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White House cybersecurity meeting leaves insurance execs optimistic

White House

Insurance executives who attended a White House meeting on cybersecurity Wednesday say the meeting was productive and left them more optimistic about businesses’ ability to tackle the issue.

The U.S. government on Wednesday said it would work with industry to hammer out new guidelines to improve the security of the technology supply chain in a meeting kicked off by President Joe Biden, who appealed to private sector executives to “raise the bar on cybersecurity.”

Greg Hendrik, CEO of Bermuda-based, private equity-backed insurer and reinsurer Vantage Group Holdings Ltd., said the meeting was “reassuring.” 

“It was a very rich conversation that we had across a number of topics,” including the need for an estimated half-million cybersecurity personnel and to do a better job in sharing data, Mr. Hendrik said.

Attendee Joshua Motta, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Coalition Inc., which provides cyber liability insurance and security to organizations in the U.S. and Canada, said, “I’m not going to claim we found the magic silver bullet” to solve the issue of cybersecurity, but the president convening a meeting with the business leaders of some of the largest organizations in the country on the issue was important and symbolic.

Mr. Motta said the discussion focused on how insurance “can be used as positive force” in addressing cybersecurity and did not reflect what he characterized as misguided reports that insurance contributes to ransomware by offering coverage.

Vishaal Hariprasad, CEO of San Francisco-based program manager Resilience Cyber Insurance Solutions, said, “The key takeaway was how do we incentivize companies to adopt the right standards across the spectrum.”

Attendee Alan Schnitzer, chairman and CEO of Travelers Cos. Inc., said in a statement, “At the White House, I highlighted the critical role that the insurance industry plays in strengthening America’s cybersecurity.

“Insurers help organizations manage cyber risk efficiently and effectively, including by conducting cyber risk assessments, advising on hardening cyber defenses, and providing ongoing monitoring of cyber vulnerability.  … Working together, the industry can also identify and share trends in the cyber risk environment and promote the adoption of cybersecurity best practices.”

Mr. Schnitzer said he announced at the meeting Travelers’ participation in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s initiative “to develop a new framework for public and private entities to improve the security and integrity of the technology supply chain. It’s an important step in enhancing the nation’s overall cybersecurity.”