MONDAY, JULY 24, 2017
Sensitive customer data stored within company servers, in the cloud, and even stand alone computers and laptops is vulnerable to attacks from hackers, other cyber criminals and, all too often, careless or crafty employees. Most people think only large corporations are in danger of cybercrime incidents. But any business that uses a computer, especially when connected to the Internet, is at risk.
You might ask; “At risk for what?” My business is small. It certainly isn’t the government or as big as popular store chains that have been in the news with millions of customer records breached. Unfortunately, cyber attacks and data breaches are hitting businesses of any size and, when they occur, they can be extremely expensive to remedy. As of June 2017, forty-eight states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have enacted legislation that requires private or government entities to notify individuals of security breaches involving personally identifiable information. The exceptions are Alabama and South Dakota1.
This means, if your database includes things like a name with a SSN, driver license or state ID, account numbers, medical records, or other personal information and you were to incur an unauthorized acquisition of your data, you could be required by law to go through various very expensive steps of crisis management. This theft of your data can occur from someone hacking into your system, an employee’s accidental transmission of data, or even from a lost or stolen laptop, tablet or computer device.
There are different types of breaches aside from an unauthorized acquistion of data that can very costly to your business. Have you ever heard of “Social Engineering”, or “Cyber Extortion”. They sound crazy, but these things are really happening. Cyber extortion can occur in various ways, but often happens by visiting a web site or opening an unknown email attachment that contains a form or ransomware that renders your computer inoperable until a demand for money or even bit coins has been met. To show how far-reaching this can be, a client of our office (a manufacturing firm) had a CNC machine attacked which shut the machine down during a demand for a substantial sum of money.
A Cyber Liability insurance policy can help address the costs that result from a breach of data – the actual costs to you as well as the costs required by law to notify all affected people. There are many forms of Cyber Liability Insurance ranging from simple Security Breach Response coverage offered by some insurance companies as an option on an existing commercial package to full-blown Cyber Liability policies that provide coverage for a myriad of cyber exposures, as well as addressing the legal and forensic assistance that is often a part of recovering from a Cyber attack.
CLICK here or call us at 800-220-5582 for additional information on Cyber Liability Insurance.
1 National Conference of State Legislatures – Security Breach Notification Laws
FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017
Whenever you hit the water in your boat, you want it to function optimally. No one wants to be caught off guard by unexpected system failures or safety complications. Before you start an excursion, take the time to inspect your boat’s operational safety. Doing so could prevent a problem while you enjoy the water.
If you neglect the safety of your boat or passengers, this could lead to an accident where you are responsible for the damage. Your boat insurance company could deny your claim because you didn’t properly mitigate risks that threatened your safety.
Therefore, take the time before you start excursion to perform safety checks around your vessel. Safety checks involve inspecting multiple systems, as well as your passengers’ security.
- Before starting the boat, check your engine and gas system. You should always perform regular maintenance on your engine to keep it safely operational. When preparing for an excursion, check around the system for signs of corrosion, contamination or leaks. Any of these problems could cause problems while you boat. Always follow a strict startup procedure when starting the engine.
- Test your boat’s compass or GPS system. Should your boat’s navigation systems fail, you could sail into unfamiliar territory. Sailing in an unfamiliar area could cause you to get lost, collide with another boat, or crash into an underwater obstacle. This could cause problems for your boat and your insurance liabilities.
- While still on the dock, test and tune your radio. Your radio serves as a valuable point of contact between you and emergency services, other boaters, and port authorities. Maintain a radio connection to required or recommended stations during the duration of your excursion.
- Whether you travel during the day or night, always test your lights. Most boats come with a form of lighting apparatus. Other operators may have to buy a lighting attachment for the boat. Boating laws often require certain operators or vessels to use lights under all conditions. If you see any signs that a light might fail, repair the problem before you leave the dock.
- Most boats come equipped with horns or whistles to help them make others aware of their location and actions on the water. Some smaller crafts may not include horns, so some boaters use a variety of other signals to notify others of their actions. If you have horns, test them before leaving.
- Many boaters use common maritime flag signals while on the water. Before leaving on an excursion, check to make sure you have flags that could assist you on the excursion.
Also never forget to check your passenger safety equipment and life preservers before you hit the water. With the right care, you can protect your boat and your passengers.
We’ve got you covered. Insurance Planning Service can help you get a Michigan boat insurance policy that protects you from specific maritime risks. Call us at (800) 220-5582 for a fast, free quote right now.
FRIDAY, JULY 7, 2017
Signing a contract is often a necessary part of obtaining work and it outlines expectations for both parties. As a subcontractor, it is important to keep in mind that contracts are usually written by the general contractor, or an upper tier, and are intended for their protection. Always read and understand what you are signing – BEFORE YOU SIGN because most contracts shift elements of risk from the general contractor, property owner, or others to you. These shifts can obligate you to protect the other parties in the event your actions bring suit against them. As stated by Chris Boggs, Executive Director of the IIABA’s Virtual University, the ideal use of contractual risk transfer is to place the financial burden on the party closest to and best able to control the chances that loss will occur.
But contractual risk transfers can be misused and this is what you want to be on the alert for – BEFORE YOU SIGN. Examples may include things like:
1. Exculpatory contracts – where the general contractor (or upper tier) attempts to absolve themselves from liability by contractually forcing all of their liability onto you. There are circumstances or where this is not permitted by law in some states because of statutory provisions, criminal penalties or sole negligence torts. But, aside from these exemptions, if it is in the contract, courts may uphold the provisions of the contract.
2. A contractual provision that violates the law may not be transferrable to you (a lower tier) if a statute or common law sets a limit on what can be contractually transferred.
3. Contractual violations by either party.
Other instances may obligate you far beyond the scope of your insurance. Risk transfers can appear throughout a contract but a good place to start is within a section commonly titled “Hold Harmless” or “Indemnification”. Don’t assume that, because a contract lists minimum insurance requirements, that these limits are the cap of your responsibility! I tend to get nervous when I see Hold Harmless clauses that include wording to the effect of: “…hold harmless and indemnify against any and all claims, actions…”. There is no insurance that will cover “any and all”. All insurance contains limitations and exclusions and, if you agree to such language in a contract, you are agreeing to self-insure potentially serious things that may not be covered by your insruance.
An important thing to remember is that you can agree to most anything with another party. But, signing a contract does not change what insurance covers. Before signing a contract always have it reviewed by legal counsel to be sure there are no adverse provisions and by your insurance agent so that he/she can advise how your insurance will respond to the contract.
For information or a quote on insurance for your Michigan contracting business, CLICK HERE or call us at 800-220-5582 today!
TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2017
Before you set out on your motorcycle, take a look outside and think about where you will go. What conditions will you encounter on the way?
Navigating your bike means being aware of road conditions and the space around you. Remember, you face different circumstances when you ride your bike than when you drive a car. Riding your bike exposes you to the elements and to different risks on the road. You might expose yourself to extra insurance risks on your bike.
Keep aware when you ride, and be a conscientious biker.
1. Follow the Law
Every state has different requirements for motorcycle riders. Make sure you keep your bike’s registration and operating endorsements current. Also carry the appropriate insurance.
Make sure you obey all traffic laws just like any other driver. Do not speed, or drive recklessly. Remember that your bike is much more sensitive than the average car. It requires a skilled touch to keep on the road.
2. Stay aware of other drivers.
We all know that it is important to share the road with other drivers. Always stay aware of other people on the road. You pose a risk to them, and they pose a risk to you. You can’t expose other drivers to other risks, however, you can’t expect them to always be on the lookout for you.
If you collide with another driver, you do face extra risks. You could sustain severe injury based on the exposure of the bike as opposed to other traffic. Always make sure that you stay a safe distance from other traffic.
3. Wear proper gear
Most states require riders to wear certain safety gear when biking. However, requirements vary. The most important element of gear to consider is a helmet. You often should consider other gear like pads, riding boots, and insulated clothing.
4. Properly operate your bike’s signals
Some bikes come with driving signals, like the standard car. Make appropriate use of wipers, turn signals and lights when needed. Keep these systems in good working order.
As a bike operator, you might have to learn manual hand signals as part of state driving requirements. Learn these signals and use them appropriately while you ride.
5. Watch the weather
Most bikers do not ride in inclement weather. Rain, snow and wind could all compromise the operational safety of the bike. Wet roads could cause the bike to slip while you ride and increase your risks of accidents.
Furthermore, make sure that you don’t expose yourself to weather risks like storms. Your exposure on the bike means your safety is at risk.
Always take care to operate your bike safely in the best conditions. Doing so can help you reduce your risks on the roads. It also poses a great assurance to your insurance liabilities.
Insurance Planning Service can help you get the correct Michigan motorcycle insurance for you. Call us at (800) 220-5582 for more information.
MONDAY, MAY 22, 2017
If you plan on taking a trip, sometimes things can get in the way of that. No one wants to have to cancel a vacation. But, sometimes circumstances happen beyond our control.
Trip cancellations can mean significant financial losses to those affected. Not only will you likely lose the cost of the trip, you might also lose any financial gains that may have come as a result.
If you have to cancel a trip, there are ways to reduce negative cost effects of the cancellation. Travel insurance is one of those methods. Careful preparation is another.
Travel Insurance for Cancellations
Travel insurance protects policyholders from a variety of financial risks associated with travel. Most travel policies cover instances of trip cancellation.
Cancellation insurance can reimburse you certain costs, depending on the policy. Policies usually cover non-refundable items, like airfare, hotels and other expenses.
Nonetheless, simply cancelling your trip is usually not grounds for a reimbursement. Travel insurance policies require most policyholders to provide verification that the reason for cancellation was beyond the traveler’s control.
Circumstances may include:
- Injury, illness or death to the insured, family members and certain other acquaintances.
- Weather damages that cause flight interruptions
- Terrorist or natural disaster damages in the place you will visit
- Changes in employment that no longer mandate travel
- Carrier problems, such as if your airline or hotel provider ceases operations
Not every travel insurance policy covers every instance of cancellation. If you have concerns about a potential cancellation, talk to a travel insurance provider. He or she can issue a policy to cover risks you might face that interrupt travel.
Preparing for Cancellations
There are ways that you can work to reduce the risks of cancellations you might encounter on your trip. Doing so poses less of a risk to your travel insurance provider.
Sometimes, airlines issue travel warnings ahead of damaging weather or civil conflict. These are circumstances that are often beyond your control. If you expect developing problems to impact your travel, check with your airline. The airline may waive travel fees to help you re-book on an earlier or later flight. They may also offer reimbursement if circumstances mandate cancellation of your trip. You might be able to use travel insurance to pay for these trip adjustments.
Always use prudence when booking travel. Make sure that your personal affairs are stable enough to warrant travel now. If they aren’t it may be worthwhile not to travel.
Furthermore, use reliable carriers and make sure it is safe to travel to your destination. Unforeseen circumstances always arise, but you can reduce the chances of cancellation by looking ahead.
We’ve got you covered. Insurance Planning Service can help you get a Michigan travel insurance policy that meets your needs. Call us right now at (800) 220-5582.