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Business Continuity – Disaster vs. Recovery

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25% of businesses do not reopen after a major loss.

48% of businesses do not even pretend to have a business continuity plan.*

But 95% think they are prepared.*

Is your plan only keeping your insurance policy somewhere safe?  (Which is not the worst start in the world, but it’s grossly inadequate.)

Do you have tasks for each employee after a disaster?  (Did they actually agree to them?)

What would actually be a disaster for your company?  (Flood, hurricane, fire, data breach, lawsuit, death of an owner?)

Yes, sometimes  it seems like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but these things really do happen.

There are many small businesses which would suffer less from a flood than from a cyber breach;  doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, consultants, architects come to mind.

There are many small businesses which would suffer less from a hurricane than they would from the death of an owner without a succession plan, or adequate life insurance.

Spend a few hours once a year to prepare a continuity plan; surviving a disaster will be much more pleasant if you do.  Then talk to your insurance advisor so you know if you have money to help you recover.

*Travelers Insurance survey result

GBW Insurance/AssuredPartners 855-467-2877, extension 677

Your Credit Rating And The Cost Of Home Insurance

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In New Jersey, and most states, your credit rating makes a big difference in the price of homeowners insurance.

The majority of insurance companies look at your credit score as part of their pricing for Home Insurance in New Jersey.  It may not show directly as your credit rating.  But most companies make credit history part of their process for reviewing your behavior as a home owner.

Insurance companies will charge more or less, sometimes much less, based on that combined scoring.  It can raise or lower prices by 50% or more, based on extreme cases.  We represent an insurance company that has 50 possible tiers, heavily affected by financial stability scoring.  That can really drop or raise your homeowners (or automobile) insurance price.  Others put less weight on those scores.

Two points:

1) We at GBW Insurance never see your actual credit score.  We do see the pricing tier to which that insurance company assigned you, but not the underlying factors.  The insurance company will give you an explanation of their general process; they have to in order to obey laws and regulations.

2)  Asking for a home insurance quote does not affect your credit score.  When a mortgage company pulls your credit score, that does go on your credit history.  An insurance company inquiry is a “soft” pull because it does not mean that you are taking on additional debt nor that you have done anything wrong with payments.  It does not have an impact beyond the price you would pay for insurance in that company.

A good credit rating can allow you to save a lot of money over time.

If you do have a bad credit rating, you can bring it up over time.  That’s important for a lot of reasons other than insurance prices.

You can eventually get your credit rating back to where it should be.  And in most states credit rating problems due to divorce or hospital bills can be changed for insurance scoring purposes.

If you have questions or need a quote, call GBW Insurance 800-548-2329.  Or click here to give us basic information to start a quick quote for you.

More on hacking into car systems

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We wrote about losing data through rental cars (link here for the post).  The next day, out popped the news that Fiat/Chrysler is releasing a patch to fix a vulnerability which was just exploited, experimentally, by two researchers.

The researchers took control of some systems in a Jeep, from a physical distance, while the target was moving, by hacking in.

Fiat/Chrysler points out that it has not happened in “the real world”, yet.  And Fiat/Chrysler has already created a network level fix for other vulnerabilities.

The point is not that Jeeps are more vulnerable than other brands.  It probably is not.  It is that there are perhaps 26 million cars on the road with some remote data transmission (think Internet).  All new cars in the US have some access or can be accessed.  Therefore, eventually are cars will have these benefits, and vulnerabilities.

Your personal and commercial auto insurance policies can provide physical damage coverage.  The liability coverage protecting the owner from suits for injuries to passengers looks secure so far.  But protection for the manufacturers, dealers, and service shops?  That’s where the dice are still rolling.

Stay tuned.

Link to a Property Casualty 360/Bloomberg article on the patch for Jeep systems

 

http://www.gbwinsurance.com 800-548-2329

Data Loss Through a Rental Car?

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Let your paranoia loose!

  1. You fly into an airport for a meeting or vacation.

  2. You rent a car.

  3. You connect a device to that rental through Bluetooth.

  4. You put your call logs and contacts in the car’s system.

  5. You return the car at the airport and fly home.

  6. You leave your info for the employees at the return site or the next person who rents the car.

Numbers 4 and 6 were probably not on your to-do list.

You can usually wipe out the data before you turn the car back in.  It’s not technically difficult but each make of car has a different process.  Take a look at your own car’s process for saving that info.  Then check rental cars when you pick them up.  Or ask a tech person from your IT provider.  Or don’t make phone calls through the car.  Or demand that the rental site show you how to wipe the memory.

As newer systems like Apple Car Play become standard in new cars, the problem should diminish.  Those systems display info but don’t store it.

Does your personal car insurance cover this? Take a look; nope.

Call us with car insurance questions.  GBW Insurance agency in New Jersey 800-548-2329.

Click here for a  longer report from Fox News  This one is from Kim Komando (Komando.com)

Swimming Pools and Your House Insurance

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there are about 10 1/2 million swimming pools in the United States.

Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for very young children.  And the CDC statistics say more than 3,400 people drown in the US each year.

What can you do to protect people around your swimming pool?

Keep track of kids.  Don’t allow kids near the pool when they’re alone.  CDC statistics also show that drowning deaths of 85 year olds and older climb again.

Fence in the pool.  Have a locking gate.  Kids, whether little kids or local young people who come in without your permission, have no perspective on danger.  Insurance companies won’t insure pools without a fence.

Keep a safety kit.  Include a flotation device you can throw, your strainer with a long handle, first aid kit, scissors to cut clothing or hair free from a drain (or even to cut the pool cover).

Have an alarm that will go off if someone falls in.  You can save a child, or even a pet.

Diving boards.  Not every insurance company will insure pools with diving boards.  Again, children suffer the most diving board injuries.

Keep all equipment and covers in good repair.

Don’t leave toys floating in the pool when not in use.

Click here to check the CDC web site for more pool injury statistics and safety tips.

Thanks to the MSO insurance organization for much of this material.

Call GBW Insurance at 800-548-2329 extensions 112 or 117 if you would like homeowners policy information, advice, or insurance quotes in NJ.

Can you get Flood Insurance in time for a Hurricane?

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IMG_0692It’s too late when the flood arrives.  It’s too late when the hurricane is landing.  It’s too late two weeks before the hurricane arrives.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has a 30 day waiting period unless you’re buying a new home or re-financing.  So if the peak of hurricane season is in August and September (for NJ and the rest of the Northeast) you have to start a month before.

Floods can occur on the side of a hill, or miles from rivers or lakes or sea shores.  25% of all flood losses happen in non-flood zones.

Flood insurance is not expensive in the low threat zones.  For higher value homes, it may be possible to bundle home and flood insurance in one policy.   Check with your insurance advisor.

If you’d like to have us check several insurance companies for you (in New Jersey) call 800-548-2329, extension 112.  Or click here to send some basic info to us so we can get started for you.

And yes, the baby elephant in this picture did make it across the flooding river.  His mom and aunties helped.

19% have Cyber Insurance, 50% expect more attacks

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Computer_Drill_10-14Most companies don’t have cyber/data breach insurance.  And most think attacks are getting worse (and they’re right).  But even large companies are 4 times more likely to use insurance to protect loss of physical assets than loss of data.

These figures come from a current Ponemon Institute study quoted by the national Professional Insurance Agents. (PIA)  There’s a link to the study at the bottom of this post.

What do we have to do to convince businesses to protect themselves?

I think, as President of the New Jersey Professional Insurance Agents in addition to GBW Insurance, that most agents are including information about Cyber issues in their talks with clients.  But the level of misinformation and ignorance at the client end is still very high.

Smaller businesses tend to assume 1) that they are not exposed, and 2) that there is adequate coverage in their basic insurance policies.  #1 is a bad joke; small businesses are great targets for hackers and even better for disgruntled employees.  And #2 is a fantasy.

I’m going to go write another letter to all our business clients…

Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) link to the study

The Ponemon Institute study has many other entertaining facts. For example, large  publicly held companies said they would have to disclose large lawsuits or large-scale damage to physical assets, but not cyber penetration.  I’d like to hear a business litigation attorney on that one.