IFJ partners with “Insurance for Journalists” for new worldwide coverage plan

by Ana Ribeiro

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has thrown its support behind an insurance scheme for journalists it says is more affordable and inclusive than others previously on the market.

The IFJ has partnered with the provider “Insurance for Journalists”, which is linked to IOMA Insurance and Lloyd’s of London, for “covering all media workers without restriction in any region of the world – including war zones”. Its 17 January announcement on the insurance plan has been picked up by the Associated Press and disseminated by news outlets internationally.

“This insurance covers all media staff, including fixers and technical staff, and US/Canada journalists,” the IFJ’s Pamela Morinière tells the ECPMF. “It has a global reach at a very reasonable price. Often it is very difficult to get insured with a good deal in countries such as Iraq. Or very expensive.”

Insurance for Journalists_900X600 IFJ is offering a new insurance plan covering journalists everywhere. Photo: public domain

According to the IFJ, a team of journalists collaborated to gauge needs and come up with the new insurance plan.

According to the provider’s website, “Insurance for Journalists” covers both freelance media workers and those with fixed employment. It offers policies ranging from one week to one year, for unaffiliated journalists as well as association members. IFJ’s card-carrying members get a 10 percent discount.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also has its own insurance scheme, but only for its members, and excluding United States residents. Both the IFJ and RSF have a separate tier for members going to work in areas considered extremely risky, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

High risk means high premiums

Facing prohibitive costs and sometimes being turned away by insurance companies, many journalists have risked their lives travelling abroad without the benefit of coverage, says the IFJ. This especially applies to freelancers, on whom news companies often rely to report on wars and other dangerous situations.

How much journalists pay for the IFJ-supported insurance depends on where they are going. It provides coverage for accidents and sickness, dismemberment, disablement, blindness and accidental death. It does not cover “death by natural causes” or “losses caused by nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction”.

The insurance is not necessarily the cheapest available when it comes to the highest-risk zones: $208 for four weeks in places like Iraq. Dutch freelancer Fréderike Geerdink, who is currently covering the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq, told the ECPMF that she pays $165 (or €156) monthly for health and accident insurance via the Netherlands-based OOM.

Other organisations and companies offers coverage and information for journalists seeking out insurance. The ECPMF does not personally endorse a particular insurance scheme over another.