Marion Dakers at The Telegraph: An insurance company has started offering the first protection from cyber-bullying, claiming to cover the cost of professional help, time off work and even relocation for those who fall prey to online harassment.
Chubb Insurance said wealthy policy holders who buy its personal insurance will be covered for up to £50,000, which could be used to pay for counselling, lost income if they are off work for a week or more, and help from online experts for victims of cyber-bullying and their families.
While the policy is targeted at worried parents, adults who suffer harassment online will also be covered, for example if an internet bullying campaign leads to the victim losing their job or their wrongful arrest.
They may also be able to hire a reputation management team to clean up any online smears, or pay for a digital forensic specialist to trace the abuse.
Chubb said the changes were made in response to “extensive research” about the type of protection its wealthy customers wanted. The company, founded in 1882, sold £612m-worth of insurance in the UK last year, covering high net worth individuals as well as commercial policies.
One in five teenagers has been the subject of cyber-bullying, according to a recent study by Vodafone. A United Nations report on online abuse aimed at women also highlighted the scale of the problem and called on governments to censor the internet, only permitting providers who “supervise content and its dissemination”.
In the UK, while there is no crime of cyber-bullying, there have been numerous convictions for online harassment, including jail sentences last year for two Twitter users who barraged Caroline Criado-Perez with abuse over her campaign to keep famous women on British banknotes.
Some US insurers have started to offer homeowner insurance that would help the customer if someone in their house is sued for online harassment. However, Chubb’s insurance to support the victims, rather than alleged perpetrators, of cyber-bullying is thought to be the first of its kind.
The insurance industry has been racing to catch up with the risks presented by the online world. While more than 80pc of large businesses suffered a breach of their online systems last year, less than 10pc have any form of cyber insurance, according to the Association of British Insurers.
“Insurers have been monitoring the growth of cyber risk for some time, and recent high profile events mean the general public is becoming much more aware of how they could be affected by hacking, data theft or cyber bullying. Insurers are innovating all the time to offer people and businesses products to help them manage new and existing risks,” said Matt Cullen, the ABI’s head of strategy.
The Cabinet Office has been working with insurers to try and encourage more firms to protect their online businesses, although it has stopped short of giving financial backing, as it has done with the Pool Re vehicle to ensure terrorism insurance is always available.
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