An American insurance company will be the first insurer to offer UK customers so-called “troll insurance” to protect them against the costs and effects of being bullied online.
Chubb, one of the ten biggest insurers in the US, will offer cover of up to £50,000 ($75,000) for a variety of different scenarios resulting from trolling or bullying on the internet.
Customers will be able to get counselling for the trauma caused by online abuse, as well as being given cash for temporary relocations when they are harassed and threatened.
On top of this the cover will extend to hiring PR consultants to protect customers’ reputations after online smears, and employing cyber security experts when customers are attacked online. Cyber security experts will be used to track down online trolls, and in the case that they have broken the law, work with the police to secure prosecutions.
The company said in a statement on Wednesday that the insurance is primarily intended for use by parents scared about the activities of their kids online. It will however, also cover adults who are sacked or need to take time off work as a result of trolling or online smears.
“We see insurance as helping our clients get back to how they were before the incident occurred – whether it’s an incident that affects their home or as a person,” Tara Parchment, the company’s UK and Ireland Private Clients Manager said, adding “we wanted our policies to reflect the changing nature of the risks that policyholders may face, often against themselves rather than their possessions.”
Online harassment, as well as hacking and cyber security is a big issue right now, and a number of recent high profile incidents, including the TalkTalk and Wetherspoons hacks have brought online security strongly into the public conscience.
The abuse aimed at many British politicians during discussions about the UK’s involvement in airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, has also shed new light on online harassment and abuse. Children are also particularly vulnerable to being bullied online. In September, a survey showed that more than 20% of teenagers in the UK have been on the receiving end of online abuse.
Alongside the introduction of the cyberbullying insurance, Chubb, which has just undertaken a big survey of the needs of customers and brokers, is rolling out increased cover for cars, especially vintage cars, which will now have the same protection as collectibles like wine and fine art.
The new insurance forms will cover all new clients since November this year, and apply to renewals from January 1.
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