Cyber-insurance: The current state of play

Held on Wednesday, May 8


  • Michael Mainelli (Z/Yen)

  • Eva Berg-Winters (Bewica)

  • Padraig Belton (Journal of Terrorism and Cyber Insurance)



The more one looks at cyber-insurance, the more complicated it becomes. What exactly is “cyber”? What constitutes a “cyber-catastrophe”? How does increasing reliance on “cloud”-based services impact vulnerability? What role can/should reinsurance play? Perhaps most interesting, can the capital markets take on some or most the risk – perhaps through insurance-linked securities?

Obviously, there has been progress – not least in defining the space. But, even there, there is an enormous spread in the type of cyber-related loss covered in cyber insurance products; according to one study, 92% of policies cover breach of privacy, but only 12% cover terrorism. And (turning the market around) there is also a good deal of “silent” cyber exposure which can hit insurers when they least expect it. All of this remaining uncertainty makes it harder for the reinsurance market to pick up the slack. It also makes it harder to sell the idea of cyber insurance-linked securities to the capital markets.

But, as I say, there has been progress – both quantitatively (the global cyber insurance market is said to have been US$ 4.52 billion in 2017, and is expected to grow at more than 25% a year through 2023), and qualitatively in terms of the products offered.

One of those at the forefront of new thinking about cyber-risk is our old friend, Michael Mainelli, Chairman of Z/Yen, emeritus professor at Gresham College and one of the City’s most innovative thinkers. Last November, he co-authored an important report into Cyber-catastrophe insurance-linked securities on smart ledgers. He is always worth listening to.

As are our two other panellists:

  • Eva Berg-Winters is the founder and CEO of Bewica Ltd, which is focused on providing risk reduction tools and cyber insurance to UK SMEs. Prior to setting Bewica up in 2017, she was head of claims for the UK and Ireland at Hiscox. In April this year, she launched a new suite of partnering tools, offering instant quotes and auto-binding for cyber risk via serlf-service portal, white labelling and API.

  • Padraig Belton is a man of many parts. After stumbling through Yale and Oxford, his journalistic offerings (for the BBC, Prospect, the Guardian, and The Times Literary Supplement etc.) range from cyber-security to banking to theatre reviews. In 2016, he cofounded the Journal of Terrorism & Cyber Insurance, which “serves stakeholders in terrorism insurance and cyber insurance: underwriters, brokers, policy-makers and capital markets investors”. Sounds good to me.

It is an important topic – and a rapidly-growing market. If you or a colleague would like to join us for what I am sure will be a stimulating discussion, please let us know by emailing or by calling the Centre on 0207 621 1056. As usual, there will be wine and sandwiches.

Many thanks,

Andrew Hilton