Carriers face ongoing challenges in developing effective strategies to insure against data breaches. A new consumer survey from Munich Re’s Hartford Steam Boiler underscores the work left to be done and the risk management steps that are increasingly in play as consumers become more savvy about responses they can take.

About 34 percent of U.S. consumers have been notified that their data has been breached, the nationwide survey found. That’s 1 in 5 consumers. Of those who got their notification, nearly half learned a breach had taken place just within the last 12 months.

Timothy Zeilman, vice president and counsel for HSB, which provides cyber insurance and services, said that data breaches continue to affect millions of Americans but that 48 states now require data breach targets be notified when it happens. More consumers, he said, are also taking advantage of risk management steps from consumers and businesses such as credit monitoring and identity restoration services.

What’s more, he told Carrier Management, because consumers are increasingly affected by identity theft and other events, and increasingly aware of the risks and savvy about responses, carriers should take note.

“These factors show that there is a growing need for identity theft and personal lines cyber coverage,” he said.

Some other survey results:

  • 62 percent of individuals whose personal information had been breached were offered credit monitoring or restoration services. Approximately 41 percent took advantage of those benefits.
  • 18 percent of respondents said they’d dealt with identity theft. Of that number, a third learned of the attack within the previous year.
  • 38 percent said they learned their identity had been stolen when they applied for credit, were notified of a fraudulent tax filing, were named in a collection agency action over debt or some other financial/legal transaction.
  • 37 percent found out about the identity theft after getting a data breach notification, and 20 percent learned of the violation after spotting suspicious activity on their credit report. Four percent learned of problems after being contacted by law enforcement.

Victims don’t always know how the theft happened, however, which can stymie efforts to counter it with risk reduction strategies. About 38 percent said they did not know how their identity got stolen. Of those that did, 26 percent said it happened online, and 23 percent said the breach came from a bank, retailer or other institution. Theft/loss of a wallet, purse, laptop or smartphone led to identity theft for another 8 percent of respondents, and 5 percent said a friend or family member was to blame.

Zogby analytics conducted the online survey for Hartford Steam Boiler, involving 1,551 adults in the U.S.

Source: Munich Re/Hartford Steam Boiler