In our latest article Freddy Knight, Corporate Account Handler, looks at the recent ‘cyber incident’ experienced by Premium Credit.
The Insurance Times has reported that finance provider Premium Credit’s recent down time was caused by a ‘cyber incident’.
Journalists have seen an email from Chief Operations Officer James Radford which notes that the incident was detected at 09:30 on Sunday 16th September. A further email, this time sent to clients, said that Premium credit’s experts were making substantial progress to restore the services for customers, but it was still not ready to open for business.
Premium Credit have now been offline, without the use of their network or phone systems, for 4 days and the Insurance Times piece notes that brokers are becoming frustrated with being left in the dark and with little-to-no communication from Premium Credit.
Premium Credit have apologised to their clients and confirmed that any customer payments delayed due to the ‘cyber incident’ will not be treated as a default or incur a charge.
As details of the ‘cyber incident’ are scarce, it would be wrong to speculate as to a potential cause at this stage but, what we can do, is highlight how Premium Credit could be helped by a cyber insurance policy.
At the time of writing, Premium Credit’s network and phone systems had been down for 4 days. We do not know what financial implications an outage of this length and type would cause Premium Credit but, if required, the business interruption section of a cyber insurance policy would help reimburse a loss of profits attributed to the ‘cyber incident’.
In addition to the loss of profits, the business interruption section could pay for necessary additional expenditure such as:
- Costs of contract or overtime staff to continue their business operations
- Costs of overtime for staff in the IT department working to diagnose and fix the source of the outage
- Costs of outsourcing services to another supplier to meet contractual obligations to their customers and clients
Crisis Communication and Reputational Harm
Brokers and clients have already begun to vent their frustrations at Premium Credit for their lack of transparency and communication. To combat this type of exposure, cyber insurers will work with legal and PR teams to ensure that any brand or reputation damage is kept to an absolute minimum. If, however, the outage and corresponding business-press pieces continue, Premium Credit would no doubt see a dip in their popularity. If that dip in popularity results in the loss of customers or future customers, a cyber insurance policy can reimburse the loss of profits sustained.
We are pleased to receive the following response from Premium Credit regarding the incident:
We’ve been communicating regularly using email, phone, social media and in person with our partners, customers and the regulator throughout this incident – and we are extremely grateful for their support and patience. Our call centres were available from Monday afternoon to field customer queries.
We are committed to doing the right thing, and not disadvantage any customer as a result of the incident. We have communicated that any payment that is delayed as a result of the outage will not be treated as a default and will not incur a default charge.
Our experts are continuing their granular investigation into all systems, and have found no evidence of data loss.
We can only apologise for the disruption this has caused our partners and their customers.
Chief Executive, Tom Woolgrove, said to Insurance Age. “We were notified that we were under a cyber incident and it was a pro-active decision that we took to take our systems down in order to protect ourselves and our brokers.”
He also stressed: “We are very confident that there has been no data breach and that customer data remains safe and secure.”
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