Coronaviruses are fairly common and don’t typically affect humans. When they do, their effects are usually mild, as in the case of the common cold.

However, deadlier variations of these coronaviruses have cropped up in recent years. Two examples of these evolved strains are the SARS virus of 2003 and the novel coronavirus, which was first seen in 2019. In both instances, the viruses ravaged the populations they infected, illustrating why employers must stay alert to developing outbreaks.

It’s the responsibility of every employer to protect employees from these and other illnesses in the workplace. Taking even small precautions could save an organization countless hours of lost productivity.

Identifying Coronavirus Symptoms
Common coronaviruses typically cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, and those affected exhibit cold-like symptoms. The most common symptoms include:

•Headache
•Cough
•Fever
•Sore throat
•Runny nose

Some cases of coronavirus can be more severe, and individuals experience more serious lower-respiratory tract illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia. For the elderly, infants and those with weakened immune systems, a coronavirus can be deadly.

Diagnosing a Coronavirus
More dangerous coronavirus strains elicit similar symptoms to the cold or flu, so identifying the virus can be difficult. If employees are suffering from flu-like symptoms—especially if they recently traveled to a country experiencing a coronavirus outbreak—they should call their doctors immediately. Doctors typically request initial phone calls, rather than visits, to properly prepare for a coronavirus patient.

Precautions for the Workplace
Employers should protect against coronaviruses much like they protect against the flu: Offer on-site flu shots, stock cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer, and educate employees on prevention methods.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals should take the following precautions to avoid person-to-person spreading of a coronavirus:

•Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
•Avoid contact with those who are sick.
•Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Unfortunately, there is no known vaccine for a human-contracted coronavirus, making precaution that much more critical.

Avoiding Potential Discrimination
As with any workplace policy, employers should be wary of inadvertent discrimination when it comes to a coronavirus prevention policy (e.g., ordering employees home when they seem sick). Just because an employee recently traveled to China and coughed in the elevator doesn’t mean an employer can send them home.

Whatever policy a company decides to pursue, it must be equally enforced. Discriminating against employees—or asking illegal health-related questions—can introduce a host of legal concerns.

Summary
Employee education is one of the best lines of defense for a workplace. General preventive health practices, like washing hands, can safeguard workers even when they’re at home.

Remind employees to keep up their hygiene and share their knowledge of coronavirus symptoms so they know what to look out for. Together, you and your employees can stay safe, healthy and productive.

Speak with The SIG Insurance Agencies for more information on staying healthy in the workplace. For complimentary health insurance quotes please visit the link or call (866) 346-3744.

© 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

When a data breach or other cyber event occurs, the damages can be significant, often resulting in lawsuits, fines and serious financial losses. What’s more, cyber exposures impact businesses of all kinds, regardless of their size, area of focus, or status as a private or public entity.

In order for organizations to truly protect themselves from cyber risks, corporate boards must play an active role. Not only does involvement from leadership improve cyber security, it can also reduce liability for board members.

To help oversee their organization’s cyber risk management, boards should ask the following questions:

1. Does the organization utilize technology to prevent data breaches?

Every company must have robust cyber security tools and anti-virus systems in place. These systems act as a first line of defense for detecting and preventing potentially debilitating breaches.

While it may sound obvious, many organizations fail to take cyber threats seriously and implement even the simplest protections. Boards can help highlight the importance of cyber security, ensuring that basic, preventive measures are in place.

These preventive measures must be reviewed on a regular basis, as cyber threats can evolve quickly. Boards should ensure that the management team reviews company technology at least annually, ensuring that cyber security tools are up to date and effective.

2. Has the board or the company’s management team identified a senior member to be responsible for organizational cyber security preparedness?

Organizations that fail to create cyber-specific leadership roles could end up paying more for a data breach than organizations that do. This is because, in the event of a cyber incident, a fast response and clear guidance is needed to contain a breach and limit damages.

When establishing a chief information security officer or similar cyber leadership role, boards need to be involved in the process. Cyber leaders should have a good mix of technical and business experience. This individual should also be able to explain cyber risks and mitigation tactics at a high level so they are easy to understand for those who are not well-versed in technical terminology.

It should be noted that hiring a chief information security officer or creating a new cyber leadership role is not practical for every organization. In these instances, organizations should identify a qualified, in-house team member and roll cyber security responsibilities into their current job requirements. At a minimum, boards need to ensure that their company has a go-to resource for managing cyber security.

3. Does the organization have a comprehensive cyber security program? Does it include specific policies and procedures?

It is essential for companies to create comprehensive data privacy and cyber security programs. These programs help organizations build a framework for detecting threats, remain informed on emerging risks and establish a cyber response plan.

Corporate boards should ensure that cyber security programs align with industry standards. These programs should be audited on a regular basis to ensure effectiveness and internal compliance.

4. Does the organization have a breach response plan in place?

Even the most secure organizations can be impacted by a data breach. What’s more, it can often take days or even months for a company to notice its data has been compromised.

While cyber security programs help secure an organization’s digital assets, breach response plans provide clear steps for companies to follow when a cyber event occurs. Breach response plans allow organizations to notify impacted customers and partners quickly and efficiently, limiting financial and reputational damage.

Board members should ensure that crisis management and breach response plans are documented. Specific actions noted in breach response plans should also be rehearsed through simulations and team interactions to evaluate effectiveness.

In addition, response plans should clearly identify key individuals and their responsibilities. This ensures that there is no confusion in the event of a breach and your organization’s response plan runs as smoothly as possible.

5. Has the organization discussed and formalized a cyber risk budget? How engaged is the board in terms of providing guidance related to cyber exposures?

Both overpaying and underpaying for cyber security services can negatively affect an organization. Creating a budget based on informed decisions and research helps companies invest in the right tools.

Boards can help oversee investments and ensure that they are directed toward baseline security controls that address common threats. Boards, with guidance from the chief security officer or a similar cyber leader, should also prioritize funding. That way, an organization’s most vulnerable and important assets are protected.

6. Has the management team provided adequate employee training to ensure sensitive data is handled correctly?

While employees can be a company’s greatest asset, they also represent one of their biggest cyber liabilities. This is because hackers commonly exploit employees through spear phishing and similar scams. When this happens, employees can unknowingly give criminals access to their employer’s entire system.

In order to ensure data security, organizations must provide thorough employee training. Boards can help oversee this process and instruct management to make training programs meaningful and based on more than just written policies.

In addition, boards should see to it that education programs are properly designed and foster a culture of cyber security awareness.

7. Has management taken the appropriate steps to reduce cyber risks when working with third parties?

Working alongside third-party vendors is common for many businesses. However, whenever an organization entrusts its data to an outside source, there’s a chance that it could be compromised.

Boards can help ensure that vendors and other partners are aware of their organization’s cyber security expectations. Boards should work with the company’s management team to draw up a standard third-party agreement that identifies how the vendor will protect sensitive data, whether or not the vendor will subcontract any services and how it intends to inform the organization if data is compromised.

8. Does the organization have a system in place for staying current on cyber trends, news, and federal, state, industry and international data security regulations?

Cyber-related legislation can change with little warning, often having a sprawling impact on the way organizations do business. If organizations do not keep up with federal, state, industry and international data security regulations, they could face serious fines or other penalties.

Boards should ensure that the chief information security officer or similar leader is aware of his or her role in upholding cyber compliance. In addition, boards should ensure that there is a system in place for identifying, evaluating and implementing compliance-related legislation.

Additionally, boards should constantly seek opportunities to bring expert perspectives into boardroom discussions. Often, authorities from government, law enforcement and cyber security agencies can provide invaluable advice. Building a relationship with these types of entities can help organizations evaluate their cyber strengths, weaknesses and critical needs.

9. Has the organization conducted a thorough risk assessment? Has the organization purchased or considered purchasing cyber liability insurance?

Cyber liability insurance is specifically designed to address the risks that come with using modern technology—risks that other types of business liability coverage simply won’t cover.

The level of coverage your business needs is based on your individual operations and can vary depending on your range of exposure. As such, boards, alongside the company’s management team, need to conduct a cyber risk assessment and identify potential gaps. From there, organizations can work with their insurance broker to customize a policy that meets their specific needs.

Asking thoughtful questions can help boards better understand the strategies management uses to prevent, detect and respond to data breaches. When it comes to cyber threats, organizations need to be diligent and thorough in their risk prevention tactics, and boards can help move the cyber conversation in the right direction.

Cyber exposures impact organizations from top to bottom, and all team members play a role in maintaining a secure environment. However, managing personnel and technology can be a challenge, particularly for organizations that don’t know where to start.

That’s where The SIG Insurance Agencies can help. Contact us today to learn more about cyber risk mitigation strategies you can implement today to secure your business.

For Complimentary Cyber Insurance Quotes:
To get started on your quote, call our office or click over to our quotes page. Either way we’ll make the process simple!

© 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

Doxxing
In this day and age, the amount of information being stored online is constantly increasing. Some of this information may be confidential, and some may be so sensitive that a data breach could threaten the future of your business.

“Doxxing” is a type of cyber attack that results in the collection and exposure of sensitive information that could damage the credibility or reputation of a person or an organization. In doxxing, the criminal’s goal is to breach, collect and expose documents, often abbreviated as “docs.” This is usually done with the purpose of either harassing, blackmailing or embarrassing the victim. Sometimes, doxxing may even be part of the hacker trying to get revenge or incite physical harm.

As cyber criminals become more sophisticated, it is clear that anyone can be targeted, whether they be ordinary citizens, law enforcement agents, politicians or business leaders.

Your Business at Risk
Companies of all sizes are at risk of being the target of cyber attacks. Good cyber security practices are always important for protecting your employees’ information, confidential company files and sensitive details about your partners or clients.

But, when it comes to doxxing, it’s your leaders who are most likely to be targeted by attacks. One of the most effective ways to embarrass a business, or harm its reputation, is by exposing negative information about one of its leaders. If embarrassing details about a leader in your organization come to light, even if they have nothing to do with the actual business practices of your company, the effects can be devastating.

How It Works
There are a number of ways that doxxers may be able to gain access to sensitive information. Some common sources include:

IP addresses—All devices connected to the internet have an IP address, which can then be tracked with an IP logger to track online activities and locations.
Data brokers—Data brokers purchase customer lists from other businesses that you may have provided your information to, such as airlines or subscription services.
Domain sales brokers—Registration information used to create a website can be accessed through domain sales brokers or the WHOIS database. This is especially noteworthy for organizations that have created their own website.

In a doxxing attack, the attacker may use any one of a number of possible methods. These can vary greatly and include using the aforementioned IP logger, breaching the security of a Wi-Fi network, stalking social media profiles or even using cellphone numbers to learn personal information.

Cyber Security Practices
When it comes to protecting your company’s data and reputation, things naturally start with implementing, explaining and enforcing good cyber security practices.
To keep your business as safe as possible from a possible doxxing attack, implement the following policies:

  • Require strong passwords with a variety of letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Use a variety of passwords across different platforms.
  • Instruct employees to avoid connecting devices to untrusted or unprotected Wi-Fi networks.
  • Keep software on devices updated, and avoid installing any unapproved software.
  • When possible, use VPNs in order to conceal IP addresses.
  • Instruct employees to avoid suspicious websites, be wary of phishing emails and avoid using their work email for personal reasons, such as subscription services.

These policies should be followed by all employees, including leadership, whether they are working at the office, remotely, with company computers or personal devices.

Social Media Awareness
In addition to hackers continuing to improve their methods of attack, many of their targets have simultaneously been making things even easier for cyber criminals. With social media being a part of everyday life, it has also led to vulnerability for people who are too willing to share personal information online. Oftentimes, these people do not realize that such information can be used against them.

It is important that you advise leaders in your company to increase their privacy settings on social media, or to limit the amount of information that they share to begin with. Instruct your employees to avoid allowing just anyone to view their social media pages and to limit “friends” to people who they actually know in real life and are confident would not attempt to do them harm. When it comes to doxxing, allowing just anyone to see your address, phone number, email or even place of employment can help hackers wedge their way into the private details of your life.

Employees should think twice about how much information they share, even with people they think they can trust. It may be a good idea to have employees look themselves up on a search engine, as they may be surprised by how much information is actually out there and completely public.

The process of looking oneself up on the internet and then having potentially sensitive or vulnerable information deleted is often referred to as “self-doxxing” and can greatly decrease the risk of an attack.

High Stakes
There is no shortage of examples of organizations suffering huge financial losses and severely damaged reputations due to a leader bringing about embarrassment.

Even if the victim of the attack has done nothing wrong that directly associates with their job or your company, disreputable information about their personal life can still cost you dearly.

© 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

Home insurance coverage can differ from policy to policy depending on a multitude of factors. Being aware of these factors that affect your premium can ensure that you are appropriately covered.

1. Your Personal Information
Your credit history, claims history and marital status can all contribute to your premium costs:

  • Credit history—In most cases insurance companies will take your credit history into account when calculating your home insurance premium. Insurance companies will look at how good you are at making payments and how much debt you currently have. Typically, the better your credit score, the lower your insurance premium.
  • Claims history—Any claims you’ve made at previous residences will be assessed by your insurance company when determining your premium. The type and frequency of the claims you’ve filed can lead to higher premiums.
  • Marital status—Those who are married have been found to file fewer insurance claims than single individuals. Therefore, if you are married, you will generally have lower premiums.

2. Your Policy
The way you and your broker construct your insurance policy also determines your premiums. The following are policy items that have the greatest impact on the amount you pay:

  • Type of coverage: There are three different coverage options you can purchase for your home insurance policy:
    • Actual cash value will replace your home or damaged belongings, minus depreciation. Depreciation is the decrease in an item’s value over time due to wear and tear.
    • Replacement cost pays to repair or replace your home or belongings without any deduction for depreciation.
    • Extended replacement cost is the most expensive coverage option—but, it will pay to rebuild your home even if the replacement cost exceeds your policy limit.
  • Limit: Your policy limit is the maximum amount that your insurance will pay in the event of a covered loss.
  • Deductible: Your deductible is the amount you pay in order for your insurance coverage to kick in to help cover a loss.
  • Additional coverage: You may choose to purchase additional coverage for items or circumstances that may not be fully covered under a standard home insurance policy. Possible circumstances may include keeping more expensive items at your home (e.g. boats, fine art or jewelry), or living in an area more susceptible to disasters that aren’t already covered under your existing policy.

3. Your Home
There are a few factors about your home that may affect your premiums:

  • Home value—The value of your home can also influence the cost of your insurance. Typically, the greater the value of your home, the higher your insurance premiums will be.
  • Age of property—Older buildings tend to have costlier premiums since the materials they’re built with may be more expensive and harder to replace. For example, if you have stained-glass windows in your home, that could cost more to replace than a standard window since stained-glass windows are far less common.
  • Remodeling—Any improvements made to your home will lead to an increase in your premiums since renovations typically increase the value of your home—therefore increasing your home’s replacement costs. Although, repairs made to your roof, electrical or plumbing that increase safety or efficiency may allow you to receive discounts that can reduce your premiums. Always alert your broker about new home remodels to ensure they can be replaced if damaged or destroyed.

4. Location
If your home is located in a high-risk area, you will commonly pay more for your home insurance. Homes that are considered at a higher risk for damage or loss are those located near coastlines, farther away from response teams (fire or police departments) or are in areas that are more susceptible to natural disasters.

5. Home-based Businesses
If your home is being used for work purposes, you may need to purchase additional coverage. Most standard home insurance policies will provide some liability coverage and limited protection for business equipment you may keep at your home, but it may not be enough. To ensure you are sufficiently covered, you may choose to purchase additional coverage or add to your home insurance policy.

6. Attractive Nuisances
Attractive nuisances are potentially dangerous objects that could attract people, including children, onto your property. The most common attractive nuisances are pools and trampolines—if you have either on your property, you will pay more for your insurance premium.

7. Dogs
Depending on your insurance policy, your dog may be covered under your home insurance policy if they are involved in a liability claim. But, some dog breeds that are marked “aggressive” may have limited coverage or none at all. The most common dog breeds that insurance companies are wary to cover are Rottweilers and pit bulls.

We’re Here to Help
It’s imperative to have a clear understanding of your policy and how it works to help you recover from a loss. Remember to review your policy regularly to ensure it protects your home thoroughly, and contact The SIG Insurance Agencies for additional guidance.

© 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

Cyber security threats and trends can change year over year as technology continues to advance at alarming speeds. As such, it’s critical for organizations to reassess their data protection practices at the start of each new year and make achievable cyber security resolutions to help protect themselves from costly breaches.

The following are resolutions your company can implement to ensure you don’t become the victim of a cyber crime:

1. Provide security training—Employees are your first line of defense when it comes to cyber threats. Even the most robust and expensive data protection solutions can be compromised should an employee click a malicious link or download fraudulent software. As such, it’s critical for organizations to thoroughly train personnel on common cyber threats and how to respond. Employees should understand the dangers of visiting harmful websites, leaving their devices unattended and oversharing personal information on social media. Your employees should also know your cyber security policies and know how to report suspicious activity.

2. Install strong antivirus software and keep it updated—Outside of training your employees on the dangers of poor cyber security practices, strong antivirus software is one of the best ways to protect your data. Organizations should conduct thorough research to choose software that’s best for their needs. Once installed, antivirus programs should be kept up to date.

3. Instill safe web browsing practices—Deceptive and malicious websites can easily infect your network, often leading to more serious cyber attacks. To protect your organization, employees should be trained on proper web usage and instructed to only interact with secured websites. For further protection, companies should consider blocking known threats and potentially malicious web pages outright.

4. Create strong password policies—Ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your organization’s password-protected information. Effective password management protects the integrity, availability and confidentiality of an organization’s passwords. Above all, you’ll want to create a password policy that specifies all of the organization’s requirements related to password management. This policy should require employees to change their password on a regular basis, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and use special characters in their password.

5. Use multi-factor authentication—While complex passwords can help deter cyber criminals, they can still be cracked. To further prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to employee accounts, multi-factor authentication is key. Multi-factor authentication adds a layer of security that allows companies to protect against compromised credentials. Through this method, users must confirm their identity by providing extra information (e.g., a phone number, unique security code) when attempting to access corporate applications, networks and servers.

6. Get vulnerability assessments—The best way to evaluate your company’s data exposures is through a vulnerability assessment. Using a system of simulated attacks and stress tests, vulnerability assessments can help you uncover entry points into your system. Following these tests, security experts compile their findings and provide recommendations for improving network and data safety.

7. Patch systems regularly and keep them updated—A common way cyber criminals gain entry into your system is by exploiting software vulnerabilities. To prevent this, it’s critical that you update applications, operating systems, security software and firmware on a regular basis.

8. Back up your data—In the event that your system is compromised, it’s important to keep backup files. Failing to do so can result in the loss of critical business or proprietary data.

9. Understand phishing threats and how to respond—In broad terms, phishing is a method cyber criminals use to gather personal information. In these scams, phishers send an email or direct users to fraudulent websites, asking victims to provide sensitive information. These emails and websites are designed to look legitimate and trick individuals into providing credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, usernames or other sensitive information. Phishing is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and it’s more important than ever to understand the different types of attacks, how to identify them and preventive measures you can implement to keep your organization safe. As such, it’s critical to train employees on common phishing scams and other cyber security concerns. Provide real-world examples during training to help them better understand what to look for.

10. Create an incident response plan—Most organizations have some form of data protection in place. While these protections are critical for minimizing the damages caused by a breach, they don’t provide clear action steps following an attack. That’s where cyber incident response plans can help. While cyber security programs help secure an organization’s digital assets, cyber incident response plans provide clear steps for companies to follow when a cyber event occurs. Response plans allow organizations to notify impacted customers and partners quickly and efficiently, limiting financial and reputational damages.

Contact Us
For more information on cyber liability insurance policies, or for more information on your current policy, contact The SIG Insurance Agencies today!

© 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved


Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

The insurance industry is an attractive option for many professionals who aren’t happy with their current position. Whether you’re looking for a pay raise, diversified benefits, increased vacation days, or simply a career change, the insurance market can provide these advantages. With a yearly revenue reaching into the trillions, there’s no shortage of wealth to go around. Furthermore, the sheer size of this industry ensures that anyone can find a job no matter their educational or professional background. Here are some practical tips and tech-based tools for those wanting to dive into the insurance industry.

Get a great smartphone.

Before you can even think about switching careers, you’ve got to collect some essential tools. In the 21st century, having a capable smartphone is one of the most important devices for staying connected with customers, managing a busy schedule, and staying organized. If you’re current model is lacking, consider upgrading to something like the Samsung Galaxy S10 which comes with Gorilla Glass panels on both sides, rapid processing, and an impressive battery life. If you’re more of an Apple fan, the iPhone XS is a competitive alternative with a professional camera system, extended battery life, and seamless integration with many of your current software.

Familiarize yourself with the industry.

With hundreds of companies comprising the insurance industry, it can be difficult to know where to apply. Since limiting your scope is an important part of the transition process, it’s important to familiarize yourself with several insurance companies. By researching the best businesses within the sector, you can find which one suits your personal preference. While researching each prospect will provide you with an in-depth look at your options, it’s a relative waste of time since there are resources that have already shouldered this burden. Glassdoor is a fantastic website where you can find reviews about different insurance companies from people who used to work there. Additionally, you can learn more about a company’s interview process, entry-level salaries, and more.

Tailor your resume.

You should always tailor your resume to the industry and position for which you’re applying. Although your work experience and skills don’t change with each job transition, the way in which you present these assets should. For example, an internship or prior job that you had omitted when applying to your current position may be relevant for your switch to the insurance sector. The same may be true for some skills such as bookkeeping or running organizational software which are pertinent to this position. It’s helpful to review the job skills and experience an insurance company is looking for and tweak your resume to reflect these desired characteristics.

Talk with someone you know.

There’s a reason your Intro to Business class in college tirelessly stressed the importance of networking. While diplomas, certificates, and past work experiences have their place, finding a position in any sector is all about who you know. The insurance sector is no different. When making this transition, it’s smart to start out by contacting anyone and everyone you know currently working in the industry. Simply let them know about your move and kindly request any information on available positions. The message is bound to make it around until something comes up.

The insurance industry is an excellent choice for professionals coming from any prior field or educational background. There’s enough of a variety in positions that even the most unique of skill sets is bound to be needed somewhere. Before diving head first into the job search, it’s important to perform some ground work to make the transition much easier.

Know Your Auto Insurance

If someone were to ask you what was covered under your auto insurance policy, would you be able to tell them? Like most of us, you would probably have a hard time confidently answering that question. Interpreting the various types of coverage offered under your auto insurance policy can be tricky, but extremely beneficial. The more you understand your policy, the more peace of mind you have knowing you are sufficiently covered in an accident. To help you develop a better understanding of your policy, here are six types of coverage that it may include.

Liability Coverage
Purchasing auto liability coverage can offer you financial assistance in the event that you are found liable for a vehicle-related incident. In most states, you are required to have two forms of liability coverage in order to meet the state’s minimum auto insurance requirements. The two forms of liability coverage offered are:

Bodily injury liability: Bodily Injury liability coverage pays for medical expenses caused by an incident for which you are found at-fault. If you or others listed on your policy were to injure a third party with your vehicle, it would be covered under your bodily injury liability coverage. Not only does bodily injury liability cover medical expenses, it can also help cover lost wages of the injured party.

Property damage liability: Similar to bodily injury liability, if you or someone on your policy collide with another person’s vehicle or property, your property damage liability coverage will assist you in paying for repair or replacement costs.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Unlike bodily injury liability coverage, PIP is designed to cover medical costs, lost wages and other expenses for you, drivers listed on your policy and passengers in your vehicle who may become injured due to a car accident—regardless of who is deemed at-fault. As such, it is also referred to as “no-fault” coverage. PIP coverage is not offered in all states. Since PIP requires your insurance company to help cover expenses regardless of who’s at fault for the incident, having PIP coverage typically results in higher premium costs.

Collision Coverage
Damage to your vehicle from a collision with another vehicle or object should be covered under your collision coverage. Collision coverage is typically required if your car is still being financed—but once your car is paid off, you often have the choice to keep or remove collision coverage from your auto policy. Although your policy may be cheaper without it, collision coverage can be beneficial in helping you cover damages to your vehicle for which you are found at-fault. If the damages were caused by a third party, it would be up to their insurance company to cover the damages.

Comprehensive Coverage
Simply put, comprehensive coverage provides insurance for losses caused by anything that isn’t covered under your collision coverage, such as losses from natural disasters, riots, vandalism and contact with an animal. If a tree were to get struck by lightning and fall on top of your vehicle, your comprehensive coverage could help cover damages to your vehicle from the incident. Although comprehensive insurance tends to have lower premiums than collision insurance, the cost can vary depending on your deductible amount and policy limits.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage
A recent study by the Insurance Research Council revealed that, in the United States, roughly 1 in 8 drivers are uninsured. Having uninsured motorist coverage can ensure you are protected in the event that your car is involved in a hit-in-run or if you get in a car accident with an uninsured third party. Let’s say you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage—if an uninsured individual were to crash into your vehicle, resulting in major repair costs and medical expenses, you could be financially responsible for all of your vehicle repairs and medical bills.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Much like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage applies if you are involved in an accident with an individual who doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover all of the damage to your vehicle or your medical bills. For example, if your claim exceeded the other driver’s policy limits, underinsured motorist coverage would help cover the remaining balance of the claim after the third party’s insurance limit was reached. Both underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage are required in some states, while it still remains optional in others.

Contact Us
For more information on the various types of coverage offered under your auto insurance policy, or for more information on your current policy, contact The SIG Insurance Agencies today!

To download this article by Zywave, click the link below:

Know Your Insurance – 6 Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

© 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

The economy has been hard both on businesses and employees. Businesses may have had to make layoffs, cut employee benefits or withhold pay raises. Many employees are struggling, too—scrambling to stay current on their bills. Employee cash advances can be a positive solution for both parties. Employers add a valuable employee benefit to their arsenal, while employees have a fallback option in case of financial hardship.

Financial Help for Struggling Employees

When employees find themselves in a financial crunch and need money to pay bills or cover other expenses, they often turn to risky solutions that can end up exacerbating their financial difficulties. For example, “payday loans” can provide fast, seemingly easy cash advances, but consumers may not realize that they’ll be facing exorbitantly high interest rates and harsh penalties for late repayment of the loan. Unfortunately, many loan companies have taken advantage of the economic environment to impose such predatory interest rates and penalties.

Some people turn to credit cards for help. Though credit cards generally have a lower interest rate than a payday loan, rates still tend to be quite high, averaging 15 percent with some soaring to 30 percent. Paying bills with credit cards may seem like a quick fix, but the reality is that this practice will only add to the employee’s financial burden in the future.

However, employers can offer an alternative for employees in need. By instituting a cash advance program in the workplace, employers can provide a lower risk option for employees who are in need of emergency funds. Generally, employers who offer such a program give employees either cash or a cashier’s check for an agreed-upon amount, and then withhold a percentage of upcoming paychecks to pay off the loan. The employee is not charged interest, so essentially he is simply receiving part of his paycheck early.

Advantages for the Company

From the company’s perspective, instituting a cash advance program as an employee benefit can have several advantages. For one, it sends a message to employees that the company cares about employees’ well-being and is willing to help them manage their finances by giving them a low-risk option for borrowing money. In addition, it encourages employees to turn to the company first when faced with a problem, building a sense of loyalty between the employee and the company.

Another advantage for the company is that this type of program gives employees the impression that the company is doing well. In order to fund cash advance requests, the company would need to have the financial stability to lend the money. Thus, employees are reassured that the company is financially strong.

In addition, adding a cash advance program as an employee benefit can help the company to stay competitive with employee recruiting and retention in an environment where many companies are cutting benefits rather than providing new ones.

Potential Downfalls

Though this can be a valuable program for your employees, it can also be a risky one. Any type of cash advance poses possible downfalls for the borrower. Though there are times when emergency cash is necessary, employees need to remember that a payroll advance will leave them with less money on their next paycheck—which could start a vicious cycle of borrowing (or charging) what they don’t already have. Therefore, though this program can be convenient for the average employee and may seem like a lifesaver for struggling employees, it could potentially do more harm than good for those in serious financial trouble. Then, rather than providing a positive service for the employee, the company is actually enabling risky, damaging financial behavior.

From the employer’s perspective, lending money always has potential risks, such as not getting repaid. Most such programs have the employee repay by allowing the employer to deduct from their next paycheck, but what if the employer borrows a large amount and then quits? Though such a scenario is unlikely, it is something to be considered when deciding whether to implement a cash advance program.

Solutions

To avoid any of the possible pitfalls of a cash advance program, it is important for employers to take proactive steps in educating employees on the benefits and dangers of a cash advance. Employers should offer educational material about financial planning when an employee seeks a cash advance, or consider offering free financial planning classes to encourage employees to manage their funds wisely.

Additionally, employers should consult with an attorney to create a contract that employees must sign prior to receiving a cash advance. This will offer legal protection for an employer whose employee quits shortly after receiving a cash advance.

For information regarding fringe benefits or for educational material regarding employee financial planning, contact your The SIG Insurance Agencies representative.

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Cash Advances

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It’s not unusual to find the Medicare enrollment process a bit daunting. All those letters and parts can get pretty confusing, and you want to make the choice that will be best for you. Here’s how to determine what will fit your circumstances when you’re signing up for health care.

Begin with Basics

There are two terms used to describe basic Medicare: Original Medicare and Traditional Medicare. They refer to the package you sign up for on or around your 65th birthday, which is Parts A and B. US News explains if you already receive Social Security benefits you will automatically start receiving Medicare coverage the month you turn 65. Otherwise, most seniors need to enroll within the seven-month window surrounding their birthdays, beginning three months prior to the birth month. For seniors who wait to enroll after their birthday but within the enrollment window, coverage begins in accordance with when they enroll.

If you or your spouse is still working when you turn 65 and you receive healthcare coverage through an employer, you have until eight months after that coverage ends to enroll in Medicare.

Missing your enrollment deadline will mean paying penalties for the rest of your life, so timely enrollment in Medicare is very important.

How Much Is It?

Parts A and B are provided through the government, and if you worked 40 quarters or more, Medicare Part A is free. It covers your hospital stays and related charges. Part B covers outpatient services, and the cost is determined by your income.

Beyond Basic Coverage

There are two more parts of Medicare, Part C and Part D. These are designed to cover things Parts A and B do not. However, Parts C and D are through private insurers who must meet government guidelines in what they offer.

One example of Part C insurance is Medigap, and it includes several plans to help cover costs Medicare does not. One of the nice things about Medigap is it works in conjunction with Parts A and B. Some plans provide coverage for emergencies during foreign travel, and when you’re exploring your options, note Plans F and G offer a broader range of benefits than the other choices. Plan F offers a high-deductible option, but once you meet that deductible, it covers your Part B deductible while G does not.

Another Part C option is Medicare Advantage. This confuses many seniors, but as Investopedia explains, there are differences between Medigap and Medicare Advantage, with pros and cons to each. While Medigap works alongside Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage replaces them.

Sometimes, Medigap costs more per month than Medicare Advantage but also might equate to less out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Advantage will limit what healthcare providers you see as well, so before going that route you should verify your physicians are covered.

Last, But Not Least

Part D is the last of the four Medicare parts, and it is private insurance covering prescription drugs. If you’re trying to decide whether it would benefit you, one suggestion is to examine the drugs covered by Parts B and D, in comparison with your personal needs.

All Part D providers are required to cover at least two medications in each of the six drug classes. So, for instance, if you’re on an anti-seizure medication, an antidepressant, or in chemotherapy, you might want to see if the medication you’re taking is covered, or if there is a comparable drug your doctor might switch you to.

Time to Change?

If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you aren’t stuck with your decisions. The open enrollment period runs from January 1st through March 31st every year. If you want to make changes after examining your situation, you can do so during that time.

Medicare can be pretty confusing. Begin by ensuring you enroll on time, and choose supplemental plans in accordance with your circumstances. Thanks to your careful research, you can rest assured you’ll have the healthcare coverage you need.