Online dating services have become extremely popular among American adults in recent years, and the number of services and “specialty” apps or websites has grown exponentially. Eighty-seven percent of single male adults and 82 percent of single female adults believe that online dating is socially acceptable.
- 11% of American adults have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.
While many dating sites have good track records with making successful matches, negative experiences are also common.
- 54% of online daters have felt that someone seriously misrepresented himself or herself in an online profile.
- 28% of online daters have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a harassing or uncomforting way.
(Source: Pew Research Center 2013)
Going out on a date with a complete stranger – despite assurances made by the dating service – is always a risky endeavor. And there is another scary problem lurking for anyone using an online dating service – and the dating service itself: data breaches.
Any company that has an online presence is susceptible to hacks, data breaches and other types of cyber crimes. Dating services that collect, store and use personal information for countless clients highlight the need for cyber liability insurance to protect businesses from financial ruin.
It’s hard to turn on the TV without hearing about data breaches at some of the nation’s largest companies – including large online dating services. Whether you are a multibillion dollar company or a sole proprietor of a small dating service, you can be susceptible to a data breach that can cost you millions or force you out of business.
If you operate an online dating service, learning about and purchasing customized cyber liability insurance should top your to-do list.
Cyber liability refers to a range of potential liability exposures that can occur while using, storing or transferring data electronically for business purposes. The most common types of cyber threats that businesses face include the following:
- Failure to protect personal or corporate information leading to unauthorized access of customer information and network or server interruptions
- Loss of income due to a breach or hack
- Personal injury claims (defamation, libel) stemming from your website, blog or social media accounts
- Business interruption and loss of income for a client or partner because of a hacker, security breach or power outage that affects your computer system, network or website
- Unknowing transmission of viruses or malware by email or the Internet
- Inadvertent copyright or trademark infringement
- Intellectual property claims
- Breach of privacy claims
Any business that handles electronic data – especially personally identifiable information about its customers – is particularly susceptible to cyber threats. If you are sued because of a data breach or other cyber crime, your business is responsible for paying legal fees, court-ordered judgments or settlements, and other court costs. You may also incur numerous other costs related to the breach, including the following:
- Notifying your customers
- Providing credit monitoring services to customers at your expense
- Public relations costs to restore your image
While insurance companies have not yet developed standard forms for cyber liability insurance – many don’t even call it by the same name – some typical coverage areas are available to protect businesses from the most common and costly cyber liability claims.
- Coverage for legal defense, settlements and judgments
- Coverage for public relations expenses
- First-party coverage for damaged equipment, lost information and digital assets (immediate customer and business needs)
- Third-party coverage for customers, partners or others if you are sued for a data breach that was caused by your actions or negligence
Cyber liability coverage can be added to a business owners policy (BOP) or commercial general liability policy. It can also be a customized, standalone solution. Work with your independent insurance agent to make sure it addresses the exposures you have.
Can cyber or Internet liability insurance protect you from bodily injury claims? What if a client is sexually assaulted on a date that was facilitated by your service? You may be able to purchase an endorsement for contingent bodily injury coverage. Many cyber or Internet liability policies specifically exclude this type of coverage, but you may be able to purchase an endorsement that specifically covers it. It is invaluable protection if you are sued because of the actions of someone who you set up on a date with another client.
Professional Liability Insurance for Dating Services
Dating services that are not online but perhaps provide personal counseling and matchmaking services may also have professional liability exposures. You may be sued if a client perceives that you have been negligent or made an error in the services you provide, and have consequently caused them harm.
Professional liability insurance protects your dating service from claims of professional negligence. It covers professionals, their partners, their employees and the partnership or corporation for damage caused by providing or failing to provide professional services.
Most professional liability policies cover judgments, settlements and defense costs. Even if the claims are found to be false, defense costs alone can be financially devastating for individuals or firms of all sizes.
There is no standard policy language for professional liability policies, and every type of professional or professional services firm has different types of exposures that need to be considered. You will need to work closely with your insurance agent to make sure your policy fits your needs.
Dating Services Need Tailored Insurance Solutions
Dating services can be very simple or complex, depending on your specific business model. Many of the threats you face are emerging, evolving threats that likely require you to update your business insurance policies regularly. An experienced and knowledgeable independent insurance agent can get to know you and help advise you on the types of business insurance you need – from the standard to the unique.
Recognizing that the safety of your customers and their personal information is not only important to them but also to the long-term success of your business, you need to take appropriate actions to minimize the potential for harmful cyber events. And you need business insurance to help you repair damage and rebuild your reputation if the worst happens. Contact an agent in the Trusted Choice® network to learn more about business insurance for dating services.