As customers, agents, brokers, and business partners increasingly rely on North American insurers’ expanding digital-connection capabilities, carriers’ operational efficiencies are improving. That means cyber attacks and IT failures pose greater risk to insurers’ profitability—and even their viability.

And that risk will only be growing.

Accenture’s 2015 Global Risk Management Study: North American Insurance Report found that 38 percent of North American insurers have a greater risk appetite for major digital initiatives than they had two years ago. And 60 percent of that group have a greater risk appetite for new alliances and partnerships in this area than before.

At the same time, cyber criminals are ramping up their assault against insurers, according to the findings of the Accenture study Business Resilience in the Face of Cyber Risk.  Nearly six in 10—59 percent—of insurance executives reported that their organizations face significant IT system attacks on either a daily or weekly basis.

Yet, just more than four in 10—43 percent—of insurance executives describe their companies’ cyber defensive capabilities as fully functional.

And alarmingly, only just over half—53 percent—of the respondents’ companies have established a continuity plan that is refreshed as needed.

Growing IT, cyber security threats - Cyber Security Insurance Infographic Example

View the infographic that provides details of the insurance specific results

To survive and compete in a digitally-connected marketplace, insurers will have to become more resilient against threats to their IT and cyber security.

There clearly is much room for improvement, and research provides some insight on the measures that insurers can take immediately.

To learn more about the study, download Business Resilience in the Face of Cyber Risk (PDF).

Next time: How insurers can protect themselves better.

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