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Illinois considers following other U.S. states in buying hacking insurance

SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — With data breaches becoming more and more common, states are beginning to join corporations in getting insured for data breaches. Despite a 2016 breach of voter data, Illinois is still on the fence about getting coverage.

survey of 42 state chief information officers released last month showed a growing number of them are putting taxpayer dollars into insurance plans against data breaches. Thirty-eight percent said their state had taken up an insurance plan compared to 20 percent in 2015.

Lauri Floresca, Senior Vice President with corporate underwriters Woodruff, Sawyer & Co, isn’t surprised to see more states getting insured since they share many of the same vulnerabilities as corporations.

“A state is just a corporation that has a lot of consumer data just like large corporations in that same boat,” she said. “It makes perfect sense that both public and private entities would try to mitigate some of that risk.”

According to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, covered states are paying up to $1.8 million annually for coverage. Some states have opted for coverage of their entire government. Others elected to cover only portions, such as the executive branch.

In the event of a breach, Floresca said typical plans can cover not only the cost of subsequent investigations but also the cost of outreach to those affected and associated legal fees.

“Cyber insurance is structure to help with the direct cost as well as the ultimate liability of [a breach],” she said.

The Illinois Department of Information Technology said earlier this year in its comprehensive plan to address the state’s cybersecurity that the department would explore whether cyber insurance was appropriate for the state. A spokeswoman said Monday that administrators have “not made any recommendations for its use, at this point.”

Voter data was compromised via the Illinois State Board of Elections by hackers allegedly from Russia in 2016, shortly before the election.

Written by Cole Lauterbach. Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for INN. Lauterbach has managed and produced shows for news/talk radio stations in both Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

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Illinois considers following other U.S. states in buying hacking insurance