The new domain name is available only to members of the global insurance industry
Another new top-level domain (TLD) name for the global insurance industry arrived this month with the official launch of “.insurance” on June 15, 2016 at 00:00:00. The new “.Insurance” domain name level is managed by fTLD Registry, an organization of banks, insurance companies and financial services trade associations from around the world founded in 2011. Founding members of fTLD Registry include Allstate, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, and the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America.
“Similar to the launch of .BANK, we’re excited to provide eligible and verified members of the financial services community with new options to boost their online presence, and provide a more secure experience for their customers,” said Craig Schwartz, managing director of fTLD. “The global insurance community is vast, with millions of companies, agents, and brokers participating. With .BANK and now .INSURANCE, we’re providing great value to the financial services community, as well as helping to build trust with their customers.”
Who may apply for a “.insurance” TLD?
Unlike “.agency” which debuted back in 2014, this latest Internet web extension is exclusively the insurance industry. As such, only licensed agents/agencies, brokers/brokerages or other equivalents, trade associations, select service providers and government regulators are eligible. The following eligibility requirements were taken directly from fTLD’s registration application:
The following businesses or organizations are initially eligible to register domain names in .INSURANCE:
- 3.1 Insurance companies regulated by a government authority (e.g., licensed, approved, certified);
- 3.2 Licensed insurance agents/agencies, brokers/brokerages or other equivalents (e.g., intermediaries, representatives) regulated by a government authority;
- 3.3 Associations whose members are primarily comprised of entities or individuals identified above in 3.1 or 3.2;
- 3.4 Groups of associations whose members are primarily comprised of associations identified above in 3.3;
- 3.5 Service providers that are principally owned by or predominantly supporting regulated entities identified above in 3.1 or 3.2 (if approved by the Registry Operator Board of Directors); and
- 3.6 Government regulators of insurance companies, agents/agencies, brokers/brokerages or other equivalents (e.g., intermediaries, representatives) or organizations whose members are primarily comprised of such government regulators (if approved by the Registry Operator Board of Directors).
How many applications have been submitted so far?
According to fTLD Registry Services, during the “sunrise” registration period, 234 applications were submitted for various .insurance domain names. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the “sunrise’ registration period gives companies with registered trademarks the exclusive right to acquire their trademark as the prefix to the .Insurance domain, so that the final .Insurance domain name appears as “[Trademark].Insurance”.
As of June 20, 2016, however, the organization says over 700 applications for .Insurance domain names have been submitted during the first few days of general availability.
.Insurance is only one of over 1500 new domain suffixes coming to the internet
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit organization that manages the internet’s domain name system. It is currently accepting applications for general Top Level Domains (gTLDs) for whatever string anyone with a business plan and an $185,000 application fee proposed. If approved, an applicant then owns the Top Level Domain which it can use like a private .com. So far, ICANN has received over 1900 proposed gTLDs from all over the world in various languages.
In 2014, Google alone applied for 101 gTLDs while Amazon applied for 76. Another commercial venture set up just to acquire gTLDs called Donuts, LLC, raised $100 million in financing to apply for over 300 gTLDs. In return, ICANN awarded Donuts over 105 separate gTLDs such as .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles, and .venture. It is also the entity that acquired the .Agency domain suffix.
Unlike other TLDs like “.Agency”, however, fTLD Registry says that all .INSURANCE domain names will be open only to verified members of the global insurance community. All applicants will have to meet enhanced security requirements including mandatory verification and re-verification of an applicants eligibility. The TLD will also boast strong encryption, email authentication and FTLD monitors for compliance with other security measures.
Should insurance agencies and insurance companies file for .Insurance domain name?
Many insurance agencies with awkward or non-descriptive domain names may wish to consider adding additional .Insurance domain names to their website internet addresses. Such a purchase may offer cheap insurance to protect an insurance agency’s trade name.
Insurance companies also would seemingly be wise to add their trademarked name or trade name to .Agency. These companies may not wish to see something synonymous with the generic name of their agency plant hijacked. Mutual insurance companies, may remember in our previous article about the debut of “.Agency” that Northwestern Mutual applied with ICANN for the exclusive use of the gTLD “.Mutual”. Apparently, Northwestern Mutual’s application for this gTLD passed muster simply because no other mutual company objected.
The .Insurance gTLD could become popular since it focused on a specific and highly focused industry. With the following example, one can better see how the new gTLDs might work. For example, an insurance company like MAPFRE or Safety, now has the .com domain so that their web addresses read as MAPFREinsurance.com or Safetyinsurance.com. Using the new web name extension, for their domain name along with their original .com domain name would allow an individual (or insured) to simply to type in Mapfre.insurance or Safety.insurance in the browser’s URL section bringing them directly to the company’s site.
The same would go for an independent agency. An independent insurance agency now has the option to either use “.agency” or “.insurance”. The result is that an agency like Mohawk Insurance could register for both giving them the addresses www.Mohawk.insurance and www.Mohawk.agency in addition to their current one of Mohawkinsurance.com.
Where to start:
The first step for a potential applicant to review fTLD’s Registrant Eligibility Policy available here. All domain names registered in the .INSURANCE gTLD must comply with it.
According to fTLD, domain registration fees for .INSURANCE vary from registrar to registrar. fTLD says that it is only responsible for setting the fee it charges to registrars. There are currently 17 approved registrars for the .INSURANCE domain all who are charged the same fee by fTLD. View the approved list of .INSURANCE registrars here.