PLUS Experts: One of the Biggest Gaps in Cyber is Explaining it to Customers

By | November 9, 2018

What’s one of the biggest gaps in cyber?

Good communication between the insurance industry and customers, who are in need of more than just products to help protect them from risks in the rapidly changing digital world.

That was the consensus from a panel of experts speaking on Thursday at the annual PLUS conference in downtown San Diego, Calif.

The conference this year, which began on Wednesday and ends today, drew thousands of insurance professionals to meet and to hear about the latest industry trends from experts.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, Vernice Armour, the first African American female combat pilot, and attorney Gloria Allred, were among the keynote speakers.

Opioids, blockchain, employment practices liability, autonomous vehicles, drones and professional liability were among the topics of numerous sessions throughout the conference.

The ever-popular subject cyber was another topic.

Panelists in a session titled “Latest Trends in Cyber” covered a variety of emerging themes in the growing line, but establishing better lines of communication with customers was a point the experts made repeatedly.

“For the buyers, it’s a crowded and noisy and confusing marketplace,” said Robert Rosenzweig, senior vice president and national cyber risk practice leader for Risk Strategies.

His sentiment was echoed by fellow panelists Tim Marlin, head of cyber and professional liability for The Hartford, Matthew Prevost, cyber product manager for Chubb, and Shawn Ram, head of insurance for Coalition. The panel was moderated by Tracey Vispoli, president of Berkley Cyber Risk Solutions.

Panelists cited findings from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that show there are more than 500 carriers that say they are writing cyber, up from less than 200 a year ago.

Vispoli said the number of carriers and variety of products in the rapidly changing cyber market make it confusing for businesses that need coverage.

“There’s a lot of noise about who’s selling and what they’re selling,” she said.

The speed at which cyber risks are changing adds to the confusion, but therein lies an opportunity for brokers and carriers to add value for their customers, according to Ram.

“The opportunity to understand the risk and how it’s changing during a policy period adds value,” Ram said.

Cannabis was another topic at the conference.

The line of coverage most associate with the cannabis industry is usually product liability, but errors and omissions, directors and officers and cyber are all lines where there are opportunities for insurance agents and brokers, according to Ian Stewart, an attorney with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP.

Stewart, who co-chairs the firm’s cannabis law practice, gave a talk on “Navigating Cannabis Professional Liability Risks and Insurance.”

He touched on topics like insurance carriers’ obligation to follow federal cannabis-related guidelines, underwriting best practices and mitigating professional liability risks.

He also talked about opportunities carriers and brokers in the growing cannabis industry.

“There is not a lot of medical E&O for physicians who recommend medical cannabis and there is going to be a need,” Stewart said.

Cyber is another area where Stewart sees as opportunity.

Cannabis businesses use point of sale, keep customer information, and have cyber needs that are similar to businesses in other industries.

There’s also a massive amount of data being collected through programs like California’s track and trace system, a statewide record-keeping mandate that tracks the inventory and movement of cannabis and cannabis products through the commercial cannabis supply chain – from seedling to sale.

A massive amount of data is being collected through this system, and business have an obligation to protect it, according to Stewart.

“The potential for data loss is high,” he said.

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