LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) – Cyber insurance rates dropped around 10% in June compared with a year earlier, reversing recent sharp rate rises, as claims proved smaller than expected, broker Howden said in a report on Wednesday.

Cyber insurance rates more than doubled in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by a rise in so-called ransomware attacks, Howden said.

Ransom software works by encrypting victims’ data and typically hackers offer victims a pass code to retrieve it in return for cryptocurrency payments.

But the number of global ransomware attacks fell by 20% in 2022 from a year earlier following the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as hackers in those countries focused on the military effort, Howden said.

Insurers have also demanded their clients do more to protect themselves against attacks, lessening the risks and encouraging underwriters into the market, after a period of nervousness.

“Everybody is back with appetite for writing cyber insurance,” said Shay Simkin, global head of cyber at Howden.

Increased competition has contributed to lower rates, Howden said.

Cyber insurance premiums totalled more than $12 billion in 2022 versus $10-11 billion in 2021, Simkin said, and Howden forecasts the market to increase to around $50 billion by 2030, given the size of cyber crime.

Ransomware attacks rose 47% in the first quarter from a year earlier, as hackers focus once more on commercial gain.

“At the end of the day, they need to make money,” said Simkin.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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