Crime Insurance

Increased Need for Crime Insurance for Small Businesses

Diligence is the key to preventing losses

Since the 2008 economic decline, there has been a sharp rise in crimes by employees and third parties. Fueled by the fear of unemployment, workers are fighting back against their employers. They’re more likely to take what they feel they deserve because of the work they’ve done for their company over the years. Not surprisingly, many companies are taking a closer look at risk controls to cut unnecessary costs and uncovering theft issues that may have been undetected in the past.

The majority of people who commit these crimes are not professional criminals. Rather, they’re in a financial  bind and tend to rationalize such behavior as borrowing the money until they can pay it back.

Small businesses must take all necessary precautions to prevent employee theft and fraud. To this, they must address the fraud risks or their policy limits to adjust for the related losses. Only one in four private companies buys crime insurance. Stand alone crime policies are better than crime coverage added to Business Owners Policies (BOPs).

One way to determine an appropriate crime limit is to assume 5 percent of the company’s revenue will be the cost of fraud, and include that amount in the limit. Another way is to use organizations like Advisen that can evaluate a client’s cash flow, number of employees and business locations, employee turnover rates, and effectiveness to its internal risk controls.

Risk controls to minimize employee fraud:

  • Use prenumbered checks typed or numbers written in permanent ink
  • Be aware of employees who object strongly to new policies concerning financial, inventory, or supply matters
  • Employees with duties that  include check preparation or distribution should not reconcile the bank checking account
  • Improve background checks of job applicants
  • Separate receiving, store keeping, and shipping functions. Complete physical inventories annually and assign them to an individual who is not responsible for inventory records.
  • Be aware of employees who exhibit signs of compulsive gambling, persistent borrowing, or repeated requests for salary advances.
  • Separate mail opening and posting functions
  • Record checks and cash in appropriate registers and stamp checks for deposit only
  • Be aware of employees who suddenly want to work late

Source: Russ Banham, Independent Agent

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Categories: Crime, Risk Management, Small Business, Technology, Theft

Tech Company Advertising Injury Coverage

Why it’s necessary

The standard General Liability policy covers personal injury and advertising injury unless the insured is in the business of advertising, broadcasting, publishing, or telecasting. For this reason, there is no coverage for IT firms that are in the business of designing websites, determining content, providing content, or providing internet access.

Advertising InjuryWhy do tech firms need personal injury coverage? Coverage may be needed to against an allegation of slander, libel, or oral or written publication that violates a person’s right of privacy. It is not too difficult to see how a tech firm could get sued under these circumstances. Coverage may also be needed for advertisement injury to protect against allegation of infringement of copyright, trade dress, or slogan in your advertisement. The key word is advertisement. There is no coverage for infringement of copyright, trade mark, trade dress, or slogan unless they occur in an advertisement.

What’s not covered

An exclusion in the policy form eliminates coverage for injury arising out of electronic chat rooms or bulletin boards that the insured hosts, owns, or exercises control over. In addition, there is an exclusion arising out of the unauthorized use of another’s name or product in your email address, domain name, meta tag, or similar tactic used to mislead the someone else’s potential customers.

It is obvious that the standard General Liability form does not adequately protect tech companies or IT professionals against these important exposures. As a result, coverage can be sought as part of a Professional Liability or Errors & Omissions policy form. These policies can add essential coverages for tech firms in the business of advertising or publishing and violation of a person’s right of privacy or undue publicity, intellectual property infringements, etc.

It is strongly recommended that tech companies or IT professionals deal with a tech insurance specialist to make sure that their coverage needs are addressed.

 

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Categories: Advertising Injury, Errors & Ommissions, Personal / Advertising Injury, Professional Liability, Technology

Loss of Electronic Data

It’s not covered under a General Liability policy

Standard business General Liability policies don’t adequately cover the liability risk of property damage to electronic data.

Service or contracting businesses can cause property damage resulting in loss of or damage to a third party’s digital data that is housed on their computer system. This exposure is not limited to IT firms.

Understanding the terminology

The term property damage used on standard General Liability forms is defined as

  • physical injury to tangible property including loss of use thereof; and
  • loss of use of tangible property that is not injured.

According to these definitions, electronic data is not tangible property.

Electronic data is information, facts, or programs stored as or on, created or used on, or transmitted to or from computer software, hard discs, CD-ROMS, tapes, drives, cells, data processing devices, or any other media used with electronically controlled equipment.

What you can do

This problem can be resolved by the addition of various endorsements to cover property damage to electronic data. The cost is usually minimal.

However, some General Liability carriers that cater to IT firms will not add the endorsements. As a result, IT firms may need to verify that their Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions Liability) policy will cover this exposure. The key is to locate the definition of “tangible property” and find out if electronic data is included.

 

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Categories: General Liability, Professional Liability, Technology
Cyber Liability Insurance

Insider hacking poses huge cyber risk

Insiders account for most cyber theft losses

Outside hackers, whether domestic or part of criminal gangs in Eastern Europe and Asia, get most of the media attention. However, a bigger cyber risk is inside jobs by a company’s own employees. These crimes account for 70 percent of all security incidents that result in losses, according to some sources.

This is known as authorized access for unauthorized use.

Disgruntled or simply dishonest employees, independent contractors, or employees of independent contractors may steal confidential information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, or proprietary information such as trade secrets or intellectual property.

Most Cyber Liability policies only cover unauthorized access by outsiders. Make sure that your policy also covers authorized access for unauthorized reasons.

For a assistance determining your coverage needs, please call us at 800-622-7370

 

Source: Do You Need Coverage For Cyber Risks? The John Liner Letter, Vol. 43, No. 7, June 2006.

 

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Categories: Breach Of Security, Crime, Cyber Liability

Risks in Our Digital Information Economy

Defending digital assets against cyber crime

Anyone with access to a computer, tablet or smart phone can buy goods online, pay electronically and request information from corporate networks. Business websites that don’t have proper management and security systems in place provide entryways to the valuable information they have amassed.

 The data companies spend years gathering is a valuable business asset – and even a small gap in security can pose a huge risk. Cyber criminals waste no time figuring out new ways of exploiting weaknesses in the technologies that businesses spend billions of dollars on to stay ahead in the e-commerce world.

 E-criminals

 Tech-savvy criminals recognize the value of digital information and look for ways to steal it. They commit their crimes by exploiting security hiccups in corporate systems or by using malicious code to infiltrate computer networks. Smart phone and wireless technologies are being utilized by wider numbers of people, presenting increasingly tempting targets. What were once attacks on operating systems are now attacks on apps, database software, and even antivirus programs. Their motivation is simple: go where the money is. The confidential information these business amass provide a nearly infinite source of illicit profits for e-criminals.

Malware

One tactic e-criminals take is to leave behind bits of code called Trojan horses that track the keystrokes of the user to steal passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers and other confidential information. Criminals are also able to control the systems of huge groups of personal computers by infecting them with malware. They cover their tracks by using thousands of personal computers to launch such attacks. Once discovered and shut down, they simply move on to another group of computers.

These threats are major concerns for both businesses and consumers. Companies that depend on the Internet for their livelihood can be devastated by attacks that shut down their web sites. Companies depending on seasonal sales can’t afford a malfunction or shutdown at the wrong time, as evidenced in the Target hack during the 2013 Christmas season. Such security breaches can result in huge financial losses in damage repair and lost business from gun-shy from consumers and clients.

 What businesses can do

A Technology Insurance policy costs almost nothing in comparison to the financial devastation from which it will protect your business.Seven out of 10 small businesses that experience a major data breach fail within one year. Don’t let that happen to you.

Call us at 800-622-7370 so we can help you assess your level of risk. In just minutes you’ll learn how our affordable Cyber Risk Insurance can protect your business from e-criminals and loss of property.

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Categories: Breach Of Security, Crime, Cyber Liability, Tech Insurance

Escalating threats from digital exposure

Vigilance required to combat ever-emerging risks

News broke of what is currently the biggest collection of stolen digital information to date. As more and more industries and businesses become more information-based, the information value and ease with which it is transmitted creates new risks. Criminals apparently never lack for creative ways to turn stolen data into profits, finding increasingly sophisticated ways to collect personal and proprietary information from corporate networks.

Fallout from stolen information

Failure to adequately protect sensitive information can result not only in lost sales and customers, but in claims and lawsuits for the losses sustained by customers and the general public. Fears about privacy and identity theft have resulted in state and federal legislation regarding the collection, management and protection of sensitive data. These new regulations have had a significant impact on businesses, which now face heavy fines and lawsuits in the event of security failures. Businesses also risk damage to their reputations because of laws requiring require them to publicize such breaches.

Realize the value of your information

Criminals look at corporate websites as gateways to massive information from which they can profit. While businesses spend billions of dollars to strengthen their security, criminals stay one step ahead, developing new methods of attack. Companies spend years, or even decades, gathering data. This data is an extremely valuable asset that must be protected. Businesses can no longer depend on traditional insurance policies to protect against technology risks. Most insurers exclude electronic theft from their standard policy forms. To deal with these risks, businesses need coverages specifically aimed at the inherent risks of our digital economy.

In upcoming articles I will discusses the vulnerable areas that require diligent attention by business owners, tips for improving security, and what the insurance industry is doing to help protect against these ever-evolving risks.

If you would like assistance in assessing coverage to protect your business or have questions regarding your current coverage, please call us at 800-622-7370

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Categories: Breach Of Security, Crime, Loss Control, Risk Management, Theft