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Every second counts to stop cyber incidents escalating

When a cyber incident occurs, timing is paramount – every second counts.

Fast action to minimise the loss and manage the ramifications can play a major role in limiting the size of the claim, the length and cost of business interruption (BI) and the damage to brand and reputation.

That’s a key reason Emergence Insurance has spent nearly two years developing in-house incident response and claims management capabilities.

In a webinar presented to more than 1,000 brokers and their clients, Emergence detailed how its end-to-end incident response and claims management process operates. It is Australia’s first and only dedicated in-house incident response and cyber claims function.

As cyber attacks become more targeted, effective incident response is critical.

Emergence gives insureds peace of mind through cyber security experts called Cyber Breach Coaches (CBCs), who provide immediate assistance and coach insureds through the incident response when an attack occurs.

Spearheading the process is Blake Baxter, who joined Emergence in March 2020 as Head of Claims and Incident Response.

Blake, who has many years’ experience, says incident response and claims management work in tandem: both must be co-ordinated and cohesive to be effective.

As cyber attacks get more targeted, claims are more complex and the cost to recover and the impacts on victims become more severe. An effective incident response is critical, and it’s not just speed that matters.

It starts with a notification via the Emergence hotline – 1300 799 562 – then a CBC steps in to provide immediate assistance.

The CBC is at no cost to the insured and does not erode the policy limit – an added bonus.

CBCs are cyber security experts and have broad knowledge of the changing attack landscape and privacy obligations. They know how to get businesses operational again as soon as possible.

They co-ordinate quick responses from Emergence’s specialists, including IT forensics, lawyers, forensic accountants, ID theft specialists, credit monitoring, call centres, PR and crisis management, and the insured’s own IT vendors.

Emergence has a panel of experts with geographical reach across Australia and globally. The capability scales to manage issues for clients ranging from SMEs to ASX-listed entities.

Blake explained the importance of expert cyber claims handlers and told brokers how Emergence’s cyber claims handlers manage the claims process from the first notification of loss, right through to finalising the claim. That includes assessing potential BI costs and third-party claims, to post-incident reporting and security improvements. Emergence’s claims handlers focus exclusively on cyber claims.

Blake walked brokers through a client’s ransomware claim in which a transport logistics company’s data was exfiltrated to the dark web. Good back-ups minimised the BI impact, but multiple notifications were required under Australia’s notifiable data breach scheme and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Blake said key take aways from the claim were:
Understand what data is held where; don’t retain redundant data
Backup data often
Have an incident response plan
Understand international and domestic legal and privacy obligations
Get on the front foot with a proactive PR strategy.

Sobering statistics

Emergence’s Head of Underwriting & Product Development Jeff Gonlin said three industry sectors accounted for 50% of Emergence’s claims:
Professional, science and technology (including accountants, consultants, lawyers) 20%
Healthcare 16%
Finance and insurance services (including insurance brokers) 14%.

Ransomware was responsible for 52% of claims overall because it was a business model that worked with big and small businesses, was “an easy game to get into” and didn’t require high-level skills.

Perpetrators were becoming more professional and making higher demands, but “you can defend yourself”.

Security training and written policies for employees were effective risk management. BI costs averaged 400% more for ransomware claims if employees had received no security training and the insured had no written policies. If an insured did not use data encryption, claim costs were 51% higher.

Emergence is an award-winning underwriting agency, exclusively focused on providing flexible, innovative cyber insurance solutions to help protect all Australian businesses.

Emergence was awarded the 2019 Insurance Business magazine Underwriting Agency of the Year.

It was a finalist in the same category at the 2019 ANZIIF-Asia Insurance Review awards and the 2020 Insurance Business magazine awards.

Emergence has just been awarded Insurance Business’s Brokers Pick for the fifth time in six years and has won its third consecutive gold medal in the Cyber & IT category of the magazine’s brokers on underwriting agencies awards.

To access the broker portal to obtain Emergence cyber quotations for your clients, email

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