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December 1, 2005

IT insurance: premiums not reflecting business continuity plans

Data centers provider Global Switch has found that less than half of European insurance companies take their clients' physical environment housing their IT infrastructure into account when setting insurance premiums. Given the growing risks firms face as they come to depend increasingly on IT and communications infrastructures, these results are shocking, and point to an issue requiring attention.

By CBR Staff Writer

Global Switch has found that over 50% of European insurers are setting incorrect business premiums.

The results are from a survey of European enterprises with more than 1,000 employees. The research was conducted by specialist research-based IT marketing consultancy Vanson Bourne and questioned enterprises about a number of aspects of their business continuity plans, including their insurance policies and the premiums paid.

The results show the majority of insurers across Europe are unaware of the potential risks of housing critical IT infrastructure in an inadequate environment.

France came out best in the survey, showing that business continuity provisions were taken into account by the insurers of 74% of French businesses surveyed. It appeared to be a standard component of business insurance policy premium calculation.

However, in the UK, only 48% of the UK businesses surveyed believed that their IT infrastructure’s physical environment was taken into account by their insurers. This leaves a worrying 52% of UK insurance firms either not contemplating this when setting premiums or simply not highlighting its importance to customers.

Overlooking this fundamental factor means insurers may be setting premiums incorrectly for businesses that do not house their IT in resilient, purpose-built facilities. This oversight could allow companies to exploit this loophole when making claims, according to Global Switch.

With the risks to businesses growing as they rely increasingly on their IT and communications infrastructures, it really is indefensible that some insurers do not give credit to those companies that guard against losses through comprehensive business continuity plans. When one considers the alternative possibilities and extensive insurance payouts, it is unbelievable that this situation exists.

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It is therefore advisable that any company that considers that it is not being offered a premium that reflects the provisions that it has made for business continuity, to look for an alternative insurer that does.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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