Last year was an extremely active year for data breaches, according to a new study. “The First Annual 2012 Data Privacy and Information Security Predictions” from Cyber Data-Risk Managers reported that there were 841 incidences of cyber data breaches in 2011, a 37.4-percent increase over 2010.

“Cyber breaches are not going away. It’s a threat that’s here to stay. We’re sure to see even more of an increase going forward,” says Christine Marciano, and independent cyber insurance broker and president of Cyber Data-Risk Managers.

Annual gross written premiums in the cyber risk market was in the $800 million range in 2011 up from $600 million in 2010, according to the Betterly Risk Consultants report, “Cyber/Privacy/Media Liability Market Survey.”

Meanwhile, in the U.K. a Cyber Insurance Working Group has been established with leading technology insurers, such as Liberty International Underwriters, Zurich Insurance and CNA Europe.

“This is a great opportunity for us to participate in a working party approach to formulate a minimum standard for information assurance in the cyber insurance market,” said Jacob Ingerslev, underwriting director at CNA Europe, in a prepared statement. “A standard is badly needed, and looks set to become a legal requirement in the future. We are looking to get ahead of the curve and be part of the force shaping the market.”

The Working Group, launched by independent information assurance firm NCC Group, will meet regularly to drive the development of a framework of recommended information security practices and policies, including adequate business continuity plans and corporate information security policies.

“The U.K. is ahead of here in United States as far as cyber insurance because privacy is more highly regarded in Europe than it is here,” Marciano told Insurance Networking News.

The cyber insurance market is currently worth an estimated £250 million per year across the EU with high-profile cyber attacks increasingly hitting the headlines.

“In the United States there are more than 30 cyber insurance carriers with different policies because there’s no standard yet,” says Marciano. “We could benefit from a cyber insurance work group here because we need some kind of minimum standard for security to control the losses that we anticipate will be coming in.”

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