Quantum Computing is Advancing: Insurers Should Prepare

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31 March 2023

Key research questions

  • What is quantum computing, and where are we in the journey to develop a near-error-free quantum computer?
  • How will quantum computing impact the insurance industry?
  • What should insurance companies focus on?


Quantum computing promises to provide a new way of storing and retrieving information different from the past's analogue and digital approaches. Quantum computing has the potential to make changes across industries from cybersecurity to drug discovery to machine learning; there are several challenges that quantum computing can tackle better than classical systems.

Quantum computing has been the talk of the town recently. Many governments worldwide are investing large sums of money in quantum computing research as it increasingly becomes a strategic national priority for many of them. US President Biden signed the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act in December 2022, encouraging “federal government agencies to adopt technology that will protect against quantum computing attacks.”

Most of the security algorithms used today utilise the slowness of classical computers. However, a powerful quantum computer can break these algorithms easily, which may put sensitive data at risk. The field of quantum computing is still in its infancy, and the existing quantum computers are not powerful enough to threaten cybersecurity. Leading experts in the field forecast that the quantum threat will materialise within five to ten years.

However, this timeline could be even shorter, given the asymmetry of information and secrecy across the globe regarding advancements in quantum computing by certain governments looking for strategic advantage.

The quantum threat is already here in the form of “store now, decrypt later” (SNDL) attacks. Adversaries are already harvesting encrypted data and storing it to decrypt when quantum computers and an advanced algorithm are available. Governments worldwide see this as a severe threat to the security of their data. Insurance companies need to keep their data longer, so they are already in the purview of an SNDL attack. In addition, many insurance companies underwrite cyber risks, and SNDL attacks will also be a concern from the product-offering perspective.

This report discusses how the insurer must prepare for such adversaries and also looks at the use cases where quantum computing can make a difference in business operations. With improving hardware, full-stack solutions, better algorithms, simulators, and cloud offerings, it is time to make quantum plans too.

Tile photo courtesy: Foto di Fabio su Unsplash