Leaders on taking a multi-stakeholder approach to tapping the full potential of cyber

Why more needs to be done to integrate cyber coverage into brokers' overall workflow

Leaders on taking a multi-stakeholder approach to tapping the full potential of cyber


By Mia Wallace

The recent Zywave ‘Cyber Risk Insights Conference’ brought together key players from across the entire cyber insurance ecosystem to discuss the state of the sector. Reflecting on the event, Eric Rentsch (pictured left), chief product officer at Zywave emphasised the value of bringing together disparate voices in creating the kind of discourse that will allow cyber insurance to develop and evolve as a product and a service.

“There are certain things that are specific to cyber,” he said. “The interesting thing about this category of coverage and insurance is that it’s fairly young and so the product definition and the available capacity and the ratemaking that results from that change a lot very quickly. A key benefit of bringing together reinsurers, carriers and brokers in the same room is that you gain awareness of the capital availability and the capability to construct that into relevant capacity for segments of the market.

“It also offers insight into current customer sensitivity – what the feedback is from the client, what’s working, what isn’t working, how we should package it, how do we place it, where is the market facing difficulties? Whenever you’re creating any new product, you need that customer input front and centre. So, having all those voices represented is a pretty unique tool that is especially valuable in a younger insurance category like cyber.”

Understanding the market to leverage new opportunities

Adding to this, Jeffrey M. Cohen (pictured right), senior vice president at Zywave noted that the underlying ambition of Zywave as a services provider is to help make insurance distributors more capable. To be able to do that effectively requires a thorough understanding of the market, the challenges it faces and the context of that risk environment, he said, in order to create the tools to foster the right capabilities.

Taking a problem-solving approach to building services instead of trying to retrofit an existing solution is central to the firm’s proposition, Rentsch said, and he underscored the groundwork done to understand the ins-and-outs of the market. Zywave does a lot of work around rating, quoting and technology services for insurance carriers and brokers to identify their different needs and facilitate solutions with the right software.

“We have multiple lines in other market segments that are very mature,” he said. “Cyber is one that Zywave has been supporting for many years and so the rating and reporting aspect of it, we think, is a really interesting moment to help facilitate that proposition.

“Why I think there’s now, more than ever, the need for a more efficient distribution of cyber is due to the significant growth of cyber over the last couple of years.That has been happening largely through premium increases from existing clients more so than net new accounts and the expansion of the line into businesses that need the coverage but don’t know it.”

Rentsch highlighted that a lot of this activity is centred around the SME market – and businesses under $100 million in revenue – and there’s a real and pressing need to make that transaction process faster, smoother and more accessible.

Otherwise, he said, you end up with a cyber proposal which gets just a couple of minutes of attention at the end of a long renewal conversation between a broker and a client, where they’re covering all the other major lines. So the need is there to really reinvent the efficiency of this process, especially given the market's desire for new buyers and growth in the SME space.

How are brokers reacting to the need for new cyber buyers?

While naturally, the carrier side of the market is excited about the prospect of this ‘grow the market, not just your market share’ approach, he noted that brokers require more and more high-quality education and support to communicate about cyber coverage comfortably. Cyber conversations can swiftly segue into very complex, very technical topics about the underwriting process, he said, and brokers don’t want to feel that they’re put in a position where they can’t provide all the right answers to their clients.   

“I would say on the broking side that there's high consensus at the leadership levels of these organisations that this is a good thing,” he said. “That’s it good to offer more clients more coverage to ensure we’re covering every risk a business might face so you’re doing the best thing for your clients while limiting your own E&O exposures.

“But at a desk level, I would say while receptivity is high, more needs to be done to integrate cyber coverage into brokers’ overall workflow – and educational content can be highly effective and helping them answer questions about threat actors and various types of ransomware attacks, and what is MFA and all those other questions they face.”

How to bridge the penetration gap in cyber insurance uptake

Cohen shared that Zywave recently met with the CEO of one of the top 25 US brokerages – an organisation with around $300 million in annual revenue – which was targeting a 2% cyber penetration across their client base in 2024/2025.

“That’s an example of where the market needs to do a much better job to identify the opportunities that exist,” he said. “That 2% is anaemic but if you could take that 2% and make it even just 5%, that already represents extraordinary potential revenue. But how does that happen? To Eric’s point, it happens through the combination of educating producers to be more capable, more competent and more confident while also layering in a series of tools that make the broker more capable across multiple dimensions.”

“It’s by having the right tools at their disposal that insurance brokers and agents are empowered to support their clients as trusted and valued advisors,” he said. “At Zywave, we’re always thinking about creating the tools and the platforms that engender a policyholder to rely on their producer as that trusted and valued advisor.

“Our grand plan is not really so grand, we’re here to help producers think about context, think about risk, think about exposures. I think we’re doing a great service to the industry by constantly thinking about how to help cyber brokers and regular brokers protect their insureds… And I think that’s why this event keeps getting bigger every year, because the market is reacting to our ambition to make our producers more capable and more comfortable.”

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