Getting Cyber Insurance Policy Coverage: Where to Start

With cyberattacks on the rise, businesses are at greater risk, particularly those with limited budgets and resources dedicated to cybersecurity. Many businesses are looking to purchase cyber insurance to help mitigate the risks of ransomware, but face stringent cybersecurity insurance requirements to be eligible for coverage. Adding even more pressure, many face the possibility of losing existing or prospective clients if their cybersecurity posture is not up to snuff and they are unable to receive cyber insurance. So, where to start?

Getting Cybersecurity Insurance Policy Coverage: Where to Start

Increasingly, operating without cyber insurance leaves businesses open to not only monetary risk, but operational risk as well. In fact, cybercrime damages are predicted to reach $6 trillion worldwide this year. These costs include not only the damage and destruction of data, but operational downtime, lost productivity, intellectual property theft, recovery of data and systems, and potential legal repercussions. With ransomware demands increasing in size and frequency, the cyber insurance market is rapidly changing to adjust, resulting in higher premiums and coverage reductions, along with scrutiny of risk profiles and detailed assessments of a business’s cybersecurity posture. 

Cybersecurity insurance requirements are becoming more stringent – existing policyholders are being hit with complicated cybersecurity questionnaires to keep their current policies and underwriters won't extend coverage or will restrict amounts if minimum basic controls aren't in place. If you are unsure where to start or how your organization can protect itself with cybersecurity controls that meet cyber insurance needs, you are not alone. 

Set a Baseline

Start with a cyber insurance risk assessment to determine your business’s current cybersecurity posture. The widely accepted National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Center for Internet Security (CIS) frameworks can serve as a guide to meet the basic controls that most cyber insurance providers might require. Risk assessments help to expose any holes in current cybersecurity postures and identify room for improvement. Using this information, you can form a holistic plan to bolster your cybersecurity that includes assessments and testing, policies and training, and detection and response

Identify and Define

Next, figure out the coverage your organization needs. Not all cyber insurance plans are created equal, and organizations need to understand each aspect of their coverage to ensure it matches their business needs. This can include conducting scenario exercises with your cybersecurity provider to run through common attacks based on the areas identified in your cyber insurance risk assessment that require improvement. 

Businesses also need to understand the difference between first party vs third party cyber insurance or liability coverage, to ensure their business and their customers are protected. First-party coverage covers direct losses to the insured, while third-party coverage covers losses suffered by others based on their relationship to the insured. 

Embrace Continuous Comprehensive Cybersecurity

After assessing your cybersecurity posture and choosing coverage that works for your company, it’s essential to keep up the level of protection and not just “set and forget.” Insurance providers often include a requirement for continuous protection because true cybersecurity is a posture, not a project. Further, cyber insurance coverage is not a substitution for a comprehensive cybersecurity program. While insurance may reimburse costs, it can’t mitigate reputational damage after a breach or incident, nor will it reinstate trust from affected customers. 

Defendify's Risk Assessments are constantly updated and are mapped to NIST and CIS frameworks. With a comprehensive risk assessment and actionable recommendations for improving posture, we help clients adequately set themselves up for success when obtaining cyber insurance coverage. 


Sid Bose, Data Security and Privacy Attorney for Ice Miller, explains the importance of understanding cyber insurance in order to obtain the right coverage for your organization.


More resources for cyber and data insurance:

Blog: Understanding Cybersecurity from a Legal Perspective

Podcast: The Intersection of Cybersecurity, Law, and Business (with Sid Bose, Data Privacy Attorney)

Video: Preparing for a Customer or Vendor Security Assessment (Rob Knake)

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