High net worth individuals have critical need to guard against identity theft, fraud

With so much at stake, cyber insurance must provide proactive protection, education, resolution

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You may now add Miley Cyrus, Emma Wat­son and Aman­da Seyfried to the pool of celebri­ties who’ve been hacked and pub­licly humil­i­at­ed. No doubt, oth­er high-pro­file indi­vid­u­als will follow.

It’s a reminder that “high net worth indi­vid­u­als,” or HNWIs, are just as sus­cep­ti­ble as ordi­nary humans to hav­ing their dig­i­tal per­sonas hacked and per­son­al pri­va­cy oblit­er­at­ed, per­haps even more so—with, arguably, much more at risk.

Relat­ed video: Why HNWIs need to pro­tect their dig­i­tal footprints

I recent­ly had the chance to dis­cuss this top­ic with Paul John­stone, senior vice pres­i­dent for Chubb Per­son­al Risk Ser­vices, Cana­da. Chubb is a pub­licly trad­ed insur­ance giant, with offices in 54 coun­tries. It is known for cus­tomiz­ing insur­ance poli­cies for wealthy peo­ple, and it recent­ly part­nered with Cyber­Scout to pro­vide per­son­al iden­ti­ty pro­tec­tion ser­vices to its elite clien­tele. (Full dis­clo­sure, Cyber­Scout spon­sors Third­Cer­tain­ty.) Here are excerpts of our con­ver­sa­tion, edit­ed for clar­i­ty and length:

Third Cer­tain­ty: To what extent are HNWIs big­ger tar­gets for hackers?

Paul John­stone, Chubb Per­son­al Risk Ser­vices, Cana­da senior vice president

Paul John­stone: The scope and scale of their assets and invest­ments like­ly trans­lates to increased expo­sure. And many high net worth indi­vid­u­als have high­er than aver­age pub­lic and online pro­files. They also can have mul­ti­ple indi­vid­u­als help­ing run their lives.

Their high-val­ue assets can be geo­graph­i­cal­ly diverse, poten­tial­ly out­side the coun­try; their invest­ments could be through­out the world, let alone in the coun­try. So the com­plex­i­ty prob­a­bly does trans­late into increased expo­sure. And, again, these indi­vid­u­als also have lots of peo­ple touch­ing their lives, so the reper­cus­sions of iden­ti­ty theft and fraud is so pro­lif­ic, and there’s a lot at stake.

3C: So how do you help address this?

John­stone: We start by look­ing for an indi­vid­ual and a fam­i­ly who real­ly con­sid­ers insurance—and a sol­id inde­pen­dent insur­ance broker—as an impor­tant part of man­ag­ing and pro­tect­ing their assets and their lives. So our prod­ucts, our ser­vices and our part­ners are all geared toward ser­vic­ing these types of clients. Giv­en the evo­lu­tion of iden­ti­ty fraud and iden­ti­ty theft, it makes per­fect sense that Chubb is going to be part of the solu­tion as this kind of issue evolves.

3C: Where do you start?

John­stone: Chubb’s cov­er­age and ser­vice jour­ney has been to pro­gres­sive­ly enhance our cov­er­age to reflect our expe­ri­ence and the chang­ing times that we live in. And we’ve come a long, long way from basic cov­er­age, things like stolen or lost cur­ren­cy and cred­it cards, and to things like mort­gage impair­ment, to now a robust set of cov­er­ages and ser­vices that we provide.

That includes part­ner­ships with world-class lead­ers to help our clients deal with inci­dences of iden­ti­ty fraud and iden­ti­ty theft. Again, we don’t pro­fess to be the experts, but we can cer­tain­ly find ways to edu­cate, to be proac­tive and to pro­tect our insured.

3C: Sounds like a bit more than just sign­ing up new poli­cies and ser­vic­ing claims.

John­stone: When you look at the evolv­ing rela­tion­ship between insur­ance com­pa­nies and the insured, a top­ic like iden­ti­ty fraud is a crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant, rel­a­tive­ly new cov­er­age. So when we look again at that cov­er­age jour­ney, we’re talk­ing about being proac­tive with our insureds, to edu­cate them on the expo­sure, and, ulti­mate­ly, for them to be protected.

3C: I can see how that might be a bit more com­plex for a big-name celebrity.

John­stone: Arguably if you are a high net worth indi­vid­ual you may not have the time to resolve the fact that all of your doc­u­ments may have been com­pro­mised. So that’s where a com­pa­ny like Chubb, in part­ner­ship with a vender like Cyber­Scout, can respond and take care of that. It’s a dif­fer­ent lev­el and tier of ser­vice. We would take care of recov­er­ing, pro­tect­ing and mon­i­tor­ing things like cred­it scores and cred­it rat­ings, which is crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant. We would take care of get­ting your iden­ti­ty back.

More sto­ries relat­ed to risks high net worth indi­vid­u­als face:
Saks Fifth Avenue con­firms data of high-net-worth indi­vid­u­als was exposed online
High net-worth clients tar­get­ed in Mor­gan Stan­ley breach
Hol­i­day pat­tern: high-end retail­ers inten­sive­ly track web users


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