Cybersecurity experts have predicted an increase in ransomware attacks since last year, and the recent WannaCry incident confirms what they and many insurers have feared — that a large-scale attack could involve entities on a global scale.

With an estimated 300,000 computers impacted in 150 countries, the attacks affected multiple business sectors, hospitals and universities. "This type of attack is like letting a virus into the wild," explained Christina Terplan, a San Francisco-based partner with the international law firm Clyde & Co. "The attack is indiscriminate and doesn't affect just one company or sector, different sectors and geographies are vulnerable."

Business interruption can be significant

"Watching this story continue to unravel, has truly highlighted the need for cyber insurance," added Bill Kelly, senior vice president, E&O underwriting of Argo Group. "Any company can experience a vulnerability no matter how prepared they think they are. While ransomware can result in a company paying small, very random amounts, business interruption can be much more significant and can potentially cost millions."

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Patricia L. Harman

Patricia L. Harman is the editor-in-chief of Claims magazine, a contributing editor to, and chairs the annual America's Claims Event (ACE), which focuses on providing claims professionals with cutting-edge education and networking opportunities. She covers auto, property & casualty, workers' compensation, fraud, risk and cybersecurity, and is a frequent speaker at insurance industry events. Contact her at [email protected]