10 Cyber Security Resolutions to Reduce Your Data Exposures

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 webpages 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.

If you have any more questions regarding cyber security for your business, or personal coverage, please contact Scott Garcia, our cybersecurity advisor, to discuss your coverage. Call (860) 430-3330 or email him sgarcia@smithbrothersusa.com Or, visit https://smithbrothersusa.com/. We will be happy to help answer your questions, review your insurance policies, or provide you a free insurance quote!

 

This Cyber Risks & Liabilities document is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Cyber Security for Small Businesses

High-profile cyber attacks on companies such as Target and Sears have raised awareness of the growing threat of cyber crime. Recent surveys conducted by the Small Business Authority, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab and the National Cybersecurity Alliance suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security.

 

The statistics of these studies are grim; the vast majority of U.S. small businesses lack a formal internet security policy for employees, and only about half have even rudimentary cyber security measures in place. Furthermore, only about a quarter of small business owners have had an outside party test their computer systems to ensure they are hacker proof, and nearly 40% do not have their data backed up in more than one location.

 

Don’t Equate Small with Safe

 

Despite significant cyber security exposures, 85% of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a data breach. This disconnect is largely due to the widespread, albeit mistaken, belief that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber attacks. In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Symantec’s study found that 43% of attacks are against organizations with fewer than 250 employees.

 

Outside sources like hackers aren’t the only way your company can be attacked—often, smaller companies have a family-like atmosphere and put too much trust in their employees. This can lead to complacency, which is exactly what a disgruntled or recently fired employee needs to execute an attack on the business.

 

Attacks Could Destroy Your Business

 

As large companies continue to get serious about data security, small businesses are becoming increasingly attractive targets—and the results are often devastating for small business owners.

 

According to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, the average annual cost of cyber attacks for small and medium-sized businesses is over $2 million. Most small businesses don’t have that kind of money lying around, and as a result, nearly 60% of small businesses victimized by a cyber attack close permanently within six months of the attack. Many of these businesses put off making necessary improvements to their cyber security protocols until it was too late because they feared the costs would be prohibitive.

 

10 Ways to Prevent Cyber Attacks

 

Even if you don’t currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to test your computer systems and make security recommendations, there are simple, economical steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a costly cyber attack:

 

1. Train employees in cyber security principles.
2. Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business.
3. Use a firewall for your internet connection.
4. Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
5. Make backup copies of important business data and information.
6. Control physical access to your computers and network components.
7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden.
8. Require individual user accounts for each employee.
9. Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.
10. Regularly change passwords.

 

In addition to the listed tips, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a tool for small businesses that can create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns. It can be found at www.fcc.gov/cyberplanner.

 

Your Emerging Technology Partner

 

A data breach could cripple your small business, costing you thousands or millions of dollars in lost sales and/or damages. We have the tools necessary to ensure you have the proper coverage to protect your company against losses from cyber attacks.

Contact us today to for additional cyber risk management guidance and insurance solutions. If you are running a small business, it is crucial to have protection against cyber crimes. With cyber attacks on the rise, you don’t want to be a target! Contact Scott Garcia, our cybersecurity advisor, to discuss your coverage. Call (860) 430-3330 or email him sgarcia@smithbrothersusa.com

Or, visit https://smithbrothersusa.com/. We will be happy to help answer your questions, review your insurance policies, or provide you a free insurance quote!

 

This Cyber Risks & Liabilities document is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2012, 2014 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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4 Components of Cyber Risk Management

If your company stores data and information digitally, you should have a cyber risk management program that addresses prevention, disclosure, crisis management and insurance coverage in the event of a data breach. Good cyber risk management requires the planning and execution of all 4 of these components.

 

1. Develop Strategies to Prevent a Data Breach

 

Your data breach prevention strategies may include encrypting all devices used by your employees, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. Encrypting these devices will prevent unauthorized access if a device is lost or stolen. Unencrypted devices are often not covered by a cyber liability policy, so make sure you know whether you need to encrypt the devices or not. Your strategies may also include educating employees about phishing and pharming scams. Remind them not to click on anything that looks suspicious or seems too good to be true. Analyze your cyber risks from three different perspectives: technology, people and processes. This risk assessment will give you a clear picture of potential holes in your security. Revisit and revise your plan regularly, because new risks arise often, sometimes even daily.

 

2. Know Your Disclosure Responsibilities

 

You are required to notify certain people. If your company is publicly traded, guidelines issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) make it clear that you must report cyber security incidents to stockholders—even when your company is only at risk of an incident. The SEC advises timely, comprehensive and accurate disclosure about risks and events that would be important for an investor or client to know. It’s important to evaluate what information and how much detail should be released. Notifying a broad base when it is not required could cause unnecessary concern for those who have not been affected by the breach. Some extreme cases of a data breach may cause you to go further than just assessing and disclosing the information. You may have to destruct or alter data depending on its sensitivity.

 

3. Have a Crisis Management and Response Plan

 

Preparedness is key when developing your cyber risk management program. When you experience a data breach, you need to be prepared to respond quickly and appropriately. This is where your crisis management and response plan come into play. Determine when and how the breach occurred, what information was obtained and how many individuals were affected. Then assess the risks you face because of the data breach and how you will mitigate those risks.

 

While managing a crisis, let your clients know what actions you are taking, but also be sure you’re not disclosing too much information. It’s a delicate balance. Focus on improving future actions—this will restore trust in your stakeholders and clients. Your in-house lawyers, risk managers and IT department should work together to create and refine your plan. Everyone should be on board and know their responsibilities when a breach happens.

 

4. Protect Your Data—and Your Business

 

Your cyber risk management program should include cyber liability insurance coverage that fits the needs of your business. 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.

 

Your cyber liability insurance policy can be tailored to fit your unique situation and can be written to include the costs of disclosure after a data breach. To learn more about cyber liability insurance and how you can protect your business from a data breach, contact Scott Garcia, our cybersecurity advisor, to discuss your coverage. Call (860) 430-3330 or email him sgarcia@smithbrothersusa.com

Or, visit https://smithbrothersusa.com/. We will be happy to help answer your questions, review your insurance policies, or provide you a free insurance quote!

 

This Cyber Risks & Liabilities document is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2014 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Hiring a Contractor for Home Updates

If you own a home, then chances are at some point you will need to hire someone to do repair work on your home. At Smith Brothers Insurance we know that hiring a contractor or handyman to perform work on your home often comes with risks. Below are nine things for you to consider before you hire a contractor.

1. Get recommendations. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they have recently used a contractor, handyman, plumber, heating/air company, or an electrician and, if so, would they use that person or company again.  Ask your friends and family whether their project was completed on time and within their budget. Find out whether the contractor’s estimates were accurate.

2. Consult the internet. Internet reviews from satisfied, or unsatisfied, customers can tell you a great deal about a potential contractor. Review several websites that rate contractors and see what others have said about contractors you are considering.  Also, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against potential contractors.

3. Ask for references. Request the names and phone numbers of some recent clients for whom your contractor has completed a similar job. Ask the references if they were happy with the finished product. Ask whether anything has come up since the job was completed and if the contractor addressed the issue. Find out whether the final cost was reflective of the contractor’s estimate and whether the job was completed on time.

4. Find out if your contractor is licensed and insured. You want the contractor to be insured and to show you proof of insurance. If they aren’t insured, refer them to us for an insurance package!

5. Get Multiple Estimates. Get two to four estimates from different contractors.  Remember the old adage; you get what you pay for. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hire the most expensive contractor, but if one estimate is significantly less than all of the other estimates, that is a red flag.  That contractor may plan to use less quality materials or cut corners.  The contractor may have also intentionally underbid the job in an attempt to obtain your business, only to increase the price later.

6. Get it in writing. Never pay a contractor before you have a written contract outlining everything the contractor is going to do to your home.  The more specifically the work is identified, the better.  The contract should also specify the cost of all materials that will be used and provide start and completion dates.  Find out whether the contract price is an estimate, which may change during the course of the project, or a total cost for completion.  If the contract price is an estimate, then make sure the contract specifies that the job cannot exceed a specific amount.  Additionally, specify in the contract that no changes can be made, except in writing.  Make sure the contractor is providing a warranty on labor and materials and that it is spelled out in your contract, including who you need to contact to make a claim under the warranty; any limit on the amount of the warranty; and the length of the warranty.  The contract should also spell out all of the contractor’s duties.  For example, if you are having flooring replaced, then the contract must specify whether the contractor will be moving furniture and putting it back once the job is complete.  You will also want to specify whether the contractor is responsible for clean-up and disposal of all construction materials at the conclusion of the project.

7. Set a payment schedule in the contract. You never want to pay a contractor more than 50% up front.  Depending on the size of the job, your initial payment is ideally going to be no more than roughly 30% of the total cost of the project.  The contract should specify that each subsequent payment is only due after certain phases of the project have been completed and set out a time frame for each such phase to be completed.  If a bank will be providing a construction loan, make sure you have the right to approve each disbursement.  If the time comes for your next payment, or your contractor demands a subsequent payment from you, but the previous phase has not been completed, then you have the right to refuse payment until the contractor completes the phase for which you have already paid.  Always pay your contractor in a way that is traceable, i.e., with a check, credit card, or debit card.  Do not make the final payment to your contractor until you have verified that all work has been completed and is acceptable.

8. Extras. Be aware that when you ask for upgrades or additional work, you are going to have to pay for that additional work. Often, once a project gets started, it is tempting to ask for upgraded materials or some extra work to be done.  If your contractor agrees, then you should find out how much the extra work or material is going to cost and get it in writing before the work is done.

9. Maintain good records. Keep a copy of your contract, all payments you have made, any additions or edits to the contract, and all correspondence with your contractor.  Even if you have had a conversation in person or over the phone, make sure you document that conversation with an email or letter to you. Hiring the right contractor will ensure that your project is completed successfully, as well as on time and on budget. All-together, this process can seem daunting. However, the time you spend searching and the detail you put into your contract will be reflected in the final product. It would be a headache to work with someone you can’t rely on. You could find yourself with an unfinished remodel or a maxed-out budget. Allow yourself the time to do your research and ask the necessary questions.

We insure many local contractors, and we would be happy to refer you to them. Just let us know what you are looking for and we can provide the reference. Once you have the updates complete, please let us know so we can update your insurance as well.

Source: https://hutchenslawfirm.com/blog/civil-law/smart-homeowners-9-tips-you-hire-contractor
https://seacoastconstruction.net/7-tips-for-hiring-a-reliable-general-contractor/
https://www.thespruce.com/tips-for-hiring-a-contractor-4156976

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How to prepare financially for the birth of a child

Are you financially prepared for a baby? Some couples have been planning ahead for years. For others, this level of preparation is unrealistic. Sometimes, pregnancy arrives unplanned and the next several months are a whirlwind.

Regardless of the time frame you’re working with, you’ll want to take certain steps to budget for a new baby and protect your growing family:

These financial preparedness tips for new parents can help you have fewer things to think about once your baby arrives. That way, you can focus on enjoying that special and fleeting time when a tiny human will depend on you completely.

Estimate the medical costs of pregnancy and delivery

As soon as possible, contact your health insurance provider to find out how your policy covers pregnancy and childbirth—specifically, what costs you’ll have to pay out of pocket under various scenarios.

For example, could you end up paying for genetic testing, an unplanned C-section, or an early delivery requiring neonatal intensive care? How do costs vary based on which doctors and hospitals provide your care? Now is also a good time to start researching and interviewing the pediatricians in your insurance network.

Along with your health insurance, two accounts with tax advantages can lessen the burden of these expenses.

“Depending on their employment status, new parents may have the ability to save pretax dollars via a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA) through their employer and use those savings to pay for qualified medical expenses associated with the birth of a child,” said Lou Giangrande, a financial professional with Charter Oak Financial in Norwalk, Connecticut. “HSAs have higher contribution limits and offer more flexibility.”

The downside? HSAs require you to have a high-deductible health insurance plan, which may not be advantageous in a year of above-average medical expenses. However, you don’t need to have a high-deductible health plan currently to use HSA funds you may have saved up previously.

Plan for short-term parental leave

Make sure you and your partner are up to date on how much paid parental leave, if any, your employers offer, as well as how much annual paid leave and sick leave you might be able to use immediately before and after your child’s birth. If you’re an independent contractor, small business owner, small business employee, or part-time employee, paid leave may not be an option.

While federal law in the United States requires covered employers to give qualified employees 12 weeks of family medical leave, that time off is unpaid and mainly serves to hold your job for you until you return to work. Some states offer more benefits.

In any case, it’s time to plan how to bridge the gap between how much paid time off you get, how much time you want to take off, and how much time you can realistically spend away from work given the demands of your job. Short-term disability insurance can provide a partial income during maternity leave. You may have coverage through your employer, or you may be able to purchase a private policy before becoming pregnant. If you have coverage through your employer, check to see how long you will have to wait until the short-term disability begins to pay and plan accordingly.

A dependent care FSA, if your employer offers this benefit, can provide a tax-advantaged way to pay for child care for parents who return to work.

Plan for a single-income household

For many families, both parents either want or need to return to work after having a child. What about parents who plan to leave the workforce for a longer term?

“Creating and adhering to a monthly budget can be an effective tool to help you build that cash surplus up over time,” Giangrande said. “My clients have achieved an enhanced level of clarity by putting their expenses into a spreadsheet and tracking them. It's allowed them to more effectively pinpoint the ways in which they are overspending and target the areas in which maybe they can save better.”

In addition to cutting expenses and increasing your savings, choosing full-time parenting may mean planning to replace certain benefits if the nonworking parent can’t get them through their spouse's or partner’s employer.

Map out the expenses of raising a baby

Your new baby will need many checkups during the first years of life. Talk with your human resources department or health insurance provider about how you will add your newborn child to your policy and what your new monthly premium and annual family deductibles will be. Having a baby makes you eligible for a special enrollment period, so you can sign up for health insurance or change your policy outside of the usual open enrollment dates.

Be mindful of insurance deductibles, coinsurance, and copays so that you’re prepared for these expenses. Many babies have challenges that require a visit to a specialist. Choosing in-network options whenever possible can keep costs down. Again, an HSA or FSA may help make these expenses more affordable. You’ll also be eligible for these 6 tax breaks for parents.

In addition to medical expenses, newborn and infant care requires a ton of supplies. But you don’t have to buy them all new or pay for everything yourself. Through baby showers and local parenting groups, you can acquire new and lightly used items for free or at a steep discount. Items that children outgrow quickly — like clothes, strollers, car seats, high chairs, cribs, baby monitors, and changing tables — can be especially easy to get this way.

Other supplies are best purchased new, including breast pumps, nasal aspirators, bottle nipples, changing pads, and crib pads. Sanitation is a concern for used items in these categories. Be sure to check with your health insurance carrier to see if you may be eligible to receive a new breast pump under the terms of your plan.

Make sure to check expiration dates, recalls, and the latest safety guidelines to ensure that none of your supplies are hazardous, especially car seats and cribs. Even shelf-stable items like baby food and formula can become dangerous if stored at the wrong temperature. No monetary trade-off to your child’s health or safety is worthwhile.

Evaluate changing insurance needs

“Having a child means you have more to protect, plain and simple,” Giangrande said. “If something were to happen to you or your spouse, what does that mean for the family?” If you have not already evaluated your life and disability income insurance needs, now is the time.

  • Disability insurance helps protect your family’s income if a working spouse or partner becomes too ill or injured to work.
  • Life insurance helps make sure that the unexpected loss of a parent doesn’t cause a financial strain.

Giangrande said he educates his clients about the expenses a surviving spouse may face after an untimely death, then bases insurance recommendations on factors such as debt, income, and future education expenses so that they can decide how much coverage they want for their family.

Soon-to-be parents should also make sure their affairs are in order when it comes to their basic estate planning documents, including wills and powers of attorneys and beneficiaries. It’s especially important to designate a guardian for your child in case both parents become unable to provide care.

While bringing a new human into the world is a huge responsibility that comes with so many to-do tasks, try not to lose sight of the great reason you’re tackling these adult chores. Taking these steps will ultimately help you relax and make the most of your first weeks and months with your new baby.

When it becomes time to grow your family and make changes to your personal insurance policies and finances, the advisors at Smith Brothers are available to help you make the right decisions. You can start the conversation by calling (860) 652-3235, or visiting our website.

Source: How to prepare financially for the birth of a child | MassMutual

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The Two Policies You Need As A Contractor

As you begin your business as a contractor or construction company, you are required by law to carry (at least) these two pieces of insurance—for your workers, and your clients, and your protection! The first non-negotiable piece of insurance you should have as a contractor is contractor’s liability insurance. Contractors liability insurance protects you if something goes wrong, or a piece of property is damaged during construction. Some of the typical claims that are covered by liability insurance include:
  • Damage Claims –The insurance covers the cost of repair for damages while doing work on client property.
  • Injury Claims – The contractor’s liability insurance covers any court judgments and medical or funeral expenses should anyone get injured while on duty. This is different from workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Job Completion Claims – In case the client feels the project doesn’t meet expected standards, the insurance will shoulder, in part or full, the cost of making needed adjustments. The second insurance policy that is required in most states for a contractor is workers' compensation coverage.
This coverage protects you and your workers from paying out of pocket for compensation, or medical bills should an accident happen on-site. Having this type of coverage in place protects you as an employer because it relinquishes your crew's right to sue you for negligence if they’re injured on the job. There are many additional types of commercial insurance coverage to explore as a contractor that protect you if something, unfortunately, goes wrong. To learn more about commercial umbrella insurance, fleet auto insurance, and more business policies, call Smith Brothers at (860) 652-3235 to speak with an agent, or find out more at https://smithbrothersusa.com/commercial-insurance/industry-specialties/#construction. Sources: https://www.letsbuild.com/blog/why-your-general-contractor-needs-to-have-insurance
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April is officially National Distracted Driving Awareness month

April is distracted driving awareness month. Here are some statistics about the critical issue of distracted driving and ways to cope with the distractions. Help spread the word: Just Drive.  Driving Dangers
  • Texting, emailing, accessing social media 
  • Watching videos or surfing the internet 
  • Snapping selfies 
  • Distracted driving, such as eating and drinking, putting on makeup, arguing with passengers, etc.
  • Inputting or reading GPS directions
  • Using the infotainment system, fiddling with the radio, etc. 
  • Impaired driving after drinking or drug use
  • Drowsy driving
Distracted Driving Statistics 
  • According to the National Safety Council, 80% of drivers incorrectly believe that hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. Hands-free drivers miss about 50% of what is happening around them as they drive and talk. 
  • 82% of Americans indicated that they felt pressure from their families to use phones while driving to keep in touch.
  • In the time you take your eyes off the road to read or send a text at 55 MPH, it is like driving the length of a football field blind.
  • Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.
  • 10 Americans are killed and more than 1,000 are injured every day in distracted driving incidents
  • 45% percent surveyed in AAA’s Traffic Study last year admitted to reading a text or email while driving in the previous 30 days, and 34.6 percent admitted typing or sending one.
Staying on Track How do you avoid distractions and help those you love to stay on track with constant potential distractions? 
  • Take a minute to prep before you drive. Before you take off, adjust your music, pair your phone, set up your GPS and note directions, check your texts/social media one last time, adjust your mirror and seat position. 
  • Utilize the driving safety features on your phone. Use Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or Android Auto.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. If you are still distracted by your phone, try putting it in the trunk or stowing it where it won’t tempt you.
  • Ask passengers for help. If you have passengers, ask them to read GPS, adjust the radio or answer phone calls/text
  • Pull over if you have to take a phone call or respond to an email/text.
  • Avoid driving while drowsy and late at night. To increase alertness, avoid driving alone on little sleep and, if you feel drowsy, take a nap at a rest stop or use caffeine for a short-term boost.
  • Pledge to “Just Drive”. Take the National Safety Council Pledge to “Just Drive” — and encourage everyone you care about to do the same.
For more information regarding auto insurance coverage provided by Smith Brothers, please call (860) 652-3235 or visit, https://smithbrothersusa.com/personal-insurance/. Information courtesy of https://www.mapfreinsurance.com/blog/distracted-driving-statistics-and-solutions/
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Should You Purchase Umbrella Insurance?

When it rains it pours. Just like an umbrella provides us extra protection when it’s raining, an umbrella insurance policy provides us extra protection when things go wrong. Say your dog gets out and bites someone, it’s your fault, and the other party sues you for injuries and medical bills. Your standard homeowners insurance policy will provide you with some liability coverage up to a limit set in the policy. However, what if the judgement against you is more than your policy will cover? You could lose all your savings and assets to pay! If you had umbrella insurance, it would pick up and pay where your standard policy left off.

Umbrella insurance can also cover other members of your family or household. If your teen isn’t the best driver yet, you can rest easy knowing your umbrella insurance will cover the injured parties’ medical bills if your child is responsible. You’re also covered worldwide with an umbrella insurance policy.

While some people are more at risk of being sued, everyone should have umbrella insurance, because everyone can be sued! Umbrella insurance is a small price to pay to sleep soundly at night knowing that your savings and assets are protected. The cost of an umbrella insurance policy varies. On average most $1 million policies will cost you between $150 and $300 per year. It is an extra $75 per year to add an additional $1 million, and another $50 per year for every extra $1 million in coverage beyond that.

Even the most careful people with the best intentions can end up on the hook for a huge judgement from a personal liability lawsuit. While the chances of ending up in this situation is slim for most people, it is still smart to protect yourself. Like the old saying goes, “better safe than sorry!”

Contact a Smith Brothers Insurance risk advisor at (860) 652-3235 or online at https://smithbrothersusa.com to start your free quote on umbrella insurance.

Sources:
https://www.iii.org/article/should-i-purchase-umbrella-liability-policy-0
https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/040115/how-umbrella-insurance-works.asp

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Reducing Your Cyber Risk

As businesses become more dependent on technology, the risk for cyberattacks increase. Cyberattacks pose financial and reputational risks to the business. The cost of data breaches worldwide for businesses of all sizes could cumulatively grow to $5 trillion by 2024. There are many cost effective ways to reduce your cyber risk.

  1. Understand Your Cyber Risks – Businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks through hacking, phishing, malware, and other methods.
  2. Train Employees – Your exposures can be reduced by having and enforcing a computer password policy for your employees.
  3. Update Software – Routinely check and upgrade major software.
  4. Create Back-Up Files and Store Off-Site – Create back-up files on an external hard drive or on a separate cloud account to help prevent ransomware.
  5. Proper Firewall and Antivirus Technology – Evaluate the security settings on your software, browser, and email programs.
  6. Data Breach Plan – Remind employees to periodically review the data breach detection tools installed on their computers. Ensure employees know if a data breach occurs they must notify the business immediately.
  7. Cyber Security Insurance – Protect your business with the appropriate cyber security insurance to provide protection for the costs associated with data breaches and ransomware.

When your business is in the market for a cyber insurance policy, or looking to renew an existing policy, Smith Brother’s cyber security advisor, Scott Garcia, will consider all the risks your business faces. Contact Scott at (860) 430-3330 or email him at sgarcia@smithbrothersusa.com to discuss your cyber liability coverage!

Source: https://www.iii.org/press-release/is-your-business-cyber-resilient-iii-offers-7-ways-businesses-can-reduce-their-risks-100819
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Shank & Falvey Insurance joins Smith Brothers Insurance

Glastonbury, CT – January 1, 2021 – Smith Brothers Insurance has acquired New York based independent insurance broker Shank & Falvey Insurance, with locations in East Greenbush and Kinderhook. The acquisition expands Smith Brothers’ footprint in upstate New York and allows Shank & Falvey to maintain local presence, while leveraging the resources of Smith Brothers, one of the nation’s Top 100 independent brokers.

Chuck Shank will be fully engaged in client service, business development, and continue to serve clients with the same team of insurance professionals. All Shank & Falvey team members will be joining Smith Brothers.

Smith Brothers has 200+ team members in locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

“Shank & Falvey Insurance brings us expanded presence in upstate New York and allows personal and commercial clients of Shank & Falvey to gain access to additional carriers, coverages, and risk management services. Those who own or operate a business will benefit from additional value-added services such as human resources, employee wellbeing, safety, compliance, and financial services,” states Joe B. Smith, President & CEO of Smith Brothers Insurance. “Both agencies have strong ties to serve our clients and give back to the communities where we live and work.”

“As I have gotten to know Joe and members of the Smith Brothers team, it is clear we share the same values,” says Chuck Shank. “Smith Brothers commitment to exceptional client service, continued growth, and being a great place to work is so exciting to our team and aligns with our commitment to be the best we can be for our clients, partners, and the community.”

ABOUT SMITH BROTHERS INSURANCE LLC

Smith Brothers Insurance is an independently operated, Top 100 Broker in the U.S. We help organizations and individuals manage risk, protect assets, and grow.

Founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1971 by brothers, Bob and Brian Smith, Smith Brothers Insurance has expanded to more than 200 professionals to help protect clients from risk and uncertainty.

Smith Brothers is licensed in every state in the U.S. and protects risk all over the world. Headquartered in Glastonbury, Connecticut, our offices are throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

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