Cybersecurity Insurance FAQ

In the digital age, data is worth more than gold. News of a breach in security and the leaking of customers’ private and confidential information can bring down the value of stocks (just think of what happened to Facebook!). Companies can also lose valuable business information, while e-commerce companies will have to shut down websites and lose their profit until the security breach is resolved.

That’s why cybersecurity insurance (sometimes called data-breach liability insurance) has become so critical to businesses today. It’s one of the newest types of insurance coverage, so a lot of people struggle to understand what it does and the kind of protection it offers. This simple guide to cybersecurity insurance can help.

What Is Cybersecurity Insurance?

This insurance policy provides coverage for instances when companies lose data because of a security lapse, cyber attack, or a problem with the network. Since these problems can impact revenue, and cost money to resolve, cybersecurity insurance coverage can help mitigate the financial loss.  

How do I know my company needs Cybersecurity Insurance?

While big commerce companies like Amazon or corporate giants like Facebook or Citibank obviously have cybersecurity insurance, even small or medium-sized companies can benefit from it. In fact, studies show that 7 out of 10 cyber attacks are actually directed at smaller organizations, which don’t have very high-tech security systems or internal IT departments that can resolve the issue quickly.

Smaller companies are not only more vulnerable to attacks but are more likely to be financially affected. The cost of investigating and fixing a cyber issue, or shutting down business until it’s resolved, has a huge impact on businesses that already have modest revenue margins. Cybersecurity insurance is a much-needed safety net.

What are the kinds of Cybersecurity insurance?

Insurance companies usually offer a combination of first party and third party cybersecurity insurance. First party coverage includes any data or software that was damaged or has even become irretrievable and any revenues that may have been lost because of the cyber attack. Third party coverage addresses the impact on employees, customers, and public relations.  

However,  it is difficult to put a concrete monetary value on “loss of reputation, brand equity or business opportunity”. That’s why it’s often not included in cybersecurity insurance, or must be quantified with several insurance riders. Most providers will have a list of scenarios that will be covered, and leave out gray areas like stolen product designs. After all, who would be able to know how valuable a yet-to-be-executed idea or strategy is?   

How do I get cybersecurity insurance?  

Many large insurance companies already offer this, so just ask your existing provider about the available plans. However, include your corporate lawyer and the person in charge of your digital assets to join you in the meeting and identify what level of cybersecurity insurance you need.  

It’s also important to compare quotes from different insurance providers since the cost of cybersecurity insurance varies wildly. Since it’s a new type of coverage, there’s no typical industry rate, and even the kinds of protection they offer can be quite different. Shop around to find the policy that best suits the needs of your business.

Advertisements

The Consequences of Not Properly Classifying Your Employees: The Differences Between 1099 and W-2 Classifications

There’s no denying the fact that some companies classify their employees incorrectly, often by listing them as freelance workers rather than regular full-time employees (meaning that they receive a 1099 rather than the W-2 form that most people are accustomed to receiving).

There are quite a few consequences to misclassifying employees, and some of them can be quite serious (both for you and your employees) so in order to better help you understand the ramifications of classifying your employees we’re going to discuss the differences between these two classifications and then go over some of the consequences for improper classifications.

Regular Employees versus Independent Contractors: What’s the difference?

Most improper classifications occur when ordinary employees (who work either full-time or part-time for a company) are classified as independent contractors rather than regular employees.

The primary difference between these two classifications comes down to payroll taxes. When you’re an ordinary employee, your payroll taxes are calculated and deducted automatically out of your regular paycheck (and this amount will later be shown on the W-2 you receive from your employer). When you’re an independent contractor, however, you receive a 1099 and are responsible for calculating your own payroll taxes and then keeping your state government apprised as to the specific amount.

In regards to determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor, the primary question to ask is “who is this person working for?”.

If they are employed directly by your company (for example, if they report directly to someone for assignments, have a set schedule, tools for the work are provided by the company, and so on), then they are probably an employee. Alternatively, if they are someone the company has hired from the outside, such as a freelancer (who has other clients, works according to their own timetable and using their own methods, could turn down assignments or walk away entirely if they felt like it, and has no real boss other than themselves) then they are likely an independent contractor.

In any case, employee misclassification occurs when regular employees are classified are independent contractors or vice versa.

This is sometimes done accidentally, but also sometimes deliberately (generally in an attempt to save money on the company’s part but also for certain tax reasons). Either way, there can be serious consequences for both employee and employer when workers are not properly classified; we have some of these potential consequences listed up next.

Consequences of Not Classifying Employees Properly

There are quite a few serious consequences that can come from misclassifying employees, regardless of whether it happens accidentally or is done deliberately. Some of these potential consequences are as follows:

Your employee has not been paid correctly. Often, an employee who has been incorrectly classified does not receive the pay that they are due (a lack of compensation for overtime, in particular, is a common problem).

Taxes have not been reported correctly. When an employee is misclassified, it causes problems for the employee’s taxes (as well as for your company’s taxes where that employee is concerned).

Appropriate benefits have not been given to the employee. If an employee is misclassified as a contractor, they might miss out on retirement and health insurance benefits that they are entitled to. They might also end up exempt from OSHA safety measures that they should be protected by.

You will have to pay fee and fines for incorrect classifications. The government has very steep fines when it comes to incorrect employee classifications. In fact, according to various sources (including the IRS), an employer can end up paying over forty percent of a worker’s wages in the form of back taxes if they are misclassified. Furthermore, if this improper classification was done deliberately, the company may even face criminal charges.

Ultimately, it’s far preferable to take the time to classify your employees correctly from the start; this will save both your and the employee in question a lot of time and stress.   

Saving money is a vital concern for nearly everyone in these difficult times. Because of this, it is important that you find the best possible rate for your auto and homeowners insurance policy. Luckily, it is much easier to find a great rate for insurance now than ever before. Give Enloe & Associates Insurance Agency a call today (405-261-1010).

Different Types of Insurance

There are several types of insurance that you need to know about. It is important to get the right insurance to meet your needs. You should talk to a financial advisor or other professional about insurance. Here are the various types of insurance you benefit from having a clear understanding.

Life Insurance

When you get life insurance, you are providing the people that you leave behind when you pass away. This sort of insurance is critical if you are the person in the home that is making the money and paying the bills. Your insurance policy will help pay for funeral expenses, cover existing expenses, and it provides a cushion for your family so that they can recover after you have passed away. It is important to get insurance that will not only cover funeral expenses, but will cover other expenses such as regular living expenses, credit card, mortgage payments, child care, and other expenses. You can talk to an advisor about the different types of life insurance that would be well-suited for you.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance will cover damages and losses to your home and assets within the home. Homeowners insurance also covers liability for accidents on the property or in the home. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender is going to want proof that you have insurance on your property. You usually get this from a bank or it can be purchased separately. It is important to know the various options of homeowners insurance before you sign up as policies can be different.

Health Insurance

It is also important to have health insurance as illness can be very expensive. You should try to get the best coverage possible. You may get health insurance through your work, but if you do not have it already, you should consider getting it as soon as possible, as it is a type of insurance that you want to have. You may find yourself bankrupt if you get sick and do not have insurance because you may be unable to pay your bills. If you cannot afford a robust policy, even a policy with minimal coverage can be beneficial. Other types of health insurance may include long-term disability coverage if you happen to have a long-term illness or disability that prevents you from working for a significant period of time.

Auto Insurance

In most places, you cannot drive a vehicle without having auto insurance. This not only protects you, but the other drivers on the road. If you do not have insurance, you will most likely be liable for an accident, and this may include paying for injuries of other parties. In some places, if you try to drive without insurance, you may have your license suspended or even taken away. Like homeowners insurance, auto insurance is there to protect you.

Summary

These are the basic types of insurance that you should know about. Talk to your financial advisor or another professional about the various options available to you for insurance. There are many different policies, so you want to get the best one that works for you.

The Danger that is Uninsured Motorists

No one is safe from car accidents. No matter how well one drives, they are just one driver out of millions in the United States, and the risk of getting into an accident remains. This is why minimum liability insurance is the bare minimum policy that is required by law in every state with most states requiring higher amounts of protection.

A frightening trend is that uninsured motorists are back on the rise in the US. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the newest set of data indicates that 13%, or just over one in eight, of drivers were uninsured in 2015. While also violating the law, these uninsured motorists put themselves and the drivers around them in financial danger by continuing to drive uninsured.

Dangers to Themselves

Uninsured motorists are putting themselves in the most danger. From a legal perspective, being caught driving uninsured has severe consequences that vary from state to state. These can include thousands of dollars in fines, having the driver’s license suspended or revoked, or jail time.

There is more than only legal danger for uninsured motorists. Driving without an insurance policy means that there is no financial protection from an insurance agency should the driver get into an car accident. An uninsured motorist can find themselves liable for thousands of dollars in repair costs for both vehicles if they are at fault in an accident with another vehicle.

Dangers to Other Motorists

Uninsured motorists are a danger to those around them. While uninsured motorists should be liable for accidents they cause, often it is insured drivers and their insurance companies that are left paying for repairs.The only real way to recoup expenses for the insured driver is to take the uninsured driver to court.

According to CBS, drivers in the US end up paying about $12 billion due to uninsured motorists per year, and this figure does not include legal fees of taking uninsured motorists to court. Uninsured motorists add $67 to a typical policyholder’s annual bill.

Conclusion

While uninsured motorists put themselves in potential severe legal and financial danger by driving without a policy, they are also a danger to insured motorists. While there are measures that can be taken such as uninsured/underinsured protection coverage, uninsured motorists pose a danger to those around them. No one is safe from an auto accident, and with 13% of US drivers being uninsured, insured motorists have a dangerous chance of getting into an accident with them. With the number of uninsured motorists back on the rise, it is unknown how much more financial damage will be caused in the coming years.

Home Warranty vs. Home Insurance

When someone buys a home, they are putting in an investment into their own or their family’s future. As a homeowner, it is important to be able to maintain this investment by protecting the house and the possessions inside. This maintenance can be accomplished through tools such as home warranty and home insurance. Understanding the dichotomy between the two and how to use each to protect your home is important if you are looking for the strongest protection of your home.

What’s the Difference?

Homeowner warranties protect home appliances and systems from breakdowns caused by the normal wear and tear they go through during the owner’s everyday life. If the garbage disposal stops working, a home warranty may cover it as long as it is covered under the policy.

On the other hand, homeowner insurance protects the house and its contents from atypical phenomenon such as flooding, fire, or storms. If the house catches fire, home insurance will help pay to replace the house and its contents. Knowing and understanding which type of policy applies to your specific situation will better enable you to protect what you own.

Why Buy a Home Warranty Policy

The most important fact to understand about home warranty is that it comes into play through the expected wear and tear of regular use of the appliance/system. It does not protect from the unusual events that are covered by insurance.

However, this means that a homeowner warranty is more universally applicable. Appliances break. Systems stop working through no direct fault of the homeowner. These types of occurrences are a part of regular life, and these are what a home warranty covers. If one day your electrical system stops working because it got worn out, your applicable home warranty can cover that. Dishwasher breaks? The warranty can cover that. Through a homeowner warranty, a homeowner is protecting themselves and their finances from the appliances and systems giving out due to regular expected use.

Why Buy a Home Insurance Policy

Home insurance policies, while only applicable in specific circumstances, give a greater amount of protection. An inch of floodwater can cause extreme damage to the house and the belongings found inside. The insurance policy is replacing all sorts of items damaged by the circumstance. Homeowner insurance protects a homeowner and their finances from the worst circumstances that could potentially cost them everything in their home.

Conclusion

Both a home warranty policy and home insurance policy are important for the maintaining of your home. Whether it be through daily use or a major peril, a combination of these policies can extend your protection to cover nearly all circumstances. Both of these types of policies are designed to protect homeowners from the unexpected.

While it is always important for each homeowner to understand the specific limitations that these types of policies have, that does not lower the value and importance that these types of policies bring. If you do not have one or both of these types of protection policies for your home, consult your local agent to figure out a policy that works best for your home.

Workers Compensation Case Study: Injury Sustained at a Work Function Away from Work

If an employee sustains an injury at a voluntary team building work function, can the employer be held responsible for workers compensation? The case study of Stephen Gordon examines this question.

Stephen Gordon worked for a sales organization that was holding an event at a local go-karting facility. The event was completely voluntary. Stephen suggested that the purpose of the event was to build rapport and boost morale amongst employees. It was intended to reward employees for their hard work and success.

During the event, Stephen Gordon and other employees participated in go-kart races that were incentivized by prizes awarded to the fastest times. During Stephen’s race, he lost control of the go-kart and collided with the railing, forcing him from his go-kart. Following the injury, Stephen felt okay and continued to participate in the rest of the event (though he could not finish the race).

In the following weeks Stephen visited the hospital multiple times and eventually had to undergo surgery to remove fluid from a punctured lung that was the result of a rib fracture. This injury required Stephen to miss time from work for which he was compensated.

Stephen later filed for workers compensation and was heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ). Stephen argued that while the work event was not mandatory, there was some pressure to attend the event and to demonstrate your commitment to the team. He further argued that while racing was not mandated, it was encouraged and further incentivized by prizes.

The ALJ found that Stephen’s injuries arose during the course of his work day and further agreed that while the event was not mandatory, there was some pressure to attend the event and also to participate in activities at the event.

The employer appealed the case, however, the appealit judge upheld the original ruling and agreed that there was substantial evidence to support the finding that while the event was not mandatory, employees were encouraged to attend the event and incentivized to race at the event.

Ultimately the courts sided with Stephen and he was awarded a 15% disability. It’s important that businesses and employees recognize that the company can be held responsible for injuries sustained to employees while on the clock. It does not matter whether or not the employee is at a voluntary event or not. If the employee is being paid and a judge can rule that there was some pressure for the employee to attend the event, then the company will be held liable for any injuries sustained during that time.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

When it rains, it pours. Often times life can find ways to push us down when we least expect it. Because of this, we often have to take preventative measures in order to maintain control when events go awry. Flood insurance is one of those preventative measures that can keep you afloat when life sends its worst at you.

Who Needs Flood Insurance?

Every home is vulnerable to flooding. Just an inch of water can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Some are more susceptible than others, but no home is flood-proof. Nearly one fourth of the claims made to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) come from outside high-flood risk areas and receive a third of flood-related federal disaster assistance. Given this, everyone should consider purchasing flood insurance for their home, even if it is not required for their mortgage.

Cost

According to the NFIP, one foot of water could cause $27,150 of damage to a 1,000-square-foot home with the average claim being higher than $38,000. Without flood insurance, this cost crashing down all at once will greatly damage a family’s finances. With so many homes being susceptible to flooding, including those in moderate to low-risk zones, flood insurance is worth the investment.

The average annual cost of flood insurance is about $700. Policies for homeowners in moderate to low-risk areas usually cost less than $500 a year. This makes the decision of purchasing flood insurance a weighing of two costs. Given that the average claim for flood insurance is higher than $38,000, this covers over 50 years of the average flood insurance premium. With this put together, if you feel there is any risk at all of your home being flooded, flood insurance is a wise investment to make.

What does Flood Insurance Cover?

While every policy will vary with different coverages and premiums, the NFIP gives a strong standard of what the typical flood insurance policy looks like. If you would like a full list of what is covered under a typical flood insurance policy, refer to this NFIP fact sheet.

The items on this sheet refer to building and personal properties, among those being the electrical and plumbing systems, furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, foundation walls, well water tanks, clothing, furniture, electronic equipment, portable appliances, clothes washers and dryers, and certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, flood insurance is a valuable safety net for nearly everyone. Your policy has the ability to save you thousands of dollars out of pocket and covers a wide assortment of items. If you do not have flood insurance, consider getting an estimate from the NFIP or a private insurance agency. It may just save you when life sends its worst.