The Russian invasion of Ukraine has the insurance industry worried.
At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West about interfering with his plans. Putin said meddling will lead to “consequences you have never experienced.”
Though he has also issued veiled threats about using the nuclear option, experts in the West — and in the U.S. especially — translate Putin’s comments to mean cyber threats. Major businesses in the U.S. ranging from finance to utilities and other parts of the nation’s infrastructure are taking the cyber thoughts very seriously.
Jen Easterly is the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. She says though there have not been specific threats, her agency has been urging U.S. businesses and other organizations to be very careful. “Russia may consider taking retaliatory action in response to sanctions that may impact our critical infrastructure,” she tweeted.
Most vulnerable is energy. That’s why Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm reached out to energy executives and warned them to be prepared for “the highest possible level for potential Russia-linked cyber and disinformation activity or cybercriminal activity from actors seeking to exploit the ongoing geopolitical situation.”
Serious cyber attacks mean serious losses for cyber insurers. A.M. Best predicts that cyber rates could skyrocket because of worries about an attack.
The economic sanctions — says Best’s Anna Sheremeteva — are also a big concern for insurers. “Further sanctions may impact the ability of international insurers and reinsurers to underwrite Russian risks or make it more difficult for them to service claims on existing policies,” she said. “Most affected would be those writing large energy and infrastructure risks, such as London Market insurers, and international reinsurers.”
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