May 30, 2018

#MeToo insurance? Protection offered for accused Australian musicians

The ramifications of Me Too are being felt in an extremely un-rock ’n’ roll way — insurance. But what happens when Australia’s defamation laws stand in the way of community safety and ultimately, justice?

Sophie Benjamin — Former <em>Crikey</em> engagement editor

Sophie Benjamin

Former Crikey engagement editor

Sydney musician Brendan Sloan recently received a renewal notice for his musical instrument policy with Marsh Advantage Insurance. At the bottom of the covering letter, Marsh advised him that he could add additional cover to his policy, as below:

Additional & Optional Cover - Sexual Molestation Defence Endorsement

We are now able to provide an endorsement to include cover towards the Legal Fees and Defence costs that may be incurred in the event of an allegation of sexual molestation made against you. Unless this option has been selected, it will be excluded from the Policy. Please contact us via email or telephone should you wish to obtain a quote to add this option to your policy.

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3 thoughts on “#MeToo insurance? Protection offered for accused Australian musicians

  1. BeenAround

    You have touched on 2 legal social evils here. The first is the use of threats of defamation proceedings as a weapon to suppress what is often something like the truth. The second, although you do not mention it directly, is ubiquitous provision in insurance policies prohibiting the insured from making any admissions or concessions, even about patent liability. And that is the root of the majority of litigation. The plaintiff must commence proceedings to force some sort of resolution and the resolution will almost always be ‘without admission’ which is often an unsatisfactory personal and social outcome.

  2. Robert Pullan

    *Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved. But also, let’s face it, to protect Crikey. The principle of open justice is systematically violated by defamation law, which operates largely in secret and always has since Sydney editors were jailed in the 1820s–jailings long forgotten. The first secret that defamation law protects is its own, how it tears black holes in truth to the advantage of powerful, privileged pricks. Nobody knows the cost. Nobody is accountable even in the digital age. Can’t we do better than this?

  3. AR

    In general with lawfare, the process is the punishment or fear thereof, most often when the attacker is richer, more powerful and/or government.

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