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Hack attacks and data law boost European cyber insurance demand

An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer, in an office in Warsaw June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

New European legislation on data privacy is helping push up regional demand for cyber insurance, industry specialists say, after companies such as TalkTalk and Experian were affected by hackers earlier this year.

The European Union agreed this week to change fragmented data protection laws, forcing companies to report breaches likely to harm individuals to national authorities within 72 hours.

Up until now, insurers say many European companies have swept the issue under the carpet and shown little interest in cyber cover. But anticipation of the European law has already boosted demand, according to Paul Bantick, technology, media & business services UK focus group leader at insurer Beazley.

“We have seen clients buying policies because they know that this is coming,” Bantick said. “Breaches are going to get more expensive, they are going to get more complex and they (clients) want insurers to help with both of those issues.”

The development of the U.S. cyber insurance market is an indication of possible trends in Europe, where big players in cyber insurance also include Axa, Hiscox, Ergo (part of Munich Re (MUVGn.DE)) and Zurich Insurance.

The U.S. market has grown by more than a third this year, with gross written premiums totaling $2.75 billion, according to The Betterley Report, a survey of the cyber insurance market.

Most U.S. states have introduced legislation requiring companies to notify individuals of security breaches of personal information, with the first law enacted in 2002. Before that, almost no cyber insurance was written, a situation similar to the current state of play in Europe.

LOW TAKEUP

In Germany for instance the market is only expected to total $10 million this year, while in Britain the market only totaled between 20 million pounds ($30 million) and 25 million in premiums last year, according to brokerage Marsh.

That low takeup is already changing.

Stephen Ridley, senior development underwriter at Hiscox UK, estimated the UK market has at least tripled this year and noted the Lloyd’s of London [LOL.UL] underwriter has seen demand increase month by month.

Ridley expects this to continue in 2016, boosted in part by media coverage of the high profile data breaches that have hit UK-based companies.

Globally cyber insurance market could double to $5 billion in annual premiums by 2018 and reach at least $7.5 billion by the end of the decade, according to a report by PwC.

Julia Graham, technical director at Airmic, a UK-based trade body for company risk managers, also said there were signs of increasing demand, particularly from industries most aware of the threat.

“There is a small but perceptible increase,” Graham said. “The sectors that are more sophisticated – financial services, law, tech companies, pharma companies – those are the early entrants.”

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Henry Sapiecha

 

Semi-automatic weapons, ammo handled in mystery Brisbane military operation in preparation for the G20 summit

 

miliary personal handling semi auto weapons g20 brisbane summit  image www.intelangencies.com

Semi-automatic weapons, ammo handled in mystery Brisbane military operation

BRISBANE CBD residents watched on in awe as a movie-like scene played out in front of their eyes as G20 preparations continued early this morning.

After seeing a large gathering of soldiers believed to have been armed with semi-automatic weapons, those enjoying a late Sunday night saw their purpose become apparent.

Around midnight, a convoy of vehicles carried soldiers a short distance to an underground car park at a building where their operation would soon come to life.

One inner-city road was partially blocked as a fleet of army vehicles rolled in.

Finally, about 12.45am, at least four speed boats were seen zipping along the Brisbane River before unloading crews.

Tactical Assault Group East conducts a training exercise early Monday morning at Stamford Plaza, Brisbane ahead of the G20 Leaders' Summit.image www.intelagencies.com

Tactical Assault Group East conducts a training exercise early Monday morning at Stamford Plaza, Brisbane ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. Photo by Sarah Keayes

At the same time, four Black Hawk choppers hovered ominously around buildings – coming within metres of some – in what appeared to be a simultaneous “attack”.

Dozens of soldiers appeared, aided by what was believed to be night vision and gas masks.

Moments earlier, loud bangs and shoutings of “get down” had been heard inside one of the nearby buildings.

After approximately half an hour, the “intruders’’ were seen being taken to a central point in the building in what seemed to be arrested-like fashion.

A chopper hovers just metres from the buildings G20 summit Brisbane image www.intelagencies.com

A chopper hovers just metres from the buildings. Photo Adam Armstrong.

Tactical assault personnel on the Brisbane River during the late-night exercise. Photo by Sarah Keayes

For several hours, a large number of military dressed personnel — estimated to be about 50 — descended on an inner-city commercial carpark in what is believed to be a G20 training operation.

In plain sight of pedestrians, the personnel handled what appeared to be semi-automatic weapons, ammunition, helmets and large equipment containers.

The group were dressed in olive-coloured military style clothing with no apparent badges identifying themselves or their agency.

Some appeared to be wearing body armour.

Personnel on scene refused to provide any details of the operation or the agencies involved when asked by The Courier-Mail.

For a short period of time, a single police car was also seen parked out the front of the carpark where the operation was taking place.

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When contacted by The Courier-Mail on Sunday night, spokespeople for the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Service and Defence Public Affairs all denied any knowledge of the operation.

The Royal Australian Air Force announced on Sunday they would conduct G20 security preparations from November 3 to 13 but not on weekends.

The RAAF said operations would involve “fighter, surveillance and support aircraft, alongside the Army Black Hawk helicopters”.

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Henry Sapiecha