As 2019 begins, companies should seriously consider the financial and reputational impacts of cyber incidents and invest in sufficient and appropriate cyber liability coverage. According to a recent published report, incidents of lost personal information (such as protected health information) are on the rise and are significantly costing companies. Although cyber liability insurance is not new, many companies lack sufficient coverage. RSM US LLP, NetDiligence 2018 Cyber Claims Study (2018).
According to the 2018 study, cyber claims are impacting companies of all sizes with revenues ranging from less than $50 million to more than $100 billion. Further, the average total breach cost alone is $603.9K. This does not include crisis services cost (average $307K), the legal costs (defense = $106K; settlement = $224K; regulatory defense = $514K; regulatory fines = $18K), and the cost of business interruption (all costs = $2M; recovery expense = $957K). In addition to these financial costs, reputational impact stemming from cyber incidents can materially set companies back for a long-period of time after the incident.
Companies can reduce risk associated with cyber incidents by developing and implementing privacy and security policies, educating and training employees, and building strong security infrastructures. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as 100% security, and thus companies should consider leveraging cyber liability insurance to offset residual risks. With that said, cyber liability coverages vary across issuers and can contain many carve outs and other complexities that can prevent or reduce coverage. Therefore, stakeholders should review their cyber liability policies to ensure that they understand the terms and conditions of such policies. Key items to evaluate can include: coverage levels per claim and in the aggregate, retention amounts, notice requirements, exclusions, and whether liability arising from malicious third party conduct are sufficiently covered.
While cyber liability insurance will not practically reduce risk or a cyber incident, it is increasingly a critical component of a holistic risk mitigation strategy given the world we live in.