Peak Re: Financial losses from cyber dominate consumer concerns

Almost two-thirds of emerging middle-class Asians have faced cybersecurity issues, with financial losses from cyber crime ranked as their main concern, according to Peak Re.

In its 2023 Asia middle-class consumer survey, Peak Re focused on consumers’ needs and attitudes towards health, mental well-being and cybersecurity.

The Hong Kong-based global reinsurer found that 65 percent of emerging middle-class Asians suffered cybersecurity issues including cyberbullying, hacking, malware, phishing or identity theft.

Respondents were clear that financial losses were their main concern associated with cyber crime.

But they also noted concerns over impacts on personal credit ratings, disruption to daily lives and emotional damage.

Financial concerns were of paramount importance when respondents were diagnosed with a serious illness, with 18 percent saying they were most in need of financial planning after being diagnosed.

Access to the best specialists (18 percent), information on the disease (13 percent) and getting a second medical opinion (12 percent) were also among the top concerns for seriously ill individuals.

The survey also found that around half of respondents had no mental health-related expense cover in their insurance plan.

This is despite 43 percent of the sampled emerging Asia middle-class having experienced, or been diagnosed with, mental health symptoms in the past two years.

Clarence Wong, chief economist at Peak Re, said: “Mental wellness and cybersecurity are two of the key risks facing consumers worldwide, but with the rapid pace of digitalisation and the fast tempo of daily life, these are also pressing issues that deserve close attention in the Asia region.

“It is high time for the insurance industry to consider how we can help to offer better support and protect societies by building resilience around mental wellness and cybersecurity.”

The reinsurer’s survey also tracked changes in attitudes and behaviours. Fifty-two percent of emerging Asia’s middle-class are expected to move to a higher level in 2023, compared to 51 percent in 2022.

More than half of respondents are returning to their place of work after the pandemic, although hybrid working remains popular.

Peak Re said that respondents are also more active, in both indoor and outdoor activities, than in 2022.

Franz-Josef Hahn, Peak Re’s CEO, added: “By sharing ideas, we can collectively better serve this segment and contribute to the closing of protection gaps.”