CyGeist launches cyber insurance

* First South African Cyber UMA opens its doors.
* CyGeist - taking South African insurance into cyber space.

Johannesburg, 19 Jul 2013
Read time 3min 30sec

South Africa's first underwriting management agency (UMA), specialising exclusively in cyber insurance, is open for business in Gauteng.

Drawing on a combination of in-depth knowledge and industry experience in insurance, underwriting and IT, CyGeist has launched a 21st century insurance product specifically tailored to address the shortcomings of more traditional insurance coverage options.

"If information security and the threat of cyber attacks are not a top-five priority on your executive board checklist, then you are seriously underestimating a major source of risk to your organisation," says CyGeist MD, Natalie van de Coolwijk, "which is why we are offering the South African market a new, holistic, cyber-risk management package."

Van de Coolwijk believes the growing sophistication, frequency and potentially destructive threat posed by cyber attacks can no longer be viewed as the sole responsibility of an organisation's IT department. With South Africa ranked in the top 10 in terms of cyber crime complaints, she says companies need to develop a comprehensive cyber defence strategy that comprises IT security, enterprise risk management and insurance.

According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, 18 people per second fall victim to cyber crime globally, and at an average cost of $197 per victim, this translates into an annual cost of $110 billion.

The 2012/3 South African Cyber Threat Barometer by Wolfpack provides a conservative estimate of the annual cost of cyber crime to South Africa's economy, at R2.65 billion, and iC3 (the Internet Crime Complaint Center) figures have South Africa ranked seventh in the world based on the number of complaints relating to cyber crime.

As the above figures illustrate, the current situation warrants serious attention, prompting the government to draft the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI), which is expected to be enacted in the near future.

The POPI Bill aims to regulate the processing of personal information - an action that it clearly defines - and will apply to public and private organisations in South Africa.

The implications are far-reaching, but significantly, they make provision for the enforcement of penalties as well as mandatory notification of individuals whose personal information confidentiality has been breached.

"Companies will have to address inherent weaknesses relating to information security, not only to ensure compliance with legislation, but because a security breach or compromise of data could result in serious reputational damage, loss of revenue and ensuing litigation," warns Van de Coolwijk.

When one considers that 69% of breaches are detected by external organisations or clients themselves, the days of sweeping incidents such as this under the carpet are long gone. It's also important to note the way in which organisations respond to a breach will determine the extent of potential damage.

Many companies are under the impression that their traditional insurance products cover them against evolving cyber risks. The reality is somewhat different, because traditional insurance products generally require damages to be of a tangible nature.

This is where CyGeist has stepped in to offer insurance tailored to the cyber threat landscape.

It offers cover for the following potential consequences of a network security or privacy breach:

* Costs to restore or recover corrupt or destroyed information assets;
* Network/business interruption;
* Related expenses of specialists, investigators, attorneys, forensic auditors or loss adjustors;
* Third-party claims arising from compromised systems or data; and
* Crisis management and notification expenses.

CyGeist is a proudly South African offering that enjoys significant support from local and international partners, making the company well-positioned to become a preferred cyber insurance solutions partner.

To find out more about cyber insurance and the potential benefits to your company, visit or speak to your broker.

CyGeist underwrites on behalf of Guardrisk Insurance Company (Authorised Financial Services Provider FSP 261075) by means of a dedicated and ring-fenced short-term cell captive, wholly owned by the Natsure Group.

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