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Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Node International CEO Neil Gurnhill (Part 4)

Posted on Friday, Mar 6th 2020

Sramana Mitra: I’m going to switch the line of questioning a little bit and ask you for some insights into the broader space of cyber insurance. Can you identify where there are open problems and areas where new entrepreneurs could potentially start new companies?

Neil Gurnhill: First of all, insurance is probably the last word entrepreneurs want to hear or naturally think about. Insurance is one of the coolest and most exciting places that you could be around. It’s going to boom. We’re just on the cusp of it.

For any entrepreneur that is from the cyber security background, there’s a huge opportunity that they could massively be involved with. There are huge amounts of opportunities within the different types of capacity and insurance whether it’s reinsurance, underwriting, or brokering.

There’s also massive opportunity with the speed at which the industry is growing. Insurance is always behind innovation. Insurance people need to innovate because there are many insurable risks that live within cyber security and in the interconnected world that are completely untapped.

The way we operate in the cyber insurance world is very primitive. There’s opportunity around changes in legislation, changes in communication, changes in AI. These are all untapped areas of insurance. It’s a huge opportunity. We are massively lacking people moving into this space that have cyber security qualifications and backgrounds. People aren’t making that transition. 

Sramana Mitra: The issue that restricts innovation is, there aren’t a lot of people who are technology savvy and capable of technical innovation in the insurance industry especially with domain knowledge of cyber security and insurance. 

Neil Gurnhill: I started in internet website development. Websites started to get compromised. We met with local insurance brokers back then. They said it wasn’t insurable because it wasn’t tangible.

We would build the website, buy the domain names, and know how much it was worth. So we challenged them. I know how much the website costs the business if it goes down. That catapulted me to London where there was a community of people already active in some privacy-related cyber insurance. That’s how I set up Node.

I came from a technology background. They couldn’t remember my name and they called me CyberMan. That’s how bad the knowledge was. I also think that in the insurance market, there is an element of people at a certain age that are in senior roles where the digital revolution isn’t natural to them. Therefore, they lean away from it. They’re retiring. The next generation is coming. That’s a huge opportunity. Really consider transitioning into the insurance sector with certain skill sets that are outside of insurance.

Sramana Mitra: It was nice talking with you. It’s definitely a unique angle that we haven’t covered before. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Node International CEO Neil Gurnhill
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