The Role of Cyber Insurance in Ransomware Attack Settlements

Cyber insurance has become a familiar and valuable defense against ransomware and other cyber attacks. It pays network recovery costs and reimburses business interruption expenses.

However, a cyber policy does not make a company bulletproof. It is still essential for brokers to educate clients about their coverage limits and help them choose a policy that meets their risk profile.

Coverage for Business Interruption

While it may seem like insurance carriers are pulling out of the cyber insurance market based on skyrocketing payouts from ransomware attacks, that is not necessarily true. While some insurers have reduced their offering or opted to pull out of the space altogether, most continue offering coverage – though they’re becoming more selective about whom they will cover.

For instance, many insurers now require organizations to demonstrate good cyber hygiene practices before offering them premium rates. This includes multifactor authentication, robust AV, frequent patching, and proper backups stored offsite or offline. Those with such practices will often be subject to higher rates, reduced coverage, or outright rejection of their applications.

Additionally, the coverage offered by most policies will only pay for certain costs if incurred within a specific time frame after an attack. That means organizations must ensure they can return to normal operations quickly to avoid paying out for an extended period. This will likely require a post-breach review with their cyber insurance provider to identify what worked well and what could be improved in their incident response plan.

Coverage for Data Breach Costs

Cyber insurance has reliably paid claims for ransomware attacks and data breaches for a decade. It also offers a mechanism for convening the right team of experts, including legal counsel and computer forensic analysts, to assess the incident promptly and recommend the most appropriate response.

Ransomware is top of mind for many organizations. As a result, more businesses are looking into ransomware cyber insurance, which pays out ransomware settlement to the attackers and covers some of the losses a hack brings.

In addition to addressing the costs of investigating and responding to cyberattacks, cyber insurance policies often cover costs associated with remediation and recovery, such as restoring lost data. It can also offset the cost of government fines, compliance costs, and third-party lawsuits that result from a cyberattack.

In recent years, ransomware attacks and data breaches have upended the cyber insurance industry. As a result, some insurers have raised premium rates, reduced coverage, and become more selective in how they underwrite their products. This means that even if you qualify to purchase a policy, you may need help finding a product with the coverage limits you need. Insurance companies now require greater transparency in security programs, use technology to evaluate risk, and impose stricter underwriting criteria. Cybersecurity companies like Fortinet reduce the need for ransomware settlements and insurance by putting in place protocols and mitigation strategies so companies reduce their vulnerability to cyber attacks.

Coverage for Third-Party Liability

Many cyber policies include coverage for third-party liability, which can help to offset costs associated with a ransomware attack. For example, if an organization pays a ransom demand and the attackers reveal that they have no intention of honoring their side of the deal, then a policy could pay for legal fees and lost revenues from defending the company’s reputation.

Unlike traditional insurance policies, which use data to forecast risk and create policy rates, the cyber insurance market is still evolving. This means that it’s essential to read and understand the coverage your organization has purchased carefully.

Some policies also require a list of conditions before coverage kicks in. For example, some policies require that insureds make every effort to determine whether a ransom demand is a hoax before making any payment. While these requirements may be necessary, insureds should attempt to remove them from the policy.

While cyber insurance can be a valuable addition to an organization’s overall risk management strategy, it is no substitute for internal solid controls like patching regularly, implementing multiple and redundant backups, setting password change protocols, and conducting employee training. Organizations can combat hackers on an even playing field by deploying these and other best practices.

Coverage for Damages to Brand

Cyber insurance is a relatively new addition to the insurance market, but it has increased and is now a staple of many business policies. It offers a range of coverage for reputational harm caused by a data breach or other cyber incident that damages your brand’s image. It also covers financial fraud from social engineering, and funds transfer scams in which hackers impersonate executives, employees, or vendors to trick them into wiring money to unauthorized accounts. Some cyber insurance policies also include coverage for hiring consultants to strengthen your cybersecurity architecture following a breach.

However, the cyber insurance market is still young, and insurers need help understanding and pricing this risk accurately. This is why they require companies to improve their cybersecurity before getting this type of coverage. Organizations not following cybersecurity best practices may have higher premiums or be denied coverage altogether. Thankfully, online sites provide industry-leading technology that helps organizations strengthen their defenses and prove they have the processes to qualify for cyber insurance.

Coverage for Damages to Customer Relationships

From a cybersecurity perspective, insurers are well-positioned to help reduce the likelihood of a ransomware attack. Many policies offer pre-breach and post-breach services that can improve a business’s security architecture’s strength.

Insurance companies can also provide support for a customer-facing response in the event of an attack. In this way, they can help mitigate the loss of a business’s reputation and trustworthiness.

While no one wants to support cyber criminals, many organizations must weigh the option of paying a ransom demand against the costs of restoring systems and losing valuable information, as well as the impact on customers, revenue, and brand.

Because of the information asymmetry between the insured and insurer and the correlated nature of cyber risks, it can be challenging for insurers to create accurate policy rates that adequately reflect potential losses. As a result, some insurers have reduced their willingness to write cyber policies or even pulled out of the market entirely.

299 thoughts on “The Role of Cyber Insurance in Ransomware Attack Settlements

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