Cyber Insurance and the Cyber Security Challenge

Cyber risk poses a complicated and growing challenge for governments, businesses and consumers. This paper explores cyber insurance’s potential contribution to solving this problem.

Governments and businesses are struggling to cope with the scale and complexity of managing cyber risk. Over the last year, remote working, rapid digitalisation and the need for increased connectivity have emphasised the cyber security challenge. As the pursuit of approaches to prevent, mitigate and recover from malicious cyber activity has progressed, one tool that has gained traction is cyber insurance. If it can follow the path of other insurance classes, it could play a significant role in managing digital risk.

This paper explores whether cyber insurance can incentivise better cyber security practices among policyholders. It finds that the shortcomings of cyber insurance mean that its contribution to improving cyber security practices is more limited than policymakers and businesses might hope. Although several means by which cyber insurance can incentivise better cyber security practices are identified, they have significant limitations. Interviewees from across government, industry and business consistently stated that the positive effects of cyber insurance on cyber security have yet to fully materialise. While some mature insurers are moving in the right direction, cyber insurance as a whole is still struggling to move from theory into practice when it comes to incentivising cyber security.

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