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AI presents opportunities and challenges to the cyber insurance space: Cowbell’s Cooksley 

31st October 2023 - Author: Jack Willard

As AI technology continues to make headwinds across the re/insurance sector, Trent Cooksley, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Cowbell Cyber, explains that the technology brings both opportunities and challenges to the cyber insurance space.

During a recent interview with Reinsurance News, Cooksley stated that challenge-wise, threat actors are increasingly using AI to “ramp up their capabilities”, and that AI can accelerate cyberattacks, making them more “sophisticated and harder to detect.”

He said: “Looking ahead, machine learning and AI algorithms will be instrumental in real-time threat detection and response, enabling faster and more effective security measures. AI-based defence tools also have the potential to detect and prevent threats at a comparable speed to AI-enhanced cyberattacks.

“This means that AI can play a crucial role in limiting a company’s losses in the event of a cyber incident, and can also accelerate the recovery process, helping businesses get back on their feet quicker.”

Staying on the subject of AI, Cooksley was then asked a question regarding how impactful he sees AI being for helping to enable continuous underwriting for cybersecurity risk.

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“Historically, many insurers have put more emphasis on the number of security tools that businesses have in place. However, the real value of AI lies in its ability to continuously assess the effectiveness of these tools,” he said.

“Because AI can provide real-time insights into how well existing tools are protecting against evolving threats, insurers can gain a much more comprehensive understanding of how well protected a business is.

“To make the most of AI in underwriting, insurers also need to improve their data recording and integration processes. Data quality is paramount; accurate and reliable data is essential for making informed decisions about a business’s cybersecurity risk. Insurers must also determine the safety and security of the data they collect and integrate to ensure it’s not compromised.”

If you recall, in September, Cowbell continued its expansion across the UK market through the launch of its standalone cyber insurance programme – Cowbell Prime One, a program designed specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Cooksley went on to explain the level of impact that Cowbell Prime One could potentially make across the industry.

He said: “We developed Cowbell Prime One specifically for UK SMEs. By offering best-in-class protection and AI-powered underwriting at speed, the company’s data-driven, customizable approach not only fills a critical protection gap, but also focuses on education and vulnerability awareness for SMEs.

“By enabling businesses to complete regular audits and understand their vulnerabilities, the program empowers them to operate securely in today’s digital landscape.”

He concluded: “Aligned with the ever-evolving cyber threats and often unique risk exposures faced by British businesses today (from email scams and ransomware to social engineering), we’re confident Cowbell Prime One will be a game-changer in the industry.”

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