You Can Now Buy Online Harassment Insurance

As platforms like Facebook and Twitter struggle with safety, an insurance company is selling a policy to compensate.

A U.S.-based insurance company announced a new policy this week that specifically covers the damage of online abuse.

Chubb Insurance told the Telegraph that its personal cyberbullying insurance would cover counseling fees, lost income from taking off of work, and the cost of hiring an online reputation management firm to help remove smears online.

Though the policy is aimed at parents whose children may become victims of cyberbullying, it will also cover adults who are targets of online harassment, which it defines as “three or more acts by the same person or group to harass, threaten or intimidate a customer.”

Once considered harmless trolling, online harassment is increasingly recognized for its serious offline consequences. A string of teenage suicides has been linked to cyberbullying, and victims of online harassment have suffered real-world consequences such as being targets of false police reports, trouble getting work, depression, and a chilling effect on speech.

Platforms have admitted that they have not done enough to stop the problem. Twitter has increased its support staff in addition to releasing new reporting and blocking tools. Facebook created a “bullying prevention hub.” Despite these efforts (which some argue are too small), it looks like online harassment is still at least prevalent enough, or scary enough, for an insurance company to see it as a business opportunity.

Source: Fast Company, Sarah Kessler
Photo: The Supreme Court may have just made it harder to prosecute online threats, but there’s still much that can be done to fight harassment online. (Flickr user Jean-Pierre Dalbéra)

Sarah Kessler is a reporter at Fast Company, where she writes about technology companies and the people they impact.