Interview with marine and cyber risk specialist – Vivek Sharan

Check out this interview with Vivek Sharan, a graduate of the Cyber Insurance Academy. Vivek is a Regional Marine Client Director at Howden, UAE. In the following interview, Vivek speaks about his experience with the Cyber Insurance Academy and how it is helping advance his marine insurance career.
Cyber risk specialist

Vivek has almost a decade of experience in marine insurance and has recently completed his training at our Academy to combine support his career with a robust understanding of cyber risk.

Q: What drew you to learn more about cyber risk?

I work in the marine and shipping sector and, whilst I am not looking to switch completely to the cyber insurance sector, the offshore clients that I look after are facing very similar risks to those faced by onshore clients, including cyber risk. So I wanted to address my cyber risk knowledge gap and understand how to apply cyber insurance expertise to ship-owning or ship-operating companies. 

Q: What brought you to the Certified Cyber Insurance Specialist (CCIS) course?

There was a drive about two years back at Howden to check interest and enroll employees in the course. Luckily, I was nominated by my team and I was very interested. I signed up, my enrollment was approved and I am glad that I have now completed the course – it was very detailed and met my objectives. 

Q: How has the CCIS course supported your professional development and understanding of cyber risk?

There is a clear gap in understanding when it comes to cyber insurance in marine insurance. And whilst this gave exists also in other lines of insurance, the academic deficit is more pronounced in the marine insurance industry because it is such a traditional sector and typically shies away from technology. Essentially, the marine sector is in denial that cyber risk exposure does not apply to it, including the insurance brokers and underwriters operating within it. So this combined gap in understanding of cyber risk and reluctance to accept new technology is where the CCIS course brings value – it bridges that gap between technology and insurance in terms of cyber risk. 

Q: Describe the kind of person who would benefit from the CCIS course.

As cyber insurance tends to sit within the financial lines networks, I would recommend the course brokers in this field of work. If your clients include, for example, banks and sophisticated multinational companies – the CCIS program is for you – whether you are a broker or an underwriter. 

I also think the CCIS could be helpful for some sitting outside of the insurance industry. For example, anybody who is a risk engineer, a risk assessor, or a cyber consultant would find it beneficial. IT engineers or managers (such as CTOs or CISOs) would also find it helpful – obviously, they will approach the course with a stronger technical background but with less understanding of how cyber insurance is priced and what it covers. As demand for cyber insurance continues to grow, they are likely to need to develop a better understanding of the cyber insurance product. 

Q: Where do you see the Cyber Insurance market in the next 3 years?

There is no doubt that cyber risk is the top risk. This inevitably means that interest in what this means, and how it can be protected against, is going to increase. I am confident that demand will soar. One of the issues the market is currently facing is that insurance professionals do not understand the technical details of cyber insurance and therefore struggle to convey its importance to their clients. The cyber insurance product itself also has some way to go and policies will probably need to be restructured. Eventually, I believe that buying cyber insurance will be as simple as buying health or property insurance – and therefore the growing demand will be met with a more available supply. 

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