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Chubb Survey: As Cyber Risks Rise, Singapore SMEs Are Less Concerned
• 65% of SMEs were victims of cyber incidents in the past year – up from 2018 • 40% of SMEs surveyed do not have cyber risk insurance
Oct 17, 2019
Chubb Singapore SME Cyber Preparedness Report 2019 – ‘Ignorance is Risk’

SINGAPORE, 17 OCTOBER 2019 — A survey by Chubb of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore reveals that while cyber risk is rising, SMEs remain unprepared to deal with the potential consequences.

The second annual Chubb SME Cyber Preparedness Report 2019 – ‘Ignorance is Risk’ released today, reveals that nearly two-thirds (65%) of Singapore SMEs reported experiencing a cyber incident in the past 12 months, as more businesses embrace digitalisation.

Worryingly, more than half (54%) of cyber incidents were caused by a risk SME leaders had already identified, showing a clear gap between perceived and actual preparedness.

SMEs Less Concerned About Impacts of Cyber Incidents

Despite a rise in cyber incidents over the past 12 months, Singapore’s SMEs are less worried about the impact on their business, with significant drops across four key areas– relationship with customers (from 65% t0 55%), revenue and sales (from 62% to 51%), public reputation (from 59% to 49%), and cost of the incident (from 59% to 46%). 

This apparent lack of concern is puzzling, especially when SMEs make up 99% of all businesses in Singapore, according to Mr Andrew Taylor, Cyber Underwriting Manager, Chubb Asia Pacific. 

“With more businesses going digital in Singapore, it’s unsurprising that cyber incidents are on the rise. SMEs need to keep pace and educate themselves about all the cyber threats they face,” said Mr Taylor.

He continued, “This comes into sharp focus when we consider exactly what kind of data is accessed in a breach. In Singapore, nearly a third of the data files breached were email traffic of the senior team, followed by research and development data, intellectual property data and financial performance data.  This is commercially sensitive information which, if exposed, could impact business operations and the reputation of their ability to compete.”

Most SMEs Place Blame for Cyber Incidents on Employees

The survey further reveals that SME leaders have a poor opinion of their employees’ cyber risk preparedness.  More than half (53%) of SMEs are not confident that employees with access to sensitive data are fully aware of their data privacy responsibilities. Additionally, 29% of SME leaders believe employees are the weakest link in their cyber defence.

This perception is not unfounded. Just over half (53%) of the cyber incidents suffered in the past 12 months were caused by employees – either through administrative or clerical errors (30%) or through the loss or theft of a company device such as a laptop or USB drive (23%).

Reducing the Risk with Insurance

While 60% of SME leaders believe insurance has a role to play in protecting against cyber risk, only 34% of SMEs are currently insured.

Of the additional services that insurers can offer when responding to an incident, SMEs saw good value in regulatory advice (56%) and assistance with speed of incident response (56%) from their insurer.

“As an industry, insurers need to take some responsibility for raising standards around cyber risk management, especially among smaller businesses where both coverage and preparedness are lower. We believe this report can help increase awareness of this issue and offer some useful advice for SMEs,” said Mr Taylor.

“As Singapore continues to invest heavily in digitalisation to strive towards its Smart Nation goals, local SMEs, which form the backbone of the economy, need to be adequately prepared and protected.”

Visit Chubb’s website for more details:

About the Chubb SME Cyber Preparedness Report 2019 - ‘Ignorance is Risk’

This year’s report, ‘Ignorance is Risk’, has been produced by Chubb. It is based on a survey of 1,400 respondents from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in four locations; 300 each from Singapore and Hong Kong, and 400 each from Australia and Malaysia. Respondents comprised board-level executives (82%) and senior managers or directors below board level (18%) from SMEs between 2 to 249 employees. The industries respondents belonged to are: Manufacturing (20%), Professional Services (19%), Retail & Hospitality (13%), Technology (8%), Education (7%), Financial Services (5%), Healthcare (4%), Media & Communications (4%); and other industries (20%).

About Chubb in Singapore

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer. Chubb Insurance Singapore Limited, via acquisitions by its predecessor companies, has been present in Singapore since 1948. Chubb in Singapore provides underwriting and risk management expertise for all major classes of general insurance. The company’s product offerings include Financial Lines, Casualty, Property, Marine, Industry Practices as well as Group insurance solutions for large corporates, multinationals, small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, to meet the evolving needs of consumers, it also offers a suite of tailored Accident & Health and Personal & Specialty insurance options through a multitude of distribution channels including bancassurance, independent distribution partners and affinity partnerships.

Over the years, Chubb in Singapore has established strong client relationships by delivering responsive service, developing innovative products and providing market leadership built on financial strength.

More information can be found at

For further information: Serene Lee,, Chubb Insurance Singapore Limited, +65 6398 8013 Juliana Lim,, Chubb Insurance Singapore Limited, +65 6398 8672 Denise Beh,, MHP Communications, +65 9618 5119