The Annual Insurance Executive Conference opened at theWestin Times Square in New York City yesterday morning.

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Attendees started the conference with an opening keynote fromspeaker David Mead and a CEO keynote panel with Bryon Ehrhart,global head of strategic growth and development at Aon; M. StevenDeCarlo, CEO of AmWINS; and Michael E. Fleitz, CEO of Wilton Re U.S.

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The day continued with informative panels and sessions focusedon underwriting, IT and product innovation, as well asforward-looking sessions focusing on the future of claims anddigitizing distribution.

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Shawn Moynihan, Thomas Dunbar, Greg Vernaci and ChrisLanzilotta at the "Best Practices for Controlling Your Cyber Risk"panel.

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In the afternoon, National Underwriter Property & CasualtyEditor-in-Chief Shawn Moynihan co-moderated a panel with ChrisLanzilotta, principal at Ernst & Young, titled “Best Practices forControlling Your Cyber Risk.” The panel included Thomas Dunbar,senior vice president and head of information risk management atXL Catlin andGreg Vernaci, head of cyber, U.S. and Canada at American InternationalGroup.

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During the session, Dunbar and Vernaci were asked about criticalcyber risk scenarios for businesses and the best ways to mitigatethose risks. Cyber risks are ever evolving, and Vernaci and Dunbarlisted a few examples of risks that businesses were hit with thisyear, including ransomware, a malicious software cyber criminalscan implement on companies’ computer systems that will block accessuntil a sum of money is paid.

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Similarly, cyber extortion is a threat businesses need to lookinto insuring against. According to Vernaci, coverage forcyber extortion can be found in cyber policies as well as Kidnap& Random policies. "It's important that clients, brokers andcarriers really understand how the different insurance policiesthey purchase work together at the time of an incident," Vernaciexplains.

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Thomas Dunbar and Greg Vernaci discussed cyber riskstrategies with attendees.

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Another cyber risk scenario Dunbar touched upon was phishingemails. According to Dunbar, many small- to mid-size businesseshave lost huge sums of money when a malicious email appearing tocome from a business owner or CEO was sent to a financial manager.These emails typically ask for large amounts of money to betransferred into what end up being cyber criminals’ accounts.

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“Many people do fall for these types of emails, as criminalskeep refining their tactics to make the emails appear morelegitimate,” Dunbar explained.

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As for who exactly are committing these crimes, Dunbar explainedthe 70 to 80 percent of cyber attacks are committed by externalsources like states, organized crime or “hacktivists” who believethey can make a point through denial of service (DoS) attacks. Only20 to 30 percent of attacks are committed by criminals within abusiness itself. Dunbar stressed that most of the time “insidejobs” are mistakes like accidentally clicking on a phishingemail—though sometimes they can be malicious attacks fromdisgruntled employees.

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Vernaci and Dunbar also answered questions submitted byattendees, including concerns about cyberterrorism and ways to bestpresent cyber policies to a company’s board. Dunbar and Vernacirecommended presenting straightforward facts and solutions toboards in order to efficiently implement the best cyberpolicies.

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For up-to-date coverage of the Insurance Executive Conference,check out the #EXEC16 tag on Twitter.

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