It’s time-proven advice: Never underestimate the power of an apology. This is true even in a legal context, and especially during a corporate crisis—an event with the potential to materially harm a company’s reputation or bottom line due to alleged negligence, malfeasance or other liability-driven factors. But even when an apology is a sound crisis and liability management tool, insurance and legal defense considerations can complicate its use. Policyholders are well-advised to proceed with care—and should neither automatically rule out an apology to relevant stakeholders and victims, nor issue apologies without fulsome consideration of the potential insurance and legal defense implications.
A corporate crisis is an event that has the potential to cause material harm to a company’s reputation or bottom line. Typically, these crises have a potential liability element, whether because of negligence, oversight, inaction, malfeasance, or mishandling by the company or others associated with the company. Though prevention strategies are helpful, corporate crises of varying magnitude are more inevitable than avoidable. Knowing that, companies are well advised to think through their crisis response strategies before crises materialize.