Awareness of cyber crime has grown enormously in recent years thanks to the proliferation of media coverage around large-scale attacks. As data breaches like the Marriott/Starwood incident (detected in September 2018) and the British Airways hack (reported in August 2018) continue to hit the headlines, consumers are becoming increasingly worried about cybersecurity issues, especially related to online payments and purchases, child safety and identity theft.
Despite big steps forward in terms of consumer awareness about attacks on their personal information, there remains a significant education gap about cybersecurity best practices and identity protection services. According to Generali Global Assistance’s first global consumer survey about cybersecurity issues, only a quarter of respondents around the world indicated that they regularly update their passwords and digital credentials. The US had the highest number of respondents who regularly updated their credentials (37%), but many countries like the Czech Republic (11%) were much lower.
Furthermore, while 88% of respondents indicated that they have an anti-malware/anti-virus solution on their personal computer, only half said they have similar protection on their mobile device or tablet – a concern when you consider how much web traffic stems from mobile devices these days. In addition, Generali Global Assistance found that only 45% of respondents indicated they knew how to respond and fix their situation if their personal information was compromised in any way.
“As consumer awareness grows, insurance companies and brokers have opportunities to educate their customers and build trust,” commented Paige Schaffer, president and COO of Generali Global Assistance’s Identity Protection Services Global Unit. “Based on our findings, many consumers are looking for a solution that monitors for threats to their personal information and secures it in the event of an attack without much input. While there are many solutions available to meet those needs, being truly safe online requires a combination of both services and a commitment to safe browsing practices.
“Insurers and brokers can proactively protect data by offering identity protection services, which not only builds trust with the consumer, but also protects [the insurer or broker] by mitigating the cyber risk. They can also work to educate their customer base, especially around some of the basics like regularly updating passwords and digital credentials. I also think insurers and brokers can reiterate that they’re acting on behalf of the consumer. By offering something like identity protection services, they can extend their brand and increase the touch points, and therefore the trust, they have with their customers. This is a real opportunity for insurers and brokers to really beef up their brand as a company that’s looking out for consumers.”
In the Generali Global Assistance survey, almost half of respondents declared that companies and institutions are not doing enough to protect their personal information. Interestingly, the insurance industry was one of the few sectors that the majority of consumers said they do trust in managing their sensitive personal information. Furthermore, 63% of respondents said they will start looking to their insurance company for digital protection, which once again presents great opportunities for insurance organizations, according to Schaffer.
“Offering identity protection services also helps insurance firms to proactively mitigate their own risk,” she told Insurance Business. “Services like dark web monitoring, credit monitoring, anti-malware, anti-phishing and anti-key-locking software can enable an insurance firm to detect and respond to a client’s cyber event very quickly, therefore reducing the impact of stolen funds, business interruption and other cyber-related losses. It’s a win-win for everyone.”