Increasing risk awareness drives Bajaj Allianz’s foray into cyber insurance

India has been rather late in opening up to cybersecurity insurance. But changing risk dynamics brought about by the digital wave has changed the insurance space as we know it.

In a first, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance became a pioneer among insurance providers in the country to cover individuals in the event of a cyber-attack.

The insurance policy covers individuals who have fallen victims to cyber-attacks, cyber extortion, or cyber-bullying. In addition to this, the policy protects the individual from financial losses incurred due to data theft, identity theft, and malware attacks.

In an exclusive interaction with IDG, Sasikumar Adidamu, CTO at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, reveals the rationale behind the company rolling out cybersecurity insurance, and what makes it so relevant in today’s scenario.

Why is cyber security insurance important in today’s landscape?

We are living in an increasingly connected digital world, the amount of data being generated, transmitted and stored on various digital devices is rising exponentially. Hence, there’s an immense need today for protection against new age internet and cyber risks or threats.

The criticality of understanding and protecting oneself against cyber risks is being recognized even more today. The FICCI–Pinkerton India Risk Survey 2017 ranks ‘Information & Cyber Insecurity’ as the biggest risk across sectors and geographies. There has been a shift in how cyber risks are perceived. From being considered a high impact but moderate probability risk earlier, it is now perceived as a high frequency and high impact risk. Hence, it is has become vital to safeguard against such frequent cyber- attacks.

Will the Indian enterprise open up to cyber security insurance?

Digital India, is one of the flagship programs of the Government of India, where the focus is on giving boost to digital currency, transacting through mobile applications, etc. which is gaining a lot of traction. However, it is also exposing the internet users to the risk of cyber-attacks. 

In the recent past, there has been an increase in incidences of cyber-attacks and cyber-security compromises. This has become more pronounced due to the shift that the nation is undergoing towards digitization. The WannaCry malware incident has been the worst incident this year in which both public and private sector entities were attacked. We have seen a sudden and drastic spike in the number of engagements and queries regarding our cyber product ‘Bajaj Allianz Cyber Protect - Digital Business and Data Protection Insurance’.

Why has the Indian market not been too keen to adopt cyber insurance?

As mentioned before the instances of cyber-attacks have increased exponentially. We have seen good demand for our Digital Business and Data Protection Insurance from among both small-and-medium enterprises, and large corporates.  The awareness about such new age risks is now increasing with the risks becoming more prominent. Large corporates have already started protecting their business. We hope that small to mid-size companies will soon follow to cover themselves against cyber security risks.  

There's a discrepancy between cybersecurity insurance vendors and CSOs regarding the extent to which damages resulting due to security breaches are covered. What's your take on it?

The Cyber Protect policy is definitely helping the clients in taking care of various liabilities arising due to cyber breaches in accordance with the terms of the policy. It also offers to compensate for forensic analysis of situations due to these threats. The role of the CSO is very wide in identifying and mitigating such risks. Any corporate cyber policy shall be one of the mitigation measures in the entire gamut of cyber risks.