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Cyber cover plentiful but takeup still low

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Cyber insurance is readily available for many insurance buyers, but only one-quarter of businesses purchase the coverage, according to a survey by the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

The cyber insurance market continues to develop at a “slow but steady pace,” with capacity plentiful at lower limits and for the least risky profiles, according to the survey that was issue Tuesday.

The average take-up rate for cyber insurance ticked up to 25% across U.S. businesses, according to the second biannual “Cyber Insurance Market Watch Survey” by the Washington-based broker trade group. This was a slight increase over the 24% reported in the first survey issued in October.

Of those brokerage clients that renewed their cyber coverage in the past six months, about 65% maintained their existing level of coverage and 35% increased coverage, with none reporting a decrease, which is consistent with the October 2015 survey, according to the latest survey's executive summary

Of the respondents, 48% said rates have remained the same, 38% said rates increased, and 14% said they have decreased. In the October survey 55% of respondents said rates had remained the same, while 28% said they had increased.

Meanwhile, manuscript policies “with vastly different definitions, terminology, limits endorsements and exclusions” are used to write cyber coverage, according to the survey report.

“Cyber insurance presents a unique challenge for brokers, because the technical language is foreign to most buyers and there are no common, agreed-upon terms across the industry,” said Ken A. Crerar, CIAB president and CEO, in a statement.

The average policy limit is typically around $3 million compared with $2.4 million reported in the October survey. The average largest limit respondents have placed is about $52 million, up slightly from the $50.7 million reported in October, while the largest tower assembled is still $500 million.

The survey was conducted March 9 through April 1 and had 65 respondents from 56 firms.