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By Steve Haase, president of INSUREtrust, and Allen Cross, senior risk consultant at INSUREtrust

The cyber liability market is poised to grow at a double-digit pace again this year, as more companies, prompted by the constant stream of headlines about cyber criminals attacking big corporations, reluctantly realize that they need coverage.

While the word “cyber” has taken on a broad range of meanings—from electronic espionage to the virtual reality world of the Internet—the cyber insurance marketplace not only addresses the dangers to business posed by criminals looking for data stored on corporate computer networks, but also paper files that get into the wrong hands, and a wide range of other cyber events. In many cases, vulnerable data involves confidential corporate information including contracts, financials and possible equity offerings. But the most widely recognized at-risk data is personally identifiable information (PII): names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other intimate personal information that criminals can sell on black markets for great profit. 

The most recent prominent case involves Wyndham Hotels. In June, the Federal Trade Commission announced it was suing the hospitality company, alleging it failed to protect customers’ credit card information after a series of breaches left 600,000 accounts exposed. A hotel typically gathers a range of personal data—from credit card numbers to email addresses, phone numbers, even car license plate numbers of customers who park in its garage.

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