The 2018 State of Cyber Resilience study shows that insurers have made steady improvement to improving their cyber security. But as the cyber threat landscape evolves faster than many companies are able to cope with, insurers cannot afford to be complacent.

While cybersecurity is an issue for all organizations, it poses unique challenges for insurers. Not only are insurers charged with protecting their own data, but also to provide services to help customers protect theirs. When it comes to keeping up with malicious attacks, insurers have made sound improvements since 2017. However, there is still much work to do.

Carriers have improved their cybersecurity effectiveness since 2017

Accenture Security recently completed its 2018 State of Cyber Resilience study. Now in its second year, the study is based on interviews with 4,600 executives in 15 countries and across 19 industries. More than 400 of the respondents are insurers.

In 2018, 22 percent of attacks resulted in security breaches compared to 30 percent in 2017.

The report has some good news for insurers. Some measures went down: in 2018, 22 percent of attacks resulted in security breaches, compared to 30 percent in 2017. Others went up: insurers significantly increased their cyber capabilities, achieving high performance in 20 of the 33 capabilities that Accenture Security used to assess cyber resilience (compared to 12 in 2017).

When it comes to cybersecurity, insurance leaders have work to do

Given these improvements, it’s not surprising that 80 percent of insurance executives say they are “confident” or “extremely confident” about their cybersecurity effectiveness. On the surface, that seems like good news.

However, consider that less than half of carriers are investing in advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (43 percent) or robotic process automation (39 percent)—the very tools that cyber criminals are using to bolster their attacks.

What’s more, as banking hardens their defenses, organized crime is moving to insurance to commit fraud. It takes longer to commit fraud in insurance than it does to steal from a bank, but there’s plenty of room for criminals to hide in the trillions of dollars of claims that are paid annually.

Without continued investment, insurers will continue to see an increase in cyber risk. And without continued investment, insurers will be hampered in their ability to not only shore up their defenses, but also to offer innovative and relevant services to their customers.

In my next post, I’ll take a look at the challenges insurers currently face in improving their cyber resilience.

Register to download the full report, “Insuring the Future: 2018 State of Cyber Resilience for Insurance.”

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