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Pool Re to cover property damage from cyber terrorism

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Pool Reinsurance Co. Ltd., the U.K. government-backed terrorism reinsurance backstop, will extend its cover to include material damage and direct business interruption caused by acts of terrorism using a cyber trigger, starting in April 2018.

The cover, which will exclude intangible assets, will be standard for all policyholders that purchase terrorism insurance from Pool Re members, London-based Pool Re said Tuesday in a statement.

The coverage extension is the culmination of more than two years of work and is based on a research study commissioned from the Centre for Risk Studies at University of Cambridge Judge Business School to further Pool Re’s understanding of the nature of the cyber terrorism threat.

The U.K. government gave preliminary approval for the expansion in coverage in September.

“We will continue to evolve our coverage, and today’s announcement is an effort to future-proof the scheme and to close a potential gap in coverage before it became apparent,” Pool Re Chief Executive Julian Enoizi said in the statement. “The threat from a cyber attack is evident, and businesses have become increasingly concerned about the extensive repercussions these types of attacks could have on them. This was a clear gap in our coverage which left businesses potentially exposed.”

Pool Re was set up in 1993 by the U.K. government and insurance industry, and its members include most insurers and Lloyd’s of London syndicates that offer commercial property insurance in the United Kingdom. In 2015, the mutual insurer implemented a series of changes to modernize the pool.