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AVMA LIFE Educational Resources

Cyber Crime in the Age of COVID-19: 9 Cyber Coverages to Protect Your Veterinary Practice

Posted on 6/19/2020 by AVMA LIFE

COVID-19 is forcing people across the globe to run their business and personal lives almost entirely online. This new environment has created ample opportunity for bad actors to take advantage of individuals and businesses alike.

To ensure financial protection from these threats, veterinary practice owners should secure cyber insurance. Here are some of the scenarios a cyber insurance policy can help protect against.

1. Event Expenses

Example: An employee clicks on a link that seemed legitimate, but then notices computer slowness and suspicious pop-ups. There is no IT resource internally to help.

Solution: A cyber insurance policy will provide legal, computer forensics and other event response expenses to provide assistance and determine the cause of the malicious activity.

2. Cyber Extortion

Example: An employee is responding to emails from multiple third parties, including one that appears to be from the company that invoices pet owners. The employee clicks on an attachment and the computers are locked. A message appears demanding 5 Bitcoin (approx. $50k USD) in order to unlock the computers.

Solution: Cyber insurance provides coverage for the response to the incident, including any forensic expenses, and the remediation of extortion including facilitation and reimbursement of payment, where insurable.

3. Business Interruption

Example: A veterinary practice utilizes electronic record management systems in order to provide care. The system malfunctions and is no longer accessible. The practice is unable to operate normally and loses revenue as a result. The practice later learns that the outage was due to a breach of the system.

Solution: Lost revenue reimbursement as a result of a breach or outage is available as part of cyber policies.

4. Digital Asset Restoration

Example: A veterinary practice utilizes data backups, but only on a bi-weekly basis. A breach occurs just before the system is backed up, resulting in 2 weeks of lost data including patient and treatment details, payment information, and payroll records.

Solution: The extra expense that results from recreating or restoring data is covered under the cyber insurance policy.

5. Media Liability

Example: A veterinary practice has a special event in conjunction with an animal shelter. An employee takes photos and collects information about the pet owners who stop by. Photos are posted on social media, and a lawsuit is tendered alleging that proper permission was not granted.

Solution: Media liability will cover the contents of a veterinarian's website and social media if complaints occur. These include an infringement of copyright, plagiarism, invasion of privacy, and defamation.

6. Social Engineering

Example: A practice manager orders a new piece of diagnostic equipment online. An invoice is later received that appears legitimate, and the practice manager transfers funds to this new equipment vendor. Days later, the manager realizes the mistake, but the funds are gone from the account.

Solution: Social engineering coverage provides reimbursement in the event of a transfer of funds due to deceptive communications directing them to do so.

7. Reputational Loss

Example: A cyber extortion incident shuts down a practice for two weeks. It is determined that payment card information was stolen during the incident and the local news media reports. When the practice is back up and running, there is a decrease in revenues by 25%.

Solution: Cyber policies will respond to an adverse media report following a breach, indemnifying insureds for lost revenues as a result.

8. PCI-DSS Fines and Penalties

Example: Payment cards are compromised as a result of a breach of the payment system utilized by the veterinary practice. An investigation is done, and it is deemed that the practice was not compliant with the data security standards imposed by the Payment Card Industry. Fines and penalties are assessed.

Solution: If a breach occurs and compliance is in question, the insurance policy will respond to the investigation and any fines and penalties that result.

9. Regulatory Proceedings

Example: A veterinary practice computer system is breached, resulting in personal information, (including financial information) being stolen. The veterinary practice delays notifications and does not follow the format required by the state statutes. An attorney general proceeds with an investigation.

Solution: Cyber insurance will respond with the costs to defend against an investigation, and provide indemnification for fines and penalties, where insurable by law.

Next Steps

Looking for more guidance? Contact an AVMA Trust cyber consultant at 800.228.7548 or fill out our inquiry form.

You can also visit the AVMA Trust COVID-19 resource centers here: LIFE resources and PLIT resources.

DISCLAIMER: This article contains only a general description of coverages and does not include all the benefits and limitations found in the policies. Coverages may vary. All references to coverages are subject to the policy's conditions and exclusions. The insurance policy will form the contract between the insured and the insurance company.

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