Addressing Holiday Cyber Risks for Insurance Agents: Protecting Clients from Digital Dangers

by Trava, Cyber Risk Management

The holidays require heightened alertness to safeguard web users from cyber threats. Learn how to protect your clients throughout this high-risk period.

Holidays are meant to be a joyous time, but there's no rest for cyber criminals; this time of the year represents a lucrative opportunity. As people flock online to shop, browse, and connect with loved ones, the digital space becomes more profitable and dangerous than ever. For cyber insurance agents, the holidays require heightened alertness to safeguard web users from cyber threats.

Keep reading as we investigate the threat landscape, industries most at risk, and how to assess client vulnerabilities. You'll learn how to tailor insurance coverage, mitigate risks, and handle claims—ultimately empowering you to protect your clients throughout this high-risk period.

The Holiday Threat Landscape

Unique cyber threats crop up as holiday activities increasingly shift online. Cybercriminals leverage heightened emotions, busyness, and the allure of deals to launch sophisticated phishing campaigns and data breaches. As online shopping spikes, the National Retail Federation predicts over $1 trillion will be spent digitally this season. This massive surge in eCommerce transactions exposes more consumers to digital dangers such as payment card skimming.

Scammers capitalize on the busy season by infiltrating popular retail websites and deploying malicious code to intercept financial information. They may launch phishing sites mimicking popular brands to trick people into entering personal details. With so much money changing hands online, even a small percentage stolen through cybercrime translates to massive profits for hackers.

Rushed purchases on public networks and unfamiliar sites pose risks. Business disruptions also loom large because a single successful ransomware attack can cripple entire operations during crunch time. As a cybersecurity insurance agent, staying vigilant of evolving tactics and educating clients is more important now than ever before.

Mitigating Holiday Risks With Vulnerable Industries

Certain sectors definitely face disproportionate risks. E-commerce and retail confront payment card breaches and possible outages during peak traffic. The hospitality sector deals with hacked travel platforms and ransomware targeting property management systems. For these industries, tailored cyber insurance can help protect revenue streams and minimize disruptions. Coverage must account for unique assets and data, as well as business interruptions from holiday-specific incidents.

To reduce vulnerabilities for clients, suggest targeted employee training on phishing awareness and secure remote working. Verify that eCommerce and payment systems adhere to compliance standards. Test disaster recovery and incident response plans under holiday conditions. Consider cybersecurity insurance requirements for third-party vendors. A proactive risk management approach combined with the right insurance ensures clients have a smooth sailing experience this holiday season.

Assessing Holiday Cyber Risks

You can help clients by assessing how their threat shifts during the holidays. Evaluate increased web traffic and digital dependency, seasonal staffing and training gaps, as well as downtime consequences. Quantify the impacts of ransomware on supply chains or phishing on customer data. Holiday vulnerabilities often differ from risks internet users face throughout the rest of the year; understanding these nuances will ensure appropriate coverage. Ask how systems would fare under a sophisticated attack designed to coincide with a client's busiest time of year.

Looking for actionable tips to keep your clients safe? Let's Sleigh Your Cyber together!

Customizing Coverage for Holiday Risks

When tailoring policies to address emerging concerns, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, you should actually consider coverage for payments related to ransomware attacks that could cripple operations during the busy holiday season. This means your clients can pay to regain access to encrypted systems without facing financial ruin.

In addition, provide public relations (PR) expense coverage to help retailers manage reputational damage and notify affected buyers in the event of a breach or outage. Bad publicity during the holidays can be devastating. You may also include other elements, such as:

  • Coverage for potential fines and penalties from payment card brand standards or state/federal regulations in case payment card data is stolen. (Non-compliance adds insult to injury.)

  • Forensic investigation coverage to fund expert incident response in the wake of breaches during peak periods.

  • Business interruption insurance for higher revenues during holidays; for example, downtime costs are magnified if it disrupts Black Friday sales or other peak periods.

  • Cover for specialized digital assets only used seasonally, like eCommerce storefronts or marketing websites.

Pro Tip: Consider evolving cyber threats like targeted phishing campaigns or ransomware that may impact holiday operations differently than at other times of the year. Always discuss imminent risks and customized policy options proactively, rather than as an afterthought, for seamless protection throughout the high-risk holiday season.

Managing Claims When It Matters Most

To expedite claims processing during critical periods, establish open communication channels, and understand unique holiday impacts before incidents occur. Devise strategies to maintain operations through downtime, such as redirecting traffic or using backup call centers, and have plans to rapidly deploy PR support or credit monitoring in the event of a breach.

As a cyber insurance agent, it's your duty to help clients understand evolving cyber threats. Using insurance proactively can empower them to focus on the reason for the season—connecting with loved ones—without the added stress of worrying about digital dangers. Staying vigilant of criminals' evolving tactics and clients' changing needs will keep everyone safer online. Reach out to discuss how Trava can be a partner dedicated to safeguarding your clients throughout this high-risk season and beyond.


We can help!  Talk to the Trava Team and see how we can assist you with your cybersecurity needs.