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How the #metoo movement affects the insurance industry

Most employees in New York have sat through presentations or videos regarding sexual harassment on the job. The presentation were either dry or uncomfortable, and once completed, the employee often signed a paper to confirm that he or she had received training before returning to business as usual. Those days are gone, at least for industries that hope to maintain Employment Practices Liability from the insurance industry.

Anyone who has seen the news from the entertainment world knows that the #metoo movement arose from the revelations that some famous and powerful men had been sexually harassing and abusing women for decades. Many of these women kept silent for fear of losing their careers since some of the men included influential directors, producers and A-list actors. The explosion of harassment allegations resulted in a deluge of claims against EPL policies, and the insurance companies are responding with demands for change.

No longer will it suffice for an industry or company in New York or elsewhere to submit a form with a checked box as proof that employees have completed anti-harassment and discrimination training. Companies that apply for EPL insurance will have to update their policies and training, and the insurers will oversee that training. Additionally, insurers will require that management more closely protect employees against retaliation for reporting harassment on the job.

In some industries where sexual harassment has recently proved to be prevalent, particularly those in which men typically carry more prestige than women, the insurance industry is raising premiums. However, many insurers have opted to deny EPL policies for production companies, for example, because of the many accusations against men in such positions. The denial of these policies may prove a source of dispute, and those insurers may benefit from the counsel of an attorney experienced in insurance defense.

Source: Ted Knutson, "After #MeToo, Insurers Are Forcing More Execs Into Training, But Raising Premiums Selectively", Ted Knutson, Feb. 22, 2018

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