Big insurer groups push Senate on cyber security bill

Thirty-five organizations, including big insurance trade groups, have sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging the quick passage of a cyber security information-sharing bill that also offers them a safe harbor against frivolous lawsuits.

“Cybersecurity is a top priority of our associations and members,” says the letter on U.S. Chamber of Commerce letterhead, sent Tuesday. “Recent cyber incidents underscore the need for legislation to help businesses improve their awareness of cyber threats and to enhance their protection and response capabilities.”

The letter adds, “Above all, we need Congress to send a bill to the president that gives businesses legal certainty that they have safe harbor against frivolous lawsuits when voluntarily sharing and receiving threat indicators and counter measures in real time and taking action to mitigate cyberattacks.”

It states such legislation should also offer protections related to public disclosure, regulatory and antitrust matters “to increase the timely exchange of information among public and private entities.”

It adds that the legislation should safeguard privacy and civil liberties as well.

“Cyberattacks aimed at U.S. businesses and government entities are being launched from various sources, including sophisticated hackers, organized crime, and state sponsored groups. These attacks are advancing in scope and complexity,” says the letter. “Congressional action cannot come soon enough.”

Signers of the letter include a wide range of associations, among them the American Insurance Association, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the Council of Agents & Brokers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce itself.

With Republicans gaining control of the U.S. Senate and the comments made by President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address last week, there has been some optimism that long-stalled cyber legislation stands a strong chance of gaining congressional approval and being signed into law by the president.

By Judy Greenwald

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