It is clear to any business, institution, organisation or individual that we have been living through a significant change in the way the world operates, interacts and engages with each other.

Online activity is now prevalent and perhaps pre-eminent in our work, family and leisure time.

This revolution has brought data front and centre. The consensus is now that data is the ‘oil of the 21st century’ and amongst the largest, most critical companies, in the world are those that trade on, control and manage our data.

The pandemic has heightened the fact that for education institutions, information security and technology platforms now play a critical role in delivering services as well as control of estate and infrastructure.

Further, the ground-breaking research that universities are involved in is at threat from those who would seek to gain, benefit or potentially interrupt this.

If the central tenets of insurance and risk management are around protecting and financially supporting the key sources of revenue and assets that are controlled it is inevitable that questions will be asked as to how we insure and protect our on-line activity and our data.

Legislation is now in place which recognises this and any prudent insurance and risk manager or anyone involved in the purchase or administration of insurance should be asking about what support is available.

This Technical Bulletin examines how the insurance market has developed and evolved, and the backdrop against which this has happened. It explores the key risk questions that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) need to be posing to themselves. Most crucially it looks at the future role of risk management which, as with any class of insurance, now has a critical role to play in how cover is purchased and structured.

Our position as brokers and consultants is that on a co-ordinated and consistent basis the risks internally should be managed as best possible and from here a sensible discussion is then had on the residual risk, and whether and how this can be transferred via an insurance contract.