News Releases

ACE European Group: Over 50% of European Companies Suffered Significant Financial Losses from IT System Failures in the Last Year
Sep 30, 2005
LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 30, 2005--More than half of European companies polled in a survey on global network risk admitted that they have suffered significant financial damage as a result of IT system failure in the last 12 months. The survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by ACE European Group (NYSE:ACE), polled senior risk managers and business leaders throughout Europe. 

The research also showed that close to 40% of those surveyed had experienced losses as a result of damage or misuse of systems or data by staff or contractors and that nearly 25% had suffered as a result of computer crime, including 'phishing' - using forged emails or website pages to obtain data - and hacking.

When asked what specific tools and strategies companies planned to use to manage IT risks over the next three years, more than 70% indicated they would continue to invest in greater security and protection such as firewalls and anti-virus software. ACE believes European businesses should place more emphasis on reducing the impact of technology failure or criminal acts.

Shaun Cooper, ACE's senior network risk underwriter, commented: "There is no 'silver bullet' to prevent losses from downtime, security breaches or mis-use of IT by staff. Technology cannot guarantee network security. Despite a continual investment in security and protection services, this survey shows businesses are still experiencing significant financial losses."

"Although many firms in the survey saw increased investment in business continuity and disaster recovery planning as key areas over the next three years, the research also reveals the lack of awareness of alternatives such as risk transfer opportunities, as a means of reducing the impact of technology failure or criminal acts."

"ACE's own experience as underwriters of specialist network risk insurance shows that businesses believe their traditional property and liability programmes will cover losses. But generally they do not cover damage to intangible assets, which leaves companies vulnerable. Business must recognise that transferring the risks to vehicles such as specialist technology insurance products will reduce their exposure to significant financial losses."

Notes to Editors:


The ACE European Group comprises the operations of ACE Europe, ACE Global Markets and ACE Tempest Re Group. With an established presence in 16 countries across Europe and Freedom of Services permissions to operate in 27 European countries, ACE Europe provides a range of tailored Property and Casualty, Accident and Health and Personal Lines solutions for a diverse range of clients. ACE Global Markets (AGM) is ACE's specialty international business, underwriting through ACE's Lloyd's Syndicate 2488 and UK registered company ACE European Group Limited. Specialty lines include excess and surplus lines business, Marine, Aviation, Energy and Political Risk as well as Property, Financial Lines and Accident and Health. Additional information on ACE European Group can be found at

The ACE Group of Companies is a global leader in insurance and reinsurance serving a diverse group of clients. Headed by ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE), a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, the ACE Group conducts its business on a worldwide basis with operating subsidiaries in more than 50 countries. Additional information can be found at:

ACE Dataguard and ACE Computerguard:

ACE's Dataguard product has been specifically designed for companies who have a dependency on their computer network. It bridges the gaps in cover with traditional policies and provides leading edge protection to take away the resulting first party financial loss, loss of network revenue, data reconstruction and company crisis management costs.

ACE Computerguard covers financial losses resulting from physical damage to, and breakdown of, computers. Cover includes the cost of replacing damaged computer hardware, the reinstatement of lost programmes or data, and the increased working costs as a result.

For further information on Dataguard or Computerguard, contact Shaun Cooper on +44 (0) 20 7173 7338.

About the research

Global Risk Briefing - IT Network Risks is part of a research programme on global risk issues, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The programme is sponsored by ACE, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Bank, KPMG and IBM.

The findings in this press release are based on a survey of 66 senior executives from European-based businesses with annual revenues ranging from less than $500m to over $10bn. Fifty three percent of the companies participating in the survey were from the financial services sector. Respondents from 17 other industries participated in the survey, including professional services, energy sector companies, and IT and technology firms, and pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.

Previous research in the Global Risk Briefing Project has shown that almost 60% of Chief Risk Officers and senior risk managers view network risk as a significant and growing threat to their organizations. Network risk and the threats of data and systems crime are also seen as a significant threat to business reputations, which could seriously undermine public confidence in a company's brand and products. In addition, almost 50% of respondents cited reputation risk as a significant threat to their organisations.



ACE European Group
Miles Russell, + 44 (0) 20 7173 7578
Communications Director
Network Risk Underwriter
Shaun Cooper, +44 (0) 20 7173 7338 or
Economist Intelligence Unit
Press Liaison
Sheila Allen, +44 (0)20 7830 1010 or
Global Risk Briefing editor
Gareth Lofthouse, +44 (0)20 7830 1150