The majority of insurance companies worldwide are expecting an increase in cyber-related losses over the next 12 months, with the frequency of large-scale attacks also predicted to rise.
That is according to a new report from Willis Towers Watson (WLTW), which reveals that 60% of insurers believe cyber events like the global WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017 will occur at least once every five years.
The same amount think cyber attacks will account for a minimum of one in every 100 non-cyber covered insurance losses over the next 12 months, except for those incurred from workers' compensation.
WLTW's global head of cyber risk solutions, Anthony Dagostino, warned that cyber-related losses under policies where cyber risk isn't specifically included, or 'silent cyber', were a "far greater risk than ever before".
"The 2017 WannaCry and NotPetya attacks highlighted this risk and potential damage across all business areas - causing significant concern around silent cyber," he continued.
"This increased risk perception has highlighted the need for specific cyber coverage, but competitive market conditions are limiting the scope for coverage or pricing adjustments to be made in other lines of business."
The research involved a survey of 100 insurance and reinsurance companies across five business lines, including first party property, other liability, workers compensation, errors and omissions, and directors and officers.
It was found that the majority believe all business lines, including property and other liability, are at a high risk of silent cyber, compared with only two that were perceived that way in 2017.
The IT, utilities and telecom sector was cited as having the greatest exposure to silent cyber, with two-fifths of respondents predicting cyber attacks to account for at least ten in every hundred non-cyber covered losses in the next year.
This comes after research from NTT Security found that less than a third of British companies have dedicated cyber security insurance in place.
It was also found that nearly half of executives in the UK do not know if their insurance covers data loss or breaches - higher than in 12 countries studied and well above the average of 23%.
"With estimated annual losses from cyber crime now topping £291bn, you would hope more would be beating a path to insurers' doors," NTT Security EMEA senior VP, Kai Grunwitz, said.
"But while the insurance sector is certainly seeing growth in the number of policies being taken out to cover such losses, it's an issue that many senior decision makers are not on top of."