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E-Business Insurer Raises Premium on Windows NT.

An insurer specializing in e-business risk underwriting said it will charge 5% to 15% more to cover the risk of hacker attacks on Internet systems that use Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT software, claiming it has identified certain claims trends in those systems. Microsoft disputes the finding, saying its hasn't heard of any such trend in discussions with any insurance carrier.

J.S. Wurzler Underwriting Managers Inc., a Lloyd's underwriter, said claims experience shows that NT-based systems tend to suffer more downtime as a result of hacker attacks than other operating systems. John Wurzler, founder and chief executive officer, was quoted in Interactive Week as saying, "we saw that our NT-based clients were having more downtime" from hacker attacks.

Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said he didn't have any information on Wurzler's action and that Microsoft hadn't heard of any such concern from other insurers. "None of the carriers we deal with had said any such thing," Desler said. "Internet and Web site security insurance is a new business. We believe there is not enough information about the business to judge such risks accurately."

Russ Cooper--a computer security expert with TruSecure Corp., a computer risk-management and security firm, and editor of NTbugtraq.com, which tracks and disseminates information about Windows NT systems, said there is no method he knows of that would make sense in singling out Windows NT software as a greater claims risk than other systems.

"If you look at reported instances of security problems, Unix-based systems are 10 times riskier than NT," Cooper said.

Robert Hartwig, chief economist with the Insurance Information Institute, said insurers that specialize in Internet and e-commerce underwriting have just begun to gather enough claims experience to fine-tune their pricing. "What you're probably seeing here is the discovery of a new rating system," Hartwig said.

He compared Wurzler's move to what auto insurers did in response to sport-utility vehicles.

"There are certain factors that influence pricing in a particular line," he said. "Apparently he identified Windows NT as one of those factors."
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Comment:E-Business Insurer Raises Premium on Windows NT.
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:338
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