'A matter of when, not if' – why personal cyber coverage is becoming a must-have

The surge in ransomware and other attacks has fueled interest in individual coverage

'A matter of when, not if' – why personal cyber coverage is becoming a must-have


By Gia Snape

This article was produced in partnership with Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber & Professional Lines Group.

Gia Snape, of Insurance Business America, sat down with Kareen Boyadjian, VP of Underwriting, Cyber & Tech E&O for Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber & Professional Lines Group, a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies based in Houston, Texas, to talk about the NetGuard® Select and the growing importance of personal cyber coverage.

Cyber attacks against businesses, including some of America’s largest companies, regularly fill the headlines. But it's not just businesses, it’s also individuals who are affected by cyber attacks and looking for insurance coverage.

Nearly half (47%) of American adults have had their personal information exposed by cyber criminals, while one in three homes with computers are infected with malicious software, according to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

For Kareen Boyadjian (pictured) the growing cyber threat has made personal coverage a must-have.

“Attacks will happen to individuals, it's a matter of whether they can sustain the impact of when they happen,” she said.

“Having cyber insurance is as important as an auto or homeowners’ policy. If things happen, you have the protection you need.”

Pandemic played a role in personal cyber coverage

Interest in cyber insurance policies for individuals started growing during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Boyadjian. This period coincided with a huge surge in ransomware attacks and extortion claims in commercial cyber worldwide.

“When commercial cyber losses started coming with frequency and severity, it wasn’t just the businesses who were hit by extortion demands and suffered business interruption costs, but the consumers whose information was compromised in the process. Boyadjian said.

“It got people thinking, ‘how does this affect me? How do I protect myself if my information is at risk of being corrupted, stolen, or sold on the dark web?’ Since 2020 and 2021, that concern has continued to increase substantially.”

The collective shift to working from home also kickstarted interest in personal cyber coverage.

“All of a sudden, we were all in a position where the lines between an individual’s business exposure and personal exposure started to get a little blurry,” said Boyadjian.

Cyber criminals getting more sophisticated

Cybercrime is the most common cause of claims in personal cyber, followed by cyber extortion, according to Boyadjian.

Cyber criminals have become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, particularly in social engineering schemes, to prey on individuals, making personal cyber coverage much more relevant.

“In the past, they would send one generic spoof email out to thousands of people in hopes a few would fall victim, which inevitably would happen,” Boyadjian said.

“But now we're seeing that hackers are getting much more creative about how they target their victims. They’re studying what kind of language you use, who you email most frequently, who has authorization to wire money, who your money manager or attorney are, even what kind of emojis you send out.”

Comprehensive personal cyber coverage

To help individuals safeguard themselves and their loved ones from cyber threats, Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber & Professional Lines Group has created the a comprehensive standalone cyber solution in the marketplace.

NetGuard® Select is designed to protect individuals from emerging cyber threats, including cyber extortion, ransomware, cybercrime, breach event costs, data recovery, cyber bullying, and identity and privacy theft.

“Individuals may have some semblance of cyber coverage in their homeowners’ policy or in a related group policy, but it often doesn’t extend coverage to cybercrime, data recovery or other significant exposures. Additionally, the cyber endorsement coverage shares a limit with the homeowner’s policy, and if that carrier decides to non-renew or exit a state, it can leave that policyholder without cyber coverage,” said Boyadjian.

In contrast, NetGuard® Select offers extensive protection and also extends coverage to the insured’s family members.

But what makes the offering truly special is that it gives policyholders access to expert services in identity protection, fraud detection, and dark web monitoring services.

“It's not just the comprehensive insurance solution, 24/7 claims services, and the decades of cyber claims experience we offer, it’s also proactive cyber monitoring services that comes with the policy for no additional premium that makes this product unique. It’s truly the full package,” Boyadjian said.

Though NetGuard® Select is targeted towards high-net-worth individuals, anyone can apply for coverage.

“Most people think that because they’re not a celebrity or a professional athlete, no one is going to benefit stealing their personal information and selling it on the dark web,” said Boyadjian.

“That's precisely what the hackers are preying on. They’re relying on you to think that way so your guard will be down. Having this important coverage in place will help keep peace of mind for our policyholders and get them back up and running when they need it most.”

Find out more about NetGuard® Select here.

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