Executives more worried about cyber-attacks than property damage, survey finds

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  • Cyber crime: A major concern for many executives

    Cyber crime: A major concern for many executives


Corporate executives these days are more concerned about cyber-attacks than they are about income loss or property damage, according to a new survey released by American International Group Inc. (AIG).

Of the 258 executives surveyed by Penn Schoen Berland, a market research company hired by AIG, 85 percent said they were very or somewhat concerned about cyber-attacks on their organisations — topping the 82 percent concerned about income loss, the 80 percent concerned about property damage and the 76 percent concerned about securities and investment risk.

The survey’s participants included risk managers and senior executives in the US and Canada. Additional survey results, which included input from insurance brokers, found there is high demand among executives, risk managers and brokers for information about cyber threats, with 80 percent of them indicating that they find it difficult to keep pace because the threat of cyber attacks is evolving so rapidly.

Cyber-attacks have been a growing threat for well over a decade, impacting victims ranging from the Federal Reserve, which was hacked earlier this week, to Sony, which suffered one of the costliest hacks in history.

Companies most likely to be targets are those that collect important personal information like providers of financial services, healthcare and higher education as well as e-tailers.

These recent survey results are just the latest indication that large corporations around the world are growing more concerned about the potential damage that can be done when hackers break into their systems and gain access to sensitive data or customer information.

Companies are growing more and more receptive to the role insurers play in protecting against such threats and insurance companies are working to keep up — offering add-ons to standard commercial insurance policies.

“Clients are more aware today than even a year ago that this risk is really not just an IT exposure,” Tracie Grella, head of professional liability for global financial lines at AIG told Dow Jones News Service. “It really needs to be addressed through risk management.”

Ms Grella said another driver was news of cyber-attacks, which can cause interest in the affected industries to spike. Retailers were early adopters of the coverage because they were early targets of hackers, she said. Large and midsized retailers now buy cyber-risk protection about 75 percent of the time, she said — far higher than the estimated 20 percent overall participation for commercial insurance buyers of similar size.

The AIG commissioned survey was conducted as part of the company’s promotional efforts surrounding its CyberEdge insurance package, which the company says helps cover costs associated with data breaches and other cyber risks. AIG now offers software to help stop potential cyber-attacks and an iPad app that provides information about cyber risks as part of the new suite of services.

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Published Feb 8, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm)

Executives more worried about cyber-attacks than property damage, survey finds

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