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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Cyber attack impacts Insurance House

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A devastating cyber attack has brought down systems across the diverse operations of national brokerage Insurance House.

As insuranceNEWS.com.au reported yesterday, the incident created serious disruption at underwriting agency ProRisk, which is part of the broader Insurance House Group.

But it emerged today that all Insurance House’s other businesses, including its brokerage, authorised representative network, affinity business and life insurance business, have been affected.

The Melbourne-based group has a presence in 60 locations across Australia.

“ProRisk was most affected but I can confirm the cyber incident impacted the whole group,” Insurance House Group MD Jay Fereday told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

Concerns were raised in the early hours of Sunday after a “phishing” email, which contained a link, seeded malware onto the group’s systems.

“We shut down our system entirely to isolate and contain the problem,” Mr Fereday said.

“We were offline and non-contactable until late Tuesday. We have now brought back critical functions, but some disruption will continue.”

The response involved cleansing and restoring more than 400 computers across the group.

Mr Fereday declined to put a cost on the impact at this stage, but says “there has been significant inconvenience and disruption”.

He emphasised that no client data was breached, and “manual workarounds” had enabled cover to be placed and all client needs were met.

He says there will be “crucial lessons” to be learned from the incident for the wider industry, which impacted Insurance House despite all precautions being taken.

“It highlights the importance of risk management and a disaster recovery plan,” he said. “We have virus detection in place but this malware managed to get through. Virus detection cannot guarantee 100% protection.

“We had critical functions up within four days. While I wouldn’t wish this disruption on anyone we have seen a really positive response from our staff, clients and insurers.”