There has been an increase in fears around the potential for cyber security incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the need for re/insurers and brokers to evolve alongside the cyber risk landscape, reports Allianz.
The concerns have arisen after many businesses are being required to adopt wide-scale remote working for their employees as a result of government enforced lockdown measures related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
With many employees working from home and students learning virtually, enterprise virtual private network (VPN) servers have now become a lifeline to companies/schools, and their security and availability will be a major focus going forward.
As noted by Allianz, re/insurance companies aren’t immune from cyberattacks, since cyber criminals are aware that insurers hold enormous amounts of data and personal information on their policy holders which can be very profitable. However, re/insurance and financial businesses will most likely have their own cover against a breach and have surveillance on future potential risks.
The large German insurer stresses that insurers and reinsurers must be able to invest in their own cyber security, since companies that cannot protect themselves cannot expect customers to trust them for protection and advice.
Considering the vast amount of personal, financial and other sensitive information possessed by insurers, it’s important for them to also take appropriate security measures and closely monitor cyber risks.
Cyber is still a relatively new risk, and therefor regulation is still evolving. As the online environment is ever evolving, Allianz calls on re/insurers and brokers to keep on top of such regulation to support their role in designing suitable insurance solutions and also in their capacity as risk management advisors.
Organisations are advised to update at their BCPs and remote working policies/practices whilst prioritizing cyber security during post COVID-19 re-strategizing process.
In relation to these concerns, a survey by HSB has shown results for a continuing increase in identity theft, cyberattacks and online fraud as criminals steal personal information and millions of dollars.
Due to lockdown, companies were being suddenly forced to balance their workforce online whilst ensuring systems and networks remained secure, particularly where personal, non-corporate devices were used.
Furthermore, video conferencing resources such as ‘Zoom’ and ‘Windows Teams’ have suddenly become a target due to their usage experiencing a steep increase.
Acknowledging business’ concerns, the National Security Cyber Centre issued guidance for individuals and organisations. They warned of cyber criminals exploiting the pandemic for commercial gain through activities such as social engineering methods and phishing emails.
Whilst the pandemic shone a further spotlight on cyber security, company directors had already been reminded of their data security duties during the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.
For re/insurers, there’s an ever increasing opportunity to provide adequate and affordable cyber risk protection to businesses of all shapes and sizes. The cyber market continues to expand and with the pandemic expected to permanently alter the way many sectors operate, the landscape will continue to evolve and re/insurers need to be alert to the changes.