Jim Throneburg invented Thorlos socks in 1980 and set out to build a brand worthy of the slogan “caretakers of the world’s feet."
His company, Thorlo Inc., recently found out that it’s also in the business of taking care of customer data. In January, the Statesville, N.C.-based business discovered hackers had been intercepting information on the Web after a customer reported a fraudulent credit-card charge.
Smaller companies are learning that, as more data is shared online, they, too, can be targets for the kinds of attacks that larger firms endure. American International Group and Travelers Cos. are among insurers tailoring cybersecurity products to those customers.
Small and mid-size companies are “where we’re going to see some of the most aggressive growth in the next couple of years, because it’s been a part of the market that was ignored," said Bob Parisi, network security and privacy practice leader at Marsh Inc.
Insurers have been selling cyber insurance for more than a decade to help clients shoulder costs from data breaches, computer viruses and other types of electronic fraud. The policies typically cover liability from hacking and provide technical support. They can also defray costs of complying with laws that require companies to notify customers when private information has been compromised.
Awareness about computer crime and more affordable policies are leading smaller businesses to view cyber insurance as essential, Marsh said in a report this month.