Cyber-attacks are a real threat to most small businesses.

Cyber-attacks are a real threat to most small businesses.

Many businesses think- “I don’t keep my customers personal data, so I’m not at risk of a cyber attack.”. That isn’t completely true.  If you do collect any personal information for any reason, including employee data or prospect information or more you may be at risk. Many assume that because they are using a third party software product that they aren’t responsible. This also isn’t true. Anytime you collect any type of personal information, you could be putting yourself at risk.

Cyber attacks aren’t always done by someone in a foreign country looking for information from big stores. More than 50% of attacks are on small businesses.

This happens a wide variety of ways. For instance, did you know email is the most popular method to get data? They often use legitimate login information. One common ploy is that someone will pretend to be your “support” personnel and ask unsuspecting employees to give login information.  Another common problem is when laptops are lost or hacked. Another common situation is when an employee is working remotely using public wifi.  Furthermore, the “bad guys” are still finding success with phishing schemes. Some claims have come from instances where a disgruntled rogue employee steals names, addresses, social security numbers and other personal information from customer files.

Some other real world examples include:

A manufacturer nearly transferred $315,000 to China based solely on an email request to pay for raw materials that appeared to be legitimate.

A man sent an email to his ex-girlfriend hoping to monitor what she did on her computer. She opened the email on her work computer, and over the course of two weeks, the spyware emailed the man more than 1,000 screenshots of confidential data on 150 customers.

If any of these things happen to you, finding and remedying the issue can be very costly and slow. There are very specific steps you likely have to take. For instance, at least 47 States require notification of breach to customers.  This has to happen a certain way and at an expense to your organization. Furthermore, if you have a breach or loss, everything stops in your business until you address the situation. This may require forensic experts, steep legal fees and more. The expense of resolving this can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

How do you minimize these risks? Your traditional business insurance doesn’t typically cover this type of situation. Fortunately, there are now additional insurance solutions available to help not only cover the cost of paying to notify all clients, hiring forensic experts, data restoration expenses and other required legal steps, but the insurance companies often have a team of experts to help you address the required steps and get your business running again even more quickly.  Check with your insurance agent to see where your most likely risk are and what products can best protect you in the event of a cyber-attack.

Have more questions on Cyber risk? Need help with commercial insurance? We’d love to help. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.  Keslar Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency offering business, home, auto and life insurance in NH and in ME.

 

Advertisements

Not at risk for a cyber attack? Think again. 10 Cyber risk myths

  1. I’m not at risk because I don’t maintain any personally identifying information on my customers. Every commercial entity has an exposure because all commercial entities have customers and employees. Typically, an entity will have employees’ social security numbers as well as health information for benefits programs. If you have this information- you have risk.
  2. I’m not at risk because I don’t conduct business over the internet. While the more sensational breaches involve hacking information via the internet, the majority of breaches occur by other means such as accidentally released or stolen physical files or electronic media (i.e. laptops, CD-ROM’s, thumb drives, etc.).
  3. I have coverage under my property, commercial general liability or other commercial policies. You may want to review your insurance policies again.  Property policies may provide coverage for business interruption but generally are triggered by a direct physical loss to the insured property. “Physical” is though of as “tangible” and case law generally maintains that data is not tangible property. Typically, commercial general liability (CGL) policies contain exclusions for damages as a result of the release, disclosure or access to personally identifiable information. It is for this very reason cyber risk coverage was developed.
  4. Personal Data breaches only happen to large companies and public entities. The media tends to focus on larger data breaches because it impacts a significant number of people but breaches impact entities of all sizes. In fact, smaller entities may be more susceptible to breaches as they do not have the resources to dedicate to the issue.
  5. Laws requiring notification of personal data breaches only apply to large businesses. Currently there are 47 states that have legislation requiring notification in the event an entity breaches personally identifying information. These laws are consistent on one point- they do not address the size of the entity.
  6. Coverage that wouldn’t enable my company to provide a professional response to a personal data breach requires a lengthy application and various audits. Unless limits of $100,000 or great are required, no underwriting questions are asked. A security audit is not required for this program.
  7. There is nothing I can do to reduce my company’s chances of having a personal data breach. There are several steps an organization can take to require its cyber liability exposure. Click here to learn more about how to reduce your changes for breach.
  8. If we have personal data breach data and need to notify our customers, we can just send them a “we’re sorry” letter and our customers will understand and continue to do business with us. While ending a “we’re sorry” letter will often satisfy the various legal requirements, the entity is then left with a marketplace reputation problem and the challenge of retaining customers in the wake of a breach. our program offers additional service to the people affected by by the breach. These service include access to a toll free information line, credit monitoring service and identity recovery services.
  9. I don’t need cyber risk insurance if I spend more information Technology security. While robust information technology security will help reduce your exposure, it will not prevent all breaches from occurring.  Breaches often occur from procedural mistakes or “rogue” employees who have access from the inside. Insurance, as well as appropriate spending on security and information technology is part of a holistic risk management strategy.
  10. In this economy, I can’t afford any more insurance. You cannot afford not to have cyber risk insurance. A recently Ponemon Institute study indicated that direct costs to respond to a breach were $60/record. Even a small breach that only impacts 100 records could cost you several thousand dollars.

For further information about cyber liability coverages- as well as any other business or personal insurance needs, we can help. We can be reached at www. keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

Source: The Main Street America Group. This document is intended for information purposes only and does not modify or invalidate any of the provisions, exclusions, terms or conditions of the policy and endorsements. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to the coverage form.

Have a 2nd home? Your insurance company may expect you to keep it plowed this winter

untitled-design1Many people in our area own summer homes at the ocean, on a lake or in the mountains. This is a great destination spot to spend your summer weekends and vacations. But what happens in winter?

Many of us find it difficult to break away to visit these seasonal homes during the off-season. Between work, children’s activities and other family obligations, we just don’t get up there as we may like. So, if you know you aren’t going to go up, why have the driveway plowed? That means you’d either have to go up or pay someone to do it for you. Seems like time and money better spent elsewhere. But maybe not.

Your insurer may require access to the home year around. In the event of a fire or other issue, if the driveway to the home isn’t plowed, the emergency vehicles would be unable to get close enough to minimize the losses. Of course, it would be in your best interest, too, to try to  make sure your property is accessible for the same reason.

Unsure what your insurance requires? This is a great time to ask your agent. They can review coverages and expectations with you.  If you have any other questions or would like us to review your coverages, we are happy to help. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953. Keslar Insurance Agency is in independent agency offering a wide variety of carriers for home, auto, business and life insurance in NH and Maine.

 

How often should you shop for home and auto insurance? Maybe more or less than you think.

questionWe hear this all the time: “I’ve been with my current insurance company for years. I’m just too busy to shop it. But all insurance is the same.”  This makes me cringe. There are four very good reasons to review your insurance options at least every 3-5 years if not more frequently.

  1. Your life changes. As time passes, many things change- you get older, your home gets older, you may do updates to your home, your family gets older so you may now have new teen drivers, or drivers who have left the household. You may have claims during this time that impact your rates. You may purchase different cars, obtain toys like boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s and more. All of these things can impact your needs and your rates.  That said, it may impact them more with one insurance company than another.
  2. Insurance rates change. Every couple of years insurance companies submit new rates to the states for approval. When they do this, they have considered certain factors about the types of clients that they have an appetite for. This can change over time. This means, you may be getting offered the best rates by some companies at one time and not the best rates from the same company at another time. This isn’t a reflection on you, just a reflection on what the company wants to focus their growth on. Same happens in reverse, they may decide that they’d like more customers just like you- so they will offer better rates the next go around to you and those who are like you.
  3. Insurance products change. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to be more competitive and grow their business. This means they are always adding new features and products to attract customers. Many of these can be pretty interesting and may be perfect for your needs. This means what were options for minimizing risks a few years ago may not have been as robust as they are now!
  4. Not all insurance companies are the same. Home and auto insurance from different companies can be very different. Yes, in general they cover many of the same things- your property, your liability etc. But that’s where the similarities can stop. Some will offer broader coverages- like replacement cost, others may not, some may include towing or more, others may not. It is a tough thing to navigate unless you have a lot of hours- or an agent who can help you. But I promise, they aren’t all exactly the same. Some may be a better fit for you than others.

Benefits to you to review your coverages regularly:

  1. Saving Money on premium. Recently, we’ve been able to save three families between $1,500-2000/year on their home and auto insurance premiums. This doesn’t always happen, but it can!
  2. Making sure your coverages match what you really need. You want to make sure you are only paying for things you are likely to use and are covered for things that are likely risks.
  3. You can take advantage of new features or insurance products. Related to #2, the new features for some products can be very appealing and appropriate for your unique needs.

But don’t shop too much. Some carriers do reward for loyalty. If you prove that you do stay with a company for a few years, new carriers may be more likely to offer you better rates as they know you will come and stay with them for some period of time too. The reverse can be true too, if you jump companies every single year, they may not offer you the best rates, as they know you aren’t likely to stay with them for long. So, you may want to think twice for before jumping company to company to company every single year for a few dollars savings. It is likely to catch up with you.

How do you know what to do? Consider working with an independent agent. Independent agents typically offer many products from leading carriers giving you “one stop shopping”. These agents are licensed, experienced and educated in the products from a number of companies. They can review your coverage needs for any changes or new products that are now available. They can share with you several different options with carriers, they can work with you to see which carriers can save you money or they can recommend that you stay where you are for another year and review again next year. They typically do all this for you, at no additional charge. Good agents will review this with you yearly so you’ll know you are in the best place for you for the next year. They can also help you with the entire transition over process if you do change insurance carriers, again making your life easier.

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have on reviewing your insurance. We are an independent agency covering NH and ME with a wide range of products from leading National and Regional carriers. We can be reached at http://www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

 

 

 

Business insurance: Certificate Holder v. Additional Insured – What is the Difference?

certificates-of-insuranceWe get asked all the time to provide certificates of insurance. There are two types: a certificate holder and an additional insured.  It is clear that most of the requests, people often think a certificate holder and an additional insured are the same thing. There is a clear, and measurable difference between these two Certificate of Insurance functions and you should know the differences.

Certificate Holder:  This is simply a proof of insurance. This simply shows that the insured does in fact maintain insurance.

Additional Insured: This is more involved.  This actually provides rights under insured policy in the event of a future claim. Some carriers will charge the insured  a premium for this privilege because they are actually conferring coverage.

Bottom line: Certificate Holder is simply proof of insurance, where as Additional Insured status gives the main contractor coverage and rights under their sub-contractor’s or vendor’s, the “Name Insured” policy.

If you are still unclear when you are asked for a “Certificate of insurance” discuss this with your licensed insurance agent who should be able to clear up any questions. We’d be happy to help too. We offer a wide variety of commercial insurance products including general liability, Business Owner’s policies, Commercial autos, and worker’s compensation. We offer a wide range of carriers for these solutions so we can give you options. We cover all NH and ME. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

Offering Liberty Mutual Commercial Products!

liberty-mutual-logoWe are happy to announce that Keslar Insurance Agency continues to broaden our offerings to our commercial insurance clients!  Now offering Liberty Mutual Commercial insurance products to our portfolio.

About Liberty Mutual: Your insurance needs are as unique as your business. Whether you’re in manufacturing, hospitality, retail, or any other industry, Liberty Mutual have the right solutions to help protect your business. From startups to family-owned businesses and Fortune 500 corporations, Liberty Mutual’s coverages can help protect your people, property, and reputation no matter your size. Over the past 100 years, Liberty Mutual Insurance has been committed to helping people preserve and protect what they earn, build, own and cherish.

If you are interested in learning more about Liberty Mutual Commercial offerings or discussing  other business insurance coverages please contact us. We offer a large number of solutions for general liability, Business owner’s policy  (BOP), commercial auto, worker’s compensation and more. We have partnered with the leading providers of insurance in the area.  We’d love to help you! www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

Car Insurance Tips for your New College Student

auto insurance college driving.jpgIs your child off in college? In the chaos of it all did you consider telling your auto insurance agent to see if any changes need to be made? Once your child leaves home, their car insurance may need to change.

Child that is not bringing their car to college:

If your child is going away to college and they are not bringing their car with them, make sure they are still listed on your policy as long as they are household members, especially as they are likely to drive the vehicles when they are home from school. Additionally, removing your child from your policy can have negative effects on your child’s policy of their own later in life.

Tip: Some carriers offer reduced premiums if the child is going away to school over 100 miles away and leave their car at home.

Child is bringing their car:

If your child is bringing their car to school with them, make sure to check to see if the school allows cars on campus. Some schools only allow certain grades to have their cars due to limited parking availability. For insurance purposes, it could make a difference if your child is living on campus or way from campus. Also, it may make a difference if they are there during the school year only or year around. Note too, if you child goes to a school out of state, they may not need a separate policy in that state. Ask you agent for details on your particular situation.

Tip: Rural areas tend to have lower rates than cities; if their school is in a rural area you could potentially have a reduced premium.

Child is commuting:

If your child is commuting each day, alert your insurance carrier about the amount of driving they will be doing. It is important to check your policy and make sure that you have adequate liability coverage for your child. Additionally, many carriers offer a “Good Student Discount,” offered to students that maintain a “B” average or better during their time in school.

Tip: Make sure to review details of your policy with your child and encourage them to drive safe and understand the potential risks involved.

Always review your insurance policies with your insurance agent whenever there is a life change including new drivers, new vehicles, updates to your home, marriage and more.