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Survey Report

Insurance Marketplace Realities 2020 Spring update – Special Contingency Risks: Kidnap and ransom

Financial, Executive and Professional Risks (FINEX)|Credit, Political Risk and Terrorism
COVID 19 Coronavirus

May 7, 2020

The special risks insurance markets continue to reduce their exposure to cyber extortion events.
Rate prediction
  Trend Range
Special Contingency Risks – kidnap and ransom Neutral derease increase (green triangle pointing down, yellow line, purple triangle pointing up) -5% to +5%

Key takeaway

The special risks insurance markets continue to reduce their exposure to cyber extortion events.

Insurers are adjusting policy language pertaining to cyber events that could be considered part of a ransom scenario.

  • Most insurers have now introduced blanket exclusions for cyber extortion, applying the exclusion on virtually all new business and renewal quotes.
  • Those still offering cover for cyber extortion are selectively applying strong restrictions to industries deemed more susceptible to cyber extortion threats. These restrictions include:
    • Limiting overall policy coverage to reimbursement of ransom (per insured event and in the annual or policy aggregate) and crisis consultancy fees
    • Excluding judgement, settlement and defense costs
    • Limiting or excluding reimbursement of expenses
    • Amending the “other insurance” clauses to clarify that coverage is to apply in excess of any other valid and collectible insurance
  • For those few programs that do not have a cyber extortion exclusion, sublimits will apply to cyber extortion business interruption.

Interest in active assailant coverage is growing.

  • Kidnap and ransom (K&R) insurers, as well as insurers underwriting crisis management risks, have shown increased interest in active assailant coverage and have begun offering customized solutions (either via endorsement or stand-alone policies) with a focus on post-incident crisis management support, legal liability coverage, business interruption coverage (as a result of both physical and non-physical damage) and indemnification of a variety of incident-related expenses.
  • These solutions go beyond traditional terrorism and/or political violence coverage and are increasingly being used to complement traditional policies.


Each applicable policy of insurance must be reviewed to determine the extent, if any, of coverage for COVID-19. Coverage may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. For global client programs it is critical to consider all local operations and how policies may or may not include COVID-19 coverage. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third party sources we consider to be reliable, however we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such information. We assume no duty in contract, tort, or otherwise in connection with this publication and expressly disclaim, to the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability in connection with this publication. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates. COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and changes are occurring frequently. Willis Towers Watson does not undertake to update the information included herein after the date of publication. Accordingly, readers should be aware that certain content may have changed since the date of this publication. Please reach out to the author or your Willis Towers Watson contact for more information.

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