August 28, 2023

Brokering Behind the Firewall: Monica Minkel on Inside-Out Underwriting, Being a Trusted Cyber Advisor

In "Brokering Behind the Firewall", the 1Fort team sits down with innovators in the cyber insurance space to learn more about their stories, best practices, and predictions. This week, we heard from Monica Minkel, VP Executive Risk Enterprise Leader at Holmes Murphy, a leading insurance brokerage. Monica shares her background as a cyber insurance broker, what she thinks about inside-out underwriting, and what we can expect from the upcoming NetDiligence conference, which she is co-chairing.

How did you get started selling cyber? What have been the biggest changes since then?

I had the opportunity to work at AIG in the early 2000s, when the first generation of cyber products entered the market. In those days, it was largely just liability or third party coverage and it was pricey with a long application. Cyber has evolved a lot over the past twenty years. It's now a "must have" coverage, almost as important as workers' comp and general liability. Coverage now is much broader and clients have a better understanding of what it does and why they need it.

What's something you do that makes you a trusted cyber advisor to your clients?

At Holmes Murphy, we are interested in helping clients avoid, reduce, and transfer cyber risk with a range of strategies to help lower the frequency and severity of claim activity. Coverage quality must come first, and our approach is to help our Insureds be a better risk so that they can get the best quality at a reasonable price. We focus heavily on the process and the product. We know that no one wants to overpay for coverage, and value is the most important.

How do you see inside-out underwriting evolving in the next year?

Cyber underwriting trends evolve just as fast as the policies do. With pricing in the market softening and carriers trying to retain market share, I've been seeing a bit of a reduction in underwriting requirements. I think many clients have increased their security infrastructure in the past few years, which helps make the underwriting process smoother.

Clients that accept the inside-out approach are seeing benefits in the placement process and coverage quality. Some carriers are also starting to provide financial incentives to businesses that allow underwriters a look on the inside. I do think that these financial incentives will increase adoption.

What's one piece of advice you can share to other brokers who want to better advise their clients?

Every client is different. Understand their problems and help them solve them. It's important to remember that our job is to help manage risk, and there are multiple ways to help.

What are your predictions for the cyber insurance market for the rest of 2023?

I expect to see pricing flatten out as we reach the end of the year and expect to see claim activity remain very strong.  It seems likely that pricing will be increasing again as we move into 2024.  We continue to see capacity and creativity in the marketplace so the availability of coverage is robust.

A lot of us are excited to attend NetDiligence in Beverly Hills this October. Anything we can expect from this year's event?

I get to co-chair the event this year and I am super excited! The best part about co-chairing is that I get to put together the panel that I really want to listen to. This year, I'll be moderating a panel discussion around cyber resilience. We'll be discussing the utilization of external-facing scans that inform the underwriting process, and will debate the merits of inside-out underwriting.  I'm thrilled to advance the conversation around the evolution of cyber underwriting.