While many insurance policies cover physical assets, cyberbullying insurance protects against more nebulous threats — lost online data, damaged reputations and emotional fallout caused by harassment. Alderman says Chubb’s cyberbullying policy covers everything from hiring a lawyer for wrongful termination or discipline to expenses related to temporary relocation, private tutoring or increased education expenses in the event of a school transfer. The insurance could even cover fees for public relations help if cyberbullying problems make it into the media.
While these forms of protection could come in handy for rarer, severe cases, emotional damage from online harassment is more common than financial damage. Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University, says being cyberbullied has been linked to physical health problems, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, and other mental disorders.
So many targets of cyberbullying would benefit from mental health counseling to help them overcome the traumatic experience, Hinduja says. Most cyberbullying insurance policies, including Chubb’s policy, also cover psychiatric care or time away from work or school, but only if problems are observed by a mental health professional.
Before a policy pays out, policyholders need to demonstrate the damages. Chubb policyholders, for example, need to prove two or more related acts of harassment or intimidation on an electronic device that results in measurable damage, like a wrongful termination, false arrest, wrongful discipline, or diagnosed mental anguish that leads to inability to attend school or work for more than a week. You don’t have to meet a deductible before Chubb’s cyberprotection kicks in.