Insurance Assistance

Preferred Insurance Program

INN has established relationships with multiple leading providers of insurance for media and nonprofit organizations, leveraging the size of our network to obtain preferred policies for our members and allied journalism organizations.

Lawsuits can and do happen in the practice of investigative journalism, regardless of how baseless the claims may be. Even if a case is eventually found in favor of a nonprofit publisher, the legal fees can be exorbitant and sometimes crippling. So INN strongly recommends that all independent news organizations carry insurance and helps members secure coverage.

The program is open to all INN members and members of partner networks, including the Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION Publishers) and The Media Consortium.

INN’s how-to guide to Buying Media Insurance is available to INN members; email to get a copy. See also:   Buying media insurance - webinar

Lines of coverage:

The INN program includes three types of coverage that are highly recommended for independent news organizations. Organizations may participate in the program for any or all three:

  • Media liability, which protects companies and individuals against claims made by clients for inadequate work or negligent actions, often covering both court costs and any settlements up to the policy limit.
  • Directors and officers, which provides necessary coverage to your officers and board who are assuming personal liabilities in order to serve your organization.
  • General liability, which protects against injuries or accidents that may occur on your company’s property.

Benefits of joining the program:

  • The preferred policies are through an A-rated carrier, with the broadest coverage and policy specifics customized specifically for independent, nonprofit, online newsrooms.
  • Our preferred policies has an extremely broad definition of “media incident,” which includes but is not limited to cover:
    • infringement of copyright, false attribution of authorship, failure to attribute authorship, failure to recognize creative moral rights pursuant to a written agreement, passing off, plagiarism, piracy or misappropriation of ideas under implied contract, infringement or dilution of trademark, trade name, trade dress, libel, slander, trade liberl, product disparagement or any other form of defamation or harm to the character, feelings or reputation of any person or entity, invasion of or interference with the right of privacy, publicity or private occupancy, wrongful entry or eviction, trespass, harassment or stalking.
  • While premiums are largely determined by individual applications, the INN program leverages the size of our network to improve access and potentially lower cost.
  • You will have access to INN tipsheets and training to help understand the media insurance market and fill out an individual application that can minimize your risk and premiums.
  • The program can minimize the time and uncertainty of shopping on the insurance market, as you are working with a program and broker familiar with the needs of independent news outlets. That said, each organization’s circumstances vary and INN encourages all members to fully explore any option to find insurance that fits your publication.
  • Access. New publications sometimes have difficulty establishing broker or insurer relationships because they do not have a track record on which an insurer can base risk assessments. Your INN membership -- and the journalism standards that membership represents -- can help news startups get an initial policy.

About Heffernan Insurance Brokers:

  • INN’s preferred insurance broker, Heffernan Insurance Brokers is one of largest brokers for nonprofits throughout United States. They work both through a media specialist wholesaler and  directly with the insurance carriers to secure our preferred policies for you quickly and easily.
  • Heffernan is  experienced working with media organizations and has been recommended by INN members.
  • Heffernan also specializes in claims handling. In the event of a claim, the firm has in-house counsel for initial consultations before proceeding with lawsuit filing or defense. You should then choose your own attorney to handle your case and ensure your organization’s interests are represented.


To learn more or join the program, contact Justin Williams and ask about the INN preferred program. When you do, you’ll be asked if you are an INN member or to name your allied organization. Note: It is important for us to know your organization in order to received continued philanthropic support for this insurance program.

Justin Williams, CAWC, Vice President, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, (650) 842-5222


See also:   Buying media insurance - webinar