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Archive for November, 2012

Liability Insurance for Bloggers

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

While your average blogger might think that no liability is attached to writing one’s opinions, bloggers face law suits all the time, whether for invasion of privacy, libel, copyright issues, or any manner of other things.

With more and more regularity, they are being sued due to comments on their posts, usually complete strangers!

The risks for bloggers and other online publishers are vastly more dangerous because what might be fine in the United States could be illegal in other countries, and the blogger may not even be aware. For example, in some countries, defamation is a serious criminal act.

In Canada, for example, defamation is anything which might lower the respect of the subject in the public’s mind, and political opinions are not excluded from prosecution. Furthermore, lack of malice is not presumed, making accidental defamation a crime if the blogger cannot prove it was not intentional.

And in some places, linking to an off-site page is considered republishing, making linking to a libelous or defamatory web page elsewhere in the internet fodder for litigation.

The irony is that the more successful one’s blog becomes, the more danger is associated with it, and online publishers are even more at risk than traditional publishers and authors, because the internet allows international viewing, and thus, international suing, and many countries have laws which put bloggers at far greater financial risk and laws which are far less friendly to the blogger.

Some of the items a blogger’s liability insurance cover are legal fees, judgements and settlements due to content, and defense costs.

It is not yet commonplace for bloggers to have bloggers’ liability insurance, but it most certainly is a wise choice which will only wiser and wiser until it is absolutely necessary.

Technology and Risk Management

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Hackers are skillful computer users who use their knowledge to gain unauthorized access to data. Criminal hackers use all manner of methods, including misusing or altering system tools or weaknesses in software packages or altering computer input without authorization in order to gain access to networks.

Phishers are people who fraudulently attempt to trick users into revealing information in order to gain unauthorized access to data. They often use email or telephone conversations and, posing as banks, Social Security agents, or other trustworthy individuals to get the victim to divulge such information as passwords, Social Security numbers, user names, or credit card information.

It is not uncommon in this day and age to read about hackers and phishers attacking major companies, and even government agencies. You might have read about credit card numbers being stolen from banks or large store chains.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft alone affects more than 10 million people every year and costs more than $50 billion, and although it is clear that much of this type of crime is done over the internet, it is difficult to determine how many of those crimes are cybercrimes.

Additionally, millions more in lost revenues every year occur because of computer crimes, including data or network sabotage, system penetration by outsiders or by insiders, viruses, spoofing, intellectual property infringement, financial fraud, and theft of information, just to name a few.

Traditional insurance policies aren’t enough to cover in cases of many cybercrimes, as they are based on physical assets rather than information assets, and even when information assets are covered, security breach is generally excluded.

That being the case, it is recommended that if you use computers or computer networks as part of your day-to-day business, you should ask your insurance professional about hacking insurance and he or she will help you assess whether or not you need to acquire it.

Insuring Your Car When Your Teen Delivers Pizza

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

If your teenager earns money using your car — perhaps delivering pizzas or groceries, or even newspapers — you are going to need more than just your personal auto policy for insurance.

The fact that your car is being used in order to make money, even if it’s just on weekends, means you will need to have a commercial insurance policy in order to be secure.

That’s because most personal auto insurance policies exclude business use.

In fact, many personal auto insurance policies have a “no pizza delivery” clause due to the risk involved with that industry combined with the high mileage and age demographics of pizza delivery drivers. The statistics show that the majority of pizza delivery drivers are college students or teens, which are the highest collision risk of any other group, age-wise.

This would mean that if your teen is in a collision, you may have to pay for the entire accident out of your own pocket.

It is likely that your teen’s employer reimburses gasoline but will not compensate for any of the money spent due to an accident.For this reason, it is imperative that you find out whether the employer’s commercial auto insurance covers your car, and if so, what are the details?.

It is also important to understand what circumstances apply. Will his insurance cover no matter whose fault the accident is? What are the monetary limits?

If the employer’s coverage does not apply to your teen, you need to check with your personal auto insurance company to determine whether you are covered already or need to purchase more coverage in case of accident.

How Much Business Interruption Coverage Do I Need?

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

In order to determine how much coverage you need, your insurance professional will base it on your educated guess about your future business profits.

There are substantial coinsurance penalties for under-insuring on your business for business interruption.

A coinsurance penalty is a deduction applied by the insurer to the claim amount which is paid.

This penalty can be anywhere from 20% to 50% of a claimed loss.

This requirement exists in order to keep businesses from under-reporting their income in order to pay lower premiums.

The amount of coverage required is figured in gross earnings, which is usually nothing even close to the method your business accountant would use. That being the case, you will have to make sure that your accountant figures the gross earnings in the way that is described in your policy’s definitions.

Each policy will be different and so your policy’s definition must be reviewed and understood carefully.
To illustrate what we mean, let’s say your business has gross earnings of $100,000 and that your policy has a 75% coinsurance requirement. This would indicate that your business needs to buy at least $75,000, or 75% of the $100,000, in coverage.

If your business does not have at least 75% in coverage, a penalty would be applied. That penalty is found by dividing the amount of coverage your business actually carries by the amount that should be carried, multiplied by the loss.

So let’s say that your business, as laid out above, has a business interruption of $50,000, but carries only $50,000 in coverage.

The amount of coverage you carry ($50,000) divided by the amount that should be carried ($75,000). That amounts to .67.

Then we multiply that .67 by the amount of coverage your business actually carries ($50,000), which comes to $33,500, which is the amount of the insurer payout. Simple subtraction of the insurer payout from the amount of the loss leaves, in this case, $16,500.

Because of the dangers inherent in the estimation of this type of insurance policy, many insurers have started including in their policies the “premium adjustment endorsement,” which allows the business to over-insure, thus eliminating the consequences resulting from the consequences of estimating too low.

Your company can safely avoid losing money by over-estimating, because at the end of the policy period, excess premiums paid are returned to the insured.