Cyber is one of the top risks in a world that is ever more digitally connected. The Geneva Association’s Cyber research programme endeavours to provide deeper insights into the challenges of treating cyber as an insurable peril and promote the fundamental contribution of insurance in helping stakeholders in the private and public sectors to mitigate this risk

Society’s ever-growing reliance on information and communications technology means that the risks of its failure, be it from malicious acts or system malfunction, are becoming increasingly significant. Companies face new exposures, including first- and third-party damage, business interruption and regulatory consequences. This risk landscape calls for coverage solutions, from both private and public sectors, for individuals, businesses and societies.


The Geneva Association’s Cyber Research Programme continues to reach out to thought leaders in the insurance and technology industries, academia and the policymaking arena. The objective is to integrate the best thinking in timely reports that will describe the key building blocks needed to support the sustainable growth of the cyber insurance market. A Cyber Risk working group (CRWG), comprising cyber specialists from ten leading insurers, was established to support the research programme and oversee its output.

The CRWG embarked on a research programme to shed light on the many obstacles impeding the growth of the cyber insurance market. Going forward, it intends to take a deep dive into specific topics, namely (i) accumulation and capacity, (ii) strengthening resilience, and (iii) policy issues and the role of governments.


Cyber Insurance as a Risk Mitigation Strategy

The report Cyber Insurance as a Risk Mitigation Strategy was published in early April 2018. The paper was prepared in collaboration with academics of the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (IC)3, headquartered in the MIT Sloan School of Management, and with BCG Platinion, a company of The Boston Consulting Group focused on technology and cybersecurity.

The report intends to provide a platform for industry discussion on cyber risk and insurance and seeks to develop and inspire research and insights that support its sustainable development. The paper analyses the state of the cyber market and the role insurers play in advancing cyber resilience. A key proposition is that insurers are uniquely positioned to help their customers improve cyber awareness, and better understand and manage cyber risks.

Moreover, the report reviews the transformation along the value chain as insurers move from providing risk transfer products only to offering prevention, mitigation and resolution services.

In addition to the growth of policies for cyber risk transfer, the cyber risk insurance value chain provides a range of cybersecurity services, the report argues. This offering includes not only risk mitigation and protection services for customers but also valuable data for insurers regarding cyber risks, cyberattacks, successful mitigation strategies, and the financial impact of actual cyber events.

Inga Beale, CEO, Lloyd’s, gives a special address at the OECD cyber insurance market conference


Unleashing the Potential of the Cyber Insurance Market

On 22 February 2018, Secretary General Anna Maria D’Hulster moderated the panel ‘Addressing the gaps in incident data and advances in modelling capacity’, as part of the OECD Conference ‘Unleashing the Potential of the Cyber Insurance Market’ in Paris. The panel found that much progress has been made towards sophisticated risk modelling and that there are a number of valuable efforts underway to support modelling with appropriate data.

Even though there is a growing market for cyber insurance, cyber risk remains relatively uncharted. As a result, limited historical data is available to underwriters and the risk modelling community. A cyber insurance data repository would encourage the development and refinement of insurance product offerings, whilst enhancing the insurance industry’s understanding of prevention and mitigation measures for different types of cyber incidents.

Accumulation Risk and Insurability

The Geneva Association’s 2018 Annual Circle of Chief Economists, hosted by Munich Re on 22-23 March, discussed the challenges and opportunities of rapidly progressing digitisation for the insurance sector. One session was dedicated to the analysis of accumulation risk with a focus on what the industry can do to resolve the insurability challenge and lay the foundation for the sustainable growth of the cyber insurance market.