Imagine this: A dissatisfied technology worker at a mutual fund complex computer network hacks into the company website, disabling it for hours or even an entire day. Investors who rely on the Internet to make transactions and get information about their accounts will be frustrated and furious, overloading the customer service phone lines. Money and loyalty will be lost; investors will take their invested assets elsewhere.

This is a scenario that some familiar with the mutual fund industry are now painting. As computer and network technology gets more sophisticated, so too does the know-how of hackers. And people knowledgeable about computer networks agree that the most successful hackers will be from inside a company, with a knowledge of its particular computer system. While many companies have created products to defend against hackers, CIGNA Property & Casualty has gone one step further and created what may be the first hacker insurance. The product, introduced last month, is called CIGNA Secure Systems Insurance, and can insure up to $25 million in computer-related theft, damage or business interruptions.

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