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The future is now and so are cybersecurity risks

April 3, 2018

Wholesale brokers are key allies in helping retail brokers and their clients face today’s cybersecurity challenges.

wholesale broker cyber

We live in a world that not long ago would have seemed like the stuff of science fiction. Talking software “personal assistants” like Siri and Alexa, iris identification security scans and 3D-printed houses that can be constructed in 24 hours are just a few of countless examples of the dizzying speed of technological evolution.

But frequent headlines of data breaches, phishing scams, malware attacks and ransomware threats remind us cybercrime has advanced rapidly, too. For businesses, this means data, resources, supply chains, and even basic day-to-day operations can be at risk. And if those risks are realized, the reputation and future of the business may be in peril.

The digital arena is volatile and can be tricky terrain for retail brokers working to provide cyber insurance solutions for their customers in addition to the broader set of more standard coverages they are placing every day. It requires specialists who are on top of current and emerging security challenges and mitigation strategies. This is where the wholesale broker can be an invaluable ally.

Wholesalers bring experience and expertise in handling specialized and hard-to-place risks. Indeed, when it comes to the constantly changing world of cybersecurity, specialty line expertise may be a greater necessity than in almost any other insurance sector.

The wholesale broker knows the top markets for a specific risk that the retailer might not have access to, or where they might not have an established working relationship. Within that market, the wholesaler’s close relationship with the insurance provider offers speed and efficiency when dealing with this type of risk. They have greater access to the deep knowledge and experience of the insurance provider, enabling them to present a broader assessment of a customer’s cyber exposures, current policies, existing coverages and what might be needed in anticipation of an increased frequency of cyberattacks.

Understanding associated coverages also helps convey insurance differences to a customer who may incorrectly believe, for instance, that a cyber policy focused on security and privacy protects them adequately, when they actually may need a broader Technology Errors & Omissions (E&O) policy. Data theft is different than theft of money and securities and may require different coverages or limits.

No matter how steeped in cyber knowledge any broker is, however, they need underwriting know-how in specialty markets as they work to help shield customers from cybersecurity pitfalls. Zurich Wholesale & Surplus (ZW&S) operates precisely to provide that kind of expertise for the specialized and complex risks businesses face…including the uncertainties of our new “sci-fi reality.”