Damage to Your Company’s Reputation?

It can be challenging identifying and preventing the incidences that might harm your firm’s reputation.

The explosive expansion of Web-based communications and social media has aggravated the risks of reputational damage, while dramatically reducing response time to counter these threats.

According to Reputation Review 2012, a report from Oxford Metrica sponsored by Aon P.L.C., a public company runs an 80% chance of suffering a reputational risk that can cost at least 20% of its equity value in any month over a five-year period. Privately held companies face similar risks.

These exposures can come from a wide variety of sources, from product safety and unhappy customers to regulatory pressures and behavior by managers. Examples include recent massive breaches of consumer data held by major financial institutions, and the effect on companies that faced supply chain disruptions or radiation fears after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 — not to mention the impact of that year’s outbreak of listeria in cantaloupes. Although this infection came from a single farm, other producers (and even companies selling different types of melons) suffered a loss of reputation.

With reputational risks coming in various and sometimes unpredictable forms, experts recommend that you help protect yourself by:

  • Creating an “early warning system” to monitor print, electronic, and social media for negative references to the company.
  • Evaluating whether a negative comment should have a response (not every tweet or Facebook post matters).
  • Getting frontline employees involved in responding to reputational threats, rather than having top management and PR staff deal with them.

Our agency’s experts stand ready at any time to help you discuss your risk, review potential scenarios, and then build and test a plan for dealing with events that threaten your reputation.

Having an effective plan to deal with these threats can actually improve your company’s reputation.

Curbing Corporate Identity Theft: A Three-Step Approach

The Supreme Court ruled in the controversial Citizens United case, that corporations have rights similar to those of an individual. If follows that they have identities and are vulnerable to identity theft.

Although insurance offers one way to manage this risk, it might well be a long time before a company discovers the theft — at which point, it would be too late. To avoid or minimize the danger of having your corporate identity stolen, we’d recommend a three-step approach:

  1. Storing sensitive information. Sensitive files and information (credit card numbers, medical data, Social Security numbers, etc.) might be stored on computers, external drives, filing cabinets, or mobile devices. It’s wise to consolidate and secure this data either physically behind lock and key or by using electronic network security measures. Be sure to train employees on handling, storing, and disposing of this type of information properly.
  2. Your business documentation. Identity thieves might use highly sophisticated or surprisingly elementary and low-tech techniques for delving into a company’s records and misappropriating them. These might include intercepting paper mail, stealing trash, or physically taking documents. To safeguard this information, determine what records you need to run the business, inventory them, and use electronic statements to limit the amount of mail containing company information. Never share financial details or documents through e-mail!
  3. Credit reports. Check your company’s credit reports regularly for unusual charges or bills.

The Federal Trade Commission (http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus69-protecting-personal-information-guide-business) provides a variety of resources you can use to help protect your corporate identity and confidential customer information against identity thieves.

Our Protection Coach’s will be happy to offer their help — just give us a call. 877-994-6787

Your Job Can Save You Money on Auto Insurance!

YOUR JOB CAN SAVE YOU MONEY ON AUTO INSURANCE!

Did you know if you are an engineers, firefighters, lawyers, teachers, and police officers you all have one thing in common: you qualify for Auto insurance discounts with some insurers who have found that people in certain fields tend to be less risky drivers than those in other occupations.

A number of insurance companies offer discounts to those in a variety of professions – everything from architects, CPAs, and college professors through librarians, military personnel, and pilots, to physicians, registered nurses, and scientists.

Here’s why: although practicing architecture or flying a plane doesn’t necessarily make a driver more responsible, insurance underwriters don’t have to prove cause and effect when setting rates. They need only show a relationship between these rating factors and risk.

A variety of factors can come into play in determining discounts. One Auto insurance company offers up to a 5 % discount to first responders, such as firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Because these people tend to work in the communities where they live, they probably don’t commute long distances. First responders might speed down the road in emergencies, but not in their own vehicles, and they tend not to work from 9 to 5 – which means that they’re at lower risk for accidents.

Discounts vary by occupation, insurance company, and state. Some companies offer discounts for a long list of occupations and professions, while others provide them to only a few, or none at all. Some jobs receive larger discounts than others.

Rules for discounts also vary by field. To qualify for one company’s discount, health care providers must have a license to practice, as well as a degree. However, policyholders who have earned at least a bachelor in engineering, math, or science qualify for an 18% discount, even if they work in other fields.

Your occupation or profession might well entitle you to a substantial discount on your Auto insurance – even if you’re retired. For more information, please get in touch with us. 877-994-6787

Concealed Weapons Complications

Gun control has become a nationwide debate in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre has raised a number of issues — including potential insurance liability for businesses in states that permit citizens to carry concealed weapons. Here’s why:

A company that allows customers or visitors on its premises has a legal obligation to exercise “reasonable care” in keeping them safe, a responsibility that includes warning them about any hidden dangerous conditions. For example, in states with “concealed carry” laws, a store owner might need to post warnings that sales clerks are armed.

Let’s say that an employee carrying a concealed weapon negligently or deliberately shoots a customer who is legitimately on the premises of the business — and the customer then sues the employer for bodily injury. On the other hand, suppose that an employer forbids workers from carrying weapons on the job. If an employee is attacked and beaten at work, he or she might sue for damages from bodily injury, claiming that the employer’s ban on firearms in the workplace impaired the employee’s ability for self-defense.

Although your Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy should provide coverage against such claims, it makes sense to minimize this risk by taking pre-emptive action. One effective approach: To seek an exemption from the scope of the concealed-weapon law (if one doesn’t already exist), giving you the authority to forbid weapons in the workplace. Make it clear to all employees and potential employees that company policy forbids bringing weapons onto the premises. You might also conduct comprehensive pre-employment screening to help hire stable, sensible people who are unlikely to settle disagreements with lethal force.

To learn more about protecting your business against the potential problems created by concealed carry laws, feel free to get in touch with us. 877-994-6787

Auto Liability Insurance: How Much is Enough?

Do you know what the three numbers that are usually written like this xx/yy/zz on your Auto Liability insurance?

The first number refers to the maximum amount of Bodily Injury Liability (BI) for an individual injured in an auto accident; the second is BI per coverage per accident; while the third covers Property Damage Liability (PD) per vehicle. For example a policy with 30/60/15 Liability coverage would pay up to $30,000 in BI per individual, $60,000 worth of BI per vehicle, and $15,000 in PD per vehicle.

Every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of Liability coverage under their Auto policy. Limits by state vary from 10/20/10 in Florida to 80/100/25 in Maine. These numbers have remained fairly stable for a number of years.

However, because a car accident can cost far more than the Liability minimums that most states require, people usually carry more coverage. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you have at least $100,000 of BI protection per person and $300,000 per accident (known as 100/300).

If you hold the minimum coverage required by your state and you’re involved in an accident in another state that requires higher minimum coverage, the chances are that your policy limits will increase automatically to meet the other state’s minimum requirements.

We’d be happy to make sure that this feature applies under your Auto insurance– and to discuss the most cost-effective ways of protect yourself and your family from liability for accidents behind the wheel (such as increasing your Liability coverage or choosing higher deductibles).

For a complimentary review of your policy, just give us a call. 877-994-6787