Culture vital to mitigating cyber risk

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Culture is a vital element in addressing cyber risk, an expert has said, with brokers playing an integral role in ensuring clients understand their risk.

Reid Sawyer, senior vice president of the credit, political, and security risk practice at JLT, told Insurance Business that it is important for all staff in an organisation to fully appreciate the risks they face.

“The human is the weakest link in this chain,” Sawyer said. “By culture of security I don’t just mean what is the patch and what is the password, I mean how do we get people to understand that they are stakeholders in the value of that company and they have a responsibility to protect that organisation’s value?”

Sawyer said that brokers have an important part to play in helping clients understand cyber risk in more ways than simply advising on the technical aspects of a policy.

“It is educating them [clients] as to what the product can do on the emergent risk but linking this to the broader risk profile of the organisation. In that sense, brokers then serve as strategic risk advisors, which is a function we should be serving if we are doing the right thing by our clients,” Sawyer continued.

Brokers should look to ensure that clients understand their cyber risk “in business terms,” Sawyer said.

“[That] lets you compare costs versus volatility,” Sawyer continued. “You want to achieve and model this in the right way so that your risk transfer is efficient.”

With such a key role to play in the development and take-up of cyber insurance, Sawyer said that by working closely with clients brokers will not only be able to help mitigate risks through understanding and education, but help get clients back on their feet quicker should the worst happen.

“Insurance…is thought of as an aftereffect but I think that is actually backwards,” he concluded.


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