In February 2015 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization charged with the technical administration of the Internet, granted fTLD Registry Services, LLC the right to operate .INSURANCE as a top level domain (TLD). fTLD was formed by a coalition of banks, insurance companies and financial services trade associations from around the world. Only verified members of the global insurance community are eligible to register domain names with the TLD .INSURANCE.

In addition to the restrictions on who may register the .INSURANCE domains there are specific security requirements that apply to the operation of websites on the new domain. Such requirements include: (i) mandatory verification of licenses for regulated entities to ensure that only legitimate members of the global insurance community are awarded domain names, (ii) Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) to ensure that Internet users are landing on participants' actual websites and not being misdirected to malicious sites; (iii) email authentication; (iv) multi-factor authentication by registry and registrars to ensure that any change to registration data is made only by authorized users of the registered entity; (v) strong encryption; (vi) prohibition of proxy/privacy registration; and a requirement that all domains must be hosted on .INSURANCE name servers to ensure compliance with all technical security requirements.

If you are interested in securing your company's brand as a domain name on the new TLD platform there are three key registration periods to note:

Qualified Launch Program (QLP): May 5, 2016 to May 8, 2016, opens at 00:00:00 UTC time

Only founding members of fTLD that are seeking to secure domain names that consist of trademarks that have been registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will be allowed to register such domains during this period. Domains registered during this period must be activated by June 17, 2016, comply with all security requirements and not re-direct to a non-.INSURANCE domain name.

Sunrise: May 9, 2016 to June 8, 2016, and opens at 00:00:00 UTC time

Eligible members of the global insurance community that are seeking to secure domain names that consist of trademarks that have been registered in the TMCH may register such domains during this period.

Founders: June 9, 2016 to June 14, 2016, opens at 00:00:00 UTC time

Founding members of fTLD may register domain names during this period.

General Availability: Begins June 15, 2016, and opens at 00:00:00 UTC time

Any eligible members of the global insurance community may register domain names beginning June 15, 2016.

In all of the registration periods domain names are initially awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to the eligibility requirements established by fTLD which may be found at www.fTLD.com.