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Cyber insurance costs spike 39% in Europe as firms report rise in malicious attacks

Cyber insurance rates increased 39% across continental Europe during Q1 2021, following a further rise in malicious cyberattacks against European companies last year, finds new research from Marsh.

The new report, produced in collaboration with Microsoft, law firm CMS and cybersecurity firm Kivu, says malicious cyber events accounted for 80% of all Marsh’s cyber claims in Europe last year, up from 70% in 2019.

Total cyber insurance claims in Europe rose 8% last year, with ransomware attacks accounting for 32% , more than double the average during the previous five years.

The rise in cyber insurance rates at the start of 2021 followed an increase of 37% among Marsh’s European buyers in Q4 2020.

Cyber claim notifications spiked 200% for professional services firms in Europe last year, the report found, with a 153% increase in media and technology, and 104% in manufacturing.

Marsh says cybercriminals reacted quickly to the pandemic in Europe and generated a “wave” of Covid-19-themed attacks built into malware.

Jean Bayon de La Tour, head of cyber for continental Europe at Marsh, said: “Malicious attacks and ransomware events are becoming increasingly pernicious, as cybercriminals seek to exploit weak organisational defences and human frailties. It is now not a question of ‘if’ an organisation is likely to be involved in a cyber incident, but ‘when’.”

Erik Jonkman, cybersecurity lawyer at CMS, warned ransomware attacks risk creating tensions between interconnected companies. “The continued rise of ransomware forces organisations to implement an effective legal response to cyber incidents, and to acknowledge that legal risk management goes way beyond compliance with privacy regulations such as the EU’s GDPR,” he said.

“Ransomware incidents can easily cause civil disputes between organisations, especially when their business processes are highly interconnected,” Mr Jonkman added.

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