Cyber cover fails customer needs

It is one of the most challenging and rapidly growing risks but most of the cyber insurance products being offered fall short of what customers need, says Zurich’s global insurance chief.

In Australia this week, Zurich General Insurance CEO Mike Kerner says both the demand and the importance of cyber risk insurance is growing quickly but it remained a challenging class.

“It’s almost impossible to build the walls high enough to keep the bad guys out and permeable enough to let the good guys in,” he says.

“If you want to interact business online or in the internet you have to open up your doors but trying to make sure that the real important stuff is protected while people can actually transact business with you is a challenge.

“We’re working with our customers to understand how to deal with those risks (but) I also think that the product that’s currently being sold by the insurance industry is not actually satisfying the needs of the customer and that’s a bit of a problem. Right now the coverage is relatively limited.”

Kerner says the currently available insurance policies do not cover enough exposures to fully protect companies and says the solution is that companies improve their own risk management, by making their data harder to access or disrupt.

Kerner also affirmed his belief in the future of intermediaries on the digital age but says they must accommodate for the fact that customers are increasingly comfortable doing research on the internet.

“The analogy that resonates with most people is the way most of us interact with banks,” he says.

“For easy transactions like getting cash, you don’t need to talk to a bank teller anymore but if you need a mortgage you’re going want to talk to somebody. Customers value a multi-touch approach.”

Meanwhile, Kerner says he is unfazed by the current state of the market.

“The market that is changing and challenging but then again as I look back on the last couple of decades, I can’t think of a time when the market wasn’t changing and challenging,” he says.