Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading SEC Fines Title Insurer Over Cyber Vulnerability Disclosure. This week we’re bringing you:
Defense Dept. may be underestimating tech risks: GAO*
The Department of Defense may be underestimating the risks associated with some of its business information technology systems, says the U.S. General Accountability Office, in a report issued Wednesday.
The DoD concurs with the GAO’s recommendations, and plans to address them, says the report.
The DoD requested about $37.7 billion for IT investments for the fiscal year 2021, which includes major programs intended to help the department carry out key business functions, such as financial management and health care, according to the report.
It said the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 includes a provision for the GAO to assess elected programs annually through 2023.
Its assessment indicated that some programs could be underreporting risks, the report said. The GAO found 10 programs for which its assessments of program risk reflected greater risk than reported by the DoD.
Business increases “tenfold” over surging cyber issue*
If it feels like you’re hearing more stories about ransomware attacks in the news lately…. well, there’s a good reason for that.
“I’m getting calls all the time from companies that have been hacked or been subjected to blackmail,” Robin Cohen (pictured), said from her New York City office. “My practice has probably increased tenfold on this issue in the last two years. I used to see it once in a while, but now I see it quite a bit.”
Cohen is a partner at Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna LLP, a law firm that represents policyholders in insurance cases. While cybersecurity issues make up just one part of her firm’s caseload, she notes it’s a fast-growing area for them, and more often they are being asked by companies to audit cyber policies and review their cyber coverage before ransomware attacks happen to them.
As for why people make these attacks on corporate systems, she doesn’t believe there’s any great mystery.
“You know that expression when they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money? I think it’s about the money,” she said. “I think at the end of the day the more profitable this sort of situation is, the more you’re going to attract people into the field.”
Ransomware attacks typically involve someone gaining access to a computer system for the purpose of either stealing data or blocking a legitimate user’s access to it. The “ransom” part comes in when the hacker threatens to either publish the victim’s data or hold it hostage until the victim pays a ransom to regain access.
Insurer OKs cryptocurrency for premium payments*
Universal Fire & Casualty Insurance Co. said Tuesday that it would accept cryptocurrency for premium payments.
The Waterford, Michigan-based property/casualty insurer said it accepts a variety of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, Ethereum, bitcoin cash, and litecoin, for premium payments for direct online license and permit bonds and other surety bond products.
John Lucker, executive vice president, chief strategy and analytics officer, said it “was not a matter of if, but when,” the company would accept cryptocurrency.
Rick Klimaszewski, president, COO, and general manager of UFCIC’s surety bond business, said in the Tuesday statement that going forward, the insurer will continue expanding the menu of cryptocurrency options available for premium payment and customer convenience.
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