Library: Fitch Ratings – Sharply Rising Cyber Insurance Claims Signal Further Risk Challenges
Executive summary :
Property/Casualty (P/C) insurers that write cyber coverage face increasing profit pressure, as underwriters reported substantially higher segment claims losses in 2020 than in prior years. Significant premium rate increases and tighter coverage terms are anticipated to foster a recovery in underwriting performance over the medium term. However, a higher propensity of cyber incidents, particularly ransomware attacks, are likely to hinder a near-term reversal of claims cost trends, Fitch Ratings says.
Big boost for cyber coverage
Cyber insurance direct written premium (DWP) growth accelerated in 2020 with momentum continuing into 2021. Fitch estimates industry DWP for cyber coverage in standalone and package policies increased by over 22% in 2020 to approximately $2.7 billion, according to data compiled from cyber insurance supplemental filings in statutory financial statements.
Written premiums for standalone cyber coverage increased by 29% for the year, reflecting growing demand for specific cyber protection and insurers interest in reducing ambiguity in coverage relative to cyber risks included in package policies. Demand is driven by the need for risk management expertise and insurance protection by firms of all sizes due to incidence of network intrusions, data theft and ransomware incidents that have increased substantially in the last two years.
Considerable exposure remains
Cyber insurance continues to represent a modest portion of overall underwriting exposure to the P/C industry and individual insurers However, a large unforeseen cyber event, such as a massive cloud intrusion or attack on infrastructure, could result in substantial individual incurred losses that could pressure capital levels and individual ratings.
Limited historical claims and underwriting data also create significant challenges, especially for new underwriters entering the segment. The direct loss ratio for standalone cyber rose sharply in 2020 to 73%, the highest level recorded in the six years that separate cyber data were included in financial reporting.
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