U.S. insurance regulators aim to improve consumer cybersecurity protections

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 29, 2015 3:52 PM

(Reuters) - The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has created a cybersecurity task force to increase protection of consumer information collected by insurers and held by state insurance departments as well as to monitor the cyber insurance market.

The NAIC is the group through which state insurance regulators coordinate regulatory oversight for areas including health, life, property and other types of insurance.

Cybersecurity has become a bigger issue for insurers this year amid several high profile hacking incidents at retailers such as Home Depot, Sony Corp and at one of the nation's largest hospital chains, Community Health Systems Inc.

The hospital incident was blamed on a cyber attack from China and the healthcare sector, including its insurers, was put on watch by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last year against attacks. Insurers have a large amount of consumer information which because of its breadth, can be more valuable than a credit card when stolen.

Insurers also sell cyber insurance that can protect against the costs associated with a data breach, as well as for business interruptions and third-party costs.

Marsh & McLennan Companies general counsel Peter Beshar on Wednesday testified to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs that there were $2 billion in premiums written in cyber insurance in 2014. Industries with the highest take-up rates of this insurance were in order healthcare, education and hospitality and gaming.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Diane Craft)