The FAQ on Cyber Insurance

You’ve heard the term “cyberspace.” You may have visited a cybercafé. You know of businesses that have suffered from cybercrime. But are you familiar with cyber insurance? It’s one of the best weapons businesses can wield against the effects of cybercrime.

What is cyber insurance? 
This type of insurance is designed to cover a company’s liability if data breaches occur that release sensitive information such as customers’ Social Security numbers, health records, or credit card numbers.

Doesn’t liability insurance cover these situations?
Cyber coverage is often excluded in a general liability insurance policy. The general policy typically covers property damage and bodily injuries resulting from a company’s operations or services. This does not encompass the issues that arise with cybercrimes.

What does cyber insurance cover?
Policies vary and may be customizable to suit each company’s needs. Typical coverages include:

Legal fees: Even a small data breach can generate significant legal expenses. From lawsuits filed against the company to those the company needs to file, cyber insurance covers the many expenses involved.

Notifications: If a data breach occurs, the business must notify its customers. This could take the form of snail mailings, phone calls, emails, or other forms of communication. Cyber insurance covers the expenses incurred with these notifications.

Restoration: A cybercrime might result in one affected customer or thousands. The company affected might be responsible for restoring personal identities for each of these customers. The cyber insurance policy will ensure coverage for the cost of customer restoration.

Recovery: Data that has been compromised needs to be recovered. Whether the attack was via ransomware, stolen files, or viruses, the company under attack must expend resources to get the affected data back under its control.

Repairs: Cyberattacks often damage computer systems. Cyber insurance offers coverage for the cost to make these repairs.

Who needs cyber insurance?
Almost every modern business relies on cyberspace for some aspect of its operations. If you’re not sure whether you need cyber insurance, ask yourself the following questions about your company. Do your employees rely on computers to complete their work? Does your company manage or store personal customer data? Do you use cloud services? Could your company financially survive a cyberattack?

The answers to these questions will clarify whether or not your business is in need of cyber coverage.

How can I prevent cybercrime?
Of course, the optimal scenario for any business owner is to never fall victim to cybercrime. Business owners can take steps to prevent these offenses. First, put proper security measures in place. Protect computers with appropriate security software. Second, educate employees. Make them aware of common scams that result in data breaches. Train them on proper security protocols. Lastly, keep a close watch on your systems. Track security logs and analyze systems for suspicious activity. Watch account balances carefully. Take immediate action if something seems off track.

How much cyber insurance do I need?
This depends on your business size, operational costs, and risk level. Consult with your insurance carrier to determine the right coverage for your needs.

Insurance Solutions for Green Businesses

Some modern entrepreneurs are in search of ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Business owners who are looking for environmentally friendly methods to deliver their products and services may encounter obstacles. They may be required to make significant investments in new equipment to change their business processes. Fortunately, the insurance industry is making it easier for businesses to go green. Here’s how.

Green Endorsements: Business owners may be able to add a green endorsement to their commercial property insurance. Options include Green Materials and Equipment endorsements and Green Construction and Related Costs endorsements. The first covers the additional cost if you decide to rebuild with environmentally friendly equipment that is more expensive than your original property. The second covers the cost of green certification, design, and engineering.

Green Coverage: Other customizable options may be available to further your green efforts. For example, you may need longer business interruption coverage to allow time for green rebuilding. You may also need expanded policies to cover new environmental features that would extend beyond standard coverage.

Green Savings: Your green initiatives may result in savings on your insurance premiums. Does your business use hybrid vehicles? You may be eligible for a discount on your commercial vehicle policy. Have your green construction methods made your building more stable and disaster-resistant? You may be able to save on your property insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more details.

How Much Homeowner’s Insurance Do I Need?

Your home is worth $250,000 in the real estate market. Does that mean you should have $250K in homeowner’s insurance coverage?

Not necessarily. When determining the amount of homeowner’s coverage you should have, several factors come into play. You should consider each of these as you work with your insurance agent to set up your policy.

The Structure: What will it cost to rebuild your home if disaster strikes?

To calculate this figure, multiply your square footage by per-square-foot building costs in your area. Your insurance agent can help provide these figures. As you calculate, keep in mind the style of your home, the type of materials used, the features and upgrades, and any additions you have made since initial construction.

The Codes: Have building codes changed since the construction of your home was completed?

If you have to rebuild, you may need to adhere to new codes, which can require additional expense. If you suspect this might be the case, consider adding an endorsement to your policy that allows funds for bringing your house up to code.

The Possessions: Don’t forget everything inside your home. You’ll need coverage to replace your personal property as well. Conduct an inventory of your belongings. This will help you estimate the cost of replacement, and the record will be helpful to have on file if you ever need to make a claim.

The Liability: Homeowner’s insurance also covers your liability as a property owner.

If you are sued due to bodily injury (your dog bites a neighbor) or need to repair property damage (your child’s baseball shatters the neighbor’s window), your liability insurance will cover the associated costs.

Most policies provide at least $100,000 in liability coverage, and it is often advisable to increase this amount to $300,000-$500,000 to ensure sufficient coverage.

What Ingredients Go into My Auto Insurance Cost?

It’s not a secret family recipe, but your auto insurance cost does include three unique ingredients: you, your car, and your coverage. These three factors combined determine the risk and cost that shape your premium.

You: Your insurance carrier considers your driving record, age, and gender. Those with clean driving records generally pay lower premiums. As for age and gender, statistics show that women get into fewer accidents and younger, inexperienced drivers get into more. As a result, adolescent males typically pay higher premiums than 30-something females.

Your car: What is the price tag on your vehicle? Will it be expensive to repair if damaged? Some cars cost more to repair than others. How much you drive your car also matters. The more you’re on the road, the more likely you are to have an accident. Similarly, where you drive the vehicle also affects your coverage cost. Highly populated areas experience more fender benders and theft.

Your coverage: The final ingredient is the amount and type of coverage you prefer. While some coverage is mandatory in certain regions, you typically have a lot of say about how this ingredient is mixed into the recipe. Many coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, are optional. You can also decide what level of deductible to carry on your policy. The decisions you make about coverage will affect the final total of your premium.

To ensure you create the perfect blend, consult with your insurance agent. His or her expertise can help you maximize your ingredients for the best results.

Do You Need Whole or Term Life Insurance?

Life insurance doesn’t always last for your entire life:

For some individuals, it could last for a specified period of time, such as 10 or 15 years. This type of policy is referred to as “term” life insurance. So how is it different from whole life insurance?

Life insurance policies that stay in effect for your entire lifetime are called “whole” life insurance policies. As long as you continue paying premiums, you have insurance until you die.

On the other hand, there are “term” life insurance policies. These policies provide coverage for a limited period of time.

If you choose a 15-year term, for example, the insurance company will pay your beneficiary the death benefit if you pass away during the next 15 years.

Which type of policy you need depends on your individual circumstances.

Whole life insurance policies are well-suited to individuals who want to provide for a beneficiary if they die, regardless of changing circumstances.

Term life insurance policies are better for individuals whose beneficiaries will not rely on them financially forever.

Let’s say you have coverage primarily for your children, and at some point, you expect your children to be grown and providing for themselves. In this case, you may not need life insurance anymore.

In this situation, a term life insurance policy may be a good choice – because term life insurance policies generally cost less than whole life insurance policies.

The conditions available with term life insurance vary, but generally, longer terms have higher premiums. But there are factors to consider other than cost when choosing between a whole and term policy.

One is reinsurability. If you acquire a terminal illness during the term of a policy, and you still need a policy when the term expires, you may not be able to get one.

An insurance agent or other such advisor can help you weigh these issues and decide which policy is best for your situation.

Is an E-Visit in Your Medical Future?

If telemedicine, also called an e-visit, is not a regular part of your health care, it soon may be.

Telemedicine is a mobile application that lets you visit a physician using video chat. You can send photos of a rash or cut or describe your symptoms and often receive a diagnosis and prescription – all from your home or office.

This innovative approach offers several benefits that are causing more Americans to consider telemedicine when they need a doctor.

One of the top benefits is avoiding a room crowded with other sick people while you wait to see a doctor. Minimizing exposure to germ-infested areas could make telemedicine a top solution for reducing outbreaks. Other benefits include reducing co-pays and wait time, eliminating commutes, and improving access to health care. Reduced cost is also a perk. In one study presented in San Diego at the June 2018 AHIP expo, in-person visits cost an average of $114 while e-visits came in at $38.

Telemedicine pros and cons depend on particular circumstances, but an e-visit may be the answer for common symptoms like a cold, the flu, an insect bite, asthma, cellulitis, or a sprain. Additionally, consider how much e-visit benefits could mean to Americans in remote areas with limited access to hospitals and doctors.

Is this covered by insurance? Some insurers cover and even encourage e-visits. Your health insurance may recommend using Skype, Facetime, or your insurer’s portal to visit your health provider electronically from your home. Medicare’s website lists when it will reimburse for telemedicine. Private health providers may offer e-medicine access. Check with your insurance carrier to determine providers and co-pays if you choose to participate in e-medicine.

From tele-psychiatry to tele-ophthalmology, both health care providers and consumers have discovered the benefits of tele-medicine. An e-visit may lower your co-pay and allow you to stay home when you are ill. Check with your health care professional to see if this option is right for you.

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins Soon: Are You Ready?

The 2019 Medicare “open enrollment” period runs from October 15 to December 7, 2018. During this time, Medicare recipients must make any desired changes to their benefits. Changes include adding or changing any one of 10 supplemental plans that cover charges Medicare does not cover, like deductibles and co-pays. If you have Medicare coverage or will turn 65 soon, don’t delay. Meet with your Medicare insurance advisor and ensure you have the best plan for your current health situation.

There are many reasons for changing a supplemental plan. These include keeping the doctor or hospital of your choice, access to specialists without restrictions, nationwide emergency room coverage, and lower co-payments.

Private insurance companies provide Medicare supplemental plans or Medigap plans. However, the government regulates those plans, ensuring that benefits remain the same no matter which insurance provider you use. Thus, plan A is the same from every provider, but insurance carriers may charge different premiums. The government also guarantees that you can renew your supplemental policy even if you develop health problems.

Of the top 10 plans for 2019, MedicareFAQ rated supplemental plans N, G, and F the best, in that order. However, your Medicare insurance advisor can provide the best guidance based on your particular health situation. Advisors are very busy at year-end, so call now to ensure ample time to review your choices. If you’re turning 65 soon, you’ll become Medicare-eligible. Don’t wait until that deadline to review supplemental plans.