Aon, AIG and Willis Group all announced new insurance products last month to help companies deal with reputational risk. The products are not directly competitive, as each targets a different market and takes a different approach. But clearly the spate of offerings reflects a growing concern about risks to a company's reputation. Laurie Fraser, global markets leisure practice leader at Willis, suggests the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made companies more aware of the huge damage that can be caused by a "sensationalist press."

The spread of the Internet and social media have increased the speed at which reputations can be damaged, says Randy Nornes, executive vice president of Aon Risk Solutions. When a problem occurred "20 years ago, you might get 30 to 45 days to handle managing your brand. Now, it's four to five days at best, and it could be less time than that," he says, adding that "these kinds of things can happen to anybody."

Willis' HRP 2.0 (for hotel reputational protection), focuses on the leisure industry, which Willis' Fraser says lives and dies by reputation. A recent survey found the two biggest reputational risks cited by hotel executives were food poisoning incidents and reports of a death in a hotel, she says. The product offers close to $30 million to cover the costs of crisis management and lost revenue from a reputation-damaging incident.

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