ICANN Waives Registrar Insurance Requirement

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By Joseph Wright
Oct. 1 — Domain name registrars will no longer be required to procure comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance to maintain ICANN accreditation, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers announced Sept. 30.

The requirement to carry $500,000 in CGL insurance was hindering the development of the domain name industry in certain parts of the world, particularly Africa and the Middle East, ICANN's board of directors said in the Sept. 28 resolution that waived the requirement for all registrars, effective immediately.

“Following 18 months of research, analysis and community consultation, the Board determined that this type of insurance may not serve its intended purpose of protecting registrants, and, in fact, may have inhibited the ability of prospective registrars to become accredited in some regions,” according to a blog post by Vice President of Domain Name Services & Industry Engagement Cyrus Namazi.

Namazi said that CGL insurance can be difficult to obtain and prohibitively expensive in the developing world, and that it doesn't cover potentially wrongful acts relevant to the registrar business, such as failure to renew a domain name.

ICANN sought public comments earlier this year on whether the CGL requirement was warranted (20 ECLR 95, 1/21/15). Many respondents said the requirement had limited usefulness, and they largely supported the principle that if it was waived, it should be waived across the board rather than on a case-by-case basis. Comments on a 2014 report on supporting the domain name industry in underserved regions similarly said any relaxation of registrar accreditation requirements should be applied uniformly (19 ECLR 897, 7/16/14).

The board also asked ICANN's chief policy making body, the Generic Names Supporting Organization, to consider whether a substitute insurance requirement should be fashioned.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Wright in Washington at jwright@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Thomas O'Toole at totoole@bna.com