* Sony says insurers 'have been put on notice'
* Sony declines to name insurers
* Sony's loss could top $2 billion, expert says
By Liana B. Baker and Jim Finkle
NEW YORK/BOSTON, May 5 Sony is looking to its
insurers to help cover the cost of cleaning up a data breach
that exposed the names of more than 100 million customers, an
amount that one expert estimates could exceed $2 billion.
"We have a variety of types of insurance that cover
damages. Certain carriers have been put on notice," a Sony Corp
(6758.T) (SNE.N) spokesman said in response to an inquiry from
Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon
Institute, estimates that notifying Sony's customers and
cleaning up the breach will cost about $20 per person, or more
than $2 billion. Ponemon is a consulting firm
that specializes in research on data breaches and security
Ponemon said that was a conservative estimate because some
12.3 million credit card numbers may have been compromised in
the hack. And replacing a credit card costs considerably more
"It's likely to be more expensive because credit data is
involved," Ponemon said. "We call credit card numbers
The Sony spokesman declined to name the insurers or say
whether there was a cap on the size of the payout that they
would make to Sony.
Insurance experts said that the liability on Sony's policy
was likely spread among several insurers.
It was not clear whether Sony was insured for the full cost
of the cleanup, which involved hiring at least three firms to
investigate the matter. Sony has yet to restore service on its
PlayStation and gaming networks.
"They are not going to be completely unscathed," said Etti
Baranoff, professor of insurance at Virginia Commonwealth
University. "No matter what, their insurance rates are going to
She added that the insurers are likely involved in cleaning
up Sony's network.
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)