DAILY NEWS Feb 12, 2013 10:02 AM - 0 comments

Ascent Underwriting offers privacy breach insurance in Canada through Lloyd's affiliates

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Ascent Underwriting, a division of Safeonline PLC, officially launched Monday its CyberPro set of insurance products, which include liability coverage for privacy breaches resulting from hacking of computer networks.

“Cyberpro not only has an insuring module which covers a business interruption, the network interruption and the data breach, but also would include the security and privacy liability, cyber extortion and some event management,” said David Umbers, a director of London-based Ascent Underwriting.

Ascent Underwriting, launched Jan. 1, is a trading division of Safeonline LLP, a Lloyd’s broker also based in London.

"Over the next two to three months it will be an independent legal entity having its own (British Financial Services Authority) registration,” said Umbers, who is also a partner with Safeonline, which provides a variety of cyber insurance covers, including errors and omissions, losses due to viruses or power surges and business interruption.

Ascent Underwriting plans to offer services in Canada using existing Lloyd’s brokers and wholesale agents, Umbers said.

He added CyberPro, its first set of products, could cover the cost of monitoring credit reports of individuals whose privacy has been breached. One example where the product could have helped, Umbers said, was in the recent loss by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) of a portable hard drive containing unencrypted names, dates of birth, contact information and social insurance numbers of 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers.

“If they had bought our product, then they would be able to offer the students who took out loans, some credit monitoring type solutions as well as the cost of notifying those particular students who might have been affected by the privacy breach,” he said.

In order to assess clients’ risk, Umbers said, Ascent Underwriting would evaluate the resiliency of the client’s network, what type of anti-virus software they have, whether they backup their data on a regular basis and whether they use encryption.

They would also evaluate how important the network is to the business.

"If you are an online retailer, obviously your network is highly critical, as it is a function of generating revenue,” he said. “If you are, let's say, a law firm, maybe your network is less critical, so business can still be conducted even if the network is down for a while."

In a press release, Ascent Underwriting said it plans to launch additional product lines this year.

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