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New Zealand businesses still sluggish in cyber insurance takeup

23 May 17

With the massive WannaCry ransomware attack still echoing in New Zealand organisations' minds, protecting against potential damage comes top of mind, which leaves ripe opportunities for cyber insurance.

There is potential for the country's cyber insurance market to reach $500 million in premiums, according to Delta Insurance director Ian Pollard. Especially when only 5% have taken out insurance.

Report suggest that cybercrime costs New Zealand around $250-500 million, and Symantec says New Zealand has the second-highest number of ransomware attacks in the southern hemisphere. All of this amounts to a growing need for public-private partnerships.

He predicts that the number of cyber insurers in New Zealand grow from eight to 16 in the next two years, with next year being prime for growth.

“The global cyber insurance market will increase tenfold within the next eight years from $US3.5 billion to potentially $US25 billion by 2025. The cost of cybercrime will also grow from $US3 trillion in 2015 to $US6 trillion in 2021," he explains.

Delta Insurance is an underwriter for cyber technology, environmental and UAV insurance cover - and more than half of its cyber insurance claims have been related to ransomware.

“Public-private sector partnership is essential to improving New Zealand’s cyber security architecture. Ransomware attacks have made up 40 percent of our insured cyber claims over the last 12 months," Pollard comments.

He cites the government's new Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) as a public initiative to monitor, track and advise both individuals and governments on cyber incidents.

“Sophisticated cyber insurers are conscientious around understanding accumulations for various cyber disaster scenarios and there are some potential risk scenarios that could have very severe and wide-ranging consequences," Pollard says.

He says examples include cyberterrorism and the WannaCry event. Not only that, cloud provider outages, global malware and other ransomware.

"Ransomware attacks aren’t going away. New Zealand has had hundreds of ransomware attacks this year and we expect more. Any of these events could be truly global in nature and are perhaps the more concerning incidents being silent cyber scenarios exposing non-cyber insurance products to potential cyber-related losses," he says.

“We’re passionate about cyber risk management and helping clients, especially small to medium business enterprises, and insurance brokers to understand the risks associated with cyber threats,” he concludes.

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