ICANN Allows Domain Name Renewal Flexibility Following Natural Disasters Such As Hurricane Maria

ICANN logoDomain name registrants with renewals due during or following a natural disaster, but are having problems accessing their account due to ongoing issues such as with electric power grid and telecommunications infrastructures, will have the possibility of their renewal date being extended.

In a post on the ICANN blog this week, Akram Atallah, President of ICANN’s Global Domains Division, wrote that ICANN had become aware “that registrants affected by Hurricane Maria may be unable to renew their domain name due to ongoing issues with the electric power grid and telecommunications infrastructures in the Caribbean and surrounding areas. This means these registrants risk losing their domain name due to circumstances beyond their control.”

“To help these individuals, ICANN approved Hurricane Maria and other similar natural disasters as extenuating circumstances under RAA section 3.7.5.1. This means that registrars now have the flexibility to extend the registration renewal period for individuals in affected areas.”

Section 3.7.5.1 of the RAA refers to “extenuating circumstances” where a domain name can’t be cancelled when it wasn’t renewed. It appears that certain types of natural disasters will be added to this list in the near future ICANN to develop a formal policy to deal with such scenarios with help from the ICANN community.

“The devastating impact of Hurricane Maria also highlights the need for a broader policy to protect registrants when they are unable to renew their domains as a result of natural disasters or other extraordinary circumstances. We encourage the community to consider this topic during policy development discussions.”