Getting hacked sucks. It's even worse if you're a digital creator whose social media accounts literally pay your bills. When creators get hacked, it can mean that they aren't able to post sponsored content, earn payments from badges or operate their Instagram shops -- it's debilitating, like if a chef broke their arm and had to cook with one hand.
The Israel-based startup Notch is trying to see if insuring creators against Instagram hacks could offer a solution. Starting at $8 a month, creators can sign up for Notch's Instagram account insurance, which means that if they get hacked and lose access to their account, the startup will pay them a stipend and help them regain control of their page.
TechCrunch reviewed a sample insurance policy, which quoted a $459 annual fee (or about $38 a month) for insurance that pays out $244 for each day that a creator can't get into their account after a hack. These daily reimbursements kick in after a 48-hour waiting period and max out at $22,000 (or 90 days) of payments per year.
Notch uses a number of metrics to determine the nature of a creator's policy.
"We look at the follower count, engagement, where the audience is from, the vertical where the influencer works, how many posts per month that person usually uploads, how many of them are sponsored posts …" CEO Rafael Broshi explains. With that information, Notch can estimate how much sponsored content a creator posts a month and how much money someone of their caliber would make off of each post. Then, the company can calculate a monthly fee for coverage.
This isn't an exact science, though -- not all influencers are created equal, and the same level of followers or engagement may translate differently across various audiences. Plus, there's no standardized base pay for a brand deal so it's possible Notch might over- or underestimate a creator's income.
A key feature of the policy is that it only covers hacks. Some creators, especially those from marginalized communities, face targeted harassment on Instagram, which sometimes means that bad actors will mass-report their account for no reason, causing them to get banned or suspended. In these cases, whether a ban is deserved or not, Notch will not cover a creator's loss of income.
"We'll probably issue an add-on to the policy in the near future, which covers suspensions as well," Broshi said. "We don't currently cover those things, mainly because it's very, very difficult to really build a product that provides value [ … ] That's why we went toward the hacking part, where we believe we will be able to help."
Notch is not affiliated with Instagram, but Broshi says that this is normal for insurance companies.
"Car insurance companies don't usually have any connection to the car manufacturer," he told TechCrunch. Currently, the product is available in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee and Texas -- each state has different regulations regarding insurance products, so approval in any individual state will be a different process.
To be eligible for these payouts, creators need to turn on mutlifactor authentication (MFA). But many types of MFA exist, and the policy doesn't offer more specifics. Some cybersecurity experts advise against using SMS texts as a second layer of security, since a SIM swapping hack (someone impersonating you to your phone carrier to take over your SIM card) could render you powerless against fraudulent log-in attempts.
Insurance policies aside, it's always a good time to take extra steps to protect your online security and digital privacy, especially if you're someone whose income is directly tied to your internet presence. Notch doesn't want you to get hacked because then they'd have to pay you, but you also don't want to get hacked because … it would suck. Speaking of which, don't even try to engineer a fake hack to get your daily payout -- Notch's contract prohibits it.
So far, Notch has raised $7 million in an extended seed round led by Lightspeed Ventures. Longtime creators like Nas Daily and Casey Neistat are investors as well, which is an important vote of confidence for the company, since none of its founders have experience working in the creator economy. Of the three founders, Broshi is a former investor, CPO Elool Jacoby was a senior product manager at SimilarWeb and CTO Yuval Peled was a software engineer.
Notch only just launched this month, so we haven't yet witnessed how they may be able to help a creator through a hack. But before launch, Notch helped some creators with account retrieval, which is why there are testimonials on the company's website.
As with any startup, you don't want to be the guinea pig -- but, for big enough creators, a monthly payment could be worth the peace of mind it brings.