How Insurance Protects You from Holiday Shenanigans

The holidays are a stressful time around the home. There’s gift wrapping, cooking big meals and, of course, family and friends coming to visit. Not being protected from any accidents that might happen at this time is an extra stress you don’t need. Here’s how insurance protects you from holiday shenanigans.

Let’s say you have family over and the eggnog has been poured. Everyone is feeling merry, and your uncle decides to show you his party trick, which ends up in a nasty fall and a broken leg. Since he broke his leg in your house, is it your responsibility to pay for the medical bills? Good news: if your homeowners policy has liability insurance, you’re covered. In fact, this policy covers all sorts of accidents and incidents that can happen around your home, including food poisoning, your dog biting a partygoer and an array of other trips and slips.

What else does your home insurance cover? Well, say you’re driving around town picking up gifts for your friends and family when all of a sudden, you hear the back window smash, and someone steals the contents of your back seat. Although this is a terrible thing to occur, this would be covered by your homeowners (or renters) insurance as “personal property off premises” coverage.

Protection from theft doesn’t end at your car, either. Let’s say you have a party and the new person at work comes along with a plus one. They wander through your home and have a root through your personal items, taking a few pieces of jewelry. Your trust may be broken, but your insurance will cover the theft, depending on your deductible. Remember, if you are letting strangers into your home, it’s safer to lock valuables away.

If you’re unsure what circumstances your insurance will cover, call or email us.

4 Tips for Protecting Your Identity while Holiday Shopping

In recent years, many of us have moved on to doing our holiday shopping online. It’s quick, it’s easy, your gifts get delivered to your door (even the heavy ones!), and you can do it from the comfort of your sofa. But shopping online comes with its own risks. Here are some tips to protect you from identity theft.

Shop securely

Check that the website you’re shopping on starts with https instead of http. The “s” stands for secure.

Use a private Wi-Fi network

The safest way to access the internet is on your own secure, password-protected network. If you’re using a shared or public network, don’t input your private information.

Use a credit card

If you do run into some nasty hackers who start to steal your money, cancelling and reclaiming funds on a credit card is much easier than with the funds on your debit card.

Be careful with emails

If you get an email from an address that doesn’t seem right, often promoting a deal or suggesting you’ve bought something you haven’t, don’t open it. It’s probably a phishing email that will hack your information.

Following these tips can help you avoid identity theft this holiday season. If you want to add another layer of protection, consider identity theft insurance. This helps cover the costs related to recovering your stolen identity and credit rating if you fall victim to identity theft.

Reach out to find out how you can add identity theft insurance to your homeowners or renters policy.

Risks to Consider when Completing Life Insurance Applications

You may think your physical health is the main criteria when applying for life insurance, but a number of other factors could raise your premiums.

Life insurance companies try to identify people who are at high risk for death. And some of the ways they do so are obvious. For example, most insurance companies first divide people into smokers and nonsmokers.

But it doesn’t stop there. Life insurance companies then further subdivide both smokers and nonsmokers into three risk categories: from lowest risk to highest, these categories are often called Preferred Plus, Preferred, and Standard. There are even some categories below Standard for particularly high-risk people.

And what a life insurance company considers “risky” may be different from what you do. Having high blood pressure is risky, but it can be managed with medication.

But if you’re depressed, life insurance companies worry that you may eventually take your life, so if you take an antidepressant or are in therapy, watch out.

And watch out if you have a poor driving record. Just two or three tickets in a five-year period could land you in the Standard category.

Lastly, life insurance companies may also be wary of applicants with poor credit histories because people with bad credit or a bankruptcy might not pay their insurance premiums or might commit suicide due to financial stress.

And don’t try to lie on your application. If your death is related to something you lied about and the life insurance company finds out, it won’t pay your benefit.

A better way to keep your rates low is to shop around. Different life insurance companies view risk differently.

If you want a life insurance policy but are concerned about risk factors, we can help you. Call or email us for more information.

3 Tips for De-Stressing This Holiday Season

Despite the cheer that descends on us during the holidays, the sheer amount of planning, socializing and entertaining involved can actually be a recipe for high stress levels if not managed properly. These days, it’s becoming more widely known just how much our levels of stress can actually affect our physical health, so to stay in tip-top condition, here are a few tips for reducing your holiday anxiety.

Plan things in advance. Medical professionals at Mayo Clinic have actually concluded that organizing your holiday plans early can help reduce stress-related issues. Put specific days in the diary for getting your shopping done or seeing friends and family, set clear budgets for spending and have your food menu ready to go so you can manage the emotional output these things require.

Get plenty of time outdoors. Even though it’s colder at this time of year, it’s important to still get out into the sun when you can. Exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin, the hormone related to body functions such as sleep and digestion. It also raises levels of vitamin D, which plays a strong part in healthy bones and reducing depression. These types of natural boosts to our bodies are vital in staving off the winter blues.

Don’t give up your good habits. It might be tempting to take a break from your daily run or weekly yoga class over the holiday period. Try to resist that temptation and instead stay on any wellness regimes you have. They’re habits that improve both your physical and mental health all year round, so it’s worth keeping them going in order to keep yourself healthy and happy across the holidays.

If your health insurance policy is piling on extra stress this year, give us a call and let us help ease your burden.

ACA: Deadlines for Enrollment and Other Important Things to Know

Open enrollment began nationwide on November 1, 2022. Although this may vary from state to state, we are now almost halfway through this window to consider changes to your current health insurance plan. This critical time will end in January, so now is the time to educate yourself on what this window means to you.

How can I be sure my policy will begin January 1? In most states, for your policy to be effective January 1, your enrollment needs to be completed by December 15. If you wait beyond December 15, your enrollment date will be February 1. Be sure to check your state’s enrollment periods for your state’s deadline.

What happens if I do not make a change? If the enrollment window is over and you made no change, your existing policy will continue into the new year. Although your benefits may have changed, you may have missed the opportunity to make a change to your policy. There are exceptions, referred to as qualifying events, which could allow a change throughout the year.

When I have no insurance, is this a time to apply for coverage? Yes. Use this time to review the various plans and rates to select and enroll in a plan. If you miss this deadline, you will remain uninsured until open enrollment begins next year. Use this time wisely.

If you are struggling with whether a change is needed or interested in making plan comparisons, we are here to educate you on your options. Don’t miss out on this critical window to review your options.

The Basics of a Business Owners’ Insurance Policy

Many small business owners mistakenly believe that they need only a general liability insurance policy to protect themselves from all potential losses. But that is not true. A general liability policy does not provide coverage when it comes to property. For that, you need commercial property insurance, which is part of a business owner’s policy.

What is a business owner’s policy?

A business owner’s policy combines general liability insurance with commercial property insurance. With both types of policies wrapped into one business insurance policy, you are covered from a variety of claims.

What is the difference between general liability insurance and commercial property insurance?

The general liability insurance element of a business owner’s policy provides protection from lawsuits resulting from things like a customer sustaining an injury after slipping on the floor of your offices, a defective product damaging a client’s property or the items you manufacture injuring someone. It can also protect you from libel and slander and some other claims related to advertising.

The commercial property insurance element of a business owner’s policy, on the other hand, provides protection for business property you own or rent. This includes buildings but also equipment, furniture and inventory. It also includes property that is not owned by you but was in your care at the time it was damaged. This type of insurance policy helps cover repair or replacement costs for stolen, damaged or destroyed property. Depending on the policy, it can also cover loss of income and help you pay for certain financial responsibilities, such as rent and payroll, while your property is being repaired or replaced after a covered loss.

How much does a business owner’s policy cost?

The cost of a business owner’s policy is not set in stone. It is based on a number of factors: your industry, your location, the size of your business and the amount of coverage you need, for example. There can be cost savings, however, when you purchase a business owner’s policy instead of separate general liability and commercial property insurance.

Why do I need a business owner’s policy?

All business owners need general liability insurance: it’s the bare minimum needed to protect your business in case of a loss. But a business owner’s policy also provides commercial property insurance, which you likely need if you own or rent your office, you rely on tools or equipment to do your work or you maintain inventory.

What else should I consider?

Most insurance companies allow you to customize your business owner’s policy so you pay for what you really need. For example, you can add hired and non-owned auto coverage, which provides protection for companies that rent, lease or borrow vehicles or allow their employees to use their personal vehicles for company business. Or you can add cyber liability coverage, which protects your business against the costs of data breaches and other cyber security issues.

What next?

We can help you review your current insurance coverage and determine if you need more insurance, including a business owner’s policy. Call or email us today.

Why You May Need Business Income Insurance

If you have a small business and there is any risk that business could close temporarily, you need business income insurance, also known as business interruption insurance. Here are some scenarios in which you might consider this coverage.

Could your office be damaged by a fire?

No one plans a fire, but it can happen. And if it happens to you, business income insurance can cover rent, payroll and tax payments during the restoration period.

Could theft of your equipment make it hard to work?

No business owner plans to have equipment stolen, but what happens if your computers, services and printers are stolen? How long would it take you to get up and running again? By covering your lost income until you can reopen again, business income insurance can help you continue to pay operating expenses.

Do you have employees who need to be paid?

Unless you’re a sole proprietor, you have employees who rely on a paycheck. Business income insurance can make payroll when you are temporarily shut down.

Do you need to pay rent or a mortgage?

Almost all businesses (except those that are home-based) pay rent or mortgages. Business income insurance can make those payments when you are temporarily shut down.

Business income coverage may be included in another type of policy or can be purchased on its own. The best way to find the right coverage is to discuss your specific needs with us so you can get coverage tailored to your circumstances. Call or email us today.

The Pros and Cons of Installing Bars on Your Windows

Bars on the windows might scream “prison” to some people, but they can actually be a really good way to protect your home. Adding protection like this has its pros and cons.

Are they right for me?

Not only are bars inexpensive, but they are also a great home security addition. Do you have a high burglary rate in your neighborhood? Are your windows accessible to passersby and easy to reach? Does your area have a Neighborhood Watch program? It’s also good to consider whether the look of having bars on your windows is something you mind.

What are window safety bars?

The short of it is: short metal grids that attach to your windows. They can be screwed on or bolted to the outside to prevent anyone breaking in. Nowadays, you can also opt for a stylish option. Many security bars are made with design patterns to add a special look to your home as well as being a safety option. It’s also possible to get removable bars you can slip into place at night or when going away to deter burglars. Of course, this option may be less reliable than permanent bars.

Why they work

Aside from being a physical barrier, they are also a psychological one. They deter potential thieves because the effort of breaking into a home with bars would be too difficult.

What are the cons?

The main con of security bars on the windows are that they are an eyesore. If you opt for permanent bars, it may devalue your home or make it harder to sell. If you have outward-opening windows, it may also restrict your view.

If you are wondering what the effect of security bars would be on your insurance, call or email us. We’d be happy to help.

Here’s What Is and Isn’t Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance

When it comes to homeowners insurance, you likely have many questions, with “What does it cover?” and “What doesn’t it cover?” probably being the most important. Here are some things to be aware of.

A basic homeowners insurance policy covers your home and possessions in the case of fire, windstorm (unless you live in a hurricane zone), hail (not available everywhere), explosion, riots, aircraft (and things falling from aircraft), vehicles (and things thrown from vehicles), smoke, vandalism (although not all policies), malicious mischief, theft and volcanic eruption. This policy is called HO-1 among insurance agents.

The problem is not all states allow this policy to be sold. Often you will have to upgrade your insurance to cover everything. HO-2 covers what’s in HO-1 plus damage due to falling objects; the weight of ice, snow and sleet; damage to electrical parts due to power surges; flooding from your appliances, plumbing, HVAC or fire-protection sprinkler system; glass breakage; and abrupt collapse (like from termite damage, for example).

These insurance policies feel very comprehensive. Surely not much else can go wrong, right? But what they don’t cover are natural occurrences such as floods, landslides, sinkholes, pollution and hurricanes. Sure, you can upgrade your insurance to cover specifics, especially if you live in a hurricane-prone state, but it can be quite hard to cover yourself. If you’ve bought an old home, you may also require an additional insurance policy.

Are you unsure what your homeowners policy covers? Call or email us, and we can go over your policy and ensure you have the coverage you need.

Are You Concerned You Can’t Afford Life Insurance?

Many people avoid purchasing life insurance, especially later in life, because they think it will be too expensive. But that’s not necessarily the case.

According to a 2021 study by Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA), almost half of U.S. households do not have life insurance. While the pandemic led to awareness (with 13% of Americans purchasing life insurance for the first time in 2020), the American population is still woefully underinsured. Most people without life insurance say they need it, and 42% of Americans would be financially strapped within half a year if the primary wage earner died unexpectedly, says LIMRA.

One common concern about buying life insurance is the cost. But life insurance may be less expensive than you think. According to LIMRA’s 2021 study, most Americans, especially younger generations, think life insurance costs three times as much as it does. Term life insurance for a healthy 30-year-old costs around $160 a year, per LIMRA, but 44% of millennials estimate it to be more than six times higher, at $1,000. This confusion about the cost of life insurance puts families at risk for financial hardship.

There are different types of life insurance, some more affordable than others. Term life insurance is the most affordable. It pays a benefit to your survivors when you die within a specified period of time. Whole life insurance, which combines investing with term life insurance, is more expensive.

To make life insurance more affordable, it helps to purchase a policy sooner rather than later. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be healthy, and the healthier you are, the lower the premium will be.

If you think you need a life insurance policy, we can help you determine which types of policies meet your individual circumstances and goals. Call or email us for more information.

What You Need to Know about Medicare for the End of 2022

Are you getting calls and mail about changing your health insurance? Do the TV commercials confuse you? Eligibility for Medicare and your insurance plan options can vary. Your opportunity to review options is now, and here are some things you need to know.

How much time do I have to review options? AEP, your Annual Enrollment Period, began October 15 and continues through December 7. Any changes you make during this time frame will be effective January 1. Your current plan should have sent you a package detailing any changes or enhancements to your plan. If you do nothing, you will automatically be enrolled in the 2023 version of your current plan.

What changes can I make? Typically, AEP is used to evaluate your current Part D Rx plan or your Medicare Advantage plan. With so many options available, the first step is to review your current plan. Are your doctors still accepting your Medicare Advantage plan? Are you considering changing doctors, requiring a different plan? Have your prescriptions changed, warranting a review of Rx plans for the coming year? This is a critical time to review your options and make the necessary changes for 2023.

If I have Original Medicare only, do I have options? Yes. If you chose not to enroll in a Part D Rx plan when you were first eligible, you can enroll during AEP for January 1. Another option you may consider is a Medicare Advantage plan. Some of these plans also include Rx coverage. A Medicare Advantage plan can cover a portion of your healthcare costs not fully covered under Original Medicare. Not all providers that contract with Medicare accept Advantage plans, so it is important to verify providers before making this decision.

If you’re considering any changes before year’s end, having a qualified advisor is critical. We are always here and available to discuss all your year-end options.

Frequently Asked Questions about Open Enrollment

You have been waiting all year, and the time has finally arrived! November 1 is the start of OEP, the Open Enrollment Period for individual health policies. This is the time of the year for you to review your current health insurance plan to decide if changes are needed. Here are the top three questions we hear most often.

When will my policy begin?

Even if you enroll in a new plan during November or December, this plan will not begin until January 1. Typically, open enrollment will end January 15, but extensions may apply in some states. Those who enroll in January will have their policy begin February 1.

If I am happy with my plan, what do I need to do?

Although you may be happy with your plan, this is a time of year to review the new plan benefits, see if networks have changed and evaluate if the plan will continue to be the best fit for the coming year. If all those boxes are checked, then you need to do nothing.

If I have been uninsured, can I apply now?

Yes. This will be your opportunity to secure insurance for the coming year. Do a needs assessment to determine what is important when reviewing health insurance plan options. This will help your agent as they recommend options to meet your budget and usage needs

Using a trusted advisor will help answer these and other questions you may have as we begin this enrollment period. We are just a phone call away and ready to assist.

The Ins and Out of Errors and Omissions Insurance

Do you make errors? We all do. And if you operate a small business that provides a service, chances are you need errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, which is a type of professional liability insurance. Let’s delve a bit deeper to see how this specialized insurance may help protect your business.

What is E&O insurance? E&O insurance is a form of professional liability insurance. Essentially, it protects companies against clients’ claims that sloppy and erroneous work harmed them.

What does E&O insurance cover? E&O insurance generally covers legal fees, which include court costs and any settlements up to the amount specified by the policy. Without E&O insurance, a company can be held liable for millions of dollars in damages plus legal fees. Having E&O coverage helps a company avoid a dire financial blow and possibly even bankruptcy, depending on the company’s financial circumstances.

Why buy E&O insurance? Regulatory bodies often require E&O insurance for financial companies. This includes insurance brokers, realtors and financial planners. But E&O insurance is also widely used outside the financial industry because of the protection it offers.

Who needs E&O insurance? E&O insurance is a good idea for businesses that provide advice or services. Common examples include accountants, insurance agents, writers, lawyers and event planners.

Who doesn’t need E&O insurance? Companies that don’t provide services generally don’t need E&O insurance. Another exception is medical professionals (such as doctors and dentists), who purchase a very specialized type of E&O insurance called malpractice insurance.

How is E&O insurance used? Let’s say a company runs servers used for data backup, and those servers are breached by hackers (a growing problem that also may require insurance, but that’s another topic).

The hackers gain access to proprietary client data hosted on the company’s servers, and the clients affected by the hack sue the server-hosting company for damages.

Fortunately, the server-hosting company has a robust E&O insurance policy that covers such situations. The server-hosting company reaches out to its insurance company, which in turn provides counsel, pays for the legal expenses involved in the court case and covers any damages the court or arbitrator awards.

How much does E&O insurance cost? The price of E&O insurance depends on several factors, including the type, size and location of your business as well as your claims history. But on average, E&O insurance can cost between $500 and $1,000 per employee per year, according to Investopedia. But we can give you a more precise quote that factors in your company’s circumstances and needs.

How do I choose an E&O policy? The benefits E&O insurance provides can vary significantly depending on the policy and issuing insurance company. For example, most policies won’t cover criminal prosecutions or claims stemming from work done before the policy was in effect. And some policies may not cover temporary employees.

If you are in the business of providing professional advice or other services, you should consider E&O insurance. Call or email us today to discuss your E&O insurance needs.

Small Business Surprises that Mean You Need Insurance

What insurance do you need for your small business, beyond general liability? We hear this question often, but there’s no simple answer because your insurance needs depend on your industry and location. But let’s approach the question another way: What could happen that would require insurance?

An incident puts you out of business temporarily. You need business interruption insurance. This type of insurance can help replace lost income if you can’t operate because of property damage from fires, storms or theft.

You get hacked. You need cyber liability insurance. This type of insurance can help you respond to personally identifiable information being lost or stolen by covering your costs to notify impacted customers, run a PR campaign to improve your company’s reputation and offer impacted clients credit monitoring services.

You get sued for discrimination. You need employers’ liability insurance. This type of insurance protects your business from discrimination, wrongful termination and sexual harassment claims.

You get a business vehicle. You need commercial auto insurance. This type of insurance covers property damage and bodily injury claims if you or your employees get into an accident while driving the company vehicle for business.

You offer services and sometimes make mistakes. You need errors and omissions insurance. This type of insurance is a form of professional liability insurance that protects you against clients’ claims that your work was erroneous.

We can help you review your current insurance coverage and determine if you need one of these types of coverage. Call or email us today.

A Holiday Lights Checklist for Keeping Your Home Safe

Holiday season is upon us, which means that the festive lights and decorations will soon be adorning neighborhoods everywhere. But how do you keep your home safe? Before you deck the halls, here is a checklist to make sure you’re safe from potential insurance claims.

Inspect your light strings
If you are one to reuse your lights again and again, make sure you inspect them every holiday season to see if any of the threads are damaged or frayed. If so, this could create a small fire, especially if wrapped around a tree.

Replace burnt-out bulbs
Lights overheat if there are empty bulbs, plus it will make them look a lot prettier if they’re all intact!

Make sure you use the proper lights for outside
Outside bulbs are usually UL rated, which means they are able to withstand the weather, especially if you reside in a state with colder climates.

Don’t attach lights with nails
You may damage the lights’ wires, which would make them prone to hazards and small fires. Instead, attach them carefully with plastic hooks or drape them on fixtures that are already in place.

Only leave outdoor lights up for 90 days
The longer your lights stay up, the longer they become a potential risk. Take them down after 90 days to avoid damage from weather and critters.

Store lights safely
One of the most important elements of holiday lights safety is storing them safely. In order to get the most use out of them, coil each string around a piece of cardboard in order to keep them intact and store them in a sturdy container.

It’s imperative to have the right protection in case anything does go wrong. Call or email us with any of your questions about what your insurance policy covers.

Here’s What to Do when There’s a Grease Fire

Have you ever had to battle a grease fire? Here’s what to do if you accidentally cause one.

The first thing you need to know is do not throw water on it. It will only make it worse. Instead, the National Fire Protection Association recommends smothering a grease fire. If you’re using a skillet, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Make sure everything cools down completely before removing the lid. The fire may spark back up if you take off the lid too soon.

Make sure if you use a fire extinguisher for your grease fire that it is the right type, Class B or ABC. The wrong type can actually spread the flames. If you have any doubt about what to do or what to use, make sure you call 911 immediately.

If you like to cook, then it’s also a good idea to make sure you have a working fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector and that the batteries are working. If your carbon monoxide detector does beep, open all the windows, leave the property and then call 911. The fire department will be able to assist you from there.

If the grease fire does any lasting damage to your home, you may have to call your insurance provider. Make sure that all your documents are up to date and in easy reach.

If you’re unsure whether your insurance covers grease fire damage, call or email us. We are always happy to assist you.

Life Insurance: Determining How Long You May Need It

Many people who buy life insurance policies think they will need coverage their entire lives, but it’s a little-known secret that you may not need life insurance forever. How do you determine how long you will need life insurance?

First, ask yourself why you are buying life insurance in the first place, then determine how long those circumstances will exist.

As an example, let’s say you’re buying life insurance to protect your children in the event of your early demise. In that case, you will not need the life insurance forever; you will only need it until your children are out in the world supporting themselves and no longer in need of your financial assistance. So you may want a policy that is in effect until your youngest child reaches age 22. If your children are aged three and five, you would want to consider a policy with about a 20-year term.

Another example: You are buying life insurance to protect your spouse in the event of your early demise. So you would want the policy to cover your lost income until the year that you would normally retire, after which your spouse would be covered by Social Security and retirement savings. If you are 55 now, then you would only need a 10-year policy.

Keep in mind that these are only general guidelines. You may want to use life insurance to provide “bonus” income to a child or spouse or to address complex estate planning issues. When considering life insurance, as is the case with any financial instrument, it is best to get assistance.

If you think you need a life insurance policy or you need to review your existing policy, we can help you determine which financial instruments meet your individual financial circumstances and goals. Call or email us for more information.

What Do You Need to Know about Medicare Supplemental Plans?

Did you decide to select a supplemental plan when you were first eligible for Medicare? You may have done research or had a trusted advisor assist you in the process. As these plans continue to grow in popularity, what do you need to know?

Why select a Medicare supplemental plan? Supplemental plans help cover some, if not all, of the out-of-pocket costs left behind with original Medicare only. With a supplemental plan, you have the bonus of retaining your physician who accepts Medicare and maintaining the ability to contact a specialist without a referral. If the cost of a supplemental plan works with your budget, this may be the route for you.

When is the best time to select a Medicare supplemental plan? Most agree the best time to enroll is when you are first eligible. This might be your open enrollment period upon becoming eligible for Medicare or when enrolling in Part B. At this point, you are considered a guaranteed issue, and insurance companies cannot require you to provide medical history or exclude preexisting conditions.

How do I know which Medicare supplemental plan is right for me? Although you can do research yourself, your first call may be to a trusted advisor. This might be the agent you used to assist you with your medical coverage prior to becoming eligible for Medicare. It is important to work with someone you not only trust but who is also well versed in the complex world of Medicare. Their advice to you should be made after a discussion or two about what your personal needs are and your budget. If they contract with more than one insurance company, this is an added benefit.

Do you have a trusted advisor? If you are seeking someone who is truly interested in taking the time you deserve to discuss options, we are always just a phone call away.

Did You Get the Most out of Your Health Insurance This Year?

As we begin to hear about insurance changes for the coming year, this is a good time to review your policy. Make sure you are getting the most out of your plan and you are happy with your doctors. Are there some benefits you failed to use?

Review your summary of benefits.

Every health policy has a summary of benefits. This document will detail the specific benefits of your plan. This is a key piece of information as you evaluate your options for the coming year. If another copy is needed, contact the customer service number listed on the back of your insurance card.

Are you happy with your primary care doctor?

Did you feel like you could never get an appointment? If you did get an appointment, did you feel you were given the time you needed to discuss your health concerns? Having a doctor who knows you and your family history allows them to make any added test recommendations based on your unique needs. When you are not happy, the new year could be an opportunity for a change.

Did I get my annual physical this year?

The majority of health insurance policies allow for an annual physical. These visits not only give your doctor a baseline on how you are doing, but they are also a time to discuss any existing conditions or age-related recommended tests.

Start your review now before you are caught up in the holidays. If you need assistance with evaluating plan options and understanding which benefits might be best for you, we are a phone call away.

New Trends in Cybersecurity Say You Need Insurance

You may think cybersecurity insurance coverage is too costly for your small business to afford. Prices certainly have risen in recent years. But there is a good reason for that: cybersecurity insurance is now more expensive because of the rise in attacks and, thus, claims. But that means it is more important to have coverage than it ever was. Here are five trends that are making that true.

Risk has increased

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a widespread and almost instantaneous shift to working from home increased cybersecurity risks. That meant many businesses did not have time to thoughtfully consider and implement protocols and best practices for protecting themselves in the new remote world. Common areas of weakness include failure to enable multifactor authentication, failure to ensure thorough backups are readily available, failure to patch systems regularly and failure to develop an incident response plan and properly train employees about best practices.

Cybercriminals are getting more creative

You are probably familiar with common cybersecurity buzzwords: malware attacks, phishing, denial of service. The point is there are many ways criminals can gain access to your systems, and as you improve your security, criminals improve their creativity. They may, for example, target a new employee by emailing him or her with a phishing attack under the guise of an onboarding training. This requires constant education and diligence.

Vendors are a weak point

It is likely that you have a number of agreements with different vendors. And if those agreements are more than a year or two old, they may not include adequate language to account for cybersecurity risks. In other words, you, not the vendor, may be liable for your vendor’s failures to protect your data. You can do everything necessary to ensure your business’s cybersecurity, but when a vendor has access to your information and doesn’t follow the same security protocols, you may still be at risk.

Cybersecurity insurance premiums are rising as claims do

Cybersecurity insurance claims are increasing. They rose by 89% in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to Risk Strategies State of the Market 2022 Report. And payouts are costly to insurers. According to NetDiligence’s Cyber Claims Study, between 2016 and 2020, the average cost to an insurer for a cybersecurity claim was $145,000 for small and medium-sized businesses and $10 million for large businesses. That is driving a significant climb in premiums.

More insurance options are becoming available

Fortunately for small businesses, as cybersecurity insurance becomes increasingly important, ways to get it are increasing. More and more insurers are letting you tailor coverage for emerging risks that are difficult to pinpoint, cyberattacks included.

The bottom line

A cyberattack can put you out of business for days or even weeks. It also creates significant liability and reputational harm. But being proactive about cybersecurity insurance can help protect you. And getting it may not be as costly as you think, thanks to the insurance industry’s adaptability.

We can help you review your current insurance coverage and determine if you need cybersecurity coverage. Call or email us today.