4 Steps to Reduce the Threat of a Lawsuit

A lawsuit can bring your business to its knees and stop your business as you know it. Years of hard work, sacrifice and diligence can be wiped away with one adverse judgment stemming from only one incident. Even under the best circumstances, a lawsuit can be costly and distract you from growing your business. Businesses need to work to protect themselves from the threat of lawsuits, and there are a few steps you can take to reduce the threat of a lawsuit that will negatively impact your business.

Get the right insurance. There are so many ways that a business can be severely and negatively impacted by a lawsuit. From millions in losses to long-term reputational damage, there are few areas of a business that a lawsuit does not touch. The first step for any business is to obtain a general liability insurance policy that will cover most claims around your business, such as the classic case of slip and fall or accusations of false advertising. However, for some businesses, that may not be enough, and specialized policies covering other potential areas of liability unique to their business types should be considered.

Make sure your business is structured the right way. Reducing personal liability is an important factor every business owner should think of when structuring a business. Incorporating in the right way, whether it be as an LLC, a corporation or other entity is vital. Work with an accountant to ensure that you create the right business structure.

Act deliberately toward both employees and customers. Nothing gets a business owner into trouble faster than misstating something or acting inappropriately. From promising too much, such as “the most efficient computer” when that’s not the case, to using outdated terminology to address consumers, there are many ways businesses can quickly go off the rails. Similarly, not providing for employees’ adequate care under federal and state law or acting in a discriminatory manner can quickly land you and your business in hot water. Ensure you have policies and procedures stated clearly in an employee handbook. In the handbook, lay out the processes and steps for handling difficult situations.

Have a legal team in place. One of the most effective strategies for quickly responding to the threat of an impending lawsuit (or one you’ve already been served with) is to have a legal team you can turn to. Call on this team as you build and grow your business to guide you on how to prevent matters from leading to legal trouble. Your team will know the ins and outs of your internal procedures in addition to the business structure you have established and can help you make the best decisions for your business.

No matter what your liability and coverage questions are, we are here to help. We can review the best options for you and determine the amount of general liability insurance coverage and other insurance coverage that you may need to ensure your business is protected and prepared. Call or email us today.

Green Insurance Options and Endorsements for Your Business

Going green has proven to be not just environmentally friendly but profitable for some businesses as well. Given the lower cost of energy, some applicable tax credits and even some lower operating costs, going green is the right move for many businesses. If you have a green business or you’re considering going green, there are additional green insurance options and endorsements available. Let’s take a look.

Traditional commercial property insurance will often replace the original construction and contents of a building, subject to policy limits. This, however, will not account for green improvements except in the newest buildings, which may have green elements incorporated into their original designs. Many policies will require what are called green endorsements on the policies to cover the cost of making any replacements environmentally friendly.

These green endorsements cover two primary issues regarding the property. The first is green materials and equipment that may be needed, such as solar panels, wall and floor materials, and other equipment. In some cases, even if the property was not originally a green property, the green endorsement may allow you to rebuild with better green materials or equipment. Another portion of the green endorsement covers green design, engineering and other design elements that may have specialized costs.

Going green may also be able to save your business insurance costs through a lower carbon footprint or other cost savings. If you have a green business or you want to go green, call or email us today, and we can look at your options. We are ready to answer any questions you may have so you can get the right coverage.

5 Common Myths about Lightning Safety

Lightning is not a force to be trifled with. You may be surprised to discover that much of what we think about lightning isn’t true. Below are five common myths about lightning along with the facts to keep you safer.

Myth 1: Without rain clouds, lightning can’t exist. Lightning can strike miles away from visible rain clouds. Although not as frequent, lightning bolts have been recorded to strike as far as 10 miles outside the area of their clouds of origin.

Myth 2: During a thunderstorm, sheltering under a tree is safer than no shelter at all. Trees, especially large ones, are often magnets for lightning, making this course of action more dangerous than no shelter at all. The safest thing during a lightning storm is to go home or duck into a shop or restaurant.

Myth 3: Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. This myth might encourage someone to return to where lightning struck so they will not be hit by lightning. The Empire State Building is often hit multiple times by a single lightning storm.

Myth 4: Lie flat on the ground during a lightning storm to avoid being hit by lightning or electrocuted. Lightning can generate currents in all directions. Lying flat on the ground provides more potential points to be hit by electrical currents if lightning strikes the ground.

Myth 5: Lightning will only strike the tallest buildings and objects. Lightning can strike anywhere and injure anyone. The safest thing to do when lightning begins to strike is to seek shelter in a home or building and avoid any outside-leading conducting paths, such as wires, metal window frames and electrical appliances.

Standard homeowners insurance and the comprehensive portion of your auto policy covers property damage from lightning (for example, fires). But if you have any questions about this, please give us a call. We are always here to help make sure your home and family are protected and safe.

What Is the Difference Between Replacement Cost and Market Value?

Moving into a new home you purchased or rented is exciting, but with that excitement comes decisions on homeowners and renters insurance. One crucial decision when signing up for that insurance policy is whether you will select replacement cost of lost or damaged items or market value. In the case of homeowners insurance, this can apply to the structure as well. While some may think that replacement cost and market value are similar, these two terms are actually very different and can result in different obligations for you should the worst happen.

Replacement cost: this term refers to the cost of replacing the item itself. For example, if your home is destroyed by a hurricane and is uninhabitable, your policy will replace the structure and contents of the home subject to policy limits. Although this provides the maximum benefit to the policyholder, it may not be right for everyone, given the probability that the payments on the policy will be higher.

Market value: this term refers to what the value on the open market would be to replace the home and/or its contents. For example, if you bought your home for $300,000, but market conditions have deteriorated and it is worth only $250,000, your policy would only cover the lesser current value subject to policy limits. That means you would have to either make up the difference yourself or build a less expensive home.

No matter what policy questions you have, we are here to help. Call or email us today, and we can guide you through the best options for you.

Open Enrollment – Contact Us Now about ACA Coverage

Like last year, you will have only 45 days to make changes to your Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) plan for 2021. Open enrollment, the time the ACA law allows you to change plans or enroll in a new plan, begins November 1, 2020 and ends December 15, 2020. While some states may offer longer enrollment periods, schedule time now with us to discuss your current plan or make changes if you want to make changes to your current plan.

Even if you like your plan, we can help you complete a speedy cost-benefit analysis of changing plans. You may have been in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan and found it too restrictive. We can quote the cost to switch to an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan, where you won’t need a referral to visit a specialist. Knowing the cost differences between an HMO and an EPO can help you determine if you can afford to switch.

If you are currently on an ACA plan, you may know the ACA plans are categorized by their names. If you buy a Bronze plan, you will pay less monthly but more out of pocket. A Bronze plan may make sense if you are in great health, but a Platinum plan, with the most expensive monthly premium, means you’ll pay much less out of pocket if you have ongoing medical expenses or expect a major surgery.

Because we are extremely busy as open enrollment nears, call us today to reserve your appointment.

Experts Predict Severe Flu Season, Strongly Recommend Flu Shots

Each year, the doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) look ahead to forecast the severity of the looming flu season. This year, however, the CDC has not provided an update pending COVID-19 progression. The World Health Organization (WHO), in late February every year, however, recommends the level of flu vaccine for the United States and the Northern Hemisphere. Because it takes about six months to produce enough vaccine for the season, timing is critical.

One manufacturer announced it would increase its flu vaccine production by eight percent for the U.S. and the Northern Hemisphere.

Of diseases for which we currently have vaccines, the flu causes the most deaths. Flu season begins in October but can continue as late as March. It is important that Americans avoid the flu as much as possible, according to many doctors. With coronavirus infections still peaking in many states, it’s best to avoid emergency room visits and hospitalizations whenever possible.

During the 2019-2020 flu season, the CDC reported 39 million flu incidents and 24,000 flu deaths. We cannot afford to ignore flu vaccines this year. Last year, almost 50 percent of the U.S. population received a flu vaccine. The national goal was 70 percent.

Where Can I Get My Flu Shot?

Because flu strains differ from year to year, manufacturers update flu vaccines each year to best protect the public. Flu vaccines should become available at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy by early October. However, many medical providers will book your flu vaccine appointment early. If you are elderly, have a preexisting medical condition, or are concerned about how the 2020 flu strain will impact you, call your doctor to see if you can book your flu shot now, before supplies arrive or run low.

Don’t Buy It and Forget It When It Comes to Life Insurance

Life insurance is easy to forget, but just when you forget it (possibly because you purchased it decades ago and you are not using it), it may be a good time to reevaluate your needs. Is your old policy still serving a purpose?

Life insurance is important as we start our adult lives. We get married, we buy homes, we have children. And we want to provide for our families should an unforeseen event (such as an accident or illness) prevent us from caring for them financially.

But then life goes on. Our children grow up. We pay off our mortgages. We retire. We live comfortably on the income provided by Social Security and our retirement savings. But we are still paying premiums on life insurance policies we purchased years ago.

It may be tempting to simply stop paying premiums and let the policy lapse. You can probably think of dozens of reasons why. You could use the proceeds to pay down debt, add to your nest egg, buy long-term care insurance, create a rainy-day fund, or simply go on vacation more often.

While we do not know your individual circumstances, generally we would not advise letting a life insurance policy lapse without considerable thought. The policy may still be of some benefit. Even if you have no mortgage and no children living at home, you may still need life insurance. Think of all the ways the people in your life could be affected by your death and ask yourself how your life insurance proceeds would help them. If you can come up with enough ways, it might be worth keeping your policy in effect and reevaluating in another five years.

We can help you determine if you should reevaluate your life insurance policy. Please reach out to us today if you need help.

4 Types of Identity Theft and How to Prevent Them

With most of our transactions happening online and the vast majority of our records accessible through Internet-based services, it’s no wonder identity theft is rampant. Below are four types of identity theft and how to prevent them.

Existing account identity theft. Thieves will hack into your existing bank or credit accounts and either steal your cash or use your available credit to make purchases or cash withdrawals. Protect your personal information by never giving out your bank account number to anyone except an authorized representative of a business or other professional. If you doubt someone is who they say they are, hang up and call the business directly.

New account identity theft. Thieves will open new accounts in your name using your Social Security number and begin to draw on the lines of credit or loans to acquire as much as possible before being caught. Never give your Social Security number out to anyone except a trusted professional, such as an accountant, a human resources manager, or another similar person.

Tax identity theft. Thieves will not hesitate to file a fraudulent return on your behalf and claim your refund. Unlike with credit accounts, you will not know until you go to submit your legitimate tax return and the IRS rejects it.

Employment identity theft. Some people will resort to stealing your Social Security number to get a job, and, to your surprise, you will owe taxes on the money they earned.

It’s vital to protect yourself from identity theft. Many credit cards offer free alerts so you can stop unauthorized transactions and theft. Consider investing in a paid identity monitoring service, which looks at your credit and finances. Protect your personal information. Never give it out over the phone to out-of-the-blue callers. Secure documents with sensitive information, and shred them when you no longer need them. Check your credit reports regularly. Call us today so we can work with you on finding the best product that fits your budget to protect yourself from and prevent identity theft.

Taking a Road Trip in Your RV? Here’s How to Prepare

Summer is in full swing, and that means road trips in your RV to enjoy the season. Below are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for your road-tripping fun.

Before you go anywhere, check that your RV is in tip-top shape with this maintenance checklist:

1. Check your RV’s batteries to ensure they are fully charged

2. Check appliances and tires (including the spare) and inspect all seals

3. Check engine and generator fluids and change as necessary

4. Flush and refill the water system

5. Do a full safety check

6. Thoroughly clean the inside of the coach and freshen up toiletries

What to pack:

For an RV trip, pack what you’d need for a regular trip (clothes, shoes, accessories, and the like), but also pack as if you’re furnishing a home. Include items such as towels (bath and kitchen), plates and mugs, cups, silverware, cooking pots and utensils, sheets and pillows, cleaning supplies, and anything else that makes you feel at home.

What to do if you break down:

Breaking down happens to even the most experienced RV owner. The important thing is to have a plan that you follow. Make sure you have phone numbers you need to call for emergency and accident services. Have our office’s number handy, too, and be sure to share your itinerary with a relative or friend so someone knows where you are.

Not all RVing is the same. Before you hit the open road, contact us to discuss your travel plans and how to properly protect your RV so there’s nothing to worry about.

Out-of-Network Medical Bills Can Hit Your Budget Hard

Seeing a doctor or undergoing a medical procedure is stressful enough without adding an unexpected medical bill to your worries, especially since once you face a hospital admission, you can’t always choose your medical providers.

Some surprise bills can be mistakes. For example, you make an appointment with your primary care physician, but she’s not available when you arrive, so you see another provider. If that doctor or nurse practitioner is not an “approved provider” for your health plan, you may face an unexpected bill. Or if the anesthesiologist the hospital uses for a surgery you’ve scheduled is not approved by your plan, you may receive another unexpected bill.

How do you avoid surprise medical expenses? When you schedule surgery, talk to your insurance carrier to make sure all who will care for you are approved providers. Don’t ask if your health insurance “accepts” each provider; instead, ask if the providers are in your “insurance network.” Following this procedure can help ensure that your health plan approves all your providers.

If you do get an unexpected bill, call that provider’s billing office and ask if they are network providers. If they are, they will resubmit the billing to your insurance for proper payment. These errors often happen upon the first submission of a medical bill.

If your provider sends you out of network, you have a case for payment by your provider. Your providers should verify they make referrals only within your plan’s network if possible. If you must see an out-of-network provider, ask for an estimate of all costs before you see that provider.

If all else fails, your state department of insurance may have some solutions. As many as 28 states have enacted legislation to fix this costly problem, and both the US House and Senate have considered similar legislation.

Disability Insurance Can Protect Your Income and Your Home

With many Americans losing their jobs and the population aging, the need for disability insurance has never been greater. If you or your loved one experienced a job loss from a benefited position, you’ve lost your disability insurance. If you’re a sole practitioner and you can’t work, you may fall behind on your bills.

Many Americans rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they become disabled. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to qualify for SSDI. Even if you qualify without the lengthy wait for a hearing, the waiting period for benefits once Social Security approves you is five months. Most Americans don’t have the resources to pay their bills for that long.

While you may have group-sponsored disability insurance through your employer, many thousands have recently lost their disability coverage through layoffs or plant closures. Losing your job can mean losing your disability, life, and health insurance coverage. Without your annual income, your home, bills, even your children’s education may be at risk. A disability policy can help partially fill the income gap should an illness or injury lead to your inability to work.

As a small business owner, you may not carry workers’ compensation coverage. A disability policy can help you continue to meet payroll and other continuing expenses, even if your business closes temporarily.

The Types of Disability Coverage

There are two types of disability insurance: short-term disability (SDT) and long-term disability (LTD) coverage. STD insurance covers you when you’re temporarily unable to work due to an accident, injury, or illness. LTD covers you for longer, more prolonged injuries or illnesses. You can purchase SDT, LTD, or both.

In today’s world, disability insurance coverage can help protect your future income and prevent bankruptcy. Contact us for more information about disability coverage.

Two-Factor Authentication: Why Is It Important?

Businesses today face a litany of threats from attackers, both within and outside the organizations. In one fell swoop, what used to take months or years to cripple a business can be done in a matter of minutes or seconds. One of the most crucial and commonplace ways to protect your business’s secrets and preserve your IT infrastructure is incorporating two-factor authentication into how you and your employees access email, data, company websites, and other Internet or cloud-based resources.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication requires two methods of verification to ensure that one compromised passcode does not expose your network to a hacker or other malicious attacker. The first step is always fairly common: providing a username and passcode for the device or to access the necessary files. Next, another factor of authentication is implemented, such as:

Secret question: questions only the user would know, such as where you were born, who your second grade teacher was, or the make and model of your first car.

Verification code: a code sent to your mobile device that you must enter within a specified time period.

Biometrics: in some cases, a fingerprint scan may be necessary.

This second step is crucial to stop someone who may have guessed a username and passcode or obtained it through untoward means from accessing all data available to you. No matter which method you choose to secure your business using two-factor authentication, any method is preferable to no method at all.

Why is two-factor authentication a good idea for my business?

As corporate espionage increases and hackers try to attack IT infrastructure to exploit weak points, two-factor authentication is one of the catch-all safeguards that can stop an attack before it happens. Hackers will log into your system and cripple it or ransom your data for a large payment. Without paying the ransom, your business is effectively stopped dead in its tracks. If you pay it, you still run the risk of the hackers not delivering on their promises.

If a rival business obtains your sensitive information, years of planning may go to waste in a few minutes as your trade secrets, product lines, and plans for future acquisitions or expansions suddenly become de facto public knowledge. There are many software and hardware options available to a business looking to protect its investment and development plans. Not instituting two-factor authentication can cost you quite a bit of money in the short term and millions in the long term.

How can insurance help?

Insurance is here to help ensure your business doesn’t miss a beat, even if the worst happens. Working with our office, we can help you identify the right insurance products for you, from business interruption insurance to cyber insurance and everything in between. Call our office today so we can review your needs and make sure you are covered.

Consequences of Letting Business Insurance Lapse

When your business suffers an unexpected financial setback, the first place you look is where to cut expenses. If you haven’t had the need to use your business insurance policy, you may be tempted to let your business insurance policy lapse to save on the payments. Below, we’ll detail the reasons why this is a short- and long-term mistake.

No safety net. Without insurance, you totally and completely own any mistake and the liability that comes from it. There is no one to turn to in times of trouble and no way to get reimbursed for something that your business insurance policy would have easily covered.

Loss of discount. When you decide to restart your coverage, you may be surprised to find out you start from “zero” again and your long-term customer discount is gone. The clock may have restarted, and your original coverage might cost you much more without more benefits.

No long-tail coverage. Maintaining constant coverage with the same insurance company has its advantages, such as long-tail coverage. If you carry a liability policy that includes a standard completed operations portion, the work your company performs is typically covered for the entire duration of the policy.

Reputational harm. Uninsured businesses are often viewed as “fly by night” and not as trustworthy as insured businesses. Ask yourself: Would I want to do business with an uninsured merchant? There can be consequences much larger than just saving money at play for your business when you let coverage lapse.

Even if you find your business in a desperate financial situation, we’re here to help. Call us today so we can work with you on the right amount of coverage for your business and your pocketbook.

Why Life Insurance Makes Sense, Even for Retirees

Many people believe there is no reason to continue carrying life insurance later in life, but there are reasons to keep a policy alive even in retirement.

You are still caring for a child. Some children have greater needs than others, even in adulthood. Maybe the child is disabled; maybe he or she wants to return to school. If your child or grandchild needs support, you may want to consider coverage that is sufficient to pay for those expenses.

You are still working. Many retirees continue to work part-time during retirement. Others stop working, then get bored, take a part-time job, and come to rely on that income. If you fall into one of these situations (or think you could), you may want to protect your loved ones from the loss of that part-time income if you die.

You are in debt. If you are still paying off loans (from mortgages, credit cards, or failed business ventures, for example), you may want to consider a term life insurance policy that will cover the period until the loans are paid off. Be sure you have just enough coverage to eliminate your debt.

You are leaving a charitable legacy. Some people buy life insurance for the purpose of leaving a charitable legacy. For example, instead of making small annual donations to your college, you might buy a significant life insurance policy with the equivalent of those annual donations and make the charity the beneficiary.

You are estate planning. Proceeds from a life insurance policy can be an immediate source of cash for your heirs. That’s important because it allows them to settle your funeral expenses and pay any estate taxes due without having to sell assets, such as property.

We can help you determine if you need life insurance. Please reach out to us today to discuss your option.

Make Sure You’re Prepared for Travel When the Time Is Right

Americans love to travel. Most have family scattered throughout the US and abroad. The pandemic has cramped vacation plans, unfortunately. From cruises to flying, travelers are taking a cautious approach, while airlines are updating their safety policies.

With this increased focus on safety, when is the time right to plan again? First, watch for the State Department to lift its warning against international travel. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will post an “all clear” when the State Department lifts its coronavirus restrictions.

For your safety, consider masks and other protective equipment, such as gloves and antibacterial lotions. Travel insurance will be another important element in travel safety. Some policies let you cancel for any reason, while others are more restrictive. Viral outbreaks are typically not a reason for travel cancellation, according to travel experts. However, many other problems can cause you to cancel: for example, your illness, bad weather, or terrorism.

Buying travel insurance online is risky. You rarely see the policy and its exclusions before you buy. Working with a licensed travel insurance agent will help you buy travel insurance that fits your needs and helps you understand coverage limitations. For example, travel insurance usually includes medical care and evacuation or repatriation in emergency scenarios. Most travel policies offer helpline advisors who can find a healthcare provider if you’re abroad.

Dollar for dollar, travel insurance is the best investment you can make to safeguard your trip and your health. Contact us for information before you plan that next trip, whether stateside or abroad.

The Growing Use of Smart Thermometers and Other Smart Devices

From watches to thermometers, more Americans are turning to smart devices to improve their health. Smart infusion pumps can deliver medication to you or your loved ones. Features we love in our smart phones we may embrace more readily in our search for solutions to issues such as weight loss, heart monitoring, or blood sugar management. What are the pros and cons of these smart devices?

On the upside, smart thermometers that send your temperature to a national database can alert doctors to an early flu season. You can also share your medical history with your primary care physician. One recent study found smart thermometers can offer insight into flu trends three weeks in advance of the traditional in-office temperature check that might indicate you have the flu.

In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first pump that could read blood glucose and, from that reading, adjust the insulin dose in type 1 diabetics. Specialists hailed this first pump as “an artificial pancreas.” However, doctors warn patients not to rely too heavily on the pump. User intervention is still critical in insulin management.

Even medical devices such as smart watches have downsides. From data breaches to device overreliance, many Americans believe smart devices need more safeguards. As one of the agencies that approves and oversees smart devices, the FDA struggles to keep up with smart device innovation. Europe has a faster approval process, so many medical designers seek approval there first.

Would you wear a smart device to check or enhance your health? How comfortable are you with the privacy aspect? Is your primary care physician equipped to help check the data when needed? Consider some of these questions when adopting a smart medical device as part of your health routine.

Types of Insurance Your Contractors Should Have

When you and your company embark on a building project, you work to get the best quality you can afford: an architect with a reputation for excellence, materials that will stand the test of time, and, ideally, a contractor that is fully insured and can take point on any issues that arise on the jobsite. While some contractors promise good work on the cheap, the minute something goes awry, you will be left holding the bag. That’s why you need a contractor with the right insurance because it’s not just a sign of quality, it’s a down payment on your peace of mind.

General liability insurance. When something goes wrong on the jobsite or related to the job that lies within the scope of the contractor’s work, general liability insurance saves the day. From construction defects leading to harm to any other occurrence, even the bizarre, such as a wrench falling on a passerby’s head, this type of insurance will come into play in order to pay the bills created by the contractor’s actions or lack thereof. Should any adverse incident occur, this type of insurance will also cover any court judgments and medical or funeral expenses that emanate from an occurrence related to your project.

General liability insurance will also cover job completion. Thus, if a contractor fails to meet the deadline or does work that was not contemplated in the plan, the insurance policy will cover the cost of fixing the mistake. Given the number of incidents that can occur, you should insist that any contractor you hire carries a quality general liability insurance policy.

Workers’ compensation insurance. Jobsites are dangerous places, even when the most stringent precautions are taken. Employees can be trained in safety procedures, and signs can be placed reminding all workers of the dangers they encounter on a daily basis, but workplace-related accidents can and do occur despite prior preparation. Workers’ compensation insurance ensures that bills arising from a workplace-related accident are able to be paid by the insurance company instead of impacting your bottom line. Verifying a potential contractor’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage is an important step toward protecting the investment you’re making.

Both of these types of insurance go hand in hand with a valid contractor’s license, and a contractor wanting to work on your project without one or the other, or both, should be an immediate red flag. In some cases, your own insurance policy on a property may refuse to pay an otherwise valid claim if you do not hire a contractor who is licensed and carries insurance. Some may want to skirt the cost of hiring a more expensive contractor, but paying for cheap work in the short term often carries hefty long-term consequences.

If you’re considering engaging a contractor for a commercial building or construction project, the more information you have before you sign on the dotted line, the more informed you’ll be. Contact our office for professional input on the types of insurance your contractor should carry. We’re happy to help.

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.

Protect Your Home with These Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

With summer in full swing, we think about the joys of warm weather and BBQs but not always about the possibility of home fires, which can cause severe damage. Below are just a few fire safety and prevention tips that can keep your home and family safe to help ensure the worst never happens.

Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Few preventative methods are as effective as battery-powered smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at alerting you to a true emergency. For the hearing impaired, alarms with bright flashing lights are a necessary purchase.

Have a fire extinguisher at the ready. Most fires that occur in homes do not start out as five-alarm blazes. From kitchen fires to mishaps in the garage, having a fire extinguisher nearby can mean the difference between a burnt stovetop or workspace and the loss of your home and property.

Invest in a home fire sprinkler system. For fires that accelerate quickly, a home fire sprinkler system can quickly spring into action and douse the affected areas with water in order to control the spread of the fire and protect your loved ones.

Check your home for fire hazards. Oftentimes, simply checking your home for fire hazards makes a crucial difference in the likelihood of a fire occurring. Old or frayed cords, extension cords that are overloaded, decaying or corroded batteries, and other hazards are easy to take care of before they cause a fire in your home.

Make sure your family has a fire preparedness plan. Speak to your children about fire safety, plan ways to exit rooms, and determine a meeting place outside your home should a fire occur.

When thinking about how to protect your home from a fire and the lengthy recovery process, reach out to our office so you can be sure you have the best insurance coverage possible and have covered all your bases so that you and your family are fire ready.

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.