British firm now offering 'troll insurance'

A high-end insurer is now offering policies for those concerned that they may become victims of cyberbullying.

Business Wire
Chubb Insurance, an insurance firm in the United Kingdom, is the first to offer a plan for those concerned that they may become victims of online abuse.

A high-end insurance company in the United Kingdom is now offering a “troll insurance” policy designed to cover expenses that result from being cyberbullied, as well as offering counseling and teams of online sleuths to track down anonymous trolls and bring them to justice.

While Chubb Insurance in Britain is not the first to offer troll-related insurance – AIG’s Lexington Insurance Company holds that distinction with a policy protecting parents of would-be trolls from lawsuits – this policy is the first to offer policies to the victims, the Financial Times reports.

Chubb's clients may claim up to $76,000 in expenses for counseling, moving home from college, and work leave. In extreme cases the policies also offer the service of a team to repair an online reputation, and a cyber team equipped to track down anonymous trolls.

"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, Chubb's UK and Ireland private clients manager, told the Telegraph.

"So we still help to restore homes, cars and belongings that have suffered physical harm or damage," she said. "But increasingly it's about the person and how they cope."

A 2014 Lexington Innovation Report concluded that, “At least 25 percent of teenagers with tech access report being cyberbullied — and that number is growing. With this rise in cyberbullying has come a significant increase in cyberbullying cases in federal and state courts.”

Sameer Hinduja, professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center says in an interview, “What our research is showing with kids and young adults is that while cyberbullying isn’t increasing but it isn’t decreasing either. That’s the problem. It’s hanging in there.”

Dr. Hinduja notes that Chubb's intended clients are wealthy families, but he questions the effectiveness of such policies. "I’m not sure it’s really going to be that valuable to most people," he says. "Maybe perhaps nominally by offering a perceived measure of protection, but insurance companies can’t possibly insure against every claim of 'cyberbullying' because what that term constitutes is often foggy.”

Hinduja's organization, he says, gets “large number of requests"  from adults saying they have been attacked online. "We definitely try to reach out to those sites and pass along the screenshots we take to try and get those companies to get those posts or accounts taken down.”

“We advise them to contact an attorney, but many can’t afford it – and if they can’t afford that then they most likely can’t afford this type of insurance,” Hinduja says.

Online bullying may be virtual in nature, but the suffering can be very real, says Hinduja. “Many times," he says, "those most traumatized are those whose social sphere is completely online and when someone is mean to them there, that’s it devastates their whole world.”

As all of us move deeper and deeper into social media, Hinduja says, “we’re constantly comparing our lives with the highlight reels of everyone else’s and so maybe that sets us out to feel bad about ourselves and our lives, and so we are already in a vulnerable position.”

“As such, when you’re harassed and mistreated there, perhaps it affects you more deeply because you are unfortunately positioned vulnerably already in a mindset of falling short, or not measuring up, or scarity, or lack.,” Hinduja says.

“I want to see kids, and even adults, to work on becoming the best version of themselves. Don’t subject yourself to all this comparison and jockeying for likes and comments. Try not to always be validated and affirmed by everybody else’s opinion because when you give them the power to validate you, you have also given them the power to invalidate you.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.