Humans of NZI

Adventure. Speed. Challenge. These are the three things that get Andy Beven, NZI’s Underwriting Liability and Cyber Manager, up and out of bed in the morning. Not only for the role he plays in protecting businesses against cyber risks, but also during his free time, when he’s taking on an adventure or two. 

Andy started his insurance journey in the UK and, 32 years later, he’s never looked back. He has worked across several portfolios including property and professional indemnity and even had a stint in sales and claims – until over a decade ago when he discovered his new passion, cyber. 

“What excites me about cyber is that it’s an area that’s constantly developing and changing, which challenges me to keep up with the latest trends and I truly find it one of the most exciting areas of insurance. No day is the same and I’m all up for that.”

In 2015, Andy took up a new challenge and joined NZI to lead the development and launch of NZI’s cyber product to market. It’s an exciting and ongoing journey as he aspires to continue to help businesses improve their cyber security and build a stronger cyber safety awareness culture.

“We don’t want to just be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we also want to be the fence at the cliff to stop something from happening.”

“This won’t happen to me”

Nowadays most (if not all) businesses rely on technology in some form or another. Even something that may sound as simple as sending out an invoice from your work email carries a potential cyber risk.

For Andy, the “this won’t happen to me” mentality is an issue because cyber-attacks don’t just happen overseas, they are happening to
New Zealand businesses every day.

“A cyber-attack can be life threating to a business. Criminals aren’t usually targeting just one specific business – they’re sending out millions of emails and hoping one percent of those will get clicked on. It’s a very opportunistic type of crime for the most part, and they’re becoming more and more sophisticated.

“It’s easy for smaller businesses to be under the misconception that it’s not going to happen to them, and it’s all too easy to think it only happens to big corporates. For example, one of our largest and most recent claims was a panel beater who experienced a cyber-attack, which illustrates that it can happen to anyone.”

Being cyber-ready

Andy explains that emails are by far the most common source of cyber-attacks, which is why developing a strong focus on staff education and cyber safety awareness is key to helping reduce cyber risks.

“In my experience, most cyber incidents are due to human error, from clicking the wrong link, opening the wrong attachment, or even sending something to the wrong recipient. 

“At NZI we offer access to UpGuard, a programme which helps businesses better understand their cyber risks. We can produce a report and outline what their system vulnerabilities and weaknesses are, which paints a good picture of their current cyber security position and where improvements can be made.”

While it’s essential for a business to have measures in place to help prevent a cyber incident from happening, there’s much more to it than that. For Andy, cyber insurance is as important as protecting physical goods such as properties or vehicles. 

“When you think about the security for your house, you get home insurance cover and install a smoke alarm, and you have the expectation with your family that you won’t leave the door open. This is no different to cyber and making sure your cyber ‘house’ is secured. In this case your ‘alarm’ would be your antivirus or firewall that is going to let you know when something is not right, and your cyber insurance cover is there to protect you if something did go wrong.”

The clock is ticking 

The key during a cyber incident is time – the way you respond during the early minutes and hours will dictate how it will play out, and this is where insurance cover and a fast claims response is key.

“A lot of clients might not understand how much of a crisis it really is at the time. It can be scary, time consuming, and put businesses into panic mode. If they can’t get into their folders and systems, it can be catastrophic.

“When cyber claims happen, they happen fast. This is where NZI can help businesses get their systems up and running quickly again.”

Adventure both at work and home 

Andy was brought up in the South of London, and after meeting his wife they decided to start a new life in her beloved home (Aotearoa). In 2006 they made the big move to the country that, for Andy, is the best place in the world to do what he loves the most – adventure.

“I’m a big fan of anything that has to do with being out in nature and trying new things. When I’m not working, you will find me camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, doing bush walks, anything you can think of really that doesn’t involve sitting down!

One of Andy’s fondest memories was doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing a couple of years ago with his wife and a group of friends, where he experienced all four seasons in one day.

“When we started our hike, we were ready for a cold day – it was May – and once we got to the first plateau it was so hot that I wished I’d worn shorts, but as we got closer to the summit it started to get colder and colder, and eventually started snowing. When we came down it started to pour down with heavy rain, which we weren’t ready for either!

“It was a great adventure, and a great reminder that it pays to be prepared.”

June 2022

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