Vulnerability to ransomware attacks and virtual learning have presented some serious risks.
Boards of education across the country are finding that they are suddenly facing school cyber insurance rates that are considerably higher than they had been in previous years.
The recent rash of ransomware attacks across the United States have made schools costlier to cover.
The result of the additional vulnerability and risk has been that premiums for school cyber insurance coverage have gone way up. This has been a difficult blow to many boards of education and independent schools, which already face tight budgets.
The Haywood County Board of Education in North Carolina, for instance, has suffered from the ransomware attacks and data breaches that have struck schools across the country. The cost of keeping its policy has spiked sharply this year. Still, hat board very clearly understands the need for this coverage and voted unanimously this week to approve a contract for another year of cyber-liability insurance coverage provided by Evolve through Marrow Insurance Agency of Hendersonville. Last year, the board paid $6,653 for its coverage. This year, it’s $1 million policy comes with premiums more than triple last years, at $22,318.
In that case, the school cyber insurance came with a rate hike of $15,000 per year.
Moreover, those skyrocketing premiums occurred not because the schools in that board were affected by ransomware attacks in the last year. Instead, it is the result of the rising trend of ransomware attacks affecting education systems across the country, said Bill Nolte, Haywood County Schools Superintendent.
The insurance provider covering the Haywood County Board this year isn’t the same as the one providing coverage last year. Last year’s insurer withdrew from that business altogether, dropping the board’s policy and ceasing to offer cyber liability policies at all, explained Nolte.
The companies that have continued to sell school cyber insurance have greatly increased their premiums to reflect the staggering rise in attacks. According to Nolte, the new rate and higher deductible that came with it did not come as a surprise to the school board. “It is not uncommon at all,” he said.