Harmut Mai, president of Cyberwrite, believes that in the future, insurance underwriters will see “an avalanche of businesses that are in need of a cybersecurity program.”
“There’s no way the current forces, the underwriting forces, could actually tackle this avalanche as soon as this avalanche is coming to the market,” he said. “And we believe it’s coming to the market because we see exponential growth globally.”
The challenge, he said, is a lack of accurate data needed to price cyber risk. Mai, who is a former global chief underwriter and board member at Allianz, has been working to solve that problem with U.S.-based startup, Cyberwrite.
“My feeling was that there’s not a lot of innovation happening in the insurance space anymore,” he said. “That’s why I always try to find a way to actually instill this creativity, which was needed, in the industry in order to help them think outside of the box and find ways to actually listen to the clients more carefully and listen to their challenge. And then, you know, maybe find solutions to these kind of challenges.”
Founded in 2017 by cyber insurance and cybersecurity industry veterans, Cyberwrite is an AI-driven cyber insurance risk quantification technology company. The company’s patented 4SEEN AI technology draws on years of proprietary historical data and cyber insurance datasets to predict and benchmark cyber insurance risks and develop AI models that can be adapted to each customer’s cyber insurance policy.
“You can imagine how many different kinds of scenarios we actually have to model,” Mai said. “This goes far beyond what the human brain could ever achieve.”
With this in mind, the InsurTech’s algorithm is the brains behind its operations. The algorithm not only has the ability to sift through cyber insurance industry data, but to instantaneously score companies according to their cyber vulnerabilities. Its aim is to provide potential policyholders with a roadmap to mitigate their specific cyber risks while also providing insurance carriers with a targeted metric to assess risk.
Cyberwrite scores companies in three different categories. It provides a cyber readiness score that assesses how prepared a company is for a cyber incident, while separately assessing the likelihood of an attack on the company. The algorithm also provides a benchmark to compare these scores to industry peers. For underwriters, it provides a separate score that helps them assess whether to invite a certain risk into their portfolio.
“You always have to have that in the back of your mind,” Mai said. “Even the best companies who are best prepared can still suffer a loss because there’s always a way to sneak into the systems.”
Indeed, with cyber attacks on the rise, Cyberwrite says on its website that it believes the insurance industry is at a crossroads in trying to manage growing risk. Mai said he sees automation as a big part of tackling these challenges.
“My thesis is that in order to allow this growth momentum to happen, you need to think about automation, and you definitely need to have access to AI-based tools which help you to model these underlying exposures for these companies,” he said. “There are simply not enough skilled and trained cyber experts in the underwriting field to actually manage that. At Cyberwrite, we’re well-positioned because we support our clients to do exactly that.”