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Insurance industry reaction to government’s cyber breach report

Insurance industry reaction to government’s cyber breach report | Insurance Business UK

Insurance industry reaction to government’s cyber breach report

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has published the 2019 edition of its Cyber Security Breaches Survey, and it’s been found that 32% of UK businesses identified a cyber security attack in the last 12 months.

Compared to previous years, this latest statistic signified a decline from 43% in 2018 and 46% in 2017. As for UK charities, which started being accounted for in the DCMS report in 2018, the percentage stood at 22%.

The annual poll is part of the government’s national cyber security strategy, which is investing £1.9 billion over a five-year period.

“We are committed to making the UK the safest place to live and do business online, and welcome the significant reduction in the number of businesses experiencing cyber breaches,” said Clare Gardiner, director of engagement at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

“However, the cyber security landscape remains complex and continues to evolve, and organisations need to continue to be vigilant. The NCSC has a range of products and services to assist businesses, charities, and other organisations to protect themselves from cyberattacks, and to deal with attacks when they occur.”

Meanwhile the 65-page document published by DCMS highlighted that businesses have increased their planning and defences against breaches. Actions taken include the take-up of cyber coverage.

“More medium businesses (31%, vs. 19% in 2018) and large businesses (35%, vs. 24% in 2018) have cyber insurance, though the proportion of all businesses (11%) and charities (6%) that have this remains relatively low,” noted the department in its comprehensive report.

Commenting on the figures, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) called the fall in reported incidents “encouraging” but stressed “there can be no room for any cybercrime complacency,” given the continuing rise in the resulting financial losses.

Digital Minister Margot James herself acknowledged that “tackling cyber threats is not always at the top of business’ and charities’ list of things to do, but with the rising costs of attacks, it’s not something organisations can choose to ignore any longer.”

Eva Berg-Winters, co-founder and chief executive of cyber insurance managing general agent Bewica, also offered insights following the statistical release.

“Nearly one-third of businesses being subject to an attack shows this is a problem that can’t be ignored by anyone,” she said in a statement sent to Insurance Business. “There is a far greater risk of businesses being hit by the cybercrime pandemic than by almost any other type of insurable risk.

“Cyber protection is a business issue, not a tech issue. It is something that all brokers should be talking about as part of their general conversations about risk with all their clients. We welcome this comprehensive and detailed report as it lays out the scale of the problem that a good cyber insurance policy and risk assessment support can help to mitigate.”

The ABI, meanwhile, stated further that the increase in the number of large and medium-sized firms having cyber policies is a reflection of “greater awareness of the value of this cover, as insurers play a vital role in supporting customers to recover from an attack, and in helping them manage the cyber threat.”

However, the trade body believes more needs to be done to promote cyber insurance to smaller organisations which are often the least protected against perpetrators.