“Just Another Manic Cyber Monday”

If this post gets lost amid the too-good-to-be-true Cyber Monday deals and e-mail ambushes, it won’t be a complete surprise but would be something of a shame.  Since arriving on the holiday shopping scene in 2005, Cyber Monday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  In 2014, consumers spent $2.68 billion shopping on-line, and the average transaction was only about a hundred bucks.  I’m not great at math – a lot of lawyers aren’t – but that is a lot of transactions.  A lot of credit card numbers.  Physical addresses.  E-mail addresses.  A lot of data with significantly more resale value than the Tickle-Me-Elmo that still intermittently tee-hees from a cardboard box in your attic.

Which brings us neatly to a simple tip about retroactive dates: Policyholders should negotiate retroactive dates prior to Cyber Monday and, for that matter, Black Friday.

A retroactive date is the time point identified in an insurance policy to serve as a gatekeeper of sorts.  Events that occurred prior to that date, no matter when a resulting claim is made, are not covered.  When it comes to cyberinsurance, and really any insurance, it’s in the policyholder’s interest to push that date back as far as possible.  But it may be in the margins where the real difference is made.  Most people think of retroactive dates in terms of the number of years back a policy will go in terms of the triggering event.  Policyholders, however, should be equally attuned to key days, weeks and months of the year when the opportunity for cybercrime is most pronounced – i.e., right now.

As noted in Nicole Perlroth’s New York Times article not quite a year ago, security experts like to say that there are two types of companies, those that have been hacked, and those that do not yet know that they have been hacked.  The increased risk of a data breach during the highest web traffic days of the year warrants careful consideration when negotiating a cyberinsurance retroactive date.  And, accounting for the risk that you may forget this important detail, just remember that catchy retro Bangles tune and the goal of making this Cyber Monday just another in a decade-long string of manic Cyber Mondays.