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Systemic cyber cat event could top cover due to aggregation: Experts


A systemic cyber catastrophe could create losses that exceed the insurance industry’s scope of coverage due to potential aggregations of risk, experts said.

One major challenge is the rising utilization of cloud computing among policyholders, which could help lead to unforeseen aggregations of risk, according to a panel of senior insurance industry executives speaking Friday at New York University at a conference organized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and NYU.

The panel was part of a wider discussion on the merits of any potential federal participation in the cyber insurance market or response to a cyber catastrophe.

“Some risks are so severe that private industry alone is not able to manage the potential losses,” said John Doyle, CEO at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.

“There isn’t enough industry capacity today to fully cover a true catastrophic event,” said Albert Benchimol, former CEO at Axis Capital Holdings Ltd., adding that risk aggregations are among the chief concerns about cyber exposures.

The growing use of cloud computing “can create exposures across broad swaths of our customers,” said Jim Williamson, group chief operating officer and head of reinsurance at Everest Global, potentially leading to a level of loss “we perhaps didn’t contemplate.”

John Keogh, president and COO at Chubb Group Ltd., agreed aggregations of risk are a major concern surrounding cyber coverages, especially since cyber exposures are growing continually. “It’s getting worse by the day. It’s going to be worse a year from now than at the moment,” he said.