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Hacker attack? Get insurance for it

The recent online bombardment of major online businesses, including Amazon.com, Buy.com, Datek Online, eBay, E*TRADE, and Yahoo!, has caused headaches for consumers and loss of profits for merchants. The traditional business-interruption policy might not reimburse your Internet business one dime, but new insurance is available to offset the cost of an online siege.

The Insurance Information Institute (III), an industry group, says that e-commerce insurance policies — such as those available through ACE USA, AIG, and Sedgwick, for example — can pay for the cost of sending computer consultants to nip future hacks in the bud and can reimburse the business for any lost income while the Web site was down.

eBay, for example, experienced a "denial of service" attack on Feb. 8, which limited the site's availability to consumers — and revenues.

Companies with less than $1 billion in revenues can expect to pay between $25,000 to $125,000 in annual premiums for about $25 million in coverage, according to the III. That coverage can also include a risk-assessment program offered by the insurer, as well as public relations costs the business incurs as a result of a "malicious" event.

A spokesperson for ACE USA says his company has "happily" not had any business call in a claim following the three-day online hacking campaign that began on Feb. 7.

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