While the global WannaCry ransomware attacks left Germany relatively unscathed, the narrow escape was a serious warning for many companies. For the country’s insurance industry, increased awareness of the vulnerability of computer systems may present a golden opportunity. The attacks, estimated to have hit 200,000 computers in 150 countries, have highlighted one of the industry’s largest potential growth markets.
According to a study by McAfee, a major US manufacturer of security software, cyberattacks cause an estimated $445 billion in yearly damages worldwide. In Germany alone, the annual cost is estimated at close to $60 billion. But only a small minority of German companies are insured against the risks.
“We are optimistic that this can be the next blockbuster product for Allianz and the whole insurance sector,” says Hartmut Mai, Chief Underwriting Officer for corporate clients in Allianz’s industrial insurance division. Allianz is currently Europe’s largest insurer,“Cyber insurance is our most important growth market right now,” he added.
According to figures from Allianz, only four to five thousand of Germany’s 3.6 million companies have taken out policies to cover the growing risk. The highly-publicized ransomware attacks could shift cyber insurance into the mainstream. “The recent cyberattacks will certainly contribute to raising awareness of the threat,” said Torsten Jeworrek, who serves on the management board of reinsurer Munich Re.