Make it Personal; How to protect your media profile

The recent boom in social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram has given celebrities, sports people, media professionals and businesses unprecedented access to the general public (and indeed vice-versa!).


Unfortunately this level and ease of access can also expose users to a range of issues including defamation, negligence and more. A quick search reveals such cases are all too common, including one case where an Australian student was ordered to pay £57,000 in damages for comments made towards his music teacher.

Anyone who communicates to the public could face claims for defamation, breach of confidence or even breach of intellectual property rights.

Specialist insurance to protect individuals in the public eye

As an Independent Chartered Insurance Broker Choix partner Wilby Ltd can arrange personal media profile liability insurance specially designed to protect you and your reputation which includes a number of features that you may not find in a standard policy:

  • defence costs and damages – we will pay your legal defence costs which could be substantial, as well as any damages
  • defamation – you will be covered for actual or alleged libel, slander and malicious falsehood
  • breach of confidence – we cover you for breach of confidence and infringement of any right to privacy
  • crisis containment cover – you will be covered for crisis containment costs, to a limit of £25,000, to rectify a crisis which if left unmanaged would cause adverse or negative publicity of or media attention to you
  • negligence cover – including negligent transmission of a virus or negligence with regard to security leaks of personal, confidential information
  • broad civil liability cover – if it is not excluded, it is covered
  • geographical limits – we can provide full protection by extending the geographical limits and jurisdiction of claims to a worldwide basis.

This product is suitable for a range of high-profile individuals, including:

  • sportspeople
  • actors/actresses
  • musicians
  • TV personalities
  • comedians
  • lecturers
  • freelance writers.

If you wish to arrange personal media profile liability insurance then get in contact with the Choix team to arrange a policy today.


Victoria Pritchard – Media Consultant





Tackling the social media minefield head on

With social media now firmly in the mainstream and new channels for social media emerging constantly, the question for those choosing to build their online following and directly engage with the people who matter is less “Should I use social media?” but more “How should I use social media?”.


In 2015, 66% of UK adults have a Facebook page¹, one quarter of UK Internet users are on Twitter² and Instagram has overtaken Twitter in global user numbers. At the same time, the power and influence of traditional media channels is dwindling. Why wait for a news outlet to report something when you can find it out straight from the horse’s mouth on Twitter?

All of these trends make social media a fantastic platform for sportspeople and celebrities to engage directly with the people who matter, whether this is their fan base, their peers or potential business contacts.

Whilst everyone’s familiar with Twitter and Facebook, platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine all offer a variety of features which are worth considering.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right platforms:

  • Be realistic about the amount of time you can spend and rather than spread yourself too thinly across many, do one or two really well.
  • Think about your objectives for social media. If you want to communicate with as wide a fan base as possible, choose Facebook. If you want to raise your profile with specific business targets, use LinkedIn.
  • Will you be a broadcaster or an engager? There’s no right or wrong way, but those with the most impressive social media followings usually engage with their followers and peers, commenting on and sharing what’s relevant. You may choose to simply broadcast certain aspects of your life and not actively engage. That’s fine but you may be missing a trick by doing so.
  • How much of your life do you want to share? Just your professional life or an insight into your personal life too? Again, there’s no right or wrong, but think carefully about whether you want fans to see your home or your family.
  • Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine allow for easy sharing of photos and videos and can by synced with Twitter and Facebook. If you’re someone who believes a picture speaks a thousand words, these are the channels for you.
  • With Snapchat, there’s no comments thread, so no opportunity to engage but that rules out trolling.

An opportune moment to mention some of the dangers of social media.

As leading social media and marketing communications company, Aletho Communications , points out, it’s incredibly important to apply a figurative filter on what you post. Think carefully about what you write and any picture that you post. If you wouldn’t want someone to overhear your comment in a pub, don’t put it on social media. If you think your comment could be misconstrued or cause offence, don’t post it. Aletho Communications has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands

There are plenty of salutary lessons from those who’ve paid professionally, financially and often both for errors of judgement on social media. Just Google Rio Ferdinand, Joel Monaghan, Mario Balotelli and more recently Robert Hutch.

For further guidance on how to make the most of social media, including the setting of realistic objectives, account set-up and ongoing management, contact Choix.

Victoria Pritchard – Media Consultant




1 Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014, Ofcom

² eMarketer 2014

Fitness; Fit for a Purpose, Fit for the Wallet

Are you the victim of an unfair gym contract?


As a professional Athlete, a large part of my time is in the gym working on various aspects of my fitness so that when I play tournaments I am in the best condition I can be to compete at the highest level.

I am often asked for advice on what is the best gym or what should they work on. Every person is different, not only in their physical make up, but in terms of what they are looking to achieve, time they want to spend in the gym and last but not least the costs of membership a person wants to pay or can afford. The choice is not straightforward and depends very much on personal circumstances.

December is notoriously the quietest month for gym attendances with works drinks and parties taking precedence during the Festive and New Year period. With all the over indulgence and gluttony, for many comes the January remorse. New Year’s resolutions are made with the best intentions of a ‘fresh start’ in 2015. Top of the list for many tends be a fitter and healthier ‘you’. The first port of call will be a return to the gym or joining a new gym. But what happens when the wave of enthusiasm for the gym wanes?

What have you actually been coaxed into signing up to? A 12, 24 or 36 month minimum term contract perhaps? The overly-enthusiastic sales member desperate to meet his lofty January sales target following a tumble weed year end persuades you that the longer the contract the cheaper the monthly rate will be. You do the maths and work out that you can afford the £50 a month membership, what’s £600 a year to look like Daniel Craig or Nicole Scherzinger on your next beach holiday? But then what happens if your circumstances change?

Fortunately for you the Office of Fair Trading has been fighting your corner for the last few years. The successful outcome of the case in the High Court against a gym management firm; OFT v Ashbourne Management Services Limited and others in 2011 put into the spotlight some of the most unfair terms in gym membership contracts. The case found that minimum membership periods of two and three years were unfair and that one year contracts were unfair if the member could not terminate the agreement for reasons such as redundancy, illness or injury. The court found that members should not have to pay membership fees immediately and in full if they terminated their contract prior to the minimum membership period. The court held such a requirement was unfair and amounted to a penalty.

Following the OFT’s study four of the biggest gym chains include Bannatyne Fitness, David Lloyd, Fitness First and Virgin Active have take steps to ensure there is greater transparency from the outset when a customer signs up, regarding length of membership periods and an individual’s cancellation rights. The general theme across the gyms was that there would be more options for the type of membership they could sign up for. The market pressure from No-Contract, No-Frills gyms have forced the more expensive gyms to be more attractive to the consumer. Gyms such as Pure gym which offer a no joining fee, rolling contract at more than half the price of the lavish gyms and Yorkshire budget gym chain Xercise4less have really put their stamp on the marketplace.In addition, Sports Direct plans a chain of cut-price gyms charging monthly membership fees of just £5 and said it would “revolutionise the market” by opening 200 sites charging a fraction of rivals’ prices. There will be a £10 joining fee.

So you have done your research, been round the gym, had the sales pitch, now you are sat down in a side office, direct debit details in hand, ready to take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle, what should you be asking?

The advice on the OFT website is to make sure you can confidently answer the following 4 questions and appreciate the consequences:-

  1. How long is the contract?
  2. Can you cancel the contract early if your circumstances change or if you change your mind?
  3. Will the contract be automatically extended after the initial membership period?
  4. Do you have the time to go to the gym and can you afford the monthly payments?

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our team if you think you are subject to unfair terms in a contract.

Madeline Perry – Sports Consultant




Game, Set and Batch of Injuries; Too many matches in a congested schedule for Tennis’ elite

The Hopman Cup, one of Australia’s key tournaments leading up to the Australian Open is suffering an injury jinx with Matt Ebden in danger of becoming the fifth casualty with the mixed-teams tournament having had four players withdraw before the start of the event, with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, rising Australian star Nick Kyrgios, American Jack Sock and Radek Stepanek struck down by injury.


This has sparked the debate once more that players are putting their bodies on the line repeatedly without adequate rest and rehabilitation. The combination of an ever dwindling off season, general overtraining and the increasing exposure to the unforgiving concrete courts, that dominate the circuit in the modern era, are the main causes of players breaking down.

Britain’s very own Laura Robson is a case in point as she battles to recover from the wrist injury which despite not playing for over twelve months, an operation and rehabilitation has still to commit to playing again having withdrawn from the Australian Open and the GB Federation Cup Team and says she will play in February. Similarly with Juan Martin Del Potro who is set to make his return to competition at the Sydney International, beginning on Monday, after almost a year on the sidelines with a wrist injury.

Victoria Azarenka missed much of the 2014 WTA season through various injuries and hasn’t played since the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan in September.

Less than a week into 2015, Robson has already joined top-20 players Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Marin Cilic, and Novak Djorkovic on the treatment table, Jack Sock is currently recovering from hip surgery, whilst Rafael Nadal still struggles to find his form after four months out with a wrist injury and appendix operation.

It is almost certain that before the first Grand Slam of the year, there will be numerous players who withdraw or cannot play, whilst when the event starts, due to the sweltering conditions there will be player retirements and withdrawals through exhaustion or injury.

With the Australian Open about to begin on Monday 19th January the majority of players will have allowed themselves three weeks off in December in preparation for the Australian summer. Tennis has no off-season like many other professional sports. So for a lot of the players they will still have been grinding it out in tournaments until the end of November.

A combination of the pressure to satisfy tournament sponsors, appease TV and Media schedules, win prize money and secure ranking points is compelling players to compete too regularly and in turn they are putting themselves at a far greater risk of injury.

Top 10 players must commit to specific WTA tournaments, exclusive of the Grand Slams and the year-end WTA Championships, which include the four Premier Mandatory tournaments, four of the Premier 5’s and at least two 700-level tournaments. A player has the option of skipping one of the Premier 5s annually, but must enter the one she skipped in the next year. It is not hard to grasp what a gruelling schedule that becomes in practice for Tennis’ elite.

The lure of money and keeping sponsors happy puts pressure on the majority of players to play 20 or more tournaments in a calendar year..

The system is set up to make money at tournaments; there is a conflict between players being pushed to make it for themselves and for others and having enough time to rest.  It’s an important problem which has not been addressed properly.

The common view of Sports orthopaedic and medical specialists is that the surge in injury-related retirements during play is the result in players entering too many tournaments. The problem is not that they play too much; it’s the way the schedule is set up. Players frequently go through long stints, six weeks or more without a break. Often the tournament play, coupled with the rigors of travel and practicing every day can be too much and most players could benefit from some time off.

The ATP and WTA claim that they have addressed the problem.  Both have education programmes emphasising the need for planning a schedule and preparation.   The ATP provides full-time trainers for which demand has markedly increased, as do the WTA for the women, though there are many more personal trainers on the men’s tour.

There are the added issues that players hit the ball so hard, the rackets have had such an effect and there is now so much “strength in depth” in both the men’s and women’s games. In addition, matches are tougher on the body and there are few easy ones any more. Players are learning about the balance of preparation, prevention and recovery and rehab. The ATP and WTA would argue that stats don’t show there are more injuries than before; it’s that several high-profile players have had injuries.  This catches people’s attention.

The WTA stats over the last five years indicate a doubling of on-site withdrawals.  More injuries have been caused by changes in the modern game.  There is a need to rationalise the calendar better around the Grand Slams, with constant changes of surface, culture and of time zones influence the body a lot more than is realised.

In addition players are playing a lot more tennis and it’s a 12 – month sport now.  The technology is such that they are more prone to injuries and the majority of injuries seem to be over-use problems.

Similarly, the elite junior players from pre-puberty to late teens seem to pick up the same kind of injuries as the elite groups.  There are often changes in the dominant shoulders, with a reduced range of movement.  There can be an asymmetry problem and postural changes.

That’s a warning for the professional tours if they allow undue pressure on players to compete.  It is a difficult dilemma, but if an authority sets up a new system which penalises a player for not turning up, you have to wonder whether it is better.

The pressure to satisfy tournament sponsors, TV and Media schedules, as well as, to win prize money and ranking points is making players compete too much and run a far greater risk of getting injured. Will the time come when the players start taking the administrators to court?

The ATP/WTA need to take responsibility and put players’ health high on the agenda.   Otherwise the situation might give way to litigation, as we have seen in football.

There could be specialists who would come forward and say “This guy should rest”.  You can speculate how long it will be before a player who feels forced into playing might turn round and sue.  It might sound farfetched, but you can imagine it happening!

If you require any legal advice surrounding litigation issues please do not hesitate to contact the Choix team

Adrian Rattenbury – Sports Consultant