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Cyber Bullying Addressed in Updated AAIS Personal Umbrella Forms

Posted on 07 Jun 11

"Electronic aggression," sometimes called "cyber-bullying," is an excluded offense under newly revised personal umbrella policy forms being filed countrywide by a national property/casualty advisory organization.

The American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) is filing a comprehensive 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 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.