IUMI: Shipping is a “moving target” for cyber risks

The constant evolution of cyber risks means insurers have to be one step ahead

IUMI: Shipping is a “moving target” for cyber risks


By Lyle Adriano

An official with the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) said that as the shipping industry becomes more reliant on technology, the need for cyber insurance grows.

IUMI secretary-general Lars Lange explained that marine insurers face a threefold challenge when it comes to cyber risks.

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“Initially, the threats and vulnerabilities of the risk must be identified, which can be challenging as cyber risk is constantly evolving and developing. Once these have been identified then the risk exposure must be assessed accordingly to see how it can be insured. Finally, it is vital that the insured’s crew, staff and all stakeholders are trained and educated on the potential dangers of cyber risk in order to gain a better understanding of the issue and how to protect themselves from it,” Lange told World Maritime News.

Although Lange acknowledges that the industry has made some effort in improving cyber security, he believes that the market preparedness to cyber threats is not quite there yet, because of the difficulty in quantifying cyber risks.

“The market is certainly making progress on cyber security and recommendations such as BIMCO’s Guidelines of Cyber Security Onboard Ships are steps in the right direction. But the industry is not ready yet since this is a ‘moving target’.”

Lange also believes there is potential in the autonomous shipping space.

“Autonomous shipping will certainly impact the insurance sector and at IUMI we are monitoring the developments and working on understanding the potential risks but it is still too early to judge what impact it will have,” he said.

“Nowadays, the majority of claims are due to human error so autonomous shipping is a positive development but it will pose new threats in relation to cyber and technology, of course.”

Ultimately, Lange offered assurances that regardless of how sophisticated ships become, the marine insurance industry will be there to support the industry.

“I do not believe that bigger and more technologically advanced ships need to be a cause of concern, as long as we are prepared and understand the risk then we will be a competent partner to the industry by providing knowledge, expertise, recommendations, and assistance with risk assessment and mitigation,” he commented.

“The marine insurance industry is based on risk and we will not shy away from what needs to be done in order to be prepared.”

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