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“The best weapon against cyber-attacks is prevention”

The insurance policies that are in use in the shipping industry “are taking on the cyber risks that could strike this sector,” said Alessandro Morelli, the COO of SIAT Assicurazioni, the Unipolsai Group company that specialises in the maritime sector. The issue of new risks that come from the digital world, even in the maritime sector, was one of the matters dealt with on Monday in Genoa at the Fourth Forum organised by The Meditelegraph and Il Secolo XIX.

Why has the insurance industry not moved faster on this?

“About a year ago, our company began to study the matter and carried out some analyses within the shipping industry and among transport operators. The first responses did not show any obvious need to offer insurance coverage that would include cyber risks. Nevertheless, we continued our studies, following the path of the product that the Unipolsai Group had already offered in other sectors, with the goal of providing our clients with a specific SIAT product.”

Will you do that in the coming months?

“We intend to and we are working on it assiduously. The maritime sector is also beginning to understand that it is necessary to have greater protection. But let’s be clear about this: the best weapon against these new risks must be prevention. Prevention will also help insurers in their cyber policy offerings.”

Does it really only take 10 minutes to hack a ship at sea and take control of its computer system?

“There is that possibility. But the most important consequences concern other economic losses from interruptions of activity and the costs that companies struck by computer attacks can incur. The risk of the theft of sensitive data with liability in relation to third parties is particularly serious.”

Are there greater risks for cargo ships, or passenger ships?

“At the level of possible economic losses, passenger companies are particularly exposed. There are cruise ships that carry over 5,000 people and an attack via the internet could steal sensitive data of an enormous number of passengers with the resulting liability in relation to third parties and damages to reputation.”

Is it only shipping companies that are at risk?

“I would say that it is not. We are also studying a special product for maritime freight forwarders and port terminals.”

Piracy at sea. Is it becoming less frequent?

“The data says so. Especially off the coast of Somalia and the Indian Ocean.”

Why is there no kidnapping insurance for seafarers?

“An Italian law of 1991 prohibits kidnapping rescue insurance, and this also applies to ships flying our country’s flag. In other parts of the world, the laws are different.”
Source: The Medi Telegraph

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