Insurers Told cut Cyber Ambiguity

Underwriters have been told they need to tighten wording to ensure they are not faced with cyber claims in policies which do not cover the risk.

data and analytics firm GlobalData has warned insurers who are not offering cyber cover could find themselves being impacted financially by having to cover the cost of cyber-related claims due to ambiguous policy wording.

The UK cyber insurance market is still in its infancy, particularly when compared to the more established commercial insurance products. Yet, the rate of growth is substantial. Findings from GlobalData’s 2018 UK small and medium sized enterprises (SME) Insurance Survey found that 27.2% of SMEs held a standalone cyber insurance product, which is an increase of 14 percentage points when compared with 2017.

Daniel Pearce, Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The considerable growth in the uptake of cyber insurance is being driven by a combination of factors. Firms’ increased awareness about their exposure to cyber risks is playing a key role. However, this awareness is not restricted to cyber insurance policyholders. The percentage of SMEs that detected cyber breaches or attacks was greater than the percentage with cyber insurance in place across 2016–18. For example, in 2018, 40% of micro businesses detected a cyber-breach yet only 14% had cyber insurance in place.”

The firm added: “This situation – where the uptake of cyber insurance is far lower than the percentage of business owners detecting a cyber-breach – means commercial insurance providers may be exposed to cover the cost of cyber claims on traditional policies such as business interruption. In response, finance and insurance company AIG plans to ensure its exposure is clearly defined by transitioning towards affirmative cyber insurance. From 2020, all of its commercial property and casualty insurance policies will affirmatively cover or exclude both physical and non-physical cyber risks.”

Mr Pearce added: “Clearly, steps such as this, which outline what cyber risks are insured, will benefit insurance providers, enabling them to exert greater influence over their exposure. Yet, policyholders also stand to benefit. Moves such as AIG’s transition towards affirmative cyber insurance will help ensure policyholders have a clear understanding of which cyber perils are covered through a commercial insurance policy that is not cyber-specific. This, in turn, will help businesses owners more easily identify the benefits offered by a specialist cyber insurance product.”