U.S.-based cyber insurance broker expands to Canada, seeks MSPs, VARs as partners

Small and mid-sized Canadian organizations have a new choice for cybersecurity advice.

DataStream Insurance, a California-based brokerage that specializes in cyber insurance coverage, has begun signing up consultants, managed service providers, and value-added resellers here to refer their customers to as it expands north.

According to chief executive officer Andy Anderson, the company — which represents more than 30 insurance carriers — recently signed six partners, all in Ontario, and is looking for more.

Partners “bring us into the conversation to help their clients understand how cyber insurance fits into an overall cyber risk program,” he said in an interview. “We believe a good cybersecurity strategy includes technology, compliance, and insurance.”

“Our comprehensive suite of tools — including our Cyber Insurance Readiness Assessment and Partner Risk Reports— will help Canadian MSPs and SMBs assess and remediate their risks in a new and profound way.”

However, he cautioned that insurers these days increasingly demand customers have mature cybersecurity programs or they either won’t be offered coverage or, if they do, the premiums will be steep.

“There’s no absolutes,” Anderson said. “We work with 30 different carriers and they have different requirements for different industries and organizations of different sizes — and a customer’s loss history will be scrutinized.” But, he added, among the key security technologies insurance applicants should have in their environments are multi-factor authentication for logins, particularly for email and remote access, off-site or cloud  data backup, and endpoint detection and response.

The most recent evidence of the dramatic rise in premiums is a report last week from the Pew Charitable Trust covering changes in the U.S..

Related content: Cyber insurers now demanding customers have MFA, says Canadian broker

Applications for coverage could run up to 10 pages in length, Anderson added, which is the reason why IT partners are a good vehicle through which cyber insurance is sold: The partners provide cyber security assessments, data analyses of cyber risk in financial terms, cyber security training and help fill in the application describing the applicant’s IT environment.

“What we do is help highlight areas where they [organizations] may not be meeting those requirements yet, flag that for the client and then work with the IT team at the managed service provider to make sure that customer has undertaken the requirements around the time of coverage.”

Canadian partners that have signed with Datastream include

EmpowerIT of Waterloo, Ont.;

Blue Triangle IT Solutions of Toronto;

JC Kelly of  Cobourg, Ont.’

InfoMedia Systems Group , which has offices in Ottawa, Toronto, and Cornwall, Ont., and St. John’s, Nfld.;

allCare IT of Kingston, Ont.;

— and ITEK Solutions of Richmond Hill, Ont.

Datastream decided to expand north after hearing from managed service providers asking if its service would be available here, Anderson said.

Last week it was at the ASCII MSP Success Summit in Toronto, pitching to potential partners.

For the time being, DataStream won’t be available in Quebec. The company said it is working to provide coverage there in the near future

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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