U.S. Cyber Insurers Saw 10% Loss Ratio Increase due to Ransomware in 2019
Slight rise in claim frequency offset by average claim size falling from more than USD50,000 in 2018 to USD48,709 in 2019...
Aon plc has released the fifth edition of its U.S. Cyber Market Update. The annual report covers the cyber insurance industry’s 2019 performance, aiming to equip insurers that currently offer cyber, and those looking to offer it, with insights and performance benchmarks.
The 2019 U.S. Cyber Insurance Profits and Performance report analyzes 192 U.S. insurers that reported direct cyber premiums to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2019 – up from 184 insurers in 2018.
Notably, U.S. cyber premiums grew to USD2.26 billion in 2019, an 11 percent increase from the year prior. Some 90 insurers wrote more than USD1 million and 41 wrote more than USD5 million. Overall, the top 10 cyber insurers accounted for 69 percent of direct written premium, slightly down from 70 percent last year.
However, the insurance industry experienced the impact of the increase of ransomware attacks in 2019. Losses were spread across companies of all sizes, especially the small commercial segment. Despite the increased loss ratio, the report’s combined ratio for 2019 suggests continued profitability for the U.S. cyber insurance industry in 2019.
Jon Laux, head of Cyber Analytics for Reinsurance Solutions at Aon, commented, “Although ransomware has been on the rise for years, it was 2019 when the insurance industry felt the impacts far and wide. Unlike the NotPetya claims of 2017, these losses were not limited to a few large multinationals but were spread across companies of all sizes, and especially affected the small commercial segment. We expect that ransomware will be the main claims story of 2020 as well.”
Laux added, “For years now, the thesis of cyber insurance has been that risk mitigation and risk transfer belong together – that insurers can help companies that suffer from cyberattacks to get back on their feet while working to reduce cyberattack frequency and severity through more effective risk controls. We believe that the next several years may finally see this come to fruition with insurers helping improve cybersecurity hygiene and reduce the cost of cyberattacks.”
The report also found that:
- The loss ratio increased from 35% to 45%, driven by claim frequency
- The average 2019 claim frequency across all companies was 5.6 claims per 1,000 policies, up from 4.2 in 2018
- The jump in frequency more than offset a reduction in the claim severity, where the average claim size fell slightly from USD50,401 in 2018 to USD48,709 in 2019
- Claims against first-party coverage outnumbered third-party claims, accounting for 65 percent of all claims
- Small commercial cyber is outperforming the industry overall for growth and loss ratios
The report is available at https://aon.io/2020-us-cyber-market-update