Category Archives: Cyber Liability

Great Tips For Keeping Your Cyber Information Secure

Technology provides us with great opportunities to make obtaining and sharing information easy, both in the workplace and our personal lives. While the below video from IIABNY refers to the insurance industry, it’s important for us all to be careful when communicating with others. You can come up with proper risk management procedures to prevent cyber liability. With October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this video is a great reminder with tips for the best practices.

Pokémon Go: The Hunter Or The Hunted?

Pokemon Go blog

If you have caught on to the latest craze, you have likely downloaded the new Pokémon Go app. The game takes players all over in hopes of catching the most virtual creatures they can. This “augmented reality” causes such Pokémon to digitally appear live in view on a user’s smartphone camera. The catch is that players are continuously drawn to different locations in order to, ironically enough, catch ‘em all and ultimately succeed in the game.

The game is uniquely interactive and increasingly popular. But if this concept is truly the future of gaming, there are plenty of safety concerns to consider. When walking around (be it late at night or earlier in the day), it’s important to remain alert at all times. Be aware of your surroundings. The game on the screen may appear real, but the unfortunate reality is that predators are on the lookout for those completely distracted and consumed by the game to take advantage of. The game’s GPS tracking access also opens the possibility of players getting lured to dangerous locations while on the hunt, if they aren’t careful enough. The sharing of information could also lead to potential breaches of cyber security.

The safety concerns continue when walking around. Players should be careful not to accidentally injure themselves or anyone else. And while the game’s quest to find that coveted Pikachu and more may require travel, it’s important not to play when driving from point A to point B. Much like texting and driving, accessing the app at the same time could lead to fatal disaster.

Of course, the game’s popularity can lead to benefits if played in an appropriate and safe manner as well. Local businesses have been cashing in with customer-friendly deals, upon realizing their locations are hot beds for popular Pokémon. Instead of turning players away, the smarter business owners have embraced the potential impact the game can have on their profit. They can even pay a small fee to specifically ensure their domain becomes a popular place in the game, luring potential customers in at the same time. Regardless of what gets them through the door, they are more likely to make a purchase once they have arrived. In most cases, this also provides players with a safer location to participate than a random dark alley-way late at night.

Either way, it’s important to have an idea of how this new game can positively and negatively impact you both personally and professionally. Be safe, be aware, and be prepared to benefit.

The Rising Need for Cyber Liability Insurance

cyber liability insurance

With the reliance on technology in today’s data driven world the number of cyber-attacks are on the rise.  The media focuses on the larger companies suffering breaches; however, small to mid-size companies are not exempt from hackers.

Are you prepared to take on the cost of credit monitoring for your customers, as well as handling the cost of hiring a public relations firm to restore your reputation should your network suffer a breach?

An entity which gathers and stores any type of confidential personal information needs to be aware that this sensitive information may be stolen from an internal employee as well as outside hackers.  Examples of such entities include but are not limited to: Financial Institutions, Insurance Agencies, Insurance Companies, Accounting Firms, Mortgage Companies, Tax Consultants, Doctor Offices, and Dental Offices.

 The black market price of personal information, including health insurance coverage, is on the rise.

Available Coverages:

  • Network Security
  • Data Breach Notification
  • Crisis Management
  • Credit Monitoring
  • Communications and media coverage
  • Regulatory Notification
  • Legal Professional Services
  • Business Interruption
  • Privacy Notification Expense

A diligent effort should be made to explore the cost of Cyber Liability Coverage.  In today’s changing times Cyber coverage is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

When in doubt check it out!  Call – 516-419-5050 – or email us – info@jpins.com – with your contact information  today and we will be happy to consult you regarding your risk of suffering a Cyber loss and how to protect yourself from financial loss.

By: LuAnn C. Schook, ACSR, AAI, AIS 

Commercial Lines Manager at Petschauer Insurance

516-419-4263 | lschook@jpins.com

E-Mail Security: Protect Yourself From Hackers

Email SecurityEmail is an essential form of communication; however, with it comes a number of concerns you need to be aware of and it doesn’t matter if your emails are for personal or business use. Hackers are out there looking for any way to steal your information, including credit card numbers, addresses, social security numbers and more. To help you minimize your chances of becoming a victim and getting hacked here are some useful tips for prevention:

1) Don’t ever open links from someone you don’t know or trust. Links can be used to bring you to unsafe websites that can either give your computer a virus, or gather your personal information also known as phishing.

2) Even though most email services come with spam filters, do not trust them 100%. Sometimes spam messages slip through the cracks, so double check the sender’s address of any email that you may not be certain of before opening.

3) Make sure you have an anti-virus software installed to your computer, just incase you open a message with a virus in it. Here is a list of the top ten recommended anti-virus softwares.

4) Turn off the preview pane of your email service. If your email software automatically displays the message in a preview pane, you cannot avoid viewing the spam, which may lead to more spam messages.

5) Turn off the images in your emails. Images in can be tracked, and lead to more spam in the future.

6) If you do receive a scam, report it to your email service immediately. This will prevent it from happening again in the future, and hopefully get those who sent the message caught.

7) Never leave your email open and unattended. Always make sure to sign out of your account when you are done checking your email.

8) Change your password for your email at least every 90 days, especially if you’re using your email account on several different computers.

Now that you know how to be keep your personal information and computer safe, you might want to get back to those pressing emails!

Find out more about cyber crimes and liabilities here – Cyber Liability Section

Does Your Company Have A Business Contingency Plan?

Super-storm Sandy, hurricanes, Ebola, influenza epidemics, product malfunctions or any event that may negatively affect a company’s health, image or productivity call for a  business contingency plan. Risk Management should certainly be a concern for all business owners to ensure the continuance of your business operations even under the most unfavorable conditions. Here are some scenarios to consider:

  • An interruption in your business operations can happen even if there is no physical damage to the property. Note that in order to trigger the business interruption coverage, there must first be damage to the property from a peril defined in the policy. Thus, without physical damage, recoveries are not “a given” and, therefore, contingency planning is an imperative to keep the doors open and business flowing.
  • What type of plan do you have in place if your employees are unable to get to your physical workspace, or if the workspace becomes uninhabitable? Can your employees work from home? Do you have an alternate remote location in place?
  • What about reputational damages? In today’s world of news coverage being dispersed worldwide in an instant, media spin can turn an unfortunate occurrence into a full blown crisis in no time. A planned response, trained spokespersons, and crisis intervention is certainly well worth the cost. An example, are the recent cyber-attacks suffered by major retailers. Remember that reputation and good will are extremely important, and there are insurance policies that provide coverage for reputational damages.
  • Reliance on government doesn’t always line up with the objectives of privately owned and operated businesses. While it is important to follow governmental directives in a crisis, it is also necessary to ask questions and not just blindly follow along.
  • As was recently seen in the Ebola crisis, healthcare systems such as hospitals are not failsafe regardless of how top notch their rating might be. Don’t rely on them to bail you out in case of such a crisis.

In our office we have Team Leaders who are ready to swing into action and implement our very detailed continuity plan so that we can remain operational to our clients if anything were to ever happen. You should too!

Karen Skoler, CPCU

Are Non-Profits At Risk For Cyber Liability Claims?

cyber_liabilityAs more and more information about Cyber Liability becomes available, it is apparent that any non-profit entity or social service organization may be at risk for data breach claims. Especially if the organization has:

• A computer network that links several offices
• Handles confidential information belonging to its members
• Collects and transmits personal identifiable information for any reasons
Why now than ever before?
• Because of our highly technological society
• AND traditional insurance policies (such as General Liability, Crime, and Management Liability) typically DO NOT provide protection against the risk of data breach. This is a huge problem!

The Solution
Purchasing a Cyber Liability policy is a solution which provides coverage for both third parties (those whose personal information is hacked) and first parties (those whose systems are compromised by hackers).
Cyber policies can cover:
• Defense costs
• Coverage for fines or penalties levied in violation of HIPPA Laws
• Customer notification expense
• Customer support and credit monitoring
• Public relations, advertising and forensic expenses.

As for the organization who suffers the actual breach, they can purchase multi-media coverage, business interruption coverage, and coverage for extortion expenses. Additionally, risk management services are included to educate the purchaser regarding current privacy state and federal laws, compliance material, training tools and procedures all of which act to reduce the exposure to data breach and their resulting third party lawsuits.

Interestingly, coverage under Cyber Liability is not limited to a breach of an organizations computer files. Coverage is often extended to include paper files as well as portable devices such as blackberries, lap tops, Ipads as well as data that are in the custody of vendors, outsourcers or independent contractors.

What types of claims have been reported to date?
• An organization providing medical care and support services to people living with Cancer and related illnesses suffered a burglary at their office. An employee’s laptop was taken and contained client data such as names, dates of birth, client status, and other sensitive information;
• A public advocacy group’s website was hacked. As a result, the hackers actually published a data base consisting of the names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, medical conditions, reports and other personal details gathered by the organization;
• An employee of a charity left an encrypted tape in his backpack. The backpack was stolen at gun point and personal information identifying the largest 100 donors over the past decade was confiscated along with their personal information;
• An employee of a “YMCA” was arrested for trying to sell names, addresses and social security numbers of residents to furnish information for the purposes of applying for phony credit cards under assumed names;
• An employee at a women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence was caught with a list of women seeking services through various agencies connected with the shelter. The employee was trying to post the current whereabouts of many of these women to an online site. Had she been successful, she would have compromised the safety of the shelter’s former inhabitants and their children.
……And the list goes on and on.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a major retailer to become the victim of a cyber attack. So it follows that you don’t have to be a major retailer to consider purchasing the coverage.

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

Why Microsoft Has Made The Need For Cyber Liability Insurance So Urgent

cyber-liability insurance-resized-600.jpgEarlier this month Microsoft ended its support of Windows XP. What this means for its users is that they will no longer be provided with security updates. The result is that anyone still using this system becomes vulnerable to cyber attacks. Given what has recently transpired with Target and other retailers experiencing breaches in their systems, we all recognize that this is certainly serious business. More important, however, is the large numbers of companies, educational facilities, hospitals, medical and other professional establishments, retailers and restaurants as well as financial service firms still using this operating system. These organizations now face serious potential consequences unless they upgrade to systems that still receive support.

In addition, another way to ensure that sensitive information is protected is to have the right cyber liability insurance in place. That way, should a breach occur, you have some protection against potential losses.

Why should you consider purchasing cyber liability insurance?

First, the insurance protection, while necessary, is only one of the benefits being offered with this coverage. Additional benefits include: acknowledgement of the exposures, resources to assist in pre-loss planning as well as strategies to avoid losses altogether.

The bottom line is that if you handle any sensitive data such as credit card information, social security numbers and other personal identification numbers, medical information as well as financial and/or banking information, there is no doubt that you absolutely need to have this coverage in place. If your company is using laptops, mobile devices or other portable media, such coverage is no longer optional.

Some of the coverages offered in a cyber liability policy are:
• Legal & Forensic Services
• Crisis Management & Public Relations
• Notification Expenses
• Good Faith Advertising Expenses
• Services For Impacted Individuals (credit management, help lines, etc.)
• Per Claim Deductibles From $1,000-$2,500 and with limits of $10,000 to $100,000.

Keep in mind that the number of data breach incidents is on the rise and the regulatory requirements which need to be met when each occurs can be very significant in terms of the fines imposed by regulatory authorities. We urge you to discuss this coverage with your insurance agent to give you the confidence that you are operating a business that can continue to enjoy the reputation you have built over time, demonstrate to your customers how you value their business, and restore loss of consumer confidence should a loss ensue.

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

Who Is Responsible When Retailers Are Hacked?

cyberFollowing the recent news reports involving shoppers at Target, Neiman Marcus and other large retail stores, this past holiday season, once again Cyber Liability and the urgent need to protect yourself against hackers has become the new darling of the media.

All industries such as E-Commerce to Retail Stores, Online Websites, Professional Services, Medical Offices, Online Publishing, Schools, Colleges, Cities, States, Municipalities, Not-For-Profits, Contractors, Motor Vehicle Departments, to name a few, as well as anyone who takes payment over the internet and/or has confidential information on their sites should have the protection of a Cyber Liability policy.

Some coverages provided by a Cyber Liability Policy are:
• Privacy Liability
• Network Security Liability
• Media Content Liability
• Reputational Damage
• Notification Expenses
• Crisis Management including Public Relations
• E-Business Interruption and Cyber Extortion.

Additional coverage for Credit Monitoring, Data Restoration, and Privacy Regulation Fines may also be added. Even such fines as those imposed by US federal state and local statute including any breach of regulations governing the control and use of Private Information including HIPAA (Health Insurance and Accountability Act of 1996), Gramm-Leach-Bliley of 1999, state laws such as California Database Protection Act of 2003 and the federal and state consumer credit reporting laws such as the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act can be added.

We all know that technology is here to stay and that it is just a fact of life and a component of our society. It is up to us to protect ourselves and our customers from having their business or personal information stolen and misused if we want to be able to do business in the world as it is today.

According to a recent article in Business Insurance (January 19, 2014) on the Target Corporation security breach fiasco, it was indicated that Target actually had a Cyber Liability policy with a $100 million limit at the time the breach was discovered. Of course, such a limit of insurance won’t even begin to cover their liabilities in this matter. However, it is a start and a good one at that. At least they were savvy enough to understand their powerlessness in the face of such an event taking place and they were proactive enough to take the necessary steps to minimize the actual loss, and respect the insurer’s capabilities, when it came to loss control and needed assistance after the breach took place.

Clearly, Cyber losses can be costly to your business as well as your reputation so if you think you need the coverage, you probably do. Even if you are not sure, there is no harm in asking. If you want to know more about how to protect your business and your customers, we strongly urge you to consult with your insurance agent about the type of policy that would best fit your needs.

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

The Case For Cyber Liability Insurance


Banks and financial institutions are not the only one who need to think about Cyber Liability Insurance. Insurance agencies, insurance companies, accounting firms, mortgage companies, tax consultants, doctors offices, dental offices, and anyone else who gathers personal information from their clientele are just a few of the numerous businesses that need to consider this coverage. Why do you ask?

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Criminals have become very sophisticated at hacking into the most protected of systems and breaching many of the “full proof” precautions put in place by experienced IT professionals claiming that their software can fend off any security breach. However, everyday, we hear reports of huge companies suffering such losses and having to offer credit monitoring to all their customers to say nothing of the loss to their reputation for having been the recipient of such a breach.

What about professionals who carry their laptops with them and wind up leaving them on planes, trains, boats? What about all the information contained on such devices? Anyone can just break in to the computer and find out anything they want to know about someone and steal their identity.

In a time of rising layoffs, sensitive information stored on computers is at risk from employees who, fearing loss of their job, want to get back at their employers by stealing sensitive information stored on the computer.

All of us know the guy or gal in the office who likes to gamble. When they run out of funds, the information stored in the office computer can assist them in continuing with their addiction.

Cyber Liability Insurance is a comprehensive coverage which can cover many of the exposures attributable to the losses described above. Some of the provisions found in a comprehensive Cyber Liability policy are: Network Security, Data Breach, Media Content, Crisis Management, Credit Monitoring, Regulatory Notification, Privacy Liability, Business Income, and Privacy Notification Expense, to name but a few.

If you have a website you definitely need this coverage and if you store any personal information at all on your computer system or in a cloud, Cyber coverage is not a luxury it is a necessity! When in doubt check it out, call us for a consultation regarding your risk of suffering a Cyber loss.

– Karen Skoler, CPCU