One of the biggest challenges for cyber insurers isn’t predicting when an act of cyber war could occur but figuring out how to define cyber war in the first place.

Executive Summary

Cyber war, cyber catastrophe, systemic cyber risk and other terms have become more widespread as cyber threats increase, but panelists at the 2023 PLUS Cyber Symposium in New York City last month warned insurers that ambiguous terminology can slow valuable response time. They discussed why insurers shouldn't get ahead of themselves on policy wordings before figuring out how to define cyber threats in the first place and urged the industry not to "overdefine" the risk.

That’s according to panelists at the 2023 PLUS Cyber Symposium, which took place last month in New York City. Panelists said they believe that before cyber insurers are equipped to tackle underwriting for cyber, they need to figure out how to define the threats.

“Maybe it’s a chicken and egg situation,” said Joan D’Ambrosio, founding partner of Atheria Law. “It’s an unresolved issue: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which came first, the wording or the issue?”

She went on to say that she believes one of the hurdles with cyber risk is that insurers have rushed policy wordings before having a strong grasp on the cyber concepts they’re trying to define.

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