Indiegogo Tests Offering Optional Insurance to Protect Against Dubious Campaigns

Indiegogo is testing a feature that would allow product backers to purchase optional insurance directly from the crowdfunding platform. In exchange for a small fee, backers are guaranteed a full refund if the product fails to arrive within three months of the estimated delivery date, TechCrunch reports.

At this point, the insurance is only being offered on one test product. For $15 backers of Olive, a stress-management wearable, will be refunded  if they don't receive their Olive within that three-month window.  No word yet on whether the crowdfunding site will extend the option to other campaigns on its platform.

It's certainly an interesting move. Crowdfunding sites have long been plagued by instances of designers and entrepreneurs collecting money from backers and then failing to deliver their product; more ominously, Indiegogo has hosted a series of campaigns that some believed were outright scams.

Related: Baggage Blues No More: A Smart Suitcase Raises $1 Million on Indiegogo

Compared with the better-known Kickstarter, which does not offer optional insurance for backers, Indiegogo's standards and screening process for campaigns tends to be looser. Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo allows individuals to select a 'flexible funding' option for their campaign, so even if a project doesn't meet its goal, the creators can collect the raised funds anyway. The San Francisco-based company also recently rolled out a new option that allows campaigns to remain open indefinitely without a set deadline. Both features are great in that they provide aspiring designers and entrepreneurs with additional resources to get their projects off the ground, but they also detract from the structure and accountability that makes Kickstarter a relatively well-respected crowdfunding platform.

As a result, for better or for worse, Indiegogo often attracts wackier, more over-the-top campaigns than Kickstarter. An insurance program could make sense for the platform, helping to alleviate backers' hesitancy to throw down money on a cool project that may or may not come to fruition.

Related: Indiegogo Pilots New Program Allowing Crowdfunding Campaigns to Stay Open Indefinitely