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Vol. 8 - Issue 5
May 31, 2019


Encore: Randy Spencer’s Open Mic

Selfie Stick Injury: Insurer Writes Policy Covering Cell Phone Mishaps







Sometimes it seems as if there’s insurance for everything.  Policies exist for a golfer making a hole-in-one, a wedding catastrophe and, so they say, Liberace’s hands were insured.  When new bad things happen, or threaten, the insurance industry always seems to be right there with products designed to spread the risk.  A few cases of Ebola not long ago -- boom, welcome Ebola insurance.  Planes might fall out of the sky at midnight on January 1, 2000?  Fear not.  Here’s your Y2K policy.  And as new technologies are developed, insurers respond with policies designed to protect against mishaps.  Not long after drones began showing up under Christmas trees, drone insurance rained down.  Pot is legal in some places.  Many are doobie-ous that that can be done safely.  The insurance industry rolled out marijuana policies.     

So, on one hand, it comes as no surprise that an insurer is offering a policy designed to cover the risks of using a cell phone.  But wait, cell phones have been around for a very long time you say.  Nothing bad happens from using them.  Who needs insurance?  What’s the biggest risk of using a cell phone?  Losing it?  Dropping it?   

Maybe that used to be the case – back in the day when cell phones had just one purpose.  But as cell phones do more and more things, they are out of our possession for less and less time.  Did you see that new app that makes really good guacamole?  The more we use cell phones, the greater the risk of unintended consequences.  Seeing an opportunity, enter CellRisk with its “Cellular Technology Legal Liability and First Party Policy.” 

I got my hands on CellRisk’s policy form.  It offers coverage for many types of risks associated with using a cell phone – a few of which I never even thought of.  No doubt some of the coverages are likely available on existing policies, such as homeowners and health.  But even if that’s the case, CellRisk touts in its promotional materials that its policy may offer higher limits than these others.  Not to mention that, according to CellRisk, an insurer that issued a more traditional policy may balk at paying a claim with which it is unfamiliar.             
Consider these coverages available from CellRisk under its Cellular Technology Legal Liability and First Party Policy:

Bodily Injury To Others Caused By a Selfie Stick.  The insurer will defend and pay up to $250,000 for bodily injury to others caused by an insured’s use of a selfie stick.  I guess those things can be dangerous.  Think of it as “Put that thing down before you poke someone’s eye out” insurance.   

Bodily Injury to the Insured While Taking a Selfie.  It seems crazy, but the news is full of stories about people injured, even killed, while taking a selfie.  The policy pays medical expenses up to $500,000, and a death benefit of $1,000,000 (less any medical expenses paid), if an insured is injured or killed while taking a picture of themselves (being injured or killed).

Humiliation.  The insurer will pay $100,000 to an insured who, on account of inattention while staring at their cell phone, falls into a fountain or walks into a wall, and a video of it appears on the internet and goes viral.  The policy contains a complex explanation of what it means to “go viral.”  Rife for dispute I might add.          
Bodily Injury to Others While Using a Cell Phone.  The insurer will defend and pay up to $250,000 for bodily injury to others caused by an insured’s inattention while staring at their cell phone.  No more worries about knocking over an elderly and infirm person while texting. 

Quiet Car Injury.  The insurer will pay up to $250,000 for injuries sustained by an insured, in an altercation, on account of the insured’s use of a cell phone on a train’s Quiet Car.         

That’s my time. I’m Randy Spencer. Contact Randy Spencer at

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