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Is it Time to Look into Cyber Liability Insurance?


With the increasing frequency, sophistication and consequences of cyber crime, Xantrion looked into cyber liability insurance coverage.  Our investigation led us to believe it was worth strengthening our coverage to limit our risk exposure. As a result, we developed the following cyber liability insurance FAQ with the help of John Unick at Bolton & Company Insurance Brokers, one of the largest privately held insurance brokers in California:


Q: Why do I need cyber liability insurance?

A:  Technology is increasingly at the heart of successful business operations. The more information you store and transfer electronically — from website content and online file sharing, to stored customer data — the more your business is potentially exposed to cyberrisk. A stolen laptop can expose thousands of private customer records. A hacked account can compromise corporate finances. An ill-advised post on social media can spread to hundreds of people in an instant and live forever in electronic archives.


In order to manage these risks, you need to understand your potential liabilities and purchase appropriate insurance coverage. You also need to be aware that your traditional general commercial liability policy simply isn't designed to shield you from IT damages and the associated costs they may incur.


Q: What does cyber liability insurance encompass?
A:  A typical cyber liability policy may include all of these possible exposures:


Social engineering, such as phishing, identity theft, cyber extortion, and wire fraud. Hackers have become so sophisticated that it's more and more difficult to tell a legitimate internal email from a phishing attempt designed to trick your CFO into transferring money to a cybercriminal. 
Intellectual property rights. Your company's online presence, whether through your corporate website, blogs, or social media, exposes you to some of the same risks faced by publishers: copyright infringement, trademark infringement, libel, and defamation, to name a few. 
Damages to a third-party system. If your systems are damaged or you lose code or data due to cybercrime or natural disaster — a software failure, a malware infection, a fire — and that in turn creates a loss to a third party, you could be held liable for the damages. Worse yet, if a cybercriminal hijacks your website, network, or stored data and denies access to you or your customers until you pay a ransom, you may be responsible for your customers' lost revenues as well as your own, the payoff to the hacker, and any necessary costs of restoring service.
Business interruption. As cybercriminals step up denial-of-service attacks that block access to online systems, your company needs to be prepared for the possibility of losing your ability to transmit data. You need coverage for the time and resources needed to solve the problem as well as the revenues lost during unexpected downtime.
Incidental costs of a data security breach. Tighter data protection regulations mean companies must shoulder greater costs both to prevent data breaches and to mitigate them if they happen. In addition to increasing their spending on data security proactively, they must also inform affected parties when a breach occurs, offer them identity theft protection, implement cybersecurity fixes, and be prepared for potential legal action. This applies to any company that stores personal customer data electronically and might be at risk of unauthorized employee access or hardware theft, whether or not that data is transmitted over the Internet.
Q: I have questions. How can I learn more?

A:  As an emerging area of business liability coverage, cyber liability insurance varies based on your individual company's needs and IT risk exposure. It's important to work with a broker that can help identify your specific areas of IT risk and tailor a policy accordingly.


We recommend contacting John Unick at Bolton & Company directly at 415-314-7477 or He can answer more detailed questions and provide a competitively priced cyber liability insurance quote within 24 hours.


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