Cyber Risks for Remote Workers

With COVID-19 came a myriad of changes, both professionally and personally.  Time will tell what the “new normal” will look like, but the ability to work remotely has never been more pronounced.  With remote working comes challenges to businesses, specifically Cyber Threats.  The reality is at-home networks do not have the security protections in place that a business typically does. 

Here are a few things you and your staff can do to protect your remote workers:

1. Have a remote worker policy in force

2. Only connect to the internet through secure networks

3. Only click on links, open attachments and download software from trusted sources

4. Use strong passwords

5. Ensure your network, software and applications are up-to-date

6. Don’t respond to requests for information from unknown sources

7. Use multi-factor authentication in lieu of passwords

8. Make sure your IT department, whether in-house or outsourced, is aware of the new remote layout, so they can be prepared for additional phone calls.

The bad actors are delighted to have more daily online activity.  Don’t be the individual or organization to let them in on the party. 


The State of the Insurance Industry during COVID-19

As many states begin to announce plans to reopen the local economy, the residual impact of COVID-19 still remains. The insurance industry has taken steps to provide relief for policyholders that have been impacted as a result of “shelter-in-place” orders.

While the hot button topic as of late is Business Income or Business Interruption and whether coverage would apply, there are a number of positive steps the insurance industry has taken to aid those affected by COVID-19.

Most insurance companies have continued to offer to delay cancellations as a result of non-payment of premium. In addition, many are offering premium credits on personal auto policies for the months of March, April, and even May in some cases. These are essentially refunds of 15% – 25% depending on the carrier – due to a drastic decrease in driving habits.  

Vacancy clauses on many commercial policies have been waived as well given the decreased capacity due to employees working from home.  We have even seen similar premium refunds offered on small business policies with certain carriers.

Health carriers have taken steps to eliminate deductibles for COVID-19 cases and have increased payments to cover Coronavirus testing.

We continue to monitor industry and carrier actions closely as they evolve.

An 85 Year Journey

This year, our agency celebrates its 85th year in business.  That spans 8 decades and 3 generations.  As the youngest of the third generation, I have only recently come to fully appreciate what an achievement it is.  In an age when most start-ups fizzle out within a few months and personal interaction is a thing of the past, our family-owned business turns 85.

The journey of most businesses is a rollercoaster of highs and lows, expansion and contraction, ebbs and flows.  Ours has been no different. 

My grandfather began building our company one policy at a time out of the basement of his Cleveland home.  His mindset was simple: help the people he cared about protect the things important to them.  He believed if he acted in the client’s best interest and cared for them like family, his company would flourish.

My grandfather would always say, “The most important aspect of our profession is client service.”  Those words are the foundation our company has been built on.

My Dad took over after my grandfather became ill and, through hard work and a number of acquisitions, he expanded the agency, adding a team around him to help strengthen that foundation.

I often reflect about the journey of our business and how much work and sacrifice went into getting us to this point.  I think about how fortunate my brother and I are to have been blessed with an opportunity to continue its legacy.  I think about the 4th generation.  I think about my grandfather’s vision and how important those words are – now maybe more than ever.

As we celebrate this year, what I am most proud of is we have never lost focus on what is most valuable: our clients.

The More Things Change

“The only constant is change.”  

How your organization operates can change over time whether through workforce changes, cultural changes, product changes, or even leadership changes.

Any one of these can create the need to review and revise insurance coverage.

Your insurance agent may not be aware of organizational changes unless there is a process in place to ensure the conversation happens on a regular basis. Some process ideas are:

•Schedule annual meetings with your insurance agent

•Create an operating checklist that includes the
question – does this impact our coverage.   This checklist would
apply to any staff change, equipment purchase, building lease, and more.)

•Implement internal reviews to evaluate change

The goal of these process ideas is to
create a way to keep track of changes within the company to be sure nothing
falls through the cracks.

Maintaining proper protection is essential for sustained growth so utilize your advisors and stay on top of changes that impact your operations.

We welcome the opportunity to help you review your coverage to ensure you stay protected.

Data Breaches Are On The Rise

It seems that no industry is immune to a data breach or cybercrime. Retail, banking, and now, even healthcare. Consumers and businesses need to face the reality that with digital platforms comes great risk, and that data breaches are on the rise.

Consumers can have their identities, tax refunds, and bank accounts stolen. Businesses can have their customer data stolen or can be held hostage through ransomware. Recently, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport’s computer systems failed to work for days. The reason? The systems had been breached and were being held for ransom.

If this can happen to a government entity like an airport, imagine what can happen to your business. Industry experts warn that cyber criminals are targeting small businesses.

This doesn’t mean you are helpless. Small businesses should engage a cyber security expert to review best practices. Many incidents are caused by an employee opening a virus in an attachment or accessed through clicking on a link. Educating staff can help as well.

For consumers and businesses, cyber insurance is becoming as necessary as homeowners or car insurance. These invasions are only going to become more common. There’s real value in getting ahead of them now. If you’ve got questions about your level of risk, as well as solutions, give us a call.

The Hidden Impact of a Loss

Insuring a church is more than covering the building and its contents inside. It’s important to consider a variety of situations and possibilities to ensure you have the coverage needed in the event of a loss.

When thinking insurance for churches most of us think Property. Property includes not only the building but the items within the building, as well as iconography or the iconostas. According to industry data, there are more than 1,800 fires every year in religious properties. While property claims such as a fire can have a devastating impact on the property of the church, consider some of the other areas that may be impacted as well.

What would happen if you couldn’t gain access to your sanctuary for a period of time? Are you covered for the use of another space? What about loss in revenue from donations? We have seen crippling fire losses to churches which resulted in, not only the need to rebuild and replace the structure, but also the need to find a temporary home to hold services which can impact attendance, donations, and ultimately impact revenue and stewardship.

Consider the impact a loss may have on cancelled income-generating activities or community outreach programs, as well. When a major loss occurs, it can create a ripple effect throughout the organization and parish.

While we pray you never need to use it, it is important to consider the domino effect a loss can have and ensure you are properly protected.