September 2020


AILA President's message - Cameron Roberts

Cyber security essential in WFH environment

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the world is ever changing.

I’d like to share some tips on how to stay cyber safe while working from home; a report on the importance of building digital trust to keep the economy moving; several industry views on how insurance will fare as we rebuild in a post-Covid-19 environment; and the latest news from AILA.

With more people forced to work from home (WFH) there are a few important steps we should take to ensure we stay cyber safe while working from home.
Cyber specialist underwriting agency Emergence suggests, given remote work arrangements can have security implications and cybercriminals may attempt to take advantage of that, you should:

• Review your business continuity plans and procedures
• Ensure your systems, including virtual private networks and firewalls, are up to date with the most recent security patches
• Implement multi-factor authentication for remote access systems and resources (including cloud services)
• Ensure your staff and stakeholders are informed and educated in safe cyber security practices, such as identifying socially engineered emails and messages
• Ensure your data is backed up daily and automatically
• Ensure remote desktops, laptops and mobile phones are secure
• Ensure staff working from home have physical security measures in place to minimise the risk of information being accessed, used, modified or removed from their premises without authorisation.

Gaining digital trust

Australia’s Digital Trust Report 2020, published by AustCyber, highlights the role “digital trust” plays in attracting investment and driving jobs growth. It quantifies the value of digital activity to the Australian economy and the impact of a significant cyber security incident creating a digital interruption to the Australian economy.

The report shows security of the digital environment is vital and urges investment in the means to secure digital infrastructure and data to assure trust and sustain efforts to reboot growth. You can read the full report here.

Industry views on recovery

Swiss Re’s latest report talks about how the industry will get through the Covid-19 recession. It says the Covid-19 crisis will present challenges to industry profitability. In addition to pandemic-related losses, investment returns will remain subdued as interest rates stay low for longer, impacting on life and general insurance (GI) long-tail lines.

However, Swiss Re says Covid-19 has hit at a time of GI rate hardening, a trend that is likely to continue amid potentially high losses and contracting insurance supply, particularly in commercial lines. The reinsurer predicts the twin health and economic crises will raise risk awareness and increase demand for risk protection across many lines of business. You can read the full report here.

Meanwhile, insurance newsletter Artemis says the emergence of second waves of the coronavirus pandemic could create another meaningful hit to the capital bases of insurers and reinsurers, as investment market volatility and insured losses mount.

It says S&P Global Ratings has warned that insured losses will likely pile up, especially for industrial insurers, while financial market losses persist.

New membership category

But a positive note among the gloom is AILA’s introduction of a new, cheaper membership category for industry members.

Industry representatives, including brokers, insurers, claims managers, reinsurers, in-house counsel and risk managers, can now join AILA for just $50.

The National Board’s aim is to encourage greater membership outside insurance lawyers to diversify the membership and enhance networking opportunities between the insurance industry and lawyers.

The reduced insurance industry membership rate is part of a significant streamlining of AILA’s membership categories. From 1 July 2020, 14 membership categories were reduced to six.

When I became National President 18 months ago, my goal was to better serve the entire insurance industry, not just insurance lawyers. 
I proposed achieving that firstly by getting more industry representatives on the National Board and that has been successful, with equal board representation.

The second goal was to increase AILA’s value to industry members by reducing the cost of joining and increasing the advantages of membership. 
That has been achieved through the significant reduction in the membership cost for industry members. 
It has also been accomplished, in part, by including New Zealand Insurance Law Association membership as complimentary for all AILA members. NZILA members receive the reciprocal benefit.

The arrangement with NZILA will encourage greater involvement in each organisation’s activities. With so many events now held via webinars, AILA and NZILA members can participate more easily in each other’s events and pay only member rates.

The AILA National Board is always seeking new ways to make AILA’s educational events and networking opportunities more accessible to a broader range of people across the industry.

We have more work to do, and the next 12 months will focus on a new IT roll out and other initiatives to further increase the advantages of AILA membership.

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Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and
the New Zealand Insurance Law Association.