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Cyber risks lead Travelers index for first time

Posted On: Sep. 30, 2019 12:52 PM CST


Cyber risks topped the 2019 Travelers Risk Index for the first time since the survey’s origin in 2014, the insurer said in a statement Monday.

A smaller portion of respondents, however, has moved to address those concerns, although that group is growing, the report showed.

The survey of 1,200 business leaders showed that 55% said they worry “some or a great deal” about cyber risks.

This was followed by medical cost inflation at 54% of those surveyed, employee benefit costs at 53%, the ability to attract and retain talent at 46%, and legal liability at 44%, the survey showed.

The percent of respondents who said today’s business environment was more risky was flat at 36%, the survey showed.

Among cyber-specific concerns, suffering a security breach and a third party gaining unauthorized access to bank accounts were paramount followed by extortion or a ransomware attack, and social engineering scams, the report said.

Just over half, or 51% of survey participants, have secured a cyber policy, up from 39% last year, a statement issued with the report said.

Just under half, 49%, have taken a cyber risk assessment for their own business, up from 45%. Fewer, 41%, have taken such an assessment for their vendors, up from 37% previously, the statement said.

Fewer still, 47%, have created a business continuity plan in the event of a cyberattack, up from 38% previously, while updating computer passwords was widespread, with 74% of respondents, up from 71% previously.

More than half, 54%, “believe it is inevitable that their company will be a victim of a data breach or cyberattack,” the survey showed.

One in four respondents didn’t believe their business would suffer a cyberattack, and didn’t purchase a cyber insurance policy with the top reason, cited by 31% of respondents, as the cost, the survey showed.

Three-fourths of survey participants agreed that having the proper cyber prevention tools in place is critical to the well-being of the business, up from 69% in 2018, while almost 80% of respondents admitted it is difficult to keep up with the changing cyber landscape, the survey showed.

“The Travelers Risk Index shows that more businesses are taking steps to prevent a cyber event, but it’s still alarming that nearly half don’t have the proper insurance coverage,” Tim Francis, enterprise cyber lead for Travelers Cos. Inc., said in the statement, adding “more companies are experiencing cyberattacks.”

Indeed, the  percentage of small business respondents who have suffered a cyberattack tripled in 2019 to 12% from 4% previously, while attacks have doubled on medium-sized companies to 20% this year, from 10% in 2015, and increased to 33% among large businesses, from 19% previously, the report showed.

The national online survey done by Hart Research Associates Inc. from July 8-19, 2019, included 1,200 business decision-makers and was commissioned by Travelers, the statement said.