The top-level Internet domain “.insurance” should be available to the industry late this year, according to a financial services-backed organization that operates generic domains including “.bank.”

The group, fTLD, submitted an application to the domain-approval organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in May 2012, seeking to operate the .insurance generic top-level domain.

fTLD was created in 2011 by a group of banks, insurance companies and financial services trade associations after ICANN said it would accept applications for financial top-level domains.

The organization promises that .insurance will have enhanced security and that all applicants will be “verified as legitimate members of the insurance community.”

Backers hope the new domain will help prevent users from being redirected to fake insurance websites and limit the ability of spammers to send emails from a fake .insurance domain.

“This major milestone will allow us to move forward with our initiative to enhance consumer confidence in the online financial system by creating a trusted, protected, more secure and easily identifiable space on the Internet for the insurance community,” said Craig Schwartz, managing director of fTLD, in a statement. “The new domain will be operated in a highly restrictive manner with strict eligibility requirements designed to ensure that the space is used by verified insurance industry members.”

fTLD has an advisory council of insurance industry organizations that includes:

  • American Council of Life Insurers (United States)
  • American Insurance Association (United States)
  • Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc. (Canada)
  • European Banking Federation (Belgium)
  • Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (United States)
  • HSBC Holdings plc (United Kingdom)
  • Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Inc. (United States)
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (China)
  • Insurance Bureau of Canada (Canada)
  • Insurance Ireland (Ireland)
  • Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (United States)
  • Suncorp Group (Australia)
  • U.S. Bancorp (United States)

The group already has a similar contract with ICANN to operate the .bank domain, which it expects to make available by mid-2015, several months before .insurance will go public.

“We see a tremendous opportunity for .insurance to serve as a platform for innovation in insurance services, and securing the right to operate this top-level domain is the first step necessary to translate the community’s interests and hard work into the reality,” Schwartz said.

*This story previously appeared in our sister publication Insurance Journal.