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Cyber Risk

Companies Ill-Prepared to Deal With Cyber Attacks

Companies plan to boost spending on cyber security to deal with an onslaught of cyber attacks.
By: | February 22, 2017 • 4 min read

Despite a barrage of cyber attacks on businesses in the U.S. and abroad – with American firms targeted most often – more than half are ill-prepared to deal with the threat, according to a survey by specialist insurer Hiscox.

Cyber crime costs the global economy more than $450 billion in 2016, Hiscox said. Losses included business interruption and reputational damage to brand.

The findings show 72 percent of U.S. firms with 250 or more employees, and 68 percent of smaller American companies experienced a cyber incident within the past year.

Nearly half of the U.S. firms (47 percent) reported two or more incidents during the last year.

U.S. firms suffered the most serious and costly attacks even though nearly half of those businesses were ranked as “experts” by the survey in dealing with cyber threats.

Martin J. Frappolli, senior director of knowledge resources, The Institutes

Martin J. Frappolli, senior director of knowledge resources for The Institutes/Risk and Insurance Knowledge Group, said many organizations don’t fully recognize that “first party risks are just as big as third party risks and more commonly sources of lost revenue.”

“The biggest risk of cyber breach is the continuity of the business,” he said. Depending on the length of the business disruption, the loss of revenue, he said, could be financially devastating.

Another matter to keep in mind, Frappolli said, is the increased data sharing between firms, vendors and business partners. “The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

In the “Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2017,” U.S. firms reported their top cyber security challenges were the changing nature of threats, both internal and external.

To deal with them, 63 percent plan to increase spending on cyber security over the next year with the most money invested in technology, followed by training, cyber security, security staffing, other measures and outsourcing. Many plan to buy cyber insurance.

Technology is the top investment despite being the area where most firms appear to be best prepared.

“This isn’t necessarily about throwing money at technology. It’s about having a well-rounded strategy, process and resources,” said Dan Burke, vice president and cyber product head at Hiscox USA. “This is a human problem as much as it is a technology problem.”

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Training employees to recognize potential threats, such as phishing scams in emails, and having strong password management can go a long way toward cyber security, he said. Seven out of 10 respondents say training has reduced the number of business disruptions.

Emily Cummins, a member of the board of directors of RIMS, the Risk Management Society, and managing director of tax and risk management at the National Rifle Association, is a strong proponent of employee cyber risk training.

Emily Cummins, director of tax and risk management, National Rifle Association

“The No. 1 recommendation is always continuous training,” she said. “And that means year-round reinforcement because employees are a source of unintentional errors and training can prevent [breaches].”

Cummins said training done in collaboration with departments, divisions or teams and including top management presents a powerful message to employees that prevention is critical to the organization. She also recommends devising a breach, or disaster response plan and practicing it regularly.

Most survey respondents listed cyber insurance as a key priority, with 57 percent saying they intend to purchase or enhance cyber insurance coverage this year.

More U.S. firms (55 percent) have cyber insurance policies than companies in the U.K. (36 percent) and Germany (30 percent). Another 25 percent of U.S. firms said they plan to take out a policy this year.

Frappolli said a firm’s risk manager, or a good insurance broker, can help determine which type of policy is best, since there is no standard product. Choices include cyber liability policies, business interruption policies, first party coverages, and endorsements or riders to existing policies.

He advised firms to purchase insurance to fill in the gaps not covered by training and technology and to have a breach plan in place in the event a hack occurs.

“Use the whole toolbox,” Frappolli said. “Don’t just think ‘I want to buy insurance’ and I’m done.”

Released in February, “The Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2017” details the results of a survey of 3,000 firms according to their cyber readiness in four key areas — strategy, resourcing, technology and process — and ranks them from novice to expert. It includes their plans to combat the threat going forward and offers advice on how to best prevent and manage it.

Conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Hiscox, the survey, taken in late 2016, questioned executives, managers and IT specialists in charge of cyber security at 1,000 companies of all sizes each from U.S., Germany and the U.K.

Jodi Spiegel Arthur is a long-time journalist. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Insurtech

Kiss Your Annual Renewal Goodbye; On-Demand Insurance Challenges the Traditional Policy

Gig workers' unique insurance needs drive delivery of on-demand coverage.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 6 min read

The gig economy is growing. Nearly six million Americans, or 3.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, now have “contingent” work arrangements, with a further 10.6 million in categories such as independent contractors, on-call workers or temporary help agency staff and for-contract firms, often with well-known names such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

The number of Americans owning a drone is also increasing — one recent survey suggested as much as one in 12 of the population — sparking vigorous debate on how regulation should apply to where and when the devices operate.

Add to this other 21st century societal changes, such as consumers’ appetite for other electronic gadgets and the advent of autonomous vehicles. It’s clear that the cover offered by the annually renewable traditional insurance policy is often not fit for purpose. Helped by the sophistication of insurance technology, the response has been an expanding range of ‘on-demand’ covers.

The term ‘on-demand’ is open to various interpretations. For Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO of pioneering on-demand insurance platform Trōv, it’s about “giving people agency over the items they own and enabling them to turn on insurance cover whenever they want for whatever they want — often for just a single item.”

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“On-demand represents a whole new behavior and attitude towards insurance, which for years has very much been a case of ‘get it and forget it,’ ” said Walchek.

Trōv’s mobile app enables users to insure just a single item, such as a laptop, whenever they wish and to also select the period of cover required. When ready to buy insurance, they then snap a picture of the sales receipt or product code of the item they want covered.

Welcoming Trōv: A New On-Demand Arrival

While Walchek, who set up Trōv in 2012, stressed it’s a technology company and not an insurance company, it has attracted industry giants such as AXA and Munich Re as partners. Trōv began the U.S. roll-out of its on-demand personal property products this summer by launching in Arizona, having already established itself in Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Australia and the UK were great testing grounds, thanks to their single regulatory authorities,” said Walchek. “Trōv is already approved in 45 states, and we expect to complete the process in all by November.

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group.” – Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group,” he added.

“But a mass of tectonic societal shifts is also impacting older generations — on-demand cover fits the new ways in which they work, particularly the ‘untethered’ who aren’t always in the same workplace or using the same device. So we see on-demand going into societal lifestyle changes.”

Wooing Baby Boomers

In addition to its backing for Trōv, across the Atlantic, AXA has partnered with Insurtech start-up By Miles, launching a pay-as-you-go car insurance policy in the UK. The product is promoted as low-cost car insurance for drivers who travel no more than 140 miles per week, or 7,000 miles annually.

“Due to the growing need for these products, companies such as Marmalade — cover for learner drivers — and Cuvva — cover for part-time drivers — have also increased in popularity, and we expect to see more enter the market in the near future,” said AXA UK’s head of telematics, Katy Simpson.

Simpson confirmed that the new products’ initial appeal is to younger motorists, who are more regular users of new technology, while older drivers are warier about sharing too much personal information. However, she expects this to change as on-demand products become more prevalent.

“Looking at mileage-based insurance, such as By Miles specifically, it’s actually older generations who are most likely to save money, as the use of their vehicles tends to decline. Our job is therefore to not only create more customer-centric products but also highlight their benefits to everyone.”

Another Insurtech ready to partner with long-established names is New York-based Slice Labs, which in the UK is working with Legal & General to enter the homeshare insurance market, recently announcing that XL Catlin will use its insurance cloud services platform to create the world’s first on-demand cyber insurance solution.

“For our cyber product, we were looking for a partner on the fintech side, which dovetailed perfectly with what Slice was trying to do,” said John Coletti, head of XL Catlin’s cyber insurance team.

“The premise of selling cyber insurance to small businesses needs a platform such as that provided by Slice — we can get to customers in a discrete, seamless manner, and the partnership offers potential to open up other products.”

Slice Labs’ CEO Tim Attia added: “You can roll up on-demand cover in many different areas, ranging from contract workers to vacation rentals.

“The next leap forward will be provided by the new economy, which will create a range of new risks for on-demand insurance to respond to. McKinsey forecasts that by 2025, ecosystems will account for 30 percent of global premium revenue.

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“When you’re a start-up, you can innovate and question long-held assumptions, but you don’t have the scale that an insurer can provide,” said Attia. “Our platform works well in getting new products out to the market and is scalable.”

Slice Labs is now reviewing the emerging markets, which aren’t hampered by “old, outdated infrastructures,” and plans to test the water via a hackathon in southeast Asia.

Collaboration Vs Competition

Insurtech-insurer collaborations suggest that the industry noted the banking sector’s experience, which names the tech disruptors before deciding partnerships, made greater sense commercially.

“It’s an interesting correlation,” said Slice’s managing director for marketing, Emily Kosick.

“I believe the trend worth calling out is that the window for insurers to innovate is much shorter, thanks to the banking sector’s efforts to offer omni-channel banking, incorporating mobile devices and, more recently, intelligent assistants like Alexa for personal banking.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.”

As with fintechs in banking, Insurtechs initially focused on the retail segment, with 75 percent of business in personal lines and the remainder in the commercial segment.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.” — Emily Kosick, managing director, marketing, Slice

Those proportions may be set to change, with innovations such as digital commercial insurance brokerage Embroker’s recent launch of the first digital D&O liability insurance policy, designed for venture capital-backed tech start-ups and reinsured by Munich Re.

Embroker said coverage that formerly took weeks to obtain is now available instantly.

“We focus on three main issues in developing new digital business — what is the customer’s pain point, what is the expense ratio and does it lend itself to algorithmic underwriting?” said CEO Matt Miller. “Workers’ compensation is another obvious class of insurance that can benefit from this approach.”

Jason Griswold, co-founder and chief operating officer of Insurtech REIN, highlighted further opportunities: “I’d add a third category to personal and business lines and that’s business-to-business-to-consumer. It’s there we see the biggest opportunities for partnering with major ecosystems generating large numbers of insureds and also big volumes of data.”

For now, insurers are accommodating Insurtech disruption. Will that change?

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“Insurtechs have focused on products that regulators can understand easily and for which there is clear existing legislation, with consumer protection and insurer solvency the two issues of paramount importance,” noted Shawn Hanson, litigation partner at law firm Akin Gump.

“In time, we could see the disruptors partner with reinsurers rather than primary carriers. Another possibility is the likes of Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Apple, with their massive balance sheets, deciding to link up with a reinsurer,” he said.

“You can imagine one of them finding a good Insurtech and buying it, much as Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods gave it entry into the retail sector.” &

Graham Buck is a UK-based writer and has contributed to Risk & Insurance® since 1998. He can be reached at riskletters.com.