Some 38% of businesses have experienced a disruptive loss relating to a data breach in the past 24 months, costing them on average $1.1 million, according to a report by Aon Risk Solutions.
Based on a survey of 545 risk professionals in Europe, Middle East and Africa, the report said, of those who experienced a cyber breach, 84% said the most common incident was an attack that disrupted business and IT operations.
The report, conducted by data firm Ponemon Institute, said there was a "huge insurance gap" between tangible and intangible assets. Only 11% of potential loss to intangible assets is covered by insurance, compared to 49% for tangible assets, meaning intangible assets are 38% are more exposed to loss.
Intangible assets include customer and employee records, financial reports, analytical data and other intellectual properties.
The research also reported a "low level of awareness and understanding" of the consequences of cyber risk. It found only 23% of respondents said they were fully aware of the legal and economic consequences resulting from a data breach or security exploit in the other countries their business operates in.
In addition, 37% would not disclose a material loss to their intangible assets in their financial statements, compared to 9% for tangible assets.
Jonathan Upshall, cyber insurance broking director at Aon Risk Solutions UK, said: "Almost all organisations recognise cyber as a growing concern, but many still perceive it to be a new or unfamiliar risk. Depending on an organisation's risk maturity, some don't have the experience to both assess and quantify the risk effectively, nor manage it within their organisations.
"But once the risks are better understood and valued, then organisations can intelligently consider cyber solutions, risk management procedures and what an insurance policy can bring to the table."