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More firms buying insurance for data breaches

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The threat of cyber hacking, underscored by the credit card breach at Target, is now so great that US businesses are rushing to buy insurance coverage against the expense of being hacked, or losing sensitive customer information.

One in three companies now has insurance to specifically protect against such losses. Last year 20 percent more cyber insurance policies were sold than in 2012 to retailers, hospitals, realtors, banks and law offices, according to Marsh LLC, an insurance brokerage firm based in New York that tracks the market.

The costs of these policies are ultimately picked up by consumers.

A decade since it was first introduced, cyber insurance has graduated from a splurge to a necessity propelled by a series of high-profile data breaches.

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