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State Farm Cancels Insurance Policy of Investigative Reporter

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State Farm Cancels Insurance Policy of Investigative Reporter

Category: Insurance

Lee van der Voo tells Romenesko readers: I was just informed by State Farm here in Oregon, where Iím an independent investigative journalist that they are dumping my office rental policy because of the kind of journalism I do. I asked whether if I were to write food reviews or puff pieces about bridal gowns they would insure me, and I was told yes, ďjust no controversial journalism.Ē


My landlord requires I have property insurance on the office I use for work, and I went to State Farm a couple weeks ago because I needed a new policy and I do all my other business with them. I own a house and insure it through State Farm, along with the three cars Iíve owned over the last 12 years. They pre-approved the rental policy and I paid for it. But apparently a State Farm underwriter decided today that Iím out, based on a visit to my web site. They say they canít separate the property insurance I need from any potential liability issues that could arise.


The real pickle is this leaves me with two extremely crappy options: I can either withdraw the coverage myself and go without property insurance and risk losing my office, or I can continue coverage for 45 days Ė which State Farm is now obligated to provide me by law Ė but in exchange I will get an official letter of rejection that Iíll have to carry henceforth from one insurer to the next.


I am more than a little worried about what this means for my office security, and for indie journalism. Itís hard enough to get liability coverage Ė a good number of bloggers and freelancers already work without it Ė but if meaningful, probing, and thought-provoking news coverage can clean a freelancer out of property insurance, then investigative journalism just got a little harder.

By: Jim Romenesko.com


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