U.S., European Companies Ill-prepared For High-Tech Risks, Survey Says

Compiled By Deborah Austin The information technology age has spawned new liability risks for which businesses are ill-prepared, says a survey recently released by The St. Paul Cos., a St. Paul, Minn.-based global insurer. Businesses have trouble identifying potential risks -- and lack the tools to manage them effectively. "The survey indicates that companies rely chiefly on systems-based protection, such as anti-virus software and computer firewalls, to prevent losses from technology risks," says Kae Lovaas, vice president-technology. "But that's not enough. Exposures involving intellectual property, privacy, and first-party risks from computer fraud, business disruption, and denial of service pose significant financial risk to companies doing business on the Internet." In the survey of executives responsible for their companies' insurance coverage, U.S. respondents ranked technology risks second in importance only to employment-related risks. European respondents saw technology risks as the No. 1 concern. Yet only 25% of U.S. and 30% of European companies had risk-management committees or other formal structures to combat technology risk.

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