Insurance Companies Say NotPetya Means War (And Therefore No Coverage)

Add cyberwar to the long list of reasons for why insurance companies will deny claims

Essentially, Zurich’s position is that NotPetya was a “hostile or warlike action” by a “government or sovereign power.” In fact, NotPetya is widely viewed as a state-sponsored Russian cyber attack masquerading as ransomware that was designed to target Ukraine but inadvertently spread globally. Russia denies these allegations.

According to Mondelez, even Zurich had doubts about denying coverage and at one point, rescinded its denial and committed to advancing $10,000,000 partial payment towards Mondelez’s insurance claim. But, for some reason, Zurich changed its tune and reasserted the declination of coverage.

For me this story is less about what is cyberwar, and more about why insurance companies are so good about self-declaring reasons to refuse coverage.

I recently had an insurance company executive tell me they were in the healthcare industry. So I asked if they provide care, to which they replied “no, we know more than anyone, even doctors, about health and we want to encourage people to make smaller and fewer claims.”

That’s not healthcare. That’s finance. Fewer claims (of care) means more margin.

The NotPetya-based denial of claim means the insurance company has assigned themselves the fun burden of proving that a “government or sovereign power” has committed a “hostile or warlike action”. Presumably they think the cost of that proof is less than $10,000,000