Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can your Condominium Association or HOA claim be impacted by Social Media sites?

The short answer to the question of whether your postings on Social Media can impact your association's claim is: YES.

Let's take the scenario of your association suing its insurance company for breach of the insurance policy. It is fairly standard policy these days for the insurance company or its attorney to conduct an investigation of the claimants as a part of its evaluation of the value of the claim being made. Anything posted on websites that can be viewed by the public such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. is fair game for an investigator to review.

In addition to individual directors and managers having all these Social Media accounts, more and more associations are setting up Social Media pages for their communities. These sites can be a wonderful way to create additional communication channels to foster greater community unity but some thought needs to be given to what is viewable and by whom.

If you haven't checked your privacy settings on these accounts in a while, it's time to do so especially with a claim pending. Make sure you know the people you accept into your circle or do some due diligence on them if you are networking.

What are investigators looking for? Usually anything to prove you are not a solid upstanding citizen. A "Social Intelligence" report prepared for these investigators will look for rascist remarks, pictures or comments concerning drug and alcohol use, displays of weapons or other illegal activity.

Think no one could be so silly as to make those comments or post those kinds of pictures? Think again and then scroll through your Newsfeed!

Before you say/post/transmit anyting in a digital (i.e. permanent) form or anything that can be converted into a digital form, please consider the consequences. The bottom line is that if there is information you would not want heard in open court on your Social Media sites, take them down while your case is pending or better yet, don't put them up there in the first place!

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