Words matter. They matter in politics, they matter in the media, they matter in insurance.
In recent weeks, I’ve lost track of the number of times people have forwarded me media headlines with somewhat incendiary words for the cyber insurance industry. In reference to recent denials of insurance claims from cyber attacks citing exclusionary act of war language, some of the headlines include:
- " Why are Companies Buying Cyberinsurance That Doesn’t Cover Cyber Attacks?"
- "Cyber Insurance Not Valid in Case of Cyber War"
- "Denial of a NotPetya-Related Claim Shakes the Cyber Insurance World"
The challenge is these articles are referring to disputes with regards to property policies, not cyber insurance policies. It is reminiscent of prior waves of negative publicity several years ago about small businesses that experienced cyber attacks that were not covered by their commercial general liability (CGL) policies. Businesses that had chosen not to purchase cyber insurance, and experienced severe financial stress as a result, were being used as case studies to argue that businesses should not purchase cyber insurance. At best, this is ironic, at worst it is perverse.
In the same way that you should expect limited coverage from your homeowners policy if you car gets broken into, a cyber insurance policy will typically provide far greater coverage than other lines of insurance that may or may not cover losses from a cyber attack.
This is not to say that purchasing affirmative cyber insurance policies is a panacea. Different policies cover different losses with different wordings and different exclusions. Words matter and the people that typically best understand what those words do and don’t mean are specialist cyber insurance brokers. In the same way that it pays to look beyond the words in the headlines in the press, the same is true of your insurance policies too.