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Insurance Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Agency Against Online Threats


Cyberattacks are a threat to businesses around the world, and they're getting more sophisticated year by year. Cybercriminals target your agency's network and computer systems through malicious links, malware attacks, and even ransomware.

Agency-wide alignment on a cybersecurity risk management system is critical to protecting against security threats. Read on to discover strategies to implement in your organization today to prevent security issues tomorrow, including how:

  • Utilizing password managers, implementing two-factor authentication, and handling sensitive data responsibly are critical strategies to prevent security breaches. 
  • Keeping software updated and performing regular cybersecurity audits can help identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities in your agency’s online infrastructure. 
  • Cyber insurance can provide added protection in the event of a cyber attack but may have additional requirements of the business in order to secure coverage.

Current threat landscape

Cyberattacks are on the rise. In fact, nearly 74% of businesses will experience at least one cyber attack, according to a 2022 survey conducted by Marsh and Microsoft.1 

A cyberattack is an act of unauthorized access or use of data or systems to disrupt or damage computers, networks and/or infrastructure. The impact can range from financial losses due to data theft, to lost productivity caused by malicious software (like malware or ransomware), to legal fees associated with responding to a data breach, and even reputational harm. The list goes on. 

The costs associated with these cybersecurity incidents are staggering. According to a 2022 report by IBM Security, the cost of data breaches has amounted to over $4.35 billion, an increase of 2.6% from 2021.2 Given the financial impact alone of cybersecurity risks, it is important insurance agencies take steps to protect their clients and themselves.

Utilize password managers

One of the easiest ways to improve cybersecurity is by implementing strong passwords and utilizing a password manager.

One of the most common security risks associated with passwords is the ability of hackers to crack weak passwords and access sensitive information. Passwords should be complex, unique, and changed frequently. Password managers also help agents avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. By using a password manager, insurance agents can eliminate the need to remember multiple complex passwords, reducing the likelihood of weak passwords being used.

Agencies should also consider mandating two-factor authentication (2FA), or multi-factor authentication. 2FA is a cybersecurity system that requires two forms of identification to access data. Typically, the first level of authentication is a password and the second can be a text sent to a smartphone, biometrics, or a code accessed through a security application. 

Handle sensitive data responsibly

Sensitive data handling is critical to insurance cybersecurity. Insurance agencies regularly access a vast amount of sensitive data, including names, addresses, social security numbers, and financial data. Insurance agencies therefore must take steps to ensure that sensitive data is protected from unauthorized access and prevent cybersecurity attacks. 

Agencies need to be cognizant of the risks associated with handling sensitive data and mitigate the risk through implementing policies such as: 

  • Limiting access to sensitive data to only those who require it
  • Ensure data is encrypted when stored and transmitted
  • Securely dispose of data when it is no longer needed 
  • Only share sensitive data with those who need it for their work

Keep software updated

One of the simplest ways of preventing cyber-attacks and protecting your agency is keeping software updated. Software updates are essential to maintaining the security of an insurance agency's online infrastructure. Software updates often contain patches for known vulnerabilities, making it crucial to install updates as soon as they become available. This applies not only to operating systems and software applications but also to antivirus and other security software.

The best way to do this is using a patch management system (such as NinjaOne, Atera, or Acronis) that will automatically deploy and install updates on computers.3 Not only will a patch management system help keep systems updated, but it can reduce attacks and ensure employee productivity. 

Perform cybersecurity audits

Performing regular cybersecurity audits is an important practice to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in an insurance agency's online infrastructure. This is not something you should do once and then ignore. Rather, agencies should conduct regular audits of your systems and sensitive data on an ongoing basis. 

Cybersecurity audits provide agents with a comprehensive understanding of their online security posture and any gaps that need addressing. A cybersecurity audit should review all systems, processes, and procedures related to data security, including passwords, network and online security, software and hardware security. This includes reviewing access controls, identifying potential security gaps, and testing the effectiveness of security measures. A cybersecurity audit can provide valuable insights into areas that may require additional attention and resources.

Secure cyber insurance

Even with all the necessary precautions in place, cyber attacks can still occur. Fortunately, cyber insurance is available and provides financial protection for insurance agencies in case of a cyber-attack.

Cyber liability insurance helps companies manage cybersecurity risks more responsibly. According to Marsh and Microsoft’s report, 61% of businesses have purchased a form of cyber coverage, which is a 30% increase over 2019.4 The cost of cybersecurity insurance typically covers expenses associated with recovering from a cybersecurity attack, including data recovery, system restoration, legal fees and reputation damage.

However, there are often cybersecurity insurance requirements for businesses to adhere to, which can include mandating multi-factor authentication and maintaining a list of service accounts. Be sure to check with your agency’s business insurance provider and review the list of requirements to secure a cyber insurance policy.

Protecting your agency against cybersecurity threats

Protecting an insurance agency from cyber attacks is crucial to ensure financial stability and maintain the trust of clients. An effective cyber risk management program requires a combination of preparation, good management practices, and the use of the right tools to prevent—and mitigate—potential cyber threats.  begins with having the right tools to help you protect your business. 

It is essential for insurance agencies to prioritize cybersecurity in their operations to avoid potential financial and reputation damage caused by cyber-attacks. By implementing the measures outlined in this article, agents can improve their online security, safeguard sensitive data, and provide clients with the assurance they need.



1 Marsh. “State of Cyber Resilience Report.” Published 2022. Accessed 17 April 2023.

IBM. “Cost of a data breach 2022: A million-dollar race to detect and respond.” Published July 2022. Accessed 17 April 2023.

G2. “Best Patch Management Software.” Accessed 17 April 2023.

4 Marsh, 2022.

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About the Author

Alyssa Little | Senior Content Strategist

Alyssa is the Senior Content Strategist at Openly, collaborating with industry thought leaders to provide insightful and informative content in the home insurance space. With over 15 years experience in content marketing strategy, copywriting, and editing, Alyssa has refined her expertise through her work at such companies as Gartner, Nike, and Trupanion. Alyssa holds a BA in History from the University of Puget Sound and an MA in Museum Studies from Newcastle University.

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