Atlas Magazine June 2021

Insurers up against cyber risks

Insurers have not seen the end of the tunnel. After the health crisis that is impacting their 2020 balance sheets and probably those of the next two years, they are now facing another catastrophic risk.
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Cyber risk, which has been identified for several years but whose threat has gathered momentum with Covid-19 and digitalization, is affecting the insurance industry. It is everywhere. No one is safe whether it is a private individual, a company, an administration or a key structure of the State.

In fact, the pandemic has acted as an accelerator of computer crime. The confinement of the populations, decreed by the States has strained corporate security systems. As a result, teleworking has created a breach into which cybercriminals quickly tapped. The number of cyber-attacks, therefore, increased four times in 2020, with ransomware demands rising to 1630 in a single year.

Another finding is that malicious acts are becoming more expensive. According to the U.S. software company McAfee, cybercrime set the global economy back 1 trillion USD in 2019.

Equally worrying is the fact that cybercriminals have expanded their activities. From the medical field where they have been active since the beginning, the criminals are now targeting other sectors such as banking, insurance, transportation and industry. Insurers Chubb in March 2020 and AXA in May 2021 were the targets of violent attacks.

This shift in claims experience did not go unnoticed by the editors of Allianz's annual Top Business Risks survey, who rank cyber risk as the number one threat facing businesses in 2020. So, with the advent of a digitalized world and the reign of Big Data, data protection is becoming a societal issue. A large-scale attack on the global financial system would cause more damage than a pandemic.

Atlas Magazine N°182, June 2021

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