Cybercrime Costs Global Economy Up to $575 Billion


Cybercrime costs the global economy about $445 billion every year, though the damage may be up to $575 billion, according to a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and software company McAfee. Further, the damage to businesses exceeds the $160 billion loss to individuals.

“Cyber crime is a tax on innovation and slows the pace of global innovation by reducing the rate of return to innovators and investors,” said Jim Lewis of CSIS. “For developed countries, cyber crime has serious implications for employment.”

Indeed, the biggest economies have suffered the most – the losses in the United States, China, Japan and Germany totaled at least $200 billion.

Businesses are sitting up and taking notice. A recent survey from Munich Re found that 77% of mid-size to large companies have or will have cyberinsurance in the next year. Yet, of the 23% that do not plan to buy insurance, nine out of 10 said this was because current coverage available does not meet their needs or would not be relevant for their business.

What are companies doing to manage cyber risk? Munich Re found:

Munich Re graph

Reputational damage has emerged as one of the biggest sources of loss from cyberbreach. Respondents said the biggest risk an incident would have pose to their business’s reputation is:

Munich Re reputational risk of cyberbreach


Winter Weather Third-Largest Cause of Cat Losses

Winter Snow Storm

Weather damage never goes out of season. According to a new report from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), winter storms are historically the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes.

“Winter storms accounted for 7.1 percent of all insured catastrophe losses between 1993 and 2012, placing it third behind hurricanes and tropical storms (40 percent) and tornadoes (36 percent) as the costliest natural disasters,” said I.I.I. President Robert Hartwig.

Insured Catastrophe Losses

Between 1993 and 2012, winter storms resulted in about $27.8 billion in insured losses—or $1.4 billion per year, on average, according to Property Claims Service for Verisk Insurance Solutions.

A December ice storm in North Texas left at least $30 million in residential insured losses in its wake, the Insurance Council of Texas reported. This figure does not include estimated damage to vehicles or government property, nor does it take into account the significant municipal expense of safety or cleanup measures. Dallas County alone spent $300,000 to $400,000 just to battle slick roads, according to conservative estimates from County Judge Clay Jenkins. He told Insurance Journal that, while sanding and salting roads constituted some of the county’s greatest efforts, the biggest cost came from closing offices, including the court system. Weather-related shutdown resulted in lost productivity of about $1.5 million, he said.

Nation-wide, December weather caused total economic and insured losses estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars and claimed 29 lives, Aon Benfield reported.

But 2013 should have made some fair-weather friends in the insurance industry. Last year, according to Munich Re, direct overall losses caused by global disasters amounted to around $125 billion and insured losses of around $31 billion. While exceptionally costly, these were below the 10-year averages of $184 billion and $56 billion, respectively.

Munich Re: Scientifically Proving Climate Change Affects Thunderstorm Losses

“It has been possible for the first time to scientifically prove that climatic changes have already influenced U.S. thunderstorm losses.”

That’s the statement Munich Re put forth this week when it issued a report stating the correlation between climate change and severe thunderstorm losses in the United States, findings that were based on a 1970-2009 study produced by Munich Re and the German Aerospace Center.

The study examined hail, tornado, thundersquall and heavy rainfall losses throughout the United States, finding that the increase from thunderstorm losses remained, even after adjustments to take into account socio-economi changes.

“It is therefore clear that the change in losses during the period in question is largely driven by changes in climatological boundary conditions,” said Eberhard Faust, from Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research and co-author of the study. “In particular, the potential energy required in the atmosphere for the formation of severe thunderstorms has increased in the course of time.”

This report comes after a record-setting 2011, a year in which thunderstorms and tornadoes caused more than $25 billion in insured losses with 553 direct fatalities., according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The graph below illustrates U.S. thunderstorm loss trends from 1980 to 2012.

As Dr. Peter Röder, member of Munich Re’s board of management points out, “This scientific study shows, on the one hand, that some regions already need to adapt to changing weather risks. This concerns the insurance industry as risk carrier, first and foremost, but also those in the private and public spheres responsible for deciding on prevention measures.”

News Desk

There are times when we search fruitlessly for a news piece to inspire a blog post good enough for you readers. And then there are the rare times when we log on to various news sites and are inundated with headlines relating to this industry. Today is one of those days.

  • It looks like Munich Re has gotten itself into some hot water over a raunchy party hosted by Munich Re-owned Ergo Insurance. Though the party was held back in 2007, the reinsurance giant is still feeling the reputational sting (and likely will for a long time to come) over a party that rewarded top salesmen with prostitutes. The management in charge of organizing that event are no longer employed at Ergo.
  • There were about 100 guests and 20 prostitutes were hired. A German business newspaper said the prostitutes had worn colour-coded arm-bands designating their availability, and the women had their arms stamped after each service rendered.

  • On the completely opposite side of the spectrum, it was announced today that executives at Lloyds Banking Group will be handing back bonuses. This is due to the ₤3.2 billion hit the bank took for “mis-selling payment protection insurance.”
  • In the world of insurance rates, Hardy Underwriting Bermuda Ltd. reports that insurance and reinsurance that renewed during the first quarter of the year saw “average rate increases of 1.5%.”
  • This morning, I stumbled across this management blog, which proves to be quite the resource for managers in any industry, listing the 50 people to follow on Twitter that will provide you with a windfall of information to help you succeed.