Insurers grapple with cyber-attacks that spill over into physical damage

By The Economist online

AS HACKERS wreak havoc with depressing regularity, the insurance industry finds itself forced to contemplate a whole new set of risks. They range from the theft of millions of credit-card numbers from American retailers to the disabling of the power grid, as happened in Ukraine last December. The dedicated “cyber-insurance” policies that companies offer against data breaches have become relatively routine. But the risks they insure under other policies are also affected by cyber-risks—and they are still struggling to understand this so-called “silent” cyber-exposure.

Insurance that protects firms who suffer data breaches has been on offer for around 15 years. It is much harder to put a precise value on, for example, stolen health records than on a property or car. Insurers sidestep the problem by covering only the direct costs that a company incurs from a hack. Typically, these include hiring a specialised forensics firm to work out exactly what was stolen, notifying affected customers (which 47 American states currently require), short-term business interruption and fines.

The industry will be shaken up by new EU data-protection…

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Category: Business and finance, Approved, Finance and economics, FINANCE

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