Cybersecurity for your agency

Insurance agencies are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime. First, agencies access and maintain a great deal of policyholders’ private information. Additionally, most insurance agencies are small businesses, which makes them a favorite of cybercriminals. Because insurance agencies deal with personal information, they have increased vulnerabilities and responsibilities and are subject to unique cybersecurity laws and regulations. 

Most agents and agency owners don’t have time to keep up with the intricacies and latest developments in cybersecurity. It is a complex and ever-evolving field, and cybercrime is on the rise. Further, understanding the various vulnerabilities can be overwhelming for those not familiar with the field. That’s why it’s critical for insurance agencies to have a cybersecurity expert they can turn to, along with adequate cyber insurance coverage. 

Here’s an overview of some of the cybersecurity issues and vulnerabilities insurance agencies face. While this overview can help give you a starting point, refer to your state and federal laws, and consult with your cybersecurity advisor to ensure you’re protecting your agency and your clients from cybercriminals.

How cybercriminals harm insurance agencies

Cybercriminals seek personal data, passwords, access to funds, and more. They often demand ransom payments to release information. Agencies can face potential lawsuits, judgments, fines, and penalties if they don’t take steps to protect consumers. These risks can prove catastrophic for an agency.

Common cybersecurity vulnerabilities

IF…

THEN

your software is outdated or doesn’t have sufficient authenticity verification…

cybercriminals can breach your system.

your agency communications are not encrypted…

attackers can hack usernames and passwords.

you do not have uniform policies and procedures in place…

you can have security gaps.

you have user accounts with unlimited access and privileges…

your entire system could become compromised.

your web applications are not protected…

they can be accessed from any location with an internet connection.

your firewall features fail…

hackers can access your system.

Adapted from Maryville University

Common types of cyber attacks

Some common types of cyber-attacks and emerging cybercrime methods include:

Malware (spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms) – Often results from clicking an email attachment or dangerous link that installs software that accesses your hard drive and collects data, blocks access to network components, or makes your system inoperable.

Phishing (email or other communication impersonating another sender) — Criminals use phishing to steal private information like credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords.

Deepfakes (video, image, or sound designed to impersonate a person) – Cybercriminals can wrongly incriminate individuals.

Cloud jacking (infiltrating systems and programs) – Cloud jackers use organizations’ cloud storage to mine cryptocurrency. 

How insurance agencies can protect themselves and their customers

To protect your business and your customers from cybercrime (IIABA):

  • Stay informed of your state’s compliance regulations
  • Run a risk assessment for system vulnerabilities
  • Train employees on policies and procedures
  • Ensure all programs are updated
  • Install a firewall, and multi-factor identification
  • Get an adequate cyber policy for your agency

Consider offering cyber coverage so your clients can invest in protection for themselves. 

Thanks for reading our educational resource! Any above reference to a specific company, method, or product is meant for educational purposes only and is not specifically endorsed by Pie.