The Ins and Outs of Cyber Liability Insurance

When considering types of insurance to buy, many people gloss over an important type of insurance for their businesses: cyber liability. While some may think a slip and fall or other workplace accident is the most likely reason they need insurance coverage, cybercrimes and data breaches are becoming increasingly common workplace “accidents” that require insurance as well. Below are two types of cyber liability insurance that every business should consider obtaining before they’re the victim of a cyberattack.

First-party coverage. When hackers strike your secure server and wipe out business records and other crucial online documents, there is a real cost to that. Coupled with the cost of informing your customers, purchasing equipment, upgrading software, and engaging information technology professionals, there is the likelihood of a substantial financial loss. First-party coverage pays for damages directly suffered by your business.

Third-party coverage. A cyber breach can impact your clients and partners in ways not foretold. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to litigation or other claims for damages from others, which can take a larger toll than the breach itself. Third-party coverage helps ensure that you have a policy in place to cover others’ losses as a result of a data breach impacting your business.

Let us help you review your cyber liability policy in order to make sure you have the coverage you need to safeguard the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

4 Reasons You Should Only Hire Insured Contractors

Any home project job site can become a place of danger that can harm you, the contractor, or any other people working onsite. Here are four reasons why you should only hire insured contractors.

Damage liabilities. When job-related damages arise, uninsured contractors may not be able to foot the bill. This leaves you with the double headache of solving the underlying problem and seeking to collect from a contractor or other responsible party. Working with an insured contractor ensures that there will be an insurance company that is able to cover the damage up to the limits of the policy, giving you peace of mind.

Contractor responsibility. When evaluating contractors, it is difficult to make a true determination of a contractor’s level of responsiveness and responsibility toward clients and their obligations. While a person can rely on online reviews, a contractor who is licensed and insured demonstrates that the person and his or her employees take their obligations seriously.

Property value. Working with an uninsured contractor may impact the value of your property. If the work was not up to code, you will have to disclose that information to potential buyers.

Correcting errors. Sometimes, even the most well-meaning contractors can make mistakes that end up costing you down the line. An insured contractor will be more likely to fix their mistake or at least have the funds to enable you to fix it.

If you have an upcoming home project, call us so we can walk you through the types of insurance contractors should have to make sure you are protected

The Importance of Managing Risk in Small Business

Small businesses are the lifeblood of local communities. From the local baker’s shop to the auto mechanics, small businesses abound and provide jobs and services for many. However, unlike their much larger brethren, they do not usually have dedicated risk management departments to protect them from unforeseen consequences. Thus, a small business owner must act as a risk manager and work to prevent any negative occurrences.

First, a small business should look at potential losses or other liabilities. This means determining what could happen if you lose your stock, physical structure, or data, are the subject of a lawsuit by an employee or customer, and other issues.

Once you have listed the risks, you should attempt to assign them probabilities and damages. For example, although it will cause heavy damage, how probable is it that your building will spontaneously collapse? On the other hand, it is likely more probable that you will have to endure an adverse weather issue leading to the closing of your business for a few days.

Following that, taking steps to mitigate any potential damages is key to preventing negative long-term effects. This could include, for example, paying for hurricane shutters in an area prone to severe storms or paying for employee training on the proper way to serve hot food items to customers.

Whether you’ve created a risk management plan from day one of your business or find yourself in need of one now, contact us so we can help provide the right insurance coverage for your business.

At Home Resources During Covid-19

You might be looking for creative ways to entertain the kids or grandkids after school closures and thankfully there are some great online resources that may come in handy.

1) The Kennedy Space Center has educator resources here and they’ve launched science lessons on Facebook Live here.

2) Children book author, Mac Barnett, is reading a different book every day at 3 PM EST via Instagram Live here.

3) Learn more about marine biology with this family’s Virtual Marine Biology Camp here.

4) In the STEM (stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Activity Clearinghouse, you can find vetted activities that are appropriate for multiple audiences and difficulty level here.

5) iKnowIt.com is a comprehensive, interactive math practice site for students in Kindergarten to fifth grade and can be used for independent practice, remediation, assessment, and more (90 day free access). Learn more here.

6) One teacher gathered links for over 30 Virtual Field Trips including Mars, an animal farm tour, U.S. Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, the Boston Children’s Museum, and more here.

7) Vooks has an ever-growing streaming library of kid-safe animated storybooks on all of your favorite devices here. 8) Authors are grabbing their favorite books and phone and are recording themselves reading with Operation Story Time. Learn more here.

CORONA VIRUS HELP:RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND HOMEOWNERS

MARYLAND ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR YOUR STATE The Maryland Department of Commerce is offering three new business assistance programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: • Financial Assistance & Taxes • Employer & Worker Assistance • Licensing & Permitting For more information on any of these programs, visit the Maryland Department of Commerce website.

ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR YOUR STATE

Pennsylvania: https://www.dli.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx Delaware: https://business.delaware.gov/coronavirus/ District of Columbia: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/ recovery-business Virginia: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus-updates/ North Carolina: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/ public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19- response-north-carolina National Resources For information regarding federal programs offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), please visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

Be Better Prepared for the Unexpected When You Travel


Is travel getting riskier? Whether traveling for business or pleasure, travel is riskier than ever. Take the recent case of the man in Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl who was carjacked and shot by a group of local teens. A survey cited in Business Travel News by International SOS, a travel risk-management firm, found that over half of travel managers reported increased business travel risk in 2019, and almost half believed travel risk will increase in 2020.

Security threats, civil unrest, and even weather-related risks can cause travel problems at home and abroad. A travel insurance policy can help ensure outside help if you become sick or injured while traveling on vacation or business.

Business travelers face different concerns from those traveling for pleasure; however, the risks are similar. Travel insurance can help protect you against last-minute trip cancellations and lost luggage. Some policies offer kidnap and ransom coverage, repatriation in case of injury or worse, and expert help in medical emergencies.

Consider this. You’re in Cuenca, Ecuador, and fall, suffering a compound leg fracture. Who is the best doctor in Cuenca to repair your injury? Should you have the injury stabilized in Cuenca and then travel elsewhere for further treatment? What if, after a serious injury, you need to return home for treatment? The right policy can offer emergency medical assistance and response. Highly trained medical and security personnel can direct you to the appropriate medical treatment and, if needed, return you to the US for care.

Usually, travel insurance is inexpensive. The rates vary based on the travelers’ ages, the deductible and coverage limits you select, and where you travel. While travel insurance websites offer online quotes, it’s better to work with an experienced agent to determine the broadest coverage for the best rate.

Protect Yourself from Auto Insurance Fraud

Eighty billion dollars. That’s how much insurance fraud costs American consumers each year, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. This amount of money could buy new vehicles for 2.4 million people (which would cover every driver in Oklahoma.)

This alarming cost takes many forms. It might involve staging an accident to make false injury claims. Or it might include inflating damages to get a higher insurance payout.

Whatever scam is involved, the cost of the fraud ultimately gets passed along to consumers as they are forced to cover false claims, investigations, legal activities, and (potentially) higher insurance premiums.

To protect yourself from these costs, take the following precautions against insurance fraud.

Drive defensively: Never tailgate. Other drivers may take advantage of the situation to stage an accident.

Report accidents: Even if the damage is minor, always report any auto accident to the police. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report. This will provide proof if the other driver tries to make false claims down the line.

Document everything: Take pictures of the vehicles involved in an accident. These images will document what damage (or lack of damage) is present to prevent false claims or exaggerations. Additionally, record the details of the incident. This should include license plate numbers, contact info and driver’s license numbers of all drivers, and contact info for any witnesses.

Avoid scammers: If anyone appears at the scene of an accident and attempts to guide you to an attorney or a specific doctor, turn them away. This is a red flag that they are attempting insurance fraud. The same is true for doctors who insist that you file an injury claim even if you’re not hurt. If this is the case, you may need to find a new doctor.

Consult quickly: Regardless of fault, report auto accidents to your insurance company as soon as possible. We’re here to help you navigate any claims and protect you from insurance fraud.

Does Your Hobby Need Insurance Coverage?

Gary and Nancy Doss of Burlingame, CA have been collecting Pez dispensers for two decades. They now have more than 500 of the small candy containers. The rarest product, a “Make a Face” Pez from the 1970s, is worth $5,000.

Do you have a hobby that has grown larger than you may have anticipated? You don’t have to be as dedicated as the Dosses to find yourself heavily invested in a hobby. A model locomotive could be valued at $300. One guitar can easily cost $1,500.

Whether you collect, build, or play, funding for hobbies can quickly add up to significant amounts. If you think you’ve invested quite a bit in your hobby, do a quick review.

Consider the value of your items and supplies. Is it more than $500? If you have invested more than $500 so far, you should make sure it is properly protected.

Review your insurance policies to make sure the items are covered under your homeowners or renters policy in the event they are damaged or stolen.

Keep in mind there are certain limits to most policies, and high-value items might max out the coverage. You may need to purchase a rider to add a particularly valuable piece of equipment to your insurance coverage.

If your hobby investment is less than $500, you should still make sure any high-priced items are included in your home inventory.

January is the perfect time to update this list. Be sure to add any recent holiday gifts to the inventory!

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or needs, feel free to contact me. I’m just an email or phone call away.

Happy New Year! It’s Time to Review Your Insurance Coverage

As the new year approaches, many people review their lives and make new goals for the future, to maybe eat better or exercise more, for example. This turning of the calendar page is also a good time to review your insurance coverage. An annual review allows you to update information and policies to ensure you are appropriately protected in the coming year.

To complete this process, take the following key steps.

Take inventory: Create a home inventory (or update your current one). Be sure to add any major gifts you receive this holiday season and remove anything you have donated, sold, or thrown away in 2019. In your inventory, include a description and the cost of items. Scan or photograph receipts to save with your list. Store everything online and/or off-site so you can access it in case of disaster.

Assess automotive needs: Consider the age and value of your vehicles. Is your coverage still appropriate? Have the primary drivers on any vehicles changed this year, or will they soon? Make sure deductibles, limits, and primary driver designations all make sense for your current needs.

Look for changes: Have you experienced any changes in the past year that might affect your insurance coverage? Renovations, births, purchases, and commute changes can all affect your insurance considerations.

Check for savings: Don’t miss out on any savings opportunities. Check for multiple policy discounts, changes in requirements, or new programs that may cut your insurance costs.

Contact our office for a quick review of your policies. I can help you evaluate your insurance needs to make sure you have the right coverage as you head into the new year.

Top 10 Insurance Claims for Small Businesses

Small-business owners hope they never have to file a claim, but research by financial services giant The Hartford reveals that 40 percent of small businesses file a claim within a ten-year period.

Where is your business most at risk? What insurance coverage should you invest in to protect your company?

The Hartford analyzed claims data and discovered the following top ten most common claims for small businesses. You can consider these incidents as the most likely threats to your business and plan accordingly.

1. Burglary and theft: One in five small businesses filed this claim. Keep in mind that the incidents of theft may involve outsiders or dishonest employees.

2. Water damage: Fifteen percent of small businesses suffered damage from water or freezing and filed claims for these incidents. These claims include damage to roofs from snow and ice as well as any damage caused by frozen plumbing.

3. Wind and hail: Fifteen percent claimed wind and hail damage. These inclement weather conditions can cause damage to many aspects of a business, including vehicles, buildings, and outdoor equipment.

4. Fire: One in ten small businesses made a fire claim. Fires can cause minimal damage, or they can completely destroy a property. It’s important that business owners not underestimate the potential fire has to cripple operations. Without adequate coverage, a small business might not recover from this type of disaster.

5. Slip and falls: Ten percent of small businesses experienced a customer slip and fall that resulted in a claim. Some companies are more susceptible to this risk than others. Consider how often members of the public visit your site to determine the amount of coverage you need for these incidents.

6. Customer injury/damage: Less than five percent experienced a claim for customer injury and damage. These are covered incidents that didn’t involve a slip and fall. These claims include damage to property or personal injuries such as those that occur if a product falls and hits a customer.

7. Product liability: Less than five percent made a product liability claim. The nature of a company’s business, what they produce, and any warranties provided are important factors that determine the level of product liability for any particular business.

8. Struck by an object: Examples of these claims include falling tools, moving vehicles, and mobile equipment. Less than five percent of small businesses made these claims.

9. Reputational harm: These claims include suits of libel and slander. If a party alleges that the company damaged their reputation, they may file a suit, which results in this type of insurance claim to cover the case. Less than five percent of small businesses made this type of claim.

10. Vehicular accident: Less than five percent made these claims. Often, good safety practices and appropriate driver safety training can help prevent auto accidents and allow companies to avoid this type of claim.

Every small business is exposed to some type of risk. Some are open to more liabilities than others. To ensure that your company has appropriate protection, contact my office. We can review your operations and determine which policies make sense for your business.

Together, we can put coverage in place that gives your company the security it needs for continued growth and success.