Business Pursuits Exclusion in Georgia

Georgia law defines a "business pursuit" as "a usual commercial or mercantile activity customarily engaged in as a means of livelihood and typically involving some independence of judgment and power of decision." Brown v. Peninsular Fire Ins. Co. 320 S.E.2d 208, 209 (Ga. App. 1984). CMLP has identified no Georgia cases interpreting this test in the context of online publishing out of the home (or elsewhere).

As a general matter, Georgia courts have excluded from the category of business pursuits activities that are not the insured's primary occupation, even if engaged in for profit. See for example Brown (above) and Southern Guaranty Insurance Co. v. Duncan, 206 S.E.2d 672 (Ga. App. 1974). Other courts have indicated that an activity will not be considered a business pursuit if the primary motivation is not financial gain. See for example Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Collins, 222 S.E.2d 828 (Ga. App. 1975).

Therefore, if you live in Georgia, you have a good argument that your online publishing activities are not a business pursuit if you carry them out in your spare time or your primary motivation is not financial gain, even if you make money from those activities.

Note that specific language in a policy might lead a court to a result different from the overall state trend.


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