AXA calls on the State to the rescue to insure cyber risk

Posted on Sep 28, 2021 at 8:00 PM

AXA persists and signs. The French insurance giant reiterates its calls for the creation of alliances between states and insurers to deal with systemic risks such as major cyber attacks. A speech that echoes that of other heavyweights in the insurance industry, even if these alliances are struggling to emerge.

“We haven’t yet seen a (cyber) risk that has blocked everything, but we think it’s possible and we don’t know how to estimate it. In these cases, the only solution is a public private partnership ”, declared Frédéric de Courtois, Deputy CEO of AXA, on the occasion of the presentation of a report on future risks drawn up by the group. .

Unveiled on Tuesday, it shows that the risks related to cybersecurity rank second among the threats that most concern a panel of 3,500 experts of all nationalities, behind climate change. It is also ranked among the most important risks by a panel of 19,000 individuals from all walks of life.

Governments on alert

Cyber ​​risk is at the heart of the concerns of insurers and reinsurers while computer attacks tend to multiply. Their bill is increasingly heavy for the sector which increases the prices of its covers and multiplies the precautions before accepting to cover a company.

Governments are also on alert as these attacks can have far-reaching consequences for the public, as demonstrated by that of the oil pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline. The event triggered fuel shortages in several US states.

Already in the fall of 2020, AXA had campaigned to structure a “public-private response” to major cyber incidents. “There is a level above which the risks can bankrupt the insurance industry, so we have to find a balance between what the private sector does and what the States do”, reiterates Frédéric de Courtois.

The overhaul of agricultural insurance hailed

“We call for more public private partnerships when they are needed.” And the insurer to give the French natural disaster management system as an example. Or to welcome the announcement of the overhaul of the climate risk coverage system for farmers, with an important role given to the State in addition to the private sector.

Calls for building partnerships have multiplied since the pandemic showed the limits of insurance and at the same time made many players aware of the systemic dimension of cyber risk.

Public support is “absolutely necessary” for “certain extreme cyber risks, such as a virus that would affect thousands of companies at the same time, or an attack on the cloud”, or even the risk of a pandemic, said the boss of the Swiss Re reinsurer, Christian Mumenthaler, in a recent interview with “Echos”.

The solutions are long overdue

“We must develop pool solutions supported by the State, public-private partnerships for systemic risks, especially in cyber, and not only after the first big attack but before”, stressed Stefan Golling, member of the management board of the reinsurer Munich Ré, early September.

Despite these calls, new solutions are long overdue. In France, insurers, companies and the State worked for months on the issue of pandemic insurance before Bercy closed the case, for lack of a satisfactory solution.

The Ministry of the Economy and Finance is currently working on “developing an insurance offer to cover cyber risks”, but the results of this work are not expected before 2022.

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