GT Insurance Blog

Insurance problems and cures

Posts Tagged ‘Businessowners Policy

The Scope of Cyber Liability And Data Breach Exposures – And Insurance

leave a comment »

Computer_Drill_10-14

These are complicated exposures that now affect even small businesses.  And the necessary insurance coverages are complex too.

Business owners must think about paper records, physical system security, and electronic data.

  1. It will involve their physical building locations, as well as their e-systems.
  2. They’ll need to know how much data they use and/or archive, as well as how many, and what nature of customers that they have.
  3. They must think not just in terms of the operations that they solely control, but also of the “Network” in which they are engaged.

A network is as everything and everyone that business owners allow to have some portion of access to their corporate operations, whether they are employees (on-site or remote), on-site or remote contractors, connected third parties and even connected customers. This is especially true when it comes to the use of mobile devices.

Look at how broad the term “mobile device” is, legally, now.

Mobile data includes workstations, computer terminals, internal IT operations, their websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, and other social media connections, as well as all employee connections whether through company provided devices or their own. It also includes all other connections that your customers use to and from third parties to connect to you and accomplish their work, including off- site physical and e-storage locations. It involves current, stored/backed-up and archived data, and documents and files. It is everything.

Take a few hours a year to consider the risks to which your business is exposed.  Walking through that allows a business to better see what needs to be done, including insurance.

If you’d like to discuss this and other issues in cyber related insurance, or more traditional business insurance, give us a call at 800-548-2329.  We are a NJ insurance agency.

Tropical Storm headed toward you?

leave a comment »

Insurance companies prohibit adding or starting property coverage when named storms approach. A tropical storm is approaching the Atlantic coast of the US. If you want property coverage, if your coverage is inadequate, act now.

If you need help in with New Jersey insurance coverage, call us today. 1-800-548-2329. or http://www.GBWinsurance.com

If you want flood insurance, it may be too late for this month, but you should get started if you want it before September.  Hurricanes in the Northeast peak late in the season.

Who owns your company’s data? How do you make sure?

leave a comment »

You own your data, but you have to take steps to make sure you can control it, both legally and in the cyber world.

Do your employees use only devices your company owns?
Have they acknowledged that their information on those devices is not private?

If they use their own devices to access your information, have they agreed to let you review any and all information on those devices?
Have they agreed to let you wipe their devices if you find your information on them?

All of this should involve help from your own lawyer.

Even if you get a signed acknowledgement that you can look at their information and look at information on devices they own, you’d better be talking to your own lawyer if you run into a communication between your employee and his or her own attorney.

On the IT front, a good IT provider can help erect barriers to penetration by outsiders, and to theft of data by insiders.

But multiple platforms are complicating IT.  Mobile malware is exploding.  And many small businesses don’t keep current with firewalls and monitoring of data use.

If you’d like to discuss IT issues in more depth, try this link to IT Radix.  And we thank them for putting on the seminar that provoked many of these questions today.

The legal questions in the seminar today were posed by Colin Page, Esq.  Try this link to make contact with his law firm if you have questions on data ownership and employment issues.

Insurance and Employment Law – Outsourcing

leave a comment »

What happens when you outsource jobs?  There are benefits to outsourcing in the right circumstances.  But what problems can come up and what should you do to protect your business?

  1. If the workers are not your employees, they can escape the Workers Compensation system and pursue law suits against you.   If you don’t set it up correctly, you may violate State and Federal labor laws.  See the link below for Colin Page’s blog page laying out a real case of a problem blowing up in the employer’s face.
  2. If you create a 1099 relationship, making someone an “independent contractor”, you have to be very careful to make sure the relationship truly qualifies as an independent.  If you want detailed advice on those rules to observe, on how to stay out of trouble with your State Board of Workers Compensation and Department of Labor, and lawsuits, click on the link below to William Barrett for legal advice.
  3. Employees are generally entitled to Workers Compensation benefits if injured; in New Jersey there are very few exceptions.  Non-employees can sue outside the controlled environment of Workers Compensation.  Make sure you have someone else’s insurance in front of yours; if you have a contract with someone who doesn’t have Workers Compensation, you are probably going to be providing it.
  4. You should follow basic risk management procedures.  If you contract jobs out to another company, get their certificates of insurance for Workers Compensation and General Liability.  Have them name you as an “additional insured” on their policies.  Make sure you have your own Workers Compensation, General Liability, and Employment Practices Liability insurance policies.

For more detail or to kick ideas around, we’ve given you links below to some intelligent lawyers and to our own contact information.

Here’s a link to the Chair of Corporate Law at a large NJ law firm.  Bright lawyer, William Barrett, who has been very solid for us.

Here’s a link to a Colin M. Page & Associates blog with comments on problems with outsourcing work.

Here’s a link to information on Employment Practices Liability Insurance.  GBW Insurance, 3 Gold Mine Road, Flanders, NJ  07836.  1-800-548-2329

Insurance Company Financial Stability

leave a comment »

Insurance companies are rated for financial strength.  Why does that matter?

Insurance is a promise to pay future losses.  If the company does not have a future, no payments.  And some losses are going to happen years down the line.

Property losses tend to be settled shortly after they occur.  You owned a building, it burned, the value is usually relatively easy to establish, you are paid for the loss.  The solvency of your insurance company is not of concern because of time, but because property is exposed to catastrophic threats such as hurricanes, which might bankrupt a small insurance carrier which has not prepared properly.

Liability losses, especially large losses, are usually litigated.  That can take years.  If an insurance company becomes insolvent, that will at a minimum complicate and delay settlement and payment.  An insurance company which misestimates its average losses far in the future will be in trouble.

So, how do you assess the strength of your insurance company?  While states review the strength of insurance companies within their supervision, day to day the best measurement is available from private companies that specialize in rating insurance carriers.

Without getting into a long discussion of the relative merits of the rating companies, one of the best is A.M. Best.  Ratings run from A++ to F, with additional notes for the future (stable, negative, favorable).  Here’s a link to Best’s explanation of their financial strength ratings.    You can sign into Best for free to get basic rating information on most insurance carriers.  (Some decline to submit their results for rating.  Not a great sign about the company.)

Or call GBW Insurance at 1-800-548-2329 and we can give you the information.  We are also paid subscribers and are therefore able to access detailed information as well.  www.GBWinsurance.com

Prepare for disasters in advance

leave a comment »

Hurricane season for 2013 starts in less than a month.  Preparing in advance may take more time than we have before the next hurricane.  Or you may have a couple of years before the next major hurricane strikes you.  Either way, here are some locations for preparation advice.

Residential preparation: Click here for the DisasterSafety.org pamphlet on preparing for hurricane damage to homes.

Or go to this GBWInsurance.com link for more catastrophe preparation and response info and suggestions from Travelers Insurance and Hanover Insurance.

Business preparation: Click here for the DisasterSafety.org page leading to a full business recovery preparation program.  This is an excellent introduction to developing a step by step business recovery plan.  If you would like help with this or additional resources, call us at 1-800-548-2329 ext. 101

After two years of significant hurricane damage in the Northeast, we should all be on our toes about catastrophe preparation and catastrophe insurance (flood and windstorm).  The odds of another serious storm are exactly the same as they were in 2011 and 2012.

Responding to Slip and Fall Incidents

leave a comment »

Our thanks to CNA Insurance Risk Control for much of this advice.  You can call us at 1-800-548-2329 for more information or skip to the bottom of this page for CNA’s web site.

BE PREPARED FOR A SLIP-AND-FALL INCIDENT
It might be a visitor.
It might be a customer.
It might be your own employee.
But, chances are, you won’t be there to see it should someone slip and fall in a building you maintain.
Sound Planning Can Help
A well thought out plan ensures that injured persons will be treated promptly and puts you in control of the process. CNA has developed these guidelines to help you efficiently manage slip and fall accidents. When a slip and fall happens…
Immediately
1. Offer medical attention.
• Administer first aid at the scene.
• Call for emergency service if needed.
• Suggest a medical provider for follow-up care.
(For employee injuries, refer or suggest a medical provider if doing so is allowed by your state.)
2. Gather and document information.
• Name, address, phone number of injured person.
• Names, addresses, phone numbers of witnesses.
• Injured person’s description of what happened.
• Pictures of accident (floor, spill, etc.).
3. Report the accident.
• Ask your customers to notify you immediately of any slip and falls on floor surfaces you maintain.
• Notify your insurance company of all losses, even if the information you have is incomplete.
Within 24 Hours
1. Contact the injured person (or parent of minor).
• Communicate your concern and verify whether treatment was received.
• In all cases, avoid discussion of “blame.” Assure the injured person that the accident will be investigated.
• Be alert for claimant’s “expectations.” Communicate them to your insurance company.
• Make sure injured employees understand that a claim will be processed for Workers’ Compensation benefits with regard to medical bills and time off from work (if applicable).
2. For injured employees, work closely with the claim department at your insurance company.
• To provide the physician with the injury report that includes all the information you reported.
• To provide the physician with a detailed description of the injured employee’s current job duties.
• To communicate your support in returning the injured employee to work, and to light duty as necessary.
3. For all accidents, determine facts and circumstances.
• Identify specific materials, equipment, or tools involved in the accident and keep evidence in a safe place.
• Do not discard damaged or broken equipment involved in an accident. Keep it in a secure place where it will not be inadvertently put into use or destroyed. Altering, destroying, or discarding it could lead to an adverse finding.
• Develop a plan of action to prevent similar incidents.
• Notify customers of potentially hazardous conditions, which require action on their part for accident prevention.
After the Accident Occurs
1. Maintain an accident injury management record (Call us at 1-800-548-2329 for more information).
Whatever format you choose – a paper filing system or a computer database – your records should include:
• Injury report – include all information reported to the insurance company.
• Log of all communication related to claim
• Dates
• Contacts
• Documentation of discussion
• For employees, information on return-to-work status
2. Notify your insurance company of any new information you may receive or develop.
• About the accident
• About the injury
• About employee work status
• About legal representation or suit filings
Don’t let claims “slip and fall” between the cracks!
Loss Reporting Tips
• These same slip and fall guidelines apply to your customers – you can help by educating them on reporting slips and falls.
• Ask customers to notify you immediately of any incident involving a fall, no matter how minor.
• Make sure your employees know what to do when a fall occurs or if they themselves are injured.
• When an employee does not report for work due to illness, always inquire to see if the absence may be work related.
• Make sure one person is responsible for reporting all losses to your insurance company. Cross train a back-up for that person.
A Note About Fraud

Slip and fall scams take advantage of existing hazards and it’s been proven that they can be staged to collect benefits. These claims require careful management and scrutiny. It can be difficult to disprove allegations of a fraudulent slip and fall.
You can help your insurance company get a jump on fraudulent claims by consistently following these steps:
• Immediate notice of all accidents will help identify and deny fraudulent claims.
• Gathering and documenting evidence and facts while they are fresh will help to successfully defend fraudulent claims.
• Having a plan for medical care will help in getting an immediate, objective evaluation and serve as documentation of the alleged injury.
• Following consistent slip and fall management guidelines will help to accurately identify claims that have merit and those that do not.

Go to www.cna.com/riskcontrol for more information.