PwC survey highlights concern over vulnerability of cloud-based storage of customer data

Hacking/cyber attack

A cyber attack on their customer databases is the biggest worry for genreal insurers globally, according to PwC.

“The chief concern is the security of the ever-growing volumes of data that insurers hold in cloud-based storage systems,” the corporate services company said in its latest “Banana Skins” survey.

For many respondents to the survey, major breaches are inevitable: “The question is how much damage they will cause,” PwC said.

“Insurers are prime targets to be victimized given the richness of data – credit card information, medical information, and other underwriting information. It’s not a matter of if, but when it will happen,” one Canadian insurer told the survey.

According to PwC, the insurance industry is vulnerable to the growing sophistication of cyber criminals and the constantly changing nature of the threat.

“Activity and technology increases all the time and security is always one step behind,” said Timo Ahvonen, chief development officer of Fennia in Finland. “Insurance companies are a likely target.”

Attacks are growing in number, but only a few need to get through insurance company defences to cause serious disruption, PwC warned.

The chief financial officer of a non-life company in Australia said cyber risk was “a major threat. “We repel more than 20 serious attacks every day,” he said. 

PwC said the biggest risk of all for insurance companies could be the loss of trust from customers.

“We all dread the call that data has been compromised and has gone outside the firewall. It’s a huge reputational risk”, the chief financial officer of a large non-life insurance company in France told the survey.

Cyber insight