In this continuous blog series, PLUS teams up with experienced industry professionals to explore the most recent market trends. In this specific edition, we highlight Jessica Centeno, an esteemed client manager at Lockton. Throughout our conversation with Jessica, she shared valuable perspectives on trends and risks in the Cyber market, providing a distinctive viewpoint shaped by her professional expertise.

To start, please tell us a little about your role and experience in the professional liability insurance (PLI) industry.

I’m a client manager at Lockton in New York, responsible for handling, servicing, and brokering high profile cyber risks both public and private. My clients range from financial institutions, Crypto/NFT and complex commercial risks. I interned at Gallagher when finishing college and began my insurance career as a producer in the Senior Living and Tele-health space, always using Cyber as a focus and way to engage prospects and clients. After a year of production, I took a step back to really enhance my product knowledge and broker deals. I made the move to Lockton three years ago, where I continued to place Cyber and E&O placements, in addition to the other management liability lines. I am an active member of PLUS, The Bridge Transcends and the International Women in Cyber Alliance.

Are there any current trends in the industry that you are keeping an eye on?

As it pertains to Cyber, the marketplace hardened in 2020 and 2021, and insureds received restrictive terms at increased rates anywhere from 15-50%+, dependent on controls, revenues, loss history and industry class. This quick reaction from the marketplace was mainly due to the inflation of ransomware incidents. Going into 2022 to today, the market has stabilized, for now.  The beginning of 2022 is where we started to see the market shift, as ransomware incidents decreased in both severity and frequency, in tandem with insureds becoming more strategic and cyber resilient. Insureds either refused to pay the ransom demands or negotiated the ransom to a lower amount. These pricing trends correlate with ransomware losses, and as ransomware attacks strike back at an all-time high the latter half of 2023, were unsure as to how long this stabilized marketplace will last.

Also trending, is the evolving language surrounding that of the War exclusion. The Lloyds marketplace issued their war exclusion earlier this year to exclude losses arising from War and state-sponsored attacks, leading to a systemic or widespread event. This was a result of the war between Ukraine and Russia. As carriers create their own War exclusions, or follow form, its key that insureds monitor these exclusions to determine what is clearly covered or restricted.

What makes these trends worth keeping an eye on?

The fluctuation in ransomware incidents has a correlation to the pricing and coverage offerings in the marketplace. With ransomware attacks back on the rise, one could predict that a hard market may be around the corner and this stabilized marketplace wont last for long. Its important to monitor the claim frequency to be fully prepared for a possible hardened market and warn insureds of possible coverage restrictions and rate increases. As threat actors evolve with new ways to infiltrate organizations and their networks, insureds should be kept aware to be proactive and evolve in tandem with the threat actors to mitigate their overall risk of being a target.

With the war exclusions continuing to develop and carriers crafting even more restrictive language for their war exclusions in wake of the Israel and Hamas war, its necessary to cautiously review policy language in detail and ensure all key terms are clearly defined. To avoid denial of their insureds claims, brokers need to review these exclusions to affirm that it is comprehensible and direct as to what is covered and what is not.

What are the top emerging risks for the PLI industry?

AI and SEC Regulations: Though Artificial Intelligence has been around for quite some time, ChatGPT disrupted the market and started a conversation across the US governmental body and the world. AI continues to evolve with plenty of uncertainty around the topic. Though some organizations have already been utilizing AI for operations, more organizations are exploring the process, and this is where insureds need to be cautious. Though the marketplace is still observing how AI will affect the Cyber market, and potential claims that will stem from this evolutionary technology, its best to be wary of the potential harms: algorithmic bias, spread of false information, the collection of unauthorized data, and becoming a tool to threat actors as they seek to gain access to an organizations system.

This past July, the SEC formalized their proposal to require public companies to disclose their Cyber risk strategies and protocols to investors, including their incident reporting and overall risk management practices. In a case that one of these public companies have a cyber incident, they are required to describe and disclose the event within four days of determining the risk. This is where two worlds collide: that of Cyber and D&O – given that failure to comply to these requirements can result in shareholder litigation or for the SEC to take action. PLUS will be holding a webinar on January 25th to discuss the intersection of Cyber and D&O and how these policies may cover public company risks: PLUS Conference Sponsor Webinar PLUS (plusweb.org)

If someone is interested in learning more about these topics are there other resources you would recommend for more information?

Being an active member of PLUS, I follow the PLUS blog, listen in on webinars, and attend the conferences. Its been a great way to meet others in the industry and build partnerships across the market. I’ve been able to meet attorneys in the Cyber space, who I follow on LinkedIn for claims data and articles. Following other insurance news sources through LinkedIn has been a resource to stay up to date and following all experts. Last but not least, Lockton’s global site consistently shares articles on the latest trends and emerging risks. This has been a great source to learn in depth the latest market changes, and hear from both a domiciled perspective, and global.


Jessica will be speaking at the upcoming PLUS Cyber University on the Debunking Myths About Cyber Insurance session. Cyber University is a virtual, 3-day event held February 13th-15th. To learn more and register, click here.

 

Jessica Centeno, Client Manager
Lockton Companies
 
 
News Type

Member Spotlight, PLUS Blog

Business Line

Cyber Liability

Topic

Professional Liability (PL) Insurance

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