’We see this an opportunity to tackle cyber risk from a user perspective,’ says insurtech chief executive 

With people becoming increasingly more connected via a smartphone and social media, the importance of protecting one’s digital identity has become ever more important.

According to statistics from Gitnux, which were published in its Social Media Hacking Statistics 2023 guide earlier this year (13 June 2023), cybercrimes on social media platforms have accounted for $3.25bn (£2.6bn) in lost global revenue annually.

And some 64% of companies have experienced social media-related incidents such as hacking and fraud, according to the software and digital service directory.

With this problem in mind, insurtech Wallife Group announced plans to offer its policies for tackling digital identity theft in the UK at London Tech Week earlier this month (12-14 June).

The firm, which is based in Italy, provides a digital identity theft insurance product called Wallife Biometrics ID, which protects an individual’s identity against cyber threats, such as an Instagram account being hacked via someone’s smartphone.

It also provides cover for financial savings in the case of a banking app being hacked on a user’s smartphone, digital payment method or email account.

It does this by mitigating the risk of personal data being stolen from a smartphone via its app. 

Speaking to Insurance Times, Wallife chief executive Maria Enrica Angelone says: “We opened a legal entity at the end of 2022. We want to bring new products to the UK market because it is open to innovation.

“We see this an opportunity to tackle cyber risk from a user perspective. We also hope to learn from this geography and understand other types of risks.”

As part of the move to launch its policies in the UK, the insurtech has also applied for an MGA licence – it is already has an MGA licence in the Italian insurance market.

’Stay focused’

Waliffe was founded in 2020 by Fabio Sbianchi and has since raised more than $15m (£12m) from investors, including United Ventures.

The insurtech says it saw a gap in the market for its policies as it felt there were no insurance products to date that protect consumers from social media accounts, emails or financial accounts being hacked. 

However, Angelone notes that with new technology comes with “imperfections” – for example, she highlights that when the car was invented, so was the car accident.

She says this is something that cannot be fixed as “it’s part of the technology itself”.

Angelone continues: “We wanted to stay focused on investigating these emerging risks which come with new technologies for the purpose of helping adoption.

“People can feel more comfortable adopting new technologies because they come with an associated IP [Internet Protocol] protection.”

Different technologies

However, as fast as technology is evolving, online scams and threat actors are also becoming more sophisticated.

Gitnux predicts that users of social media are expected to increase by 10% to 257m by the end of 2023, meaning more potential targets for hackers.

And statistics from its 2023 guide revealed that 70% of hacking victims have been locked out of their accounts, while 71% had their friends contacted by hackers.

One of the ways Wallife keeps up to date with emerging risks and new technologies is through its young advisory board, which is made up of 12 people between 18 and 25 years of age.

Angelone says that ”every age is using different technologies - and therefore are facing different risks”.

She also adds that there is a big spike in [cyber criminals] trying to attack individuals, “especially as now most people work remotely”.

Therefore, the insurtech also uses gamification to educate users in its app, by quizzing them on digital protection with rewards for correct answers. 

Angelone adds: “That’s the beauty of this mission, it’s a combination of technology and insurance – you need both expertise and this is why we started building our solution.”