“Electronic aggression,” sometimes called “cyber-bullying,” is an excluded offense under newly revised personal umbrella policy forms being filed countrywide by The American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS).
AAIS is filing a revision of forms and endorsements provided under its personal umbrella program (PUP), a ready-made umbrella program available for use by any insurer.
The AAIS PUP provides a base form, endorsement options, state amendatory endorsements, and a sample manual, declarations, and schedule of underlying insurance for writing an umbrella policy over an AAIS-based homeowners policy and any underlying auto, watercraft, or other personal liability policy. The latest filings carry an effective date of Oct. 1, 2011 in most states.
The revised base form includes several provisions designed to limit an umbrella carrier’s exposure.
Among other things, the base form introduces an exclusion of coverage for bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury arising out of “electronic aggression.” The exclusion applies to any damage or injury arising from, but not limited to, harassment or bullying committed by electronic means or through an electronic forum.
AAIS is introducing the exclusion in response to reports in recent years of suicides by teens allegedly subjected to cyber-bullying. AAIS chose to use the term “electronic aggression” because it is used by the U.S. Centers for Disease control, an authority in human health, to describe a new form of behavior linked to physical injury.
New provisions in the PUP base form also include an aggregate limit on coverage that is subject to an aggregate limit in underlying insurance. This avoids having the umbrella policy respond on a per occurrence basis when underlying coverage for an insured activity, such as home day care, is capped by an aggregate limit.
In addition, the revised PUP forms include 23 endorsement options that, among other things, address business and farm activities, and provide exclusions for designated premises, drivers, vehicles, watercraft, and more. Among the program’s 11 new multistate endorsements are the following:
- An option to provide “drop down” coverage for bodily injury or property damage (BI/PD) arising from the use of a non-owned recreational vehicle;
- An option to provide excess auto liability coverage for use of certain vehicles outside the U.S. and Canada; and
- Two options for excluding coverage for claims arising from canines. One endorsement excludes coverage for BI/PD arising from direct physical contact with a canine, except to the extent that the BI/PD is covered by underlying insurance. The other excludes the coverage without exception.
The AAIS personal umbrella program also includes a sample manual, policy declarations, and schedule of underlying insurance. These resources are not filed, but can be used by insurers as the basis for proprietary resources they file with regulators, if required.
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