Jul 1, 2021 - News
Cyberattacks behind Des Moines insurance premium spike
Benjamin Franklin holding an umbrella on a $100 bill, in front of a red background.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Des Moines' insurance premiums will cost 21% more in the fiscal year that starts Thursday — a $303K increase from the previous year.

  • Cybersecurity and flood protection costs are driving the spike.

Why it matters: It underscores how two recurring problems are costing residents big bucks in ways other than immediate damage or thefts.

By the numbers: Property and casualty insurance premiums now cost the city almost $1.7M.

  • Cyber liability coverage is up 78% in a year — a 35K increase.
  • Property insurance, which includes flood coverage, is up 39% — a $223K increase.

Driving the news: A ransomware attack at Des Moines Area Community College last month brought classes to a halt for two weeks.

  • The school didn't pay the ransom, but the college's president, Rob Denson, told Axios that cyber insurance helped as they secured their systems. Now he's advising other governments to get coverage.

The big picture: Insurers across a number of industries are expected to increase cyber insurance premiums between 25% and 40% in coming months, Reuters reports.

What they're saying: DSM's school district is anticipating a "significant increase" of its annual $41K cyber security premiums, district CFO Shashank Aurora told Axios.

  • Polk County expects an overall insurance spike similar to DSM's. That's also partly attributed to cyber security, administrator John Norris said.

What's next: DSM has directed its insurance broker to complete a review to ensure the spike is the result of market factors.

  • Expect some news on that in coming weeks.
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