, to partner on the delivery of transition management services across Southern Africa. Under the partnership, Standard Bank’s clients will gain access to Northern Trust’s full suite of transition management services. Transition Management is a…

16 Feb 2021
Tax free wealth creation with property funds

By Liliane Barnard, CEO and Portfolio Manager at Metope Investment Managers, and Aimee Glisson, Director: Operations, Performance & Risk at…

Tax free wealth creation with property funds

By Liliane Barnard, CEO and Portfolio Manager at Metope Investment Managers, and Aimee Glisson, Director: Operations, Performance & Risk at Metope Investment Managers The tax year, along with the deadline for an investor’s maximum R36 000 annual tax-free savings account contribution, comes to an end on the 28 February 2021. Investors…

16 Feb 2021
Why multi-manager investing is popular

Multi-management has been around for over two decades. This investment management approach is popular among many investors because it promises…

Why multi-manager investing is popular

Multi-management has been around for over two decades. This investment management approach is popular among many investors because it promises to deliver smoother, more consistent investment returns, despite cyclical turbulence of financial markets. Given last year’s drastic swings in financial markets and continued uncertainty on how the Covid pandemic will…

16 Feb 2021
Momentum Health Solutions unpacks COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan

Momentum Health Solutions announced its COVID-19 vaccine roll-out strategy and how it intends to support both its members, as well…

Momentum Health Solutions unpacks COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan

Momentum Health Solutions announced its COVID-19 vaccine roll-out strategy and how it intends to support both its members, as well as the uncovered population, in being vaccinated. As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, a third wave is imminent, should the vaccination rollout not commence soon. Speaking at a recent…


Top stories


10 Sep 2020
How too much choice is draining your brain

By: Paul Nixon, head of technical marketing and behavioural finance at Momentum Investments From the words of Francis Scott Key…

How too much choice is draining your brain

By: Paul Nixon, head of technical marketing and behavioural finance at Momentum Investments From the words of Francis Scott Key that dubbed America “The land of the free”, which stuck, to the unforgettable Mel Gibson monologue where an army of painted Scots were willing to trade their lives for the…

13 Apr 2020
Investors should keep a reasonable investment allocation outside of SA

MoneyMarketing asked Roland Gräbe, the head of Tailored Fund Portfolios at Old Mutual Wealth, about offshore investments in the COVID-19…

Investors should keep a reasonable investment allocation outside of SA

MoneyMarketing asked Roland Gräbe, the head of Tailored Fund Portfolios at Old Mutual Wealth, about offshore investments in the COVID-19 environment and what form a global market recovery will take.

13 Apr 2020
SA’s Proposed Covid-19 Disaster Management Tax Relief

The National Treasury recently issued the draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill (Bill) for public comment by 15 April. The…

SA’s Proposed Covid-19 Disaster Management Tax Relief

The National Treasury recently issued the draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill (Bill) for public comment by 15 April. The draft Bill, together with its explanatory memorandum, provides clarity with regards the tax relief measures President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 23 March.

10 Apr 2020
When the going gets tough, farmers are on familiar territory

South African farmers are old hands at adapting to uncertain and daunting circumstances, and our local agricultural industry has proved…

When the going gets tough, farmers are on familiar territory

South African farmers are old hands at adapting to uncertain and daunting circumstances, and our local agricultural industry has proved to be most enterprising in acclimatising to challenges as they arise.


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za