Up to 40% of insurance firms unprepared for remote workers
The working from home mandate is being questioned by some chief executives as a new report by , one of the leading IT Cloud Services and Support companies for London and the South East, suggests 44% of insurance firms are inadequately fortified against cyber attacks.
The news comes following Boris Johnson’s at the Conservatives Virtual Sprint Forum, where he spoke of his support for workers to return to the office. "The general view is people have had quite a few days off, and it wouldn't be a bad thing for people to see their way round to making a passing stab at getting back into the office,” the Prime Minister said.
The pandemic was expected to prompt a remote working revolution and data shows that in the insurance industry, one in five workers have closed more deals while working from home and more than 50% of firms have not had a cyber breach since March 2020.
However, according to the report, security of data is a huge concern as a worrying 46% of employees admit to having emailed confidential information during this period while a quarter of workers have experienced or caused a security breach and one in seven employees have been the victim of a phishing attack.
Insurance cyber fraud
The study, which examined the practices of 750 UK insurance firms and underwriters as well as 500 employees since March 2020, discovered that one third of firms believe their cyber security, visibility and detection systems are inadequate, while many others were unaware of the volume of cyber breaches currently affecting the remote workforce.
A third of employees in the insurance and underwriters sector surveyed by Doherty Associates said they’ve had no cyber awareness training since the first lockdown and over two thirds admit to ignoring virus security scan requests or computer update alerts to safeguard their company’s systems and sensitive data.
82% confess to working on a blend of work and personal devices when working from home, with 53% admitting to saving confidential corporate information to these devices. But only 13% of firms have put a block on personal devices for work use.
Despite this, there is strong support for the hybrid, working from home as 58% of the respondents expect the hybrid working arrangements to stay in place, the study found.
However, this is possibly because 52% of the insurance firms and underwriters polled by for its report, said their organisation has yet to experience a cyber attack or data breach since transitioning to remote working since March 2020 lockdown.
Working from home in the insurance industry
- 1 in 5 employees have closed more deals while working from home since March 2020 lockdown
- Half of firms say they have not had a cyber attack or data breach since March 2020
- Yet 46% of employees admit to having emailed confidential information during this period
- A quarter of employees have experienced or caused a data breach
- 1 in 7 employees have been subject to a phishing attack or similar cyber attack
- 1 in 5 firms say a cyber or data breach could cost the company from £10m - £50m or more
Speaking about the report findings, , CEO of Doherty Associates, said the report revealed an interesting combination of positive and negative findings. “It’s great to see that deal making and new business remains strong through the pandemic, thanks to the flexibility and collaboration made possible by the adoption of cloud technology. However, insurance firms and underwriters have always been attractive targets for cyber criminals due to the high value of transactions – and with home and hybrid working they can find themselves more vulnerable than ever.”
However, he pointed out that cyber attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent, particularly in the insurance industry where companies retain sensitive information on their clients. “Unfortunately, attacks are common in the insurance and underwriting sector, particularly in this current climate of remote working, and the difference between how many firms are detecting breaches compared to the reality of them occurring does suggest that firms need better cyber defence postures that give greater visibility and detection to keep their remote workforce safe.”
Terry Doherty continued: “Operating a remote workforce in the cloud has many benefits, including greater flexibility, diversity and lower overheads, but it’s critical to ensure that teams continue to operate safely, securely and are fully compliant with FCA and GDPR regulations wherever they are working from. With the Government’s lockdown roadmap underway, employers are starting to plan for when restrictions ease with many reporting that hybrid working is here to stay. With employees working outside of the office, using a blend of personal and company devices, firms no longer have a single ‘front door’ to protect but a multitude of entry points to secure against cyber criminals. This is why it’s critical for firms to have excellent cyber hygiene.
“For maximum security but minimum disruption to teams, firms should also carry out a cyber risk assessment at least every six months, including penetration testing, to uncover any critical vulnerabilities or compliance issues. They should also ensure that all devices have multi-factor authentication, so employees keep their identity secure while working remotely. And they should build in comprehensive cyber awareness training for every employee, especially if they’re working outside of the office for the first time. Restrict use of personal devices and ensure that no company information is shared via personal cloud storage platforms where documents can easily be forgotten, and just as easily hacked.
Doherty added, “Your company is only as safe as your weakest link and by empowering employees with the knowledge to identify threats in real-time, they can become your greatest security asset and help prevent cyber attacks”
TrueMotion insurtech acquired by Cambridge Mobile Telematics
One of the world’s leading telematics insurtechs, Cambridge Mobile Telematics, was launched in 2010 and powers 65 enterprise programmes in 28 countries.
Meanwhile, TrueMotion, which launched in 2012, has enjoyed significant success as a telematics operator, raising US$10mn in its seed funding round in 2010, and then partnering with the motor insurtech Noblr in 2019.
TrueMotion has also entered the European market, collaborating with LB Forsikring to promote safe driving in Denmark.
The joining of the companies means TrueMotion’s 150-strong workforce will join Cambridge Mobile Telematic’s already established team, along with their client list, which includes Travelers, Farmers, and Progressive.
The new company will focus on increased interest in using telematics for crash reconstruction in personal lines claims and more innovation in the telematics space.
Speaking about the acquisition, William Powers, CEO, and co-founder of Cambridge Mobile Telematics, described the move as an opportunity to explore new markets, expand throughout the US and bring telematics to a much wider customer base.
"With this acquisition, we will use our world-class talent, technology, and scale to help our partners overcome the complex challenges of global road safety,” he added.
Ryan McMahon, VP of insurance and customer affairs for Cambridge Mobile Telematics, explained that expanding the company with additional talent and customers would help meet the demands of a growing telematics market. He also quoted data from a study by J.D. Power which revealed that personal auto telematics users have doubled in five years to 16% of policyholders.
McMahon told the press, “This market is rapidly expanding, and building more capabilities is more important than ever,” McMahon says. “Both companies follow similar philosophies and grew up in similar ecosystems, and now we’re bringing those cultures together.”
He continued, “Telematics is absolutely the future of commercial auto and rideshare, and it’s kind of a step up beyond the normal telematics."
McMahon added, “We will not only widen our lead in smartphone telematics, but also use our combined talent to invent new products for risk measurement, contextual telematics, and crash mitigation across emerging mobile, IoT, connected-car, video, and sensing technologies.”
Five reasons why telematics is in demand
- It reduces fuel costs and increases operational efficiency. This is a consideration for most commercial fleets given the rising costs of fuel
- The technology enables fleet managers to plan operations with greater precision by providing exact locations, timescales, and speeds of vehicles.
- It improves driving standards and monitors driver behaviour, reducing detours and ensuring responsible driving.
- It helps fleet health and maintenance by monitoring the health of operational vehicles.
- It increases corporate social responsibility in terms of care for the driver, the vehicle, the impact of driving in terms of emissions, and also the security of the vehicle itself.
Image credit: Getty