Few corporate risks are as amorphous as cyber liability, and few insurance products are as complex as cyber insurance. Small wonder why so many different insurance policies present a modicum of cyber coverage, but none offer comprehensive protection.

The problem can be traced to the word “cyber,” so broad that it encompasses a multitude of financial exposures, from denial of service attacks to computer viruses to a cup of coffee destroying a laptop. Other cyber risks include stolen or corrupted digital information, Internet-based libel and slander, and even such extraordinary hazards as an office building’s computer-operated HVAC system shut down by a hacker.

The insurance industry has responded to these wide-ranging risks with a variety of insurance policies picking up different exposures. Errors and omissions liability, commercial crime and general liability insurance policies all offer some protections. For third party liability risks—a hacker breaching a company’s database to steal the personally identifiable information of customers and/or employees (the third parties)—insurers have addressed this peril with cyber liability insurance.

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