Cyber Liability Insurance and the Target Data Breach

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In late 2013, Target, the large American retailer, was the victim of a massive data breach that affected as many as 110 million customers. Cyber attackers installed malicious software on point-of-sale devices at Target stores and were able to steal the financial information of 40 million customers and the personal information of 70 million.

From lawsuits and fines to the costs of offering free credit monitoring and hiring a computer forensics investigator, this breach is massive not only in terms of how many customers it’s affected, but also in terms of how much of a financial hit it will take on Target. Target’s cyber insurance policy will cover some of the monetary damages, but the damage to its reputation and customer loyalty will not be easy to recover.

No business is immune to a data breach—not even a nationwide retailer like Target. But your business can survive a data breach if you are prepared to handle it and if you have the proper cyber liability coverage to help you successfully respond to it.

Why Cyber Liability Insurance?

A traditional business liability policy is extremely unlikely to protect against most cyber exposures. Standard commercial policies are written to insure against injury or physical loss and will do little, if anything, to shield you from electronic damages and the associated costs they may incur. Exposures are vast, ranging from the content you put on your website to stored customer data. Awareness of the potential cyber liabilities your company faces is essential to managing risk through proper coverage.

Possible exposures covered by a typical cyber liability policy may include:

·         Data breaches – Increased government regulations have placed more responsibility on companies to protect clients’ personal information. In the event of a breach, notification of the affected parties is now required by law. This will add to costs that will also include security fixes, identity theft protection for the affected and protection from possible legal action. While companies operating online are at a heightened risk, even companies that don’t transmit personal data over the internet, but still store it in electronic form, could be susceptible to breaches through data lost to unauthorized employee access or hardware theft.

·         Intellectual property rights – Your company’s online presence, whether it be through a corporate website, blogs or social media, opens you up to some of the same exposures faced by publishers. This can include libel, copyright or trademark infringement and defamation, among other things.

·         Damages to a third-party system – If an email sent from your server has a virus that crashes the system of a customer, or the software your company distributes fails, resulting in a loss for a third party, you could be held liable for the damages.

·         System failure – A natural disaster, malicious activity or fire could all cause physical damages that could result in data or code loss. While the physical damages to your system hardware would be covered under you existing business liability policy, data or code loss due to the incident would not be.

·         Cyber extortion – Hackers can hijack websites, networks and stored data, denying access to you or your customers. They often demand money to restore your systems to working order. This can cause a temporary loss of revenue plus generate costs associated with paying the hacker’s demands or rebuilding if damage is done.

·         Business interruption – If your primary business operations require the use of computer systems, a disaster that cripples your ability to transmit data could cause you, or a third party that depends on your services, to lose potential revenue. From a server failure to a data breach, such an incident can affect your day-to-day operations. Time and resources that normally would have gone elsewhere will need to be directed towards the problem, which could result in further losses. This is especially important as denial of service attacks by hackers have been on the rise. Such attacks block access to certain websites by either rerouting traffic to a different site or overloading an organizations server.

In an article released by Insurance Journal, it has been said that the massive blow of the data breach has been softened by Target’s Cyber Liability Insurance.  “Target said of the $61 million in expenses related to the breach during the quarter, $44 million were offset by an insurance payment, bringing the impact to $17 million.”

AssureSouth, Your Coverage Expert

As reliance on technology continues to increase, new exposures continue to emerge. As your business grows, make sure your cyber liability coverage grows with it. AssureSouth is here to help you analyze your needs and make the right coverage decisions to protect your operations from unnecessary risk.

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Smoke Detector Maintenance

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Types of Smoke Detectors
When selecting a smoke detector, keep the following in mind:

  • Photoelectric units are better for smoldering fires, such as electric fires in the walls, so they are ideal for kitchens and bathrooms where these fires tend to occur.
  • Ionization units give nearby air an electrical charge and then measure whether the charge stays constant or whether a fire is consuming oxygen in the air. These units are better suited to areas where fires get out of control, such as a basement near a furnace.

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Testing a Smoke Detector
To ensure that smoke detectors are working properly, test them on a regular basis. To do so:

  • Press the test button on the unit and wait for it to sound.
  • Light a candle and hold it six inches below the detector so the heated air will rise into the detector.
  • If the alarm does not sound within 20 seconds, blow out the candle and let the smoke rise.
  • If the alarm still does not sound, open the detector up and clean the unit. Also make sure that all of the electrical connections are in good working order.
  • Then, test the unit again. If it is still not working, replace it immediately.

 Helping you to avoid claims is just one of the many value-added services we provide. Call us today to learn more about all of our personal risk management solutions for your auto, home and life

Earthquakes Felt Across South Carolina and Georgia- Are You Prepared?

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It’s been a very interesting week in South Carolina- we had three days of snow followed by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake on Friday night and another 3.2 magnitude earthquake on Sunday!  When most people think of earthquakes, California comes to mind.  However, South Carolina has a long and violent  history of earthquakes that continues to present day.

The 1886 Great Charleston Earthquake was the largest, most destructive, and most lethal earthquake ever to strike east of the Mississippi. To this day, it dominates the seismic history of the entire East Coast. It struck without warning and caused far more deaths, injuries, and property damage than Hurricane Hugo, a Category IV hurricane (1989). It was also larger and more destructive than the 1989 Loma Prieta, California earthquake, which killed 63 people, destroyed much of the San Fransicso Bay Marina district, broke the upper span of the Oakland Bay Bridge, pancaked freeways, and blacked out the World Series telecast.

According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, this was the 13th ‪earthquake that South Carolina has experienced in the past year.

The SCEMD said South Carolina normally experiences 15-20 earthquakes per year.

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Damage to brick caused by 2-14-14 Earthquake in Edgefield, SC

Even minor earthquakes can cause damage to your home or business. Damage from this week’s quake has been reported throughout the upstate of South Carolina. Did you know that most  homeowners policies do not cover damage caused by earthquakes?  Earthquake insurance can be the best way to protect your home and assets in the event of a quake.

In addition to purchasing earthquake insurance here are some safety precautions you can take in the event of a major earthquake.
Before an Earthquake-
  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan.
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and any other places people sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures and top-heavy objects.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
  • Install flexible pipefittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
  • Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting them to the floor. If your gas company recommends it, install an automatic gas shut-off valve that is triggered by strong vibrations.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
  • Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products securely on bottom shelves in closed cabinets with latches.
  • Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family. Remember to drop, cover and hold on

During an Earthquake

Drop, cover and hold on. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place.

If Indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway unless you know it is a stronglysupported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • DO NOT use the elevators
  • Remember that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

    If Outdoors

  • Stay there

  • Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires.

  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.

    If in a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.

  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

    If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match.

  • Do not move about or kick up dust.

  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing, if available

  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

    After an Earthquake

  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building.

  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.

  • Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, the elderly and people with access and functional needs. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.

  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.

  • Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.

  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home has been damaged and is no longer safe. Text SHELTER and your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).

  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.

  • After it is safe to return, your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up and recovery

  • Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that may fall off shelves.

  • Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.

  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.

  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.

  • Inspect utilities.

  • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

  • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.

  • Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

    In addition to insuring your home or business, we are committed to helping you and your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. If you would like more information on developing a family emergency plan or building a disaster supply kit, please contact AssureSouth at 864-582-5481 or http://www.assuresouth.com today.

AssureSouth, Inc. Launches Interactive Website

AssureSouth, Inc. announces the launch of a new agency website at http://www.AssureSouth.com.

With interactive features such as onsite glossaries, maps, useful information, and multiple ways of contact, AssureSouth, Inc.’s new website covers several types of insurance including Home, Auto, Life & Business, and is designed with insurance customers in mind.

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For Immediate Release

Spartanburg, SC – AssureSouth, Inc. has a long standing reputation of providing affordable and comprehensive Home, Auto, Life & Business Insurance. Our agency has a commitment to keeping the insurance buying experience simple. As a demonstration of that commitment, we have launched a completely redesigned, interactive website at http://www.AssureSouth.com/.

The new design was specifically devoted to providing a more comprehensive source of insurance information and services for prospects and our current customers. In-depth information for the insurance buyer can be obtained through the useful articles, FAQs, and an extensive insurance glossary posted on the site. These resources will give answers to auto, home, business, and health insurance customer’s most commonly asked questions.

The new site has been completely redesigned to improve the visitors’ ability to find what they are looking for, regardless of their knowledge of insurance. The site features a modern look and streamlined site navigation. It is more intuitive and makes getting an auto, home, business, or health insurance quote very easy. In addition to the ability to obtain quotes, visitors can also submit requests such as policy changes, payments, or file an insurance claim through a fully featured customer service portal.

AssureSouth, Inc. aims to provide insurance shoppers with all the ease of doing business that the internet has to offer, but still maintain the personalized service of our insurance agency has been providing for years. Visit our site at http://www.AssureSouth.com/ for more information.