An insurance brokerage recently had one of its email accounts hacked and this was used to send emails out to a few of its clients with malicious attachments. It was a very low-impact breach that only affected a small number of clients. In response, the company sent an email out to its entire client base saying it had been hacked.

“This is clearly not the best way to handle a breach in your IT security,” says Ryan van de Coolwijk (pictured right), product champion for cyber at ITOO Special Risks. “A blanket email that’s light on detail could be read as alarmist, raising panic among clients and causing damage to your reputation.”

Ryan says a clear PR and reputation management strategy is an important part of any disaster recovery plan following a cyber-related attack on a company’s computer systems.

“Knowing what to say to whom after an incident occurs is vital when it comes to mitigating the fallout associated with a breach,” he says. “The reputational damage that can be caused by saying or doing the wrong thing can lead to incalculable losses.”

CN&CO is proud to be the PR service provider of choice for ITOO cyber.

“We have a number of partners on call to assist with cyber insurance claims, including incident response managers, incident triage and forensics teams, legal specialists and, of course, our PR and reputation management team, CN&CO.” 

Cyber insurance is becoming more and more important as the world moves further into the fourth industrial revolution. Some say it may soon be bigger than property insurance! And it’s starting to spread beyond the corporate world into the personal lines space.

“Until fairly recently, cyber insurance was seen purely as a commercial policy,” says Ryan. “But as cyber crimes such as theft of funds, identity fraud and online bullying grow more prevalent, we have noticed a growing need for personal cyber insurance as well. Criminals can even hack into homes with sophisticated online management systems and shut them down for ransom. Nothing is unbreachable.”

Cyber bullying is a particular area of concern.

“Cyber bullying is a huge problem in the developed world and is a growing threat here in South Africa,” explains Ryan. “We have seen children as young as six years old committing or attempting to commit suicide as a result of being bullied online. Insurance is here to help the victims of these crimes and their families, even assisting to move children to different schools if necessary.”

Clearly, cyber insurance needs to be considered a lot more seriously.

“I believe cyber will morph from being a stand-alone product into a more integrated component of all insurance policies in the near future,” says Ryan.

Growth of this field of niche insurance, he adds, bodes well for the industry.

“Cyber underwriting, claims and investigating are nice growth areas for skills development. Young people entering the industry have a great opportunity to get a foot in the door now, while the field is still relatively new.”