financial cyber security

Windermere’s Financial Institutions Group provides the highest level of expertise and experience to firms striving to succeed in the face of ever-changing regulations and increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity risks. It focuses its comprehensive advisory services on anticipating and providing solutions to the Financial Institutions sector’s unique challenges. For the past decade, this dedicated team of industry specialists has built a national reputation for insight, efficiency, and accessibility in guiding its growing base of clients through the intricacies of business insurance.

“Many of our clients seek us out because the generalist approach they were taking wasn’t adequate for their increasingly complicated insurance issues,” said Scott Shannon, Windermere Partner, Financial Institutions Practice Leader. “Lack of coverage within our client group, which includes Investment Advisory and Asset Management Firms, Trust Companies, Family Offices, Broker-Dealers, Non-Bank Lenders, and other financial institution businesses, can create significant issues from a risk management perspective.”

The ‘check the box and consider it done’ attitude quickly changes when a lack of coverage results in unanticipated costs. “We start our relationship with potential clients by reviewing their insurance risk, products, and program,” said Patrick J. O’Brien, Advisor, Financial Institutions.  “We strive to educate. As specialists, we have a deep knowledge of their business. We talk their language and understand their potential risks and exposures. When we analyze their coverage, we often identify overlooked red flags.” Other specialized services include policy placement, coverage limit benchmarking, loss and claims history, industry trend review, and in-house claims advocacy.

The Windermere team has developed and maintains a vast network of industry leaders and insiders who provide intelligence on products, trends, and situations, enhancing the value and accuracy of the advice clients receive. For example, they are on the approved vendor list for all significant RIA custodians. “Our professional relationships keep us ahead of the curve in anticipating challenges and finding solutions, and the carriers we work with provide the most risk management solutions for financial institutions. We are in touch with carriers daily and connect with them in a way impossible for a generalist in our area to achieve,” said Scott.

What are the most overlooked areas of risk for financial institutions? According to Patrick, the most common is an insufficiency of coverage. “We often find that a product or service provided by our clients is either not covered in the definition of professional services in their E&O policy or specifically excluded from their coverage. However consistent this lack of coverage may be among the financial institutions we serve, the solutions aren’t the same. Because of our deep focus on this area and daily involvement with these issues, we have the expertise to anticipate where the variances might exist and recommend ways to manage our clients’ exposure and ensure there are no coverage gaps,” he said.

Cybersecurity is at the top of the list of concerns for all industries. However, the risks can be even more severe for financial services firms that might be responsible for significant client funds. “We work closely with the carriers who provide cyber insurance to offer products with wide-ranging coverage. Key areas include social engineering/funds transfer fraud, data restoration, loss of income, loss of clients’ funds, ransomware, client notification cost, reputation harm, and claims and lawsuits resulting from the breach,” said Scott.

While high-level specialization and deep industry knowledge attract new clients to the Windermere Financial Institutions Group, the companywide commitment to exceptional service contributes to the extremely low attrition rate. “When our Founder and CEO, Dan M. Litaker III, established our company, he set a standard of incomparable personal attention and responsiveness to distinguish us from competitors. This ‘high touch’ approach has been required for everyone who has joined the company and continues to characterize each client relationship,” said Scott.

Industry specialization is also a Windermere standard. With colleagues providing services in the real estate, business, and personal client insurance areas, the opportunity to stay within the umbrella for other insurance needs is another benefit the Financial Institutions Group clients enjoy.