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Is personal cyber insurance the next big thing?

Cyber insurance is often considered a requirement in the commercial insurance world, yet the need for personal protection is ever growing. Cyber insurance policies within personal lines could become normality in the coming years.   

The past few months have seen numerous events that have increased the general public’s awareness of cyber-attacks, most notably the Equifax hack which has affected the personal details of nearly 700,000 customers in the UK. With the heightened level of awareness the announcement by Oak Underwriting that it will now include cover for cyber-crime within its legal expenses and home emergency cover through a partnership with Das, may ease the fears of some consumers.

The cover will aim to provide high net worth (HNW) customers with support by investigating and rectifying any damage caused to their device, locating and removing viruses, as well as providing professional consultation in order to prevent future cyber-attacks. In addition to this level of cover customers can upgrade to a more comprehensive policy with a limit of £100,000, which will also insure payments liable as a result of an attack, misuse of personal data, and ransomware. Due to the nature of personal insurance the cover provided will extend to immediate family as well as domestic employees.

Despite the new product currently only being offered to HNW individuals, the fact that cyber-insurance is becoming increasingly available within personal lines could indicate a growing realization among the general population that businesses are not the only targets of cyber-crime. Similar insurance products are currently available via AIG and Hiscox, both of which provide protection for HNW individuals against a number of forms of cyber-attacks. The need for personal cyber insurance is not restricted to the UK, with Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, part of Munich Re, providing protection for individuals across the US.

HNW individuals represent an ideal entry point to the market. With their high level of wealth raising their profile as lucrative targets for cyber-criminals, and their typical possession of the latest gadgets, HNW individuals could be at increased risk relative to others.

There is a growing reliance upon technology by the general public in their day-to-day lives. However, a recent finding by researchers at Belgian university KU Leuven revealed that all Wi-Fi connections can be hacked due to flaws in universally used security protocol, previously thought to be secure. Such developments could lead to personal cyber insurance policies becoming a necessity in the coming years.

Although initially such products are only being offered as add-ons, the potential to offer cyber insurance as a standalone policy is likely to emerge over time once the market develops and uptake increases. There is also potential for such policies to be purchased alongside new gadgets, allowing for premium prices to be more specific and reflect the level of risk posed by each gadget.

By Daniel Pearce, General Insurance Analyst

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