How will the new dotInsurance gTLD work for the industry?

In locking down their dotInsurance domain name, insurance carriers will be better prepared for the inevitable changes that will be taking place in the online space.

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Today, June 15, the new domain name suffix dotInsurance becomes available on the internet. The Sunrise period for this generic top level domain, or gTLD, has closed, meaning that general applications are now being accepted for dotInsurance domain names.

Although any organization, big or small, can register for a dotInsurance web address, it will need to pass a fairly stringent verification process, ensuring that the domain name can only be used by verified members of the insurance community. For insurance carriers, this includes verification of compliance and approval or certification with the registrant’s government regulatory authority.

Operated by fTLD, the same registry that manages dot Bank, this gTLD will be a highly secure and complex environment available to insurance companies and professionals only. Additional registry verification for dotInsurance applicants will be conducted by Symantec (Mountain View, Calif.), the operator of some of the most secure SSL technology in the world. With the arrival of more securitized gTLDs such as dot Bank—which has already become a trusted, verified and more secure space online that is easily identifiable as a space for the financial services community—it’s becoming clear that this new approach to identifying and claiming turf on the internet is the way forward.

How will this affect insurance companies?

We’ve already seen that most major insurance companies have registered their comparable dotInsurance domain, and some have already said they will actively use it.  Registering in the dotInsurance TLD space is significantly cheaper than taking the dot Brand approach, offering insurance firms of all sizes and branches of specialty to register the most relevant domain names available.  Some companies that missed out on registering in the dot Com webspace in the past now have the opportunity to register their brand name with a highly relevant TLD. This should be attractive both to brands and their digital agencies. It could also mean lower pay-per-click opportunities for brand holders—as Insurance and Insure are two of the most expensive existing “cost per click” rates.

We expect to see most of the big insurance firms seek to register at least one of their major brand names under dotInsurance. When applications for the more valuable generic insurance-related terms are made available—strings such as,,—terms where no single organization has a trademark or a guaranteed right to register those names—there may be a bit of secondary land rush.

Gaining Search Traffic

Right now, apart from the added securitization of the url, the use of a dotInsurance domain name is purely about gaining search traffic.  As of yet there is no inherent advantage from natural search ranking in using a new gTLD, but we can envisage a time in the not-too-distant future when there will be.  Eventually search engines may give websites using a dotInsurance a higher ranking than searches merely containing the word “insurance.”  Because it is a highly restricted TLD, there is less risk of someone else applying for a specific dotInsurance term and using it for nefarious purposes.

It’s interesting to note that ICANN, the governing body of web addresses on the internet, registered four applications for dotInsurance, and at least two would have been run in a relatively open fashion, based on the history of the registries involved—in a similar way to how dot Credit, dot CreditCard and dot Fund are run today. The registry fTLD won the right to run dotInsurance as well as dot Bank (there was one other application for this gTLD, also, again from a registry that would probably have run it in an open way) through the contention process set out by ICANN.

A final advantage for carriers reserving a dotInsurance web address is, oddly, the simple insurance it provides that in locking down their dotInsurance domain name, they’ll be better prepared for the inevitable changes that will be taking place in the online space. Now is the time to grab your virtual dotInsurance real estate.

Stuart Fuller // Stuart Fuller is Director of Commercial Operations and Communications at NetNames, a global online brand protection firm. He can be reached at

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