Posts in Cyber Insurance.
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On July 25, 2023, Hunton published a client alert discussing the importance of cyber and directors and officers (“D&O”) liability insurance for companies and their executives to guard against cyber-related exposures. In today’s ever-changing threat landscape, all organizations are at risk of damaging cyber incidents and resulting investigations and lawsuits, underscoring the importance of utilizing all tools in a company’s risk mitigation toolkit, including insurance, to address these exposures. 

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In April 2022, two states enacted insurance data security legislation based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”) Insurance Data Security Model Law (MDL-668). Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed HB 474 into law on April 8, 2022, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed SB 207 into law on April 21, 2022. The new laws establish data security obligations for insurance carriers and generally require carriers to take the following actions, subject to certain exemptions:
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On July 13, 2021, federal bank regulators – the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Board”), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) (collectively, the “Regulators”) – requested public comment on proposed joint guidance regarding banking organizations’ management of risks related to relationships with third-party support and service providers (the “Proposed Guidance”). Each of the Regulators previously issued guidance on the subject for their respective supervised banking organizations. The Proposed Guidance seeks to promote consistency in banking organizations’ third-party risk management, replacing agency-specific guidance with a framework that applies to all banking organizations supervised by the Regulators. According to the Regulators, the Proposed Guidance largely would adopt the text of the OCC’s 2013 guidance, broadening its scope to include organizations supervised by all three Regulators.

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As reported on the Hunton Insurance Recovery blog, on February 4, 2021, the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”), which regulates the business of insurance in New York, has issued guidelines, in the Insurance Circular Letter No. 2 (2021) regarding “Cyber Insurance Risk Framework” (the “Guidelines”), calling on insurers to take more stringent measures in underwriting cyber risks. In the Guidelines, NYDFS cites the 2020 SolarWinds attack as an example of how managing growing cyber risk is “an urgent challenge for insurers.”

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As previously posted on our Hunton Insurance Recovery blog, a Maryland federal court awarded summary judgment to policyholder National Ink in National Ink and Stitch, LLC v. State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Company, finding coverage for a cyber attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack. This is significant because it demonstrates that insureds can obtain insurance coverage for cyber attacks even if they do not have a specific cyber insurance policy.

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On August 2, 2019, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed into law SB 194 (the “Bill”), which requires insurers licensed in the state (“licensees”) to put in place data security programs and report cybersecurity events. Although the Bill takes effect January 1, 2020, licensees have one year from the effective date to implement relevant cybersecurity requirements and two years from the effective date to ensure that their third-party vendors also implement appropriate safeguards to protect and secure the information systems and nonpublic information accessible to, or held by, the third-party service providers.

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New cybersecurity rules for insurance companies licensed in South Carolina are set to take effect in part on January 1, 2019. The new law is the first in the United States to be enacted based on the data security model law drafted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The law requires licensed insurance companies to notify state insurance authorities of data breaches within 72 hours of confirming that nonpublic information in the company’s (or a service provider’s) system was “disrupted, misused, or accessed without authorization.” The breach reporting requirement is in addition to notification obligations imposed under South Carolina’s breach notification law and applies if the insurance company has a permanent location in the state or if the breach affects at least 250 South Carolina residents, among other criteria. The 72-hour notice requirement takes effect January 1, 2019.

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As reported on the Insurance Recovery Blog, Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance practice head Walter Andrews recently commented to the Global Data Review regarding the infirmities underlying an Orlando, Florida federal district court’s ruling that an insurer does not have to defend its insured for damage caused by a third-party data breach.

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Recently, the Sixth Circuit rejected Travelers Casualty & Surety Company’s request for reconsideration of the court’s July 13, 2018, decision confirming that the insured’s transfer of more than $800,000 to a fraudster after receipt of spoofed emails was a “direct” loss that was “directly caused by” the use of a computer under the terms of American Tooling Company’s ("ATC's") crime policy. In doing so, the court likewise confirmed that intervening steps by the insured, such as following the directions contained in the bogus emails, did not break the causal chain ...

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As reported on Hunton's Insurance Recovery blog, the Second Circuit has rejected Chubb subsidiary Federal Ins. Co.’s request for reconsideration of the court’s July 6, 2018, decision, confirming that the insurer must cover Medidata’s $4.8 million loss under its computer fraud insurance policy. In July, the court determined that the loss resulted directly from the fraudulent emails. The court again rejected the insurer’s argument that the fraudster did not directly access Medidata’s computer systems. But the court again rejected that argument, finding that access indeed occurred when the “spoofing” code in emails sent to Medidata employees ended up in Medidata’s computer system.

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On March 15, 2018, the Trump Administration took the unprecedented step of publicly blaming the Russian government for carrying out cyber attacks on American energy infrastructure. According to a joint Technical Alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, beginning at least as early as March 2016, Russian government cyber actors carried out a “multi-stage intrusion campaign” that sought to penetrate U.S. government entities and a wide range of U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including “organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.”

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On January 18, 2018, Hunton & Williams LLP’s retail industry lawyers, composed of more than 100 lawyers across practices, released their annual Retail Year in Review publication. The Retail Year in Review includes several articles authored by our Global Privacy and Cybersecurity lawyers, and touches on many topics of interest including blockchain, ransomware, cyber insurance and the Internet of Things.

Read the full publication.

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On November 3, 2017, Securityroundtable.org published an article highlighting the vulnerabilities businesses face in a world of e-commerce and interconnectivity, and spotlighted a crisis-planning panel hosted by Hunton & Williams held on November 1. Speakers at the event included Lisa Sotto, chair of the Global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice at Hunton & Williams; Eric Friedberg, Co-President of Stroz Friedberg; Stephen Gannon, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer of Citizens Financial Group; Rick Howard, Chief Security Officer of Palo Alto Networks; Bryan Rose, Managing Director of Stroz Friedberg; Ari Mahairas, Special Agent in Charge of Special Operations/Cyber Division of the FBI; Walter Andrews, Partner at Hunton & Williams; and Tom Ricketts, Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Aon Risk Solutions.

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In March 2017, Syed Ahmad, a partner with Hunton & Williams LLP’s insurance practice, and Eileen Garczynski, partner at insurance brokerage Ames & Gough, co-authored an article, Protecting Company Assets with Cyber Liability Insurance, in Mealey’s Data Privacy Law Report. The article describes why cyber liability insurance is necessary for companies and provides tips on how it can make a big difference. Ahmad and Garczynski discuss critical questions companies seeking to protect company assets through cyber insurance should be asking.

Read the full article.

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As reported on the Insurance Recovery blog, earlier this week, retailer Tesco Plc’s (“Tesco”) banking branch reported that £2.5 million (approximately $3 million) had been stolen from 9,000 customer bank accounts over the weekend in what cyber experts said was the first mass hacking of accounts at a western bank. The reported loss still is being investigated by UK authorities, but is believed to have occurred through the bank’s online banking system. The loss, which is about half of what Tesco initially estimated, is still substantial and serves as a strong reminder that ...
Time 2 Minute Read

On October 25, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission released a guide for businesses on how to handle and respond to data breaches (the “Guide”). The 16-page Guide details steps businesses should take once they become aware of a potential breach. The Guide also underscores the need for cyber-specific insurance to help offset potentially significant response costs.

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As reported in the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, insurance-giant American International Group (“AIG”) announced that it will be the first insurer to offer standalone primary coverage for property damage, bodily injury, business interruption and product liability that results from cyber attacks and other cyber-related risks. According to AIG, “Cyber is a peril [that] can no longer be considered a risk covered by traditional network security insurance product[s].” The new AIG product, known as CyberEdge Plus, is intended to offer broader and clearer coverage for harms that had previously raised issues with insurers over the scope of available coverage. AIG explains its new coverage as follow:

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As reported on the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, data breach claims involving customer data can present an ever-increasing risk for companies across all industries. A recent case illustrates efforts to recover the costs associated with such claims. A panel of the Fourth Circuit confirmed that general liability policies can afford coverage for cyber-related liabilities, and ruled that an insurer had to pay attorneys’ fees to defend the policyholder in class action litigation in Travelers Indemnity Company v. Portal Healthcare Solutions, No. 14-1944. Syed Ahmad, a partner in the Hunton & Williams LLP insurance practice, was quoted in a Law360 article concerning the importance of this decision.

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After a number of high-profile data breaches, corporate cybersecurity is facing increased scrutiny and attention from consumers, the government and the public. In a webinar, entitled Cyber Insurance: Addressing Your Risks and Liabilities, hosted by Hunton & Williams LLP and CT, Hunton & Williams partners Lon A. Berk and Lisa J. Sotto provide a background into the current cyber threats and educate companies and their counsel on how to take full advantage of their existing insurance programs and specialized cyber insurance products to effectively and proactively address cyber ...

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On December 10, 2014, the New York State Department of Financial Services (the “Department”) announced that it issued an industry guidance letter to all Department-regulated banking institutions that formally introduces the Department’s new cybersecurity preparedness assessment process. The letter announces the Department’s plans to expand its information technology examination procedures to increase focus on cybersecurity, which will become a regular, ongoing part of the Department’s bank examination process.

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Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner Lon Berk reports:

As the demand for cyber insurance has skyrocketed, so too has the cost. One broker estimates that sales in 2014 will double from the $1 billion premium collected in 2013. Much of the increase in demand and cost has been the result of the widely publicized hacks of the point-of-sale systems at large retailers, and the primary emphasis of most cyber policies is to address liability arising from such events. New payment technologies, however, will change the need for this type of cyber insurance. American Express recently announced a token service; Apple incorporated ApplePay into its new iPhones; and a group of retailers, the Merchant Customer Exchange, is working on the release of a new payment technology as well. These technologies, although different in detail, eliminate the need for merchants to collect unencrypted payment card information from customers, significantly reducing the risk created by point-of-sale malware.

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On October 8, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security reported that over the course of several months, the network of a large critical manufacturing company was compromised. According to the ICS-CERT Monitor, the compromised company is a conglomerate that acquired multiple organizations in recent years, resulting in multiple corporate networks being merged. The Department of Homeland Security concluded that these mergers introduced latent weaknesses into the company’s network, allowing hackers to go largely undetected for a significant period of time.

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Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner Lon Berk reports:

An Israeli security firm recently uncovered a hacking operation that had been active for more than a decade. Over that period, hackers breached government servers, banks and corporations in Germany, Switzerland and Austria by using over 800 phony front companies (which all had the same IP address) to deliver unique malware to victims’ systems. The hackers purchased digital security certificates for each phony company to make the sites appear legitimate to visitors. Data reportedly stolen included studies on biological warfare and nuclear physics, plans for key infrastructure, and bank account and credit card data.

Time 1 Minute Read
It seems that every week brings news that another company has been impacted by a major data breach – and of the resulting financial, legal and public relations costs. As companies seek out ways to prevent these events and recoup losses associated with a data breach, cyber insurance is increasingly discussed as an effective method of recovery. In a recent article published in the Daily Journal, Hunton & Williams’ Insurance Coverage Counseling and Litigation attorney William T. Um offers a primer on cyber insurance, outlining key considerations for businesses as they explore this emerging area of coverage. The article discusses how:
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On June 5, 2014, new OpenSSL vulnerabilities were announced, including one vulnerability that permits man-in-the-middle attacks and another that allows attackers to run arbitrary code on vulnerable devices. These vulnerabilities, along with the previously-discovered Heartbleed bug, show that technological solutions alone may not eliminate cyber risk.

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President Obama’s Executive Order 13636 on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity identified “insurance liability considerations” as an incentive that might improve security. Over the course of the year since the Executive Order was issued, there has been an increase in the marketing of cyber insurance products. In an article published in Law360, Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner Lon Berk discusses how most cyber insurance policies currently available do not protect against major risks to critical infrastructure. Since the ...

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Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner Lon Berk reports:

The recently publicized Secure Sockets Layer (“SSL”) bug affecting Apple Inc. products raises a question regarding insurance coverage that is likely to become increasingly relevant as “The Internet of Things” expands. Specifically, on certain devices, the code used to set SSL connections contains an extra line that causes the program to skip a critical verification step. Consequently, unless a security patch is downloaded, when these devices are used on shared wireless networks they are subject to so-called “man-in-the-middle” security attacks and other serious security risks. Assuming that sellers of such devices may be held liable for damages, there may be questions about insurance to cover the risks.

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Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner Lon Berk reports:

Insurers often contend that traditional policies do not cover cyber risks, such as malware attacks and data breach events. They argue that these risks are not “physical risks” or “physical injury to tangible property.” A recent cyber attack involving ATMs, however, calls this line of reasoning into question.

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The scale of some recent cyber events has been extraordinary. Target reports that 70 million people (almost 25% of the U.S. population) were affected by its recent breach. CNN recently reported that in South Korea there was a breach that affected 40% of its citizens. The staggering impact of these events is leading companies to seek protection through both technology and financial products, such as insurance. Insurers typically attempt to avoid this sort of enormous exposure with terrorism exclusions, and it is reasonable to expect aggressive insurers to rely upon such exclusions ...

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Recent media attention focused on the security breach that affected millions of Target customers has increased interest in cyber insurance to cover the financial losses associated with these types of events. As insurers aggressively market insurance products to protect against cyber risks, it’s important to note differences in the language carriers have chosen to include in their policy forms. Contrary to reasonable expectations and marketing brochures, policy clauses concerning timing, and conditions requiring due diligence, might be used by an aggressive insurer to ...
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On October 7, 2013, the United States District Court for the Central District of California held that a general liability insurance policy covered data breach claims alleging violations of California patients’ right to medical privacy. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v. Corcino & Associates, CV 13-03728-GAF (C.D. Cal. Oct. 7, 2013). The court rejected the insurer’s argument that coverage was negated by an exclusion for liabilities resulting from a violation of rights created by state or federal acts. The decision also rejected an attempt commonly made by insurers to exclude ...

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Recent months have seen a significant increase in highly-publicized cyber attacks and cybersecurity incidents, including an August 2013 attack on The New York Times’ website that shut down the site twice in two weeks. Unsurprisingly, there also has been an upswing in the demand for, and underwriting of, cyber insurance. In a recent Law360 article, Takeaways from Recent Cyberattack on New York Times, Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner Lon Berk considers whether a hypothetical cyber insurance policy would have covered such a loss ...

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As the number of security breach incidents and privacy violations continues to increase, so too has the volume of lawsuits—particularly class action lawsuits—seeking damages for actual and future harms resulting from unauthorized disclosures of personal information. Affected companies have looked to their traditional insurance coverage to defray costs associated with responding to these incidents and lawsuits, but standardized commercial general liability policies may not provide adequate coverage.

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A growing number of companies are implementing cloud computing solutions to lower IT costs and increase efficiency. Although cloud technology offers an array of advantages, organizations that rely on the cloud must compensate for the corresponding increase in risk associated with outsourcing business operations to a third party. A recent article authored by a Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner discusses the ways in which business interruptions caused by cloud service provider failures may be covered by contingent business interruption insurance ...

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