UK Lockdown Leads To Spike In Cyber Insurance Uptake

Figures collected by insurance broker PolicyBee show a large increase in sales of cyber insurance since the UK went into lockdown in March 2020.

Data analysis by PolicyBee shows that cyber insurance sales increased by over 75% after lockdown was put in place in comparison to the number of policies sold in the first quarter of 2020. There was a particular spike in cyber insurance taken out by virtual assistants, who bought almost 30% of all policies sold in 2020. Figures collected by cyber security company Nexor found that the UK experienced a 31% rise in cybercrime amid the pandemic, so it’s encouraging that awareness of the dangers of attacks appears to have risen during the past year.

It seems the UK’s lockdown was a catalyst for a notable increase in small businesses and self-employed professionals taking out cyber insurance policies. The majority of desk-based workers were required to work from home for most of the year, leading to a higher likelihood of security breaches as employees set up home offices and had more limited access to IT support. Cyber-attacks on UK home workers were up 48% in the first six weeks of lockdown, so the rise in cyber insurance uptake suggests companies became aware of the added risks of employees working remotely and took extra precautions.

Virtual assistants (VAs), who usually work entirely online, purchased more cyber insurance products from PolicyBee in 2020 than any other business sector. In fact, some trade associations for VAs now make having cyber insurance a condition of membership, which shows how serious a threat to their members they believe cyber-attacks pose. Second to VAs in 2020 cyber policy sales was the IT sector. Naturally, IT professionals were in demand during the UK’s lockdown as businesses required support with challenges such as remote working or increasing their brand’s online presence.

Sarah Adams, cyber insurance expert at PolicyBee, said: “It’s encouraging to see businesses taking the threat of cybercrime seriously. The shift to home working last year prompted many businesses to review their insurance cover and add protection against increasing numbers of cyber-attacks. Workers such as virtual assistants usually have access to their clients’ personal information, bank accounts, cloud storage and social media accounts. A cyber-attack on their business could therefore be extremely damaging for their client’s as well as their own business.

“Cyber insurance covers the cost of repairing and restoring IT systems and data following a breach, and covers legal costs involved when informing clients and regulators such as the Information Commissioner’s Office. In situations where a business takes legal action due to the loss of their data, cyber insurance also pays the associated legal fees and compensation, if it comes to that.”