8 Types Of Commercial Insurance Coverages

There are many types of commercial insurance out there and choosing the right one for you can be difficult if you have no idea where to start. Depending on your business, you want to ensure that you have the right insurance and the right amount of coverage. This article will review some of the most common business insurance types.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Employment Practices Liability Insurance, commonly known as “EPLI” is a type of business insurance used to cover employers against allegations made by employees who feel their rights were violated. It will protect you against claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and resulting litigation. Almost all businesses can benefit from this type of policy, but usually larger companies benefit the most. This is because larger companies have more employees hence increasing their employee-related risks. 

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance protects you in the event of a compensation claim that could be made against your company. This type of insurance can protect you from various claims such as injuries, accidents and damages. Businesses in NJ are not legally required to have general liability insurance, but we highly recommend having it, mainly if you operate a business. 

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects professionals and businesses against claims of negligence from customers or clients. Examples are negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more. Claims covered can include damages caused by things you did and/or things you should have done.

Directors & Officers (D&O) / Management Liability Insurance

D&O and Management Liability is often seen as similar products. For this purpose, we will focus on D&O.

D&O will protect you personally as an officer or a director against some of the legal costs that may arise from a wrongful act. Lawsuits/allegations can come from employees, vendors, customers or other parties. This coverage can cover costs such as settlements, lawsuits and other costs associated with the wrongful allegations.

Commercial Auto Insurance

You will need a commercial auto policy if your business relies on vehicles to get work done. It covers vehicles that are used for business purposes. This includes cars, vans and trucks that employees operate. You will be protected from financial burdens that can come from accidents such as repairs and medical bills. 

Cyber Liability Insurance

If your business becomes the victim of a cyberattack or even a data breach, then this can be expensive, and it can also take quite some time for your business to recover. If you lose a lot of data, this can put you in the firing line from your clients too, who may be able to sue you depending on the data that has been jeopardized. With this kind of insurance, you can be protected against huge data losses or breaches.

Property Insurance

Business property insurance helps protect your company’s physical assets from unexpected events such as windstorms, fires, vandalism and thefts. Floods may be covered under a standard commercial policy (not common), but separate flood insurance may be purchased. Physical assets that could be covered include office equipment, computers, printers, furniture, fixtures and other items you use to support your daily operations.

Workers’ Compensation

If you operate a business in New Jersey, you must have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers' comp insurance protects the employer and employee if an employee is injured on the job. This coverage can be used to pay for medical care and loss of income for the injured employee. 

Workers’ compensation can also reimburse employees that get an illness due to the work they were doing for the company. An example may be a coal miner or an employee who removes asbestos from old homes and is diagnosed with rare lung disease or cancer due to work conditions. 

Next Steps

We listed some of the most common insurance types business owners ask us about. If you are a business owner in NJ and would like one of our insurance advisors to review your current insurance portfolio, give us a call at (609) 587-8030.

Types of Liability Insurance Policies for Businesses

The cost of compensatory claims brought against business owners, independent contractors, and self-employed people due to negligence by workers, clients, customers, shareholders, investors, or members of the general public is covered by liability insurance

Due to the inherent risk that every firm encounters, liability insurance is typically a required insurance type as it can aid in legally defending your company against allegations of negligence that could result in legal ramifications.

Your business may face many possible risks and ramifications depending on the nature of your work, so the amount of coverage you require will vary from company to company. A general liability insurance audit can help you look at your company's payroll and risk exposure to ensure you're paying the right amount for your insurance. So when you’re searching for a policy, there are various liability insurance coverage options you should consider.

General Liability Insurance 

Business liability (BL) or commercial general liability (CGL) helps cover various general liability claims that assert your company has injured individuals or damaged their property. It also provides coverage to offset damage to your reputation or mistakes in your advertising. 

It's vital to remember that general liability insurance does not protect your company's or employees' personal property against property damage. These claims are covered in part by commercial property insurance policies.

General liability insurance best provides protection when you face claims of bodily harm, property damage, damage to reputation, or advertising blunders.

Bodily Harm

Any physical harm suffered by a client or customer at your business is considered a bodily injury. For instance, your general liability insurance may help pay for the patient's medical expenses if a customer enters your flower shop, slips on the wet floor, and fractures their leg.

It’s important to note that your employees are not covered by general liability insurance. Instead, your workers' compensation insurance plan—a kind of employer liability insurance—covers them. 

Property Damage

Any harm you or your employees do to the property of a third party is considered property damage. For example, if the lawnmower from your landscaping business kicked up rocks that broke a customer's glass, general liability insurance can help pay to cover any damages associated with the accident.

Reputational Damage

Reputational damage occurs when a business claims your company has harmed their reputation. General liability can assist in defraying your defense expenses if situations arise where you or your employees are accused of harming a competitor’s reputation.

Advertising Blunders

Copyright infringement liability claims arise from advertising mistakes. General liability insurance might help pay for your legal defense if your marketing company uses a copyrighted image in an advertisement without authorization.

Professional Liability Insurance

Errors and omissions insurance (E&O), commonly referred to as professional liability insurance (PL), aids in defending against allegations that your company offered services with errors. For instance, E&O insurance can help pay your legal defense expenses if a client sues you, alleging that you offered them bad financial advice and lost money. 

Additionally, professional liability can assist with allegations concerning:

  • Negligences
  • Misrepresentation 
  • Good faith and fair dealing are broken

Most firms require professional liability insurance–mainly if you provide clients with professional services. 

Employer Liability

Liability Insurance Employees who sustain sickness or injuries at work are not protected by professional liability. Your business requires workers' compensation insurance for that level of coverage. 

Workers' compensation is a sort of employer liability insurance that covers benefits for your staff members who become ill or injured on the job. And depending on your state's laws, you and other business owners may be obliged to get workers' compensation insurance. Purchasing this coverage type is a smart idea even if it's not required by law in your jurisdiction because it can pay the cost of medical treatment for workers who become ill or injured on the job and defend your company from a lawsuit arising out of a work-related illness or injury.

Workers' Compensation and Employer Liability Insurance Scenarios

If one of your employees becomes ill or injured due to their work, workers' compensation may be able to protect them. Examples of possible covered scenarios and damages include situations like the following: 

  • Your manager broke her wrist after tripping over a stray package in her new office. Workers' compensation may cover her medical costs. 
  • A coal miner's extended exposure to low air quality causes black lung. Workers' compensation may partially cover his medical expenses and continued care. 
  • After years of poor typing habits, your receptionist suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. Bursitis and tendinitis are two other instances of ailments brought on by repetitive tension that may be covered.

In addition to covering medical expenses, workers' compensation also offers: 

  • Disability compensation if a doctor determines that your employee is either temporarily or permanently handicapped. Your state determines the amount and length of disability compensation.
  • Replacement of lost wages when an employee needs to take time off to heal from an injury sustained at work. 
  • Funeral expenses if your employee tragically perishes in a workplace accident. 

Professional Liability Insurance for Contractors 

You must obtain some kind of contractor's professional liability insurance if your company works in the design-build or construction management industries. This insurance covers experts against construction-related mistakes or losses that may occur during the planning, designing, and building of a structure. Additionally, it might shield you from mistakes made by independent contractors working on a project. 

Insurance for Directors and Officers (D&O) 

You need D&O insurance if your company has a corporate board of directors or advisory group. If your directors and officers are personally sued for negligent business management including instances of them failing to comply with workplace laws, committing fraud, stealing intellectual property, misrepresenting company assets, or misusing company funds, this insurance safeguards their assets. 

Insurance for Management Responsibility 

A bundle of coverages known as management liability insurance is used to safeguard corporate, public, and nonprofit organizations from various board-level risks. It is bought by companies with a board of directors, offering protection from the hazards of running a corporation. Employment practices liability, fiduciary liability, and D&O liability are frequently covered under management liability insurance policies.

parents teaching child how to ride a bike

Are Life Insurance Policies for Employees Beneficial?

Offering life insurance policies for your employees can be very beneficial for you as a company. Your employees are your best assets, and they are the lifeblood of your business.

One way to show them you care is to offer them a life insurance policy that will benefit them and their family should any event outside of their control take place. If you are not currently offering a life insurance policy and you're on the fence about it, you likely need more information.

Here are some of the major benefits you and your employees will receive from a group life insurance policy. Once you know the benefits, you can decide whether you want to offer this to your employees.

Make Your Company Attractive

One benefit of life insurance that you may not have thought about is that it can help you attract top talent. When you offer life insurance as a part of the compensation package for your employees, it is very attractive to potential employees.

When people understand they will get benefits for themselves and their families, they are more willing to stay with a company or even apply for a job there. Therefore, offering a comprehensive life insurance policy is a very effective way of obtaining and retaining excellent employees.

Even the most basic of insurance policies will benefit you and your employees.

They Are Affordable

Group life insurance policies cost less than individual health insurance policies because group life insurance companies are a lot less risky for your company and insurers.

Your insurer will look at the overall risk of the entire group to decide how much you will pay. For most companies, the overall risk factor is very low. You may even be able to get group health insurance as well. This can significantly reduce the administrative and sales cost of the policy.

What Coverage Provides

Life insurance coverage can make your employees feel a lot more secure. You may wonder what exactly a life insurance policy covers. A good life insurance policy for your employee will serve as replacement income should an unexpected tragedy befall an employee.

Life insurance can also cover living expenses and state taxes that the employee has left behind. The money can also help with a child's education or even supplement retirement savings. As you can see, there's a lot that a group life insurance can offer an employee if something tragic happens.

Customize Your Plan

If you decide to offer your employees life insurance, there are some things you need to decide when creating a group life insurance policy for your company.

Sometimes employees can purchase additional coverage or even raise the level of coverage that they have in a group insurance plan. You need to decide whether you have enough leeway within your budget to accommodate this.

There are some cases where you can allow your employees to pay some of the premium. If this is the option that you have put in place for the life insurance policy, then you can put in a clause for increased premiums, as long as the employee will pay.

It's hard to believe that most employees will not want to opt into a group life insurance policy paid for by a company, but sometimes there are exceptions to the rule. You'll need to decide whether you want to give employees the option to opt-in or opt-out of the life insurance policy you have in place for your company.

On the upside, if they decide to opt-out, it means that you will pay less. However, it might be a signal that someone is not completely committed to your organization and does not see themselves staying for the long term, so they see no point in getting life insurance coverage.

While good life insurance coverage is one of the main reasons many people stay long term with an organization, there are inevitably going to be some employees who leave.

You will need to decide how you're going to handle this and how coverage can be transferred or transitioned. This is something you will need to discuss with your insurance company.

Finally, you may decide that only certain employees receive life insurance. That's something that you'll want to look at carefully before deciding.

Get Your Company on Track

Offering group health insurance plans is a great way to make your employees feel protected. A group life insurance plan that is beneficial to your employees' family is always a welcome asset to any organization.

A group life insurance policy can make your company very attractive to employees with a high level of skill. When you offer this as one of the key features of a benefits package, you are likely to receive more applications from candidates who are looking for a way to safeguard themselves and their families. These employees tend to be loyal and stay with your company for a long time.

Reach out and we'll be happy to provide more information about group life insurance for your business.

executive boardroom with no people in it

Protect Your C-Suite With Directors and Officers Liability Insurance

You want to be prepared for everything with your business. Therefore, insurance, particularly directors and officers liability insurance in this case, is a must. With insurance for the highest ranking members of your team, you’ll rest easy knowing that they're covered against lawsuits, disputes, and more.

What Is Directors and Officers Liability Insurance?

Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance offers you protection for claims made against the decision makers of your business. These claims can include wrongful action, allegations of discrimination, negligence, and more. Regardless of what took place, this insurance will make sure you do not have to invest time and money in such a situation.

Directors and officers liability insurance covers many situations, making it a comprehensive choice for protecting your business and its most important team members.

Protection Against Wrongful Lawsuits

Wrongful lawsuits and false claims can strike any business, no matter how big or small. These claims can damage your business, both in terms of reputation and cost. Directors and officers liability insurance protects you against these types of lawsuits, which is important for the well-being and longevity of your business.

Protection Against Mistakes

It’s possible for your employees to make mistakes. However, if employees involved in the leadership of your business make a mistake, the results could be disastrous. These mistakes could include a failure to comply with a regulation, any HR issues, or mismanagement.

Sometimes, these mistakes do not warrant letting the employee go. Directors and officers liability insurance will make it possible for you to avoid the issues involved with these types of lawsuits, and will protect your employees from them, too.

Lower Costs

Lawsuits and other legal issues can be incredibly costly. You will need to hire a lawyer and take time off work, which decreases productivity and leads to loss of income. These are only two ways it hurts your bottom line.

There’s nothing more frustrating than hidden costs and interruptions to your daily life at work. Directors and officers liability insurance helps cover these costs so that if you face a costly lawsuit, you can rest knowing that your business will remain stable.

Protect Yourself

If one of your employees in a leadership position commits a criminal act, the consequences can trickle down to you and affect your business. Directors and officers liability insurance offers you and your business protection against the things you cannot control, such as actions of your employees.

Even your most trusted employees can prove to not be exactly what you expected. You're going to want to be protected from their errors in judgement.

Take Action With D&O Liability Insurance Now

Don’t wait until a lawsuit has been brought against your business to purchase directors and officers liability insurance. Most times, your insurance won’t cover anything that began before the date of purchase. Waiting could prove dangerous and costly to your business.

Directors and officers liability insurance can be beneficial for your business if you have many employees in leadership positions. Both you and your highest ranking employees will appreciate the extra protection and added benefits that it offers.

Learn more about D&O Liability Insurance from Harrah & Associates.

gas station at night

Fuel Efficiency Best Practices for Fleets

Improving the fuel efficiency of a company’s fleet of vehicles can have many financial and environmental benefits, especially with fuel prices on the rise. Fuel can be one of the largest and most difficult expenses to predict and control. Therefore, it’s important for vehicle fleet managers to conserve fuel, maximize efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions by implementing fuel-efficient policies, technology and maintenance strategies.

Best Practices

Managing a fleet’s fuel usage—even for just a couple of vehicles—can feel overwhelming. The following are ways to reduce fleet fuel costs and make operations more efficient:

Monitor Driving Patterns

A U.S. Department of Transportation report found that there can be as much as a 35% difference in fuel consumption between a good and poor driver. Monitoring speeding, braking and acceleration patterns can indicate whether drivers are using good practices on the road or operating inefficiently.

Cut Engine Idling

Idling can burn a quarter to a half gallons of fuel per hour. To reduce fuel and oil waste:

  • Turn off the engine while waiting or making deliveries.
  • Turn off the engine while stuck in traffic.
  • Do not idle to warm up the engine.

Improve Route Efficiency

Route efficiency can be improved with GPS tracking technology to ensure operations are streamlined and drivers don’t spend their day and fuel driving back and forth.

Remove Unnecessary Weight From Vehicles

Every extra 100 pounds in a vehicle can increase gas costs by up to $0.03 cents per gallon, which can quickly add up over the course of hundreds of thousands of gallons across multiple vehicles. Only travel with necessary packages or equipment.

Schedule Maintenance

Preventive and regular maintenance can reduce fuel costs, extend the lifespan of fleet vehicles and ensure the safety of drivers and the community.

Check the Tire Pressure

Tires should be inflated to 75% of the recommended pressure; underinflated tires can significantly lower a vehicle’s average gas mileage. Checking the tire pressure should be a mandatory part of the pre- trip safety check since it not only improves the cost per mile but also helps the vehicle respond properly in unsafe situations.

Dispatch the Closest Vehicle

Business margins and fuel efficiency can be improved by dispatching the closest vehicle to a new delivery or appointment. Fleet-tracking programs can help automate dispatching and routing.

Leverage a Fleet Telematics Solution

A fleet telematics solution can help managers gain data and insight into fleet status in terms of individual vehicle performance and overall operations, allowing them to make changes that will help fuel efficiency.

Provide Incentives

Fleet managers can encourage efficient driving by offering drivers incentives, such as recognition or special privileges.

Implement Driver Training

Providing drivers with training regarding fuel-efficient habits can increase their awareness of fuel efficiency on the road. It can help them be mindful of things like keeping gears low when accelerating, changing gears early, driving at slower speeds and learning to read the road more effectively.

By implementing policies and practices that monitor and reward fuel-efficient behavior, fleet operations can reduce fuel costs. For more risk management guidance, contact us today.

person walking down street with an umbrella in the rain

What Would My Business Need a Commercial Umbrella Policy For

One thing that will always be true for business owners is that there is a strong need to protect the business from whatever fate may befall it. There are many situations that you might find yourself in with your business where you need to make sure that it has that protection. In fact, this is exactly what insurance is for.

In this blog post, we’ll look specifically at one of the most useful kinds of commercial insurance: a commercial umbrella policy. We’ll look at what it is, how it can be useful, and why you might need one for your own company.

What Is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

The purpose of commercial umbrella insurance is to offer an extra layer of protection for your business, which could come into play in a variety of circumstances where you also have some underlying insurance protections in place. When a claim on one of those reaches the limit of its liability, the commercial policy comes into play with extra liability protection for the business.

This can prove very useful in several ways. You might be in a position where your company is being sued, but your business liability coverage doesn’t account for the full amount. Here, you may use your commercial umbrella insurance policy to step in and cover the rest of the amount. This can prevent your company from getting into serious trouble.

Another major feature of a commercial umbrella policy is that it will usually cover you for legal defense costs, up to the total amount covered by the policy.

How Much Does Commercial Umbrella Insurance Cover You For?

The range for how much commercial umbrella insurance covers is great, as does any kind of insurance policy, but usually the very lowest that such policies start at is around the $1 million mark. This range normally extends up to around $15 million. Sometimes, you may also secure a policy that reaches beyond that upper limit.

Why Should You Get a Commercial Umbrella Policy?

If you are seeing the benefit that you would have from having this kind of policy, then you are not alone. Many companies make use of an umbrella policy. But if you are still wondering why you would want to have such a policy in place, it’s actually quite simple to understand.

The main reason to get hold of such a policy is that it protects you against large losses higher than your primary policies can provide. If you already have the largest underlying policy you can get, but you think you might need more protection, then an umbrella policy will provide it for you.

Some businesses are obviously more vulnerable to large losses than others, so if you run a company that falls under that category, consider getting an umbrella policy.

You might also, at other times, need to have an umbrella policy in order to fulfill the requirement of a certain contract. Maybe a partner, client or even a supplier demands that you have such a policy in place, and you have decided it’s best to keep them on board and fall in line with that contract.

Other situations are if your employees drive their own vehicle for work, or if you have business premises open to the public. In those cases, you might also want to consider a policy. You can see more circumstances here where it’s a good idea to have an umbrella policy here.

How To Get a Commercial Umbrella Policy

If you have read this far, you are now versed in the benefits of the commercial umbrella policy, and might wonder how you can get hold of one for your own business. To do so, you're going to want to get in touch with an insurance agency or broker. They will determine your needs and work to find a policy that will suit your situation best.

Click here to find out more about such an agency. With a new commercial umbrella policy in place, it will protect your business against any claims that might come your way in the future.

front of a semi-trailer truck

Preventing Your Commercial Fleet From Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic converter theft is a top concern if your business owns a commercial fleet.

Your vehicles' catalytic converters turn harmful gasses emitted from the engine like carbon monoxide and nitric oxide into safe gasses like carbon dioxide and steam, ensuring that your fleet doesn't produce emissions above legal limits.

There has been a troubling rise in the frequency of catalytic converter theft in New Jersey and the US at large. As per the National Insurance Crime Bureau's (NICB) data, catalytic converter theft increased by 325% in 2020 alone. Therefore, it is prudent to take effective steps to prevent your converters from getting stolen.

Here's how to stop your commercial fleet's catalytic converters from being robbed.

Why Are Catalytic Converters Being Targeted?

Catalytic converters contain precious rare earth metals like Platinum, Rhodium, and Palladium. These metals are highly valuable, and their prices have risen rapidly. They are a favorite target of thieves since they can be sold on the black market for a fortune.

Indeed, JM Bullion estimates that an ounce of palladium goes for $2,362 today. Rhodium is even more expensive, currently costing $18,900 per ounce. For context, gold's current price is $1,938 per ounce, making Rhodium almost 10 times more valuable.

Furthermore, stealing catalytic converters is reportedly like taking candy from a baby. All a thief needs is a blatant disregard for the law and your company's property, an angle grinder, a jack, and as little as one minute to get the job done. Also, most catalytic converters are located under the car towards the exhaust, so they are very easy to find.

It is frustrating to lose your converters to theft, as the replacement costs are expensive. You may need to fork out as much as $2,500 to replace each stolen converter, and your bill could even reach $10,000 if a pipe or oxygen sensor is cut.

What You Can Do To Stop Catalytic Converter Theft

Thankfully, there's a lot you can do to stop your commercial fleet's catalytic converters from being stolen. Some of the practical measures you can take include:

Parking Your Vehicle in the Right Place

Easy access is one of the biggest loopholes catalytic converter thieves exploit. Therefore, park your commercial fleet in the right places to prevent robbers from accessing them. The most obvious place to park your fleet is in a locked garage to prevent intruders from accessing them. However, this effective step might not always be possible, so parking vehicles in well-lit areas is the next best thing.

You can also train your drivers to park close to nearby access roads or the front of buildings when making stops. These areas have significant foot traffic and are visible, deterring many thieves.

Finally, remember that catalytic converter bandits require space to get under your vehicle to access their loot. Your drivers should park on the side of the vehicles closest to the converter near walls, fences, high curbs, and other vehicles to prevent easy access.

Hiring an Overnight Security Team

If your commercial fleet is quite large, consider hiring an overnight security team for added protection. These highly trained professionals will patrol the fleet parking area with eagle eyes, and their mere presence can deter criminals from targeting your business premises. Also, they can react in real-time to prevent thieves from escaping with catalytic converters.

Admittedly, hiring these guards doesn't come cheap, but it might be a necessary and a lower price to pay than what you will spend on replacements if your commercial fleet gets hit frequently.

Installing Surveillance Equipment

Top-notch surveillance equipment can be powerful tools in the fight against catalytic converter theft. Thieves who target your commercial fleet's parking area will probably reconsider their plans immediately if they notice security cameras keeping watch. The great thing about surveillance equipment is that even if your business becomes a victim of theft, you might identify the criminals and recover the stolen converters.

Leveraging Alarms

Most modern vehicles with catalytic converters have factory-fitted alarm systems that detect and activate if the automobile is lifted or tilted with a jack. Therefore, you can simply remind your drivers to lock the vehicles and set the alarms anytime they park and exit. If your commercial vehicles lack standard fitted alarms, consult your dealership regarding the possibility of installing an effective and approved alarm system.

Marking Your Converters

You can also engrave the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) onto each converter to uniquely identify them. This marking makes it easier to identify your commercial fleet's converters and can alert scrap dealers when thieves try selling stolen converters to them. You can also engrave your vehicle's license plate numbers for an added layer of identification.

Spraying your converters with quality, bright-colored, and high-temperature automotive exhaust spray paint is also worth considering to prevent them from being stolen.

Adding a Lock or Guard

Guards and locks for the underside of your vehicles are also effective in theft prevention, so keep this in mind. Manufacturers like Toyota offer "Catlocs" to prevent your converters from getting stolen. You can also invest in CatClamps that grip your vehicle's exhaust pipes, protecting your converters.

CatClamps make it very difficult for thieves to steal your converters, especially if they are in a hurry. Your mechanic can also fit makeshift 'cat cages' for additional protection or weld bolts shut to make them almost impossible to loosen. However, alert your insurance provider of any vehicle modifications to check if they might affect future claims.

Insuring Your Commercial Fleet

It is advisable to take out a comprehensive coverage policy, such as business automobile insurance, from a reputable insurance agency in New Jersey. This policy will not prevent theft, but will pay to replace stolen converters and repair any damage caused during their removal.

Choose Us for Your Business Auto Insurance Coverage

At Harrah & Associates, we provide comprehensive coverage to protect a wide range of vehicles used by businesses, including trucks, vans, buses, and taxis. We also have decades of experience in the insurance industry and can tailor our policies to suit your specific needs and budget.

Reach out to us today at (609) 587-8030 to get started

person pointing to russia on map

Cyberattacks, Cybersecurity, and Cyber Liability in 2022

Cyberattacks, Cybersecurity, and Cyber Liability in 2022

Protecting your business from cyberattacks with both cybersecurity and cyber liability insurance has been something we’ve recommended for quite some time. However, as the U.S. put sanctions against Russia in place because of its invasion of Ukraine, it’s more important than ever that we discuss these topics.

While experts predict a spike in cyberattacks coming from Russia, we want to let you know what our top issues of concern are for business owners related to cybersecurity, why you should invest in cybersecurity for your small business, and how the current world events are affecting cybersecurity.

Top Issues of Concern for Business Owners Related to Cybersecurity

In our video video, Lisa Harrah will discuss her top three issues of concern for business owners related to cybersecurity.

First and foremost, businesses of every size need a cybersecurity program in place.

Next, you want to work with an experience insurance agent. Many insurance companies’ coverage varies from policy to policy, so it is extremely important that you work with an agent that has a thorough understanding of the policies and how the coverage comes into play.

Lastly, the market has hardened dramatically over the last couple of years. A hard market means prices are escalating dramatically and the coverage is becoming more difficult to obtain. Gone are the days when you could just fill out a quick application and get a quote from several carriers.

I can’t emphasize enough how you need to deal with a professional that understands cybersecurity and what your business needs, because again, all businesses need it. Small businesses probably need it more than larger businesses because they don’t have many of the cyber controls in place.

If you’d like to discuss this further, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Cybersecurity for Your Small Business

In our second video, Gary Newborn of G.S. Newborn & Associates is here to talk to Lisa Harrah about cybersecurity for small businesses, and bring awareness to what businesses should do to protect their business from cyber hacks and intrusions.

Cybersecurity experts that work with the insurance industry hand-in-hand have advised insurance agents that they should be advising all clients and potential clients of the activities that they should do in order to protect their business from any cyber threats.

First and foremost, insurance should always be the last line of defense.

As a business owner, there are many things that you can do that can protect your firm from a hack from even happening.

Number one, you want to make sure that you have up-to-date patching programs in place. That, coupled with endpoint threat detection, antiviral programs and multi-factor authentication will greatly improve the security for your firm.

It ultimately comes down to cyber hygiene. All the common sense things that we should always be doing, we should really emphasize now in these more difficult times.

Passwords need to be complex and secure, and you should change your passwords frequently. And please don’t share passwords in the office. Everybody should have their own password.

Make sure that all of your forms and programs are backed up.

And lastly, educate your employees. A significant number of data breaches occur when an employee clicks on an attachment that they shouldn’t click on. Everyone should have a sign on their desk that says think before you click.

These are just some common sense things that will help every business.

If you have any questions regarding this, please feel free to reach out to Gary or Lisa. They’d love to provide any assistance.

How Current World Events Are Affecting Cybersecurity

For our third and final video, Gary Newborn discusses how current events are affecting the landscape when it comes to cybersecurity.

We’ve clearly seen an uptick over the last several months in cyber attacks throughout the world. And with the current events in Europe and Russia, experts expect an even greater incidents of cyber attacks on public and private entities throughout the United States.

With the tightening of the insurance markets in cyber insurance, this makes it incumbent on all business owners to do their own planning and their own risk management to make sure their own internet, their access, their telephone, and their data are secure.

You need a policy and you need more than just an add on to your general liability or property coverage.

We can help you with this. Give us a call.

Experts Fear Global Impact from Russia's Cyberattacks on Ukraine

Russia launched a full-scale military assault on Ukraine in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, 2022, accompanied by a series of targeted cyberattacks that experts and officials say could ultimately have a much broader impact.

In the weeks leading up to the invasion, Ukrainian government entities, financial institutions and other key organizations faced website defacements, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and destructive malware. Cybersecurity experts around the globe have kept tabs on these cyber events, warning clients and organizations to secure their systems without delay.

On Feb. 23, 2022, researchers at Symantec and ESET first tweeted the discovery of new wiper malware, dubbed “HermeticWiper,” that was used against Ukraine. Symantec researchers observed the use of this malware against an organization in Lithuania as early as Nov. 12, 2021. They noted that, with an invasion underway, there remains a high likelihood of further cyberattacks against Ukraine and other countries in the region.

Offering a technical breakdown of the malware, cybersecurity firm SentinelOne commented, “After a week of defacements and increasing DDoS attacks, the proliferation of sabotage operations through wiper malware is an expected and regrettable escalation.”

In a recent webcast, experts from Secureworks said they had long expected that any invasion would have a cyber component.

The wiper attacks make no pretense of being ransomware events and aim to destroy data with little hope of recovery. These attacks could contain an element of espionage as well, according to Mike McLellan, director of intelligence at Secureworks.

While the cyberattacks currently appear to be focused on Ukraine, the United States and its allies should be prepared for retaliatory attacks over severe economic sanctions announced by President Joe Biden following the invasion.

In an Axios interview, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said that Russian cyberattacks could trigger expanded conflict with NATO countries.

“If you unleash not one, but five, 10, 50 or 1,000 [cyberattacks] at Ukraine, the chances of them staying within the Ukrainian geographic border are quite small,” Warner said. “They could spread to America or the [United Kingdom]. But the more likely effect will be [the attacks] spreading to adjacent geographic territory … [like] Poland.”

On Twitter, Warner added, “This is not something to take lightly—cyberattacks don’t have borders.”

U.S. House Intelligence Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) expressed similar concerns in a news briefing.

“We have seen in the past Russia deploy attacks at a particular target—those tools get into the wild, and they cause global damage,” Schiff said.

According to McLellan, attacks targeting the United States would require a significant escalation between the West and Russia. However, threat actors unrelated to the situation in Ukraine could take advantage of the unfolding conflict to infiltrate systems.

Jen Easterly, head of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said on Twitter, “While there are no specific threats to the [United States] at this time, all organizations must be prepared for cyberattacks, whether targeted or not.” She cited the 2017 NotPetya attack that brought commerce to a halt and caused billions in damage for corporations around the world.

To help prepare organizations of all sizes, CISA launched Shields Up, a program with guidance for preventing, detecting and minimizing the impact of cyber events.

Cybersecurity firms working closely with the insurance industry advise businesses to protect themselves by reviewing their business continuity plans and ensuring cybersecurity fundamentals are in place. This can include up-to-date patching programs, endpoint threat detection, antivirus programs and multifactor authentication.

Download Cyberattack PDF

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Insurance in the Age of Cancel Culture

You’ve probably heard about cancel culture and might be wondering how you need to deal with it as a business owner. There’s been a lot of discussion around this topic in recent times and it’s not hard to see why. The protection of employees is paramount for most business owners, but you might also want to avoid falling into a cancel culture trap.

It’s important to consider the insurance coverage needs of your business in the light of cancel culture and a heightened focus on conflict between employees and the necessity of a safe and welcoming work environment for all staff members.

We’re going to take a look at some of the most pressing issues in this area today and how you need to look at protecting your business and your staff in the age of cancel culture. So read on now to find out everything you need to know.

What Is Cancel Culture?

First, what is cancel culture and what does it mean in practice? Canceling someone is ostracizing them or cutting ties with them based on something they’ve said or done in the past that is deemed unacceptable today.

It’s something that’s often confined to social media, but it’s also impacting businesses in various ways too. For example, if a worker is shunned or ‘canceled’, they might regard this as being exposed to a hostile work environment, which can have legal ramifications for the business.

It’s also possible that someone needs to be canceled for legitimate reasons such as harassment or assault of co-workers or employees.

Hostile Work Environments

One thing to consider is how an employee might perceive they’re working in a hostile work environment. This is what might cause them to make complaints or accusations against managers or co-workers. But what an employee considers a hostile work environment might not meet the legal definition.

If there’s a pattern of behavior that leads to a person being discriminated against or made unable to do their job safely, and that pattern continues for a prolonged period, that would suggest that they are working in a hostile environment.

If they’re discriminated against as a member of a protected group, this will also be grounds for them to take legal action, especially if the person responsible for that discrimination isn’t removed from the work environment or otherwise dealt with adequately.

Dealing With Harassment and Discrimination Among Employees

Your business can be held liable when there’s a problem that happens between employees inside your workplace, and that’s something you should try to keep in mind as you navigate issues around cancel culture. It all starts with making it possible for employees to voice concerns and making them feel safe to do so.

When an issue has been raised and the relevant people inside the business are aware of it, it demands a response of some sort. Talking to the involved parties, getting their side of the story, and things like that might be required. Then you might give them a warning or require them to take training to ensure it doesn’t happen again, or even fire them if the issue is serious enough.

Once you have processes in place for dealing with unacceptable behaviors, it’s important that those rules are implemented in a way that’s consistent and reliable. Your team needs to be aware of what the consequences are for certain actions and people can’t be treated differently based on rank or anything like that, as that could leave the business open to legal action too.

Protecting Against Legal Action With the Right Insurance

It’s a good idea to make sure that you have insurance in place to protect you against any of the matters discussed above. In the age of cancel culture, it’s more important than ever before to be protected. Good management and training are still the best defenses against problems and legal action, but insurance is there to offer you the backup you need as no business is perfect.

You’ll need to have EPLI or employment practices liability insurance in place to start with. This is important because it covers you against a range of liability related risks. Any business with a team, especially a large team, needs to have this kind of coverage. It’ll significantly mitigate the risks associated with employee-related problems.

It’s also good to have general liability insurance in place as an extra layer of protection that your business might one day need. It covers you against lots of threats that businesses often come up against, and although no policy is perfect, it will help to protect against a range of potential legal actions.

As you can see, there are lots of things to consider with finding the right insurance for your business in the age of cancel culture. If you’d like more support with finding the insurance that’s going to be right for you, contact us here at Harrah & Associates Inc. today and speak to a member of our team.

team reviewing business report

Re-evaluating Your Business Insurance Policies For 2022

The start of a new year is a good time to re-evaluate how you operate your business. One area that could be worth assessing for improvements is your insurance policies.

Many of us allow our policies to automatically renew each year without changing them. While re-evaluating your policies might seem like a hassle, it could have many benefits. This could include reducing costs, protecting yourself against additional risks and making sure that your current coverage is still valid.

Below are just a few questions to ask when re-evaluating your business insurance policies for 2022 that will help you get the best coverage.

Do You Need to Change Your Existing Policies?

Businesses change over time and so do their needs. You may find that your current policies no longer fit your current business.

For example, you may currently have commercial property insurance in place that covers you against damage or theft of certain contents. Since taking out this policy, you may have bought new equipment, which is likely not covered by your old policy. You may want to consider adding this equipment to your policy so that if it is damaged or stolen, you will be compensated.

On top of adding things to your existing policies, consider if anything can be removed. Perhaps you’ve scaled back in the last year and no longer have as many employees working for you - it could be worth changing your worker’s compensation insurance if you’re currently paying coverage for a certain number of employees.

It’s also worth checking that your current insurance policy is valid. A change of business address or a change to your company name could void your current policies. Notify your insurer of these changes to make sure that your policies are still valid.

Do You Need to Take Out New Policies?

It may be time to take out completely new policies. For example, if you’re thinking of hiring your first employees this year, it could be mandatory that you take out worker’s compensation insurance if you don’t already have it in place.

Other new policies may not be mandatory, but could still be recommended. For example, if you own a roofing business, you may decide that now is a good time to take out general liability insurance if you don’t already have it. A lot of companies put off taking out this insurance, only to end up having to pay lawsuits costing thousands of dollars out of their own pockets.

Not having general liability insurance in certain industries may even negatively affect your ability to win over certain customers, since they may only be comfortable working with a contractor if they are insured.

On top of considering taking out new policies, consider whether there are any policies worth cancelling altogether. Perhaps you took out insurance for a vehicle or a machine, but are now thinking of selling this vehicle or machine because you no longer need it. It could be worth cancelling your insurance policy if you don’t plan to replace it.

Are You Paying Too Much?

Even if your needs haven’t changed, it could still be worth re-evaluating your business insurance policies to see if you could save any money. Insurers are constantly adjusting their rates and introducing new deals (particularly for new customers). You may find that you’re able to get the same policy from another insurer for a cheaper price.

A lot of us assume that if we stick with the same insurer, we’ll save money through loyalty incentives such as no claims bonuses. However, you'd be surprised by the deals that are out there. You may save money by bundling business insurance policies with a different insurer or by simply taking advantage of limited deals available to new customers.

You should definitely compare other insurer rates if you have recently made a claim. Your insurance rates are likely to go up once you make a claim because you now pose a greater risk to the insurer. That said, other insurers may not charge as much.

There are many other ways to save money, such as getting rid of coverage you don’t need or upping your deductible. By making policy changes with the same insurer you may even save money - you may not even have to switch to a new insurer.

How Should I Re-evaluate My Business Insurance Policies?

You should start by reading over your current business insurance policies to see what they actually covered you for. This will give you a good idea of what needs to be changed - there may be things you’re covered for that you had completely forgotten about.

To help identify new risks, carry out some of your own personal risk assessments. What are some of the biggest threats to your business that you are currently not insured against? You should consider whether there have been any disasters in the last few years that could have been less damaging by taking out insurance. You should also consider what disasters other companies within your industry have been facing recently.

When choosing the best insurance policies, consider hiring the help of a broker to help you compare policies. Insurance brokers are independent agents that do not work for a single insurance company. They are experts in insurance and have access to a huge amount of insurers. They can work with you to find the best policies based on your needs and budget.

By getting in touch with an insurance broker today, such as Harrah & Associates, you can start to re-evaluate your insurance policies and find the best coverage.