May 20, 2020 by Nick Novinger, Regional Manager (Quebec), Canadian Insurance Brokers Inc.
We’re operating in a much more digital world than just a few months ago. As companies of all sizes scramble to make their operations work outside their physical buildings, the threat of cyberattacks increases.
Small business clients intuitively understand the need for property and liability insurance. But when it comes to cyber liability insurance, it’s still an abstract problem. Brokers need to break through and impress upon clients that the need for cyber insurance is omnipresent.
And it’s now more important than ever.
Thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic, businesses rely on cyberspace now that their employees work from home to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Many conduct business entirely online, be it working on files in the cloud, holding video meetings, or selling products. A company with a small e-commerce presence before the pandemic may now be relying on it as their only revenue stream. What would happen if their website went down?
These digital assets warrant just as much protection as their buildings and equipment. This pandemic has radically changed the landscape of how we work. It breeds new vulnerabilities many of us haven’t considered before. This is a perfect time to reach out and discuss cyber insurance.
Selling to clients in this environment only adds to the challenges that already existed before the pandemic. The biggest obstacle is something with which most advisors are familiar: Selling an intangible product. The only thing a client gets when purchasing insurance is a piece of paper with a promise to pay if something happens.
So the concept needs to be brought closer to home. Go into pitch meetings with a handful of case studies related to other similar businesses. Dip into your client list and provide a brief overview of their business (industry, revenues, employee count), the loss that occurred (type of attack, loss sustained), and how their cyber insurance policy was able to respond and help them.
As you go through the discovery and risk analysis process with a prospect, understand how their business operations have changed during the pandemic. For example, when staff are distributed widely over a broad geographic territory, this presents an increased cyber threat because devices are now being taken outside the office and hooked up to insecure internet connections.
In addition, more interactions are happening over email, leading to the rise of email scams and phishing attacks. Prior to COVID, an employee who received a suspicious email — in which the CFO asked him or her to transfer $10,000 to a particular vendor account — could simply walk down the office hall and ask about it. But when working from home, they’re more likely just to process the fraudulent request, thus exposing the business to a financial loss.
Brokers are social creatures. As we shift to selling digitally, many of the skills we’ve honed over the years don’t translate well.
It’s hard to tell, for example, if the other person is listening when hosting a video call. Your meaning and tone may not come off as intended, and you lack the body language cues you get during in-person sales.
But it’s not all bad, as long as you adapt your sales skills to this new medium. Video calls are more efficient than travelling to in-person meetings, allowing you to have more frequent touchpoints with clients and prospects.
Set the stage of each video call by ensuring proper sound, lighting, and a clean background. Set your profile up with a photo avatar before the call, so that the client recognizes you. Video conferencing software can be notoriously finicky so make sure you test your connection and audio before you start.
Also, you need to control the meeting. If there are multiple people on the call, ask everyone to identify themselves prior to contributing so you know who is talking. If you are asked a question, repeat the question before answering to ensure everyone heard it.
If you’ve heard the phrase “cyber is the new fire” before, that’s because it’s true. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses online (and to review their technology stacks), that phrase is doubly true. Your commercial clients are working remotely and shifting more of their business operations and sales activities online. They’re more financially fragile and vulnerable than ever.
As trusted advisors, it’s our job to inform them of these threats and offer a comprehensive solution. Showing them where the new risks are can help them realize their digital castle isn’t well protected.
Nick Novinger is regional manager (Quebec) at Canadian Insurance Brokers Inc. His website is www.novingerinsurance.com.
Feature image by iStock.com/erhui1979