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Indian Perspective of Cyber Liability Insurance

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Compared to countries like US and UK, India is yet to increase its market-share in cyber risk insurance. Conversely, a few of the Indian insurance provider companies are emerging as a positive sign. This article gives you the current perspective of the cyber insurance scenario in India.

 

Cyber liability insurance is yet to evolve in India compared to countries like the US and UK. Security experts say that compared to the cyber security threats and risks that Indian companies face, the cyber-insurance Industry in the country is yet to adopt and grow. Experts again reveal that it is the lack of understanding of cyber security laws, policies and its implications among Indian insurance providers that the Industry is yet to grow as in western countries. It is also a common fact that there are very few cyber-insurance companies in India and the business sector is yet to adopt and grow to meet the demands of companies.

Indian Market Context

Currently in India, leading general insurance companies – HDFC Ergo, Tata AIG and ICICI Lombard offer insurance cover against cyber risk and threats. Then there are companies like Reliance General Insurance and Bajaj Allianz which are in a process to offer such cyber-insurances in keeping with the ever growing demand for such products in India. Presently, the maximum cyber-insurance cover provided is Rs 300 crore. But again the Indian cyber-insurance providers say that the insurance cover can be raised to Rs 600 crore based on the specific requirement of the customers.

It was reported that when HDFC Ergo launched its cyber-threats specific cyber-liability insurance policy in 2012, it had only two customers for that year. But as the months advanced the demand for such insurances increased steeply. ICICI Lombard and Tata AIG being are the new comers who launched their products this year. While these insurance companies have not revealed the names of its clients, they said that most of the customers are IT companies and BPOs which handle third party data. This is in addition to several financial and banking institutions. Various cyber security experts say that the cyber liability insurance in India is expensive and is not affordable to small companies. For instance, a company seeking insurance has to shell out anywhere between Rs 12 lakh to Rs 18 lakh as a yearly premium amount to avail a cyber-insurance coverage of Rs 10 crore and between Rs 2.4 crore to Rs 3 crore as a yearly premium amount to avail a cyber-insurance coverage of Rs 300 crore. This premium amount depends on whether the customer’s data is in India or in foreign countries. While insurance

companies justify these high premium price, security experts say that such high premium amount only decreases the market of small and mid-size companies from availing the cyber-insurance in India. Here, it’s surprising to note that in the United States, a majority of the insurance premium amount of cyber-insurance companies come from the small and mid-size companies. However, Indian Insurance companies say that they have a large demand in the market as they have several enquiries and requests from several companies.

Bottom Line

In-spite of the advantages of cyber insurance, we should understand that it is not a solution to the security threats or vulnerabilities. One should apply the mind and remove the wrong notion that cyber insurance cannot make-up for the security weakness because it merely transfers the security cost risk from the insured to the insurer. More-over the cyber liability insurance has its own limitation because the cyber insurance giants think that a catastrophic global cyber attack simultaneously could bring down several targets worldwide. These targeted companies (in very large numbers) who have cyber liability insurance in-turn can claim the insurance globally. This is the reason that in the Insurance Industry, there is scope only for limited insurance or reinsurance. Hence, it’s not possible for cyber insurance companies to give comprehensive cyber liability insurance coverage to all the companies.

As India is traversing the path of digital and cyber world and e-commerce being implemented in all sectors, cyber-insurance companies are hoping for the big business because of the cyber security threats and risks in this area. Given the current scenario, India is yet to make its mark in the global market.

 

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On March 10, 2015
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