Standard Bank invades cyber insurance space

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Standard Bank has launched a standalone cyber insurance product for businesses in SA.

The policy, named Commercial Cyber Insurance, provides cover for cyber extortion, hacking, physical theft and loss of both devices and physical hard copy data, says the bank.

It points out the insurance will cover clients who are increasingly doing business online, and without dedicated cover, they could find themselves insufficiently protected in the event of a breach.

Standard Bank collaborated with UK-based insurance platform INSTANDA and Hollard in developing the new product for its clients, saying cyber crime continues to be a major challenge for businesses in SA.

INSTANDA has offices in the US, Chile, Japan and Australia, and operates in 13 countries, with over 60 clients across all insurance lines and distribution channels.

Standard Bank says the new insurance offering forms part of its broader move to digital offerings and providing customers with solutions which it says are agile and adaptable.

The bank believes digitisation and partnerships with technology firms that facilitate digital transformation allow for more people to access banking services due to a multiplicity of platforms.

The launch comes on the back of growing concerns of cyber attacks on local businesses.

The world, including SA, has witnessed revved up cyber attacks in the wake of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the local companies that suffered attacks is the JSE-listed Stefanutti Stocks, which had to shut down all IT systems in order to remediate.

In July, Lombard Insurance had a data breach incident, which was reported to the Information Regulator and law enforcement.

Before the Lombard incident, credit bureau Experian experienced a breach of data which exposed some personal information of as many as 24 million South Africans and 793 749 business entities to a suspected fraudster.

“Cyber crime is a very real threat and for many commercial entities, data and information are just as important as any asset they own. Protecting that asset is where we come in,” says Leon Vermaak, global head of insurance at Standard Bank.

“The risks of the modern world demand protection from the danger of cyber attacks.”

He says Standard Bank’s Commercial Cyber Insurance provides cover to businesses for losses incurred during a cyber crime event. The policy is designed to cover the resultant costs and damages from a privacy breach or a network security breach, which he says has been uninsurable in the past.

The insurance also provides comprehensive first- and third-party coverages with an expert incident response.

Services include the costs to investigate and mitigate a cyber extortion threat and where required, costs to comply with a cyber extortion demand, and the costs to restore, re-collect or replace data lost, stolen or corrupted due to a systems security incident.

“This product will help businesses recover quickly from cyber attacks, with access to resources they will need to ensure business continuity as more South Africans transact online,” says Angela Mhlanga, CEO of Hollard Partner Solutions.

Vermaak adds: “We wanted to offer something which was comprehensive and met the changing needs of our clients at a time when they have had to be agile and more digitally focused because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As more data and business functions are moved to digital, the risk to businesses will increase. Protection from that risk is paramount.”

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