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NC CYBER INSURANCE

NC CYBER INSURANCE

Cyber liability insurance is one of the fastest growing insurance policies that NC small businesses are looking to protect themselves with.  Because it is such a new policy type, there are several questions on what it is and what it covers.  We will discuss exactly those things in this article so that you can make an educated decision if this policy is right for your North Carolina small business.

 

Everyone knows how much cyber is a growing concern, but it might surprise some businesses just how common it is.  It is far from being a concern for only large corporations too.  In fact 60% of cyber crimes are against small businesses.  60% of those businesses that are victims of these attacks go out of business within 6 months of the attack.  The costs are staggering when they do occur and those without cyber insurance are left with 100% of those costs.
Are you exposed to the possibility of this happening to your business?
If your company has/does have any of the following, then the answer is a resounding yes. 
  • Company Website
  • Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In)
  • Accept Credit Cards
  • Uses Online Banking
  • Store Customer Data (Name, Address, Date of Birth, License Numbers, Credit Card Info, Social Security Numbers)
If you realize that you could be at risk, but are still confused on what types of things could happen to you, then you are not alone.  It can be very complicated.  We will discuss and clear up some of those common claim types below and explain the ways that a cyber policy will help cover those things.
SOCIAL ENGINEERING
Social engineering is a predatory type of cyber crime where an employee is tricked into sending or uploading money to someone through false pretenses.
Cyber insurance will cover those lost funds from these types of schemes.
RANSOMWARE
This is a virus sent as a link in an e-mail.  Once an employee clicks the link, the virus immediately begins to to encrypt computer files.  The imposter will then demand funds in order to recover the company’s files.  Typically bit coins will be demanded.
The cyber liability policy will cover the cost of the ransom in order to have your files recovered.
DATA BREACH
This type of attack gains the most media attention.  Large organizations like Sony, Target, and Equifax have recently been in the news for being hacked.  These losses occur when a cyber criminal breaches a company network and gains access to customer data.
Cyber policies will typically cover the following:
1. Fines by regulatory commissions and other penalties
2. Legal fees toward lawsuits from customers
3. Security expert assessments
4. Public relations firm services
5. Customer notification costs for those effected by the breach
MEDIA LIABILITY
Covers defamation or slander by an employee about a customer on social medial accounts causing a lawsuit.
Cyber insurance will cover defense in a lawsuit against your company.
FUNDS TRANSFER FRAUD
Hackers gain access to your system and transfer company funds to their account.
Your cyber policy will cover any losses incurred, not covered by your bank for fraudulent transfers.
NETWORK SECURITY
Your company site gets hacked making your system inoperable and not allowing customers access to their information.
Cyber insurance will cover lawsuits by customers for not being able to access their account.
One final myth we would like to dispel regarding cyber liability insurance, and that is that the premiums are too expensive for a small business. We write through some of the leading insurance companies in the industry, with the most competitive premiums.  Premiums start as low as $800 per year depending on the business type, size, and exposure.
Please call us at 704-494-9495 with any questions, or if you would like a quote on this valuable insurance policy today.
WORKERS COMPENSATION AUDITS

WORKERS COMPENSATION AUDITS

A workers compensation audit is an inevitable part of all workers compensation policies.  While many other commercial insurance policies may require them as well, it is not always done in every case. These policy types can include commercial general liability, commercial property, commercial auto, professional liability, etc. With a workers compensation policy, you can count on an audit being done for each policy term.
A lot of our clients may feel overwhelmed by these audits at first.  However, after completing their first audit, they become less daunting in the future. The purpose of these audits is to accurately assess the correct premium based on the actual payroll versus the payroll that was estimated at the beginning of the policy term.
Quite simply, if you overestimate your payroll, then you will receive a refund.  If you underestimate your payroll, then you will receive an additional premium bill.  Coming up with an estimated payroll, in almost every industry, is really just a best guess.  There are several factors that may cause your payroll to go up or down.
 
Some of the factors that may cause payroll to change are:
 
  1. Terminating an employee
  2. Hiring an employee
  3. A rise or fall in business causing payroll to change
  4. Hiring an uninsured subcontractor
  5. Hiring an employee or sub outside of your normal class code
  6. Work that changes depending on the season or the weather
In addition to assessing the correct payroll, the workers compensation company will want to confirm that the correct class code is chosen for that business.  Class codes are the best description given to the actual work being done by that business.  For some businesses, the actual class code is easy to determine.  For others, it can be a little more tricky and the insurance company will have to accurately assess the risk based on the day to day work being done.
In some cases, one business may have several class codes.  This is seen very often with construction companies where they may have painters, electricians, concrete construction, tiling, plumbing, HVAC, roofing,etc.  Businesses with multiple class codes will want to separate their payroll based on these different classes or they will likely face their total payroll being lumped into the most expensive classification.
Class codes can range in scope from very expensive to extremely inexpensive.  One of the lowest and most inexpensive class codes is clerical office employees.  One of the most expensive classes is for roofers.  The reason for this discrepancy is due to the risk level involved in each line of work.  Not only will these rates be determined due to the chances of an accident, but also the severity of the accident.  The more severe the accident, the more that worker will need more money to pay for medical bills and the longer he/she will be out of work.
Their are certain records will you need to produce to show the proper documentation in completing your audit.
Some of the items you will be asked to present to complete an audit may include the following:
  • Form 1040 Tax Return(this is for sole proprietorships)
  • Schedule C (this shows the profit or loss breakdown of expenses on your tax return)
  • Schedule SE (Self Employment Tax)
  • Schedule K1 (Shareholder’s Share of Income)
  • Form 1120 (US Corporate Income Tax Return)
  • 941 Reports (Quarterly Federal Payroll Tax Reports)
  • 940 Reports (Employer’s Annual Unemployment Return)
  • 1099 Forms (Subcontractor Pay)
  • Checkbooks
  • Ledgers
  • Receipt Books
You should know what payroll will be picked up on your premium audit.
Who will be included in my payroll?
1. Anyone that you paid as a W2 employee will be counted as payroll.
2. Any 1099 subcontractor that your business paid that you did not receive their workers comp certificate of insurance from.
3. Owners that have not rejected coverage as either owners, officers, members, etc where allowed by law.
Every state has different workers compensation laws and you will need to discuss with an insurance professional the laws within your state.  You will also need to confirm if your workers compensation policy in the state where your business resides will cover you while doing work in another state.  For instance, in NC, a policy purchased here will not cover even 1 employee that would be doing work in FL.  Not even temporarily.  It is very important that you discuss this with an agent before beginning work in another state.  The penalty for not doing so can result in large fines from the state or you being responsible for paying out in the event of a claim if it is denied by your insurance company.
In closing, don’t let the workers comp audit scare you.  As long as you maintain accurate records, you will be fine.  We strongly urge our clients to not let any 1099 subcontractors do any work for you, without first getting a copy of their own workers compensation certificate.  An audit can actually be a good thing.  For a lot of our clients, they see a refund at the end of their audit term.  This is a welcome surprise and it is a much better feeling then being hit with a large additional premium because you didn’t adequately plan or keep accurate and ongoing records.
If you have any further questions on this subject or on workers compensation policies in general, please feel free to give one of our friendly commercial agents a call at 704-494-9495.
Truck Insurance Near Me

Truck Insurance Near Me

If you are looking for truck insurance for your business vehicle from a local insurance agency near you that can help you find the best rates and coverage, than read on to see if we can help.  Dealing with a local agency that you can sit face to face, if you so choose, can be very helpful when you are dealing the complications of commercial auto insurance.  Commercial trucks can include any of the following types of businesses:

  • Dump Truck Insurance
  • General Freight Hauler Insurance
  • Auto Hauler Insurance
  • Contractor Insurance
  • Public Transportation Insurance
  • Tow Truck Insurance
  • Non-Emergency Medical Insurance

If you own a business similar to one of the ones listed above, then you will likely have either a Federal or State of NC requirement to be able to acquire and keep a commercial tag.  Even if you don’t have those requirements, then you may have requirements from a contract that requires the same or higher limits as those required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the state of NC.

What Types of Coverage Do you Need?

This question will vary depending on your business type, the requirements of the State of NC and Federal Government.

  • Liability Limits: You will have some limit of liability required, depending on several factors.  These limits can range from $30,000/60,000/25,000 up to $5,000,000 combined single limits.  The amount of coverage required can depend on your vehicle, radius, what you are hauling, gross vehicle weight, and if you are crossing state lines to name a few.
  • Cargo Liability: This covers the commodity that you are hauling and can vary a great degree depending on the contract requirements and the Federal or State of NC requirements.
  • Physical Damage: This covers the value of the vehicle you are driving, and the coverage required will depend either on your comfort with losing the value of your vehicle in the event of a loss or the bank requirements of the bank you are financing the vehicle through.
  • On Hook:  This covers the vehicle you are hauling in towing insurance risks.  The value of the coverage chosen should be minimally, the highest value of the vehicle you would ever tow.
  • General Liabilty: This covers your negligence outside of hitting someone with your vehicle or damage to the items you are hauling.
  • Umbrella: An umbrella or excess liability policy will cover above and beyond where your underlying policy limits leave off.  You want this policy in place to protect yourself further or to satisfy a contract..
  • Workers Compensation:  This covers your legal liability for your employees or subcontractors and may even be required by a contract even if you don’t have employees.
Commercial truck insurance takes on a whole new level of responsibility than your personal auto insurance.  You may want to consider consulting an agent that is near you, to help you with local State of NC laws and help you determine what coverage will best suit you for these requirements.  Outside of government responsibilities, you will likely encounter contract requirements that a veteran agent and agency can help you navigate.  You will also want an independent agency that can help you get quotes from multiple carriers.  Please contact us at 704-494-9495 if you have any questions or would like a shopped quote from the top insurance companies in your industry.
BEST MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE

BEST MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE

As we gear up for the upcoming motorcycle season, we would like to discuss some important insurance topics to consider before you purchase the best motorcycle insurance you can in NC.
When it comes to protecting yourself and your property, there are few policies more crucial to get right than motorcycle insurance.  There are several similarities to auto insurance but a few crucial differences.  You want to cover your bike, but more importantly, you need to consider your bodily injury if you are in an accident.
LIABILITY INSURANCE
We highly recommend choosing a higher bodily injury limit with matching un/uninsured motorist coverage.  If you are in an accident in an auto, you certainly have a risk of sustaining serious injury or death.  On a bike, your risk is significantly higher.  
We recommend choosing at least a limit of $100,000 bodily injury each person and $300,000 each accident.  If you hit another rider on a bike, you want to protect yourself with the highest limit possible to prevent yourself from being sued where your limits stop.  The current state required limits in NC are $30,000 each person and $60,000 each accident.  These limits can easily be exhausted very quickly if a rider is thrown from their bike and you are liable.
 
UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
Be sure to choose the highest limit you can here.  I can think of a couple of incidents where we have had clients with this coverage, at our recommendation, and have been extremely happy these limits were chosen.  There is a high number of drivers on the road that carry minimum limits of liability, or worse, are driving uninsured.  If this happens, then you want to make sure your limits kick in and pay where the other driver’s limits leave off.  
COMPREHENSIVE AND COLLISION COVERAGE
This coverage is very similar to auto insurance.  One area worth mentioning is comprehensive coverage though.  Especially with sport bikes, theft is a major cause of loss.  Make sure that you are protected with the proper comprehensive coverage to protect you if your bike is stolen.  
You may also have a concern that your bike is not being covered for the value you have in it.  Most policies only cover the NADA value which includes depreciation.  We have companies that offer the true replacement of your bike. This can include additional aftermarket alterations made to your bike at a limit you choose.  This is especially important with custom motorcycles.
PERSONAL ITEMS
Some of our carriers offer coverage for your personal items from being damaged or stolen. This can include helmets, jackets, or other personal items. 
MEDICAL PAYMENTS
A lot of companies may not offer coverage for your medical payments.  It is important that you choose a company that will offer you this coverage if this is important to you.  The medical payment limit covers both you and your passengers at the amount chosen.  
DIMINISHING DEDUCTIBLES
This option is currently offered through Progressive Insurance, one of our more popular and competitive carriers.  They offer a 25% annual decrease in your initial chosen deductible.  This can be a nice surprise if you have an unexpected claim after a few claim free years.  
DISCOUNTS
There are quite a few options for discounts on motorcycle policies.  We have a list of several examples below.  Make sure you are getting credit for all that apply.
-Motorcycle endorsement on your license
-Rider associations
-Multi-policy discounts
-Prior cycle or auto insurance
-Homeowner discount
-Experienced rider
-Claim free discount
-Safe driver discount
-Married discount
Riding on the open road is an exhilarating feeling.  It is important that you can rest easy that you are adequately insured in the event of an accident or claim.  Please don’t wait until it is too late to consider these important coverage options.  
ELD Mandate for NC Commercial Auto Drivers

ELD Mandate for NC Commercial Auto Drivers

We have had a lot of questions from our NC commercial auto drivers regarding the recent ELD mandate so we figured we would do a short article offering an explanation as to what that is and how it may effect you.

A new mandate has been put in place by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) that requires an electronic logging device (ELD) for most motor carriers and drivers that are required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). The deadline for this mandate is December 18, 2017. If you have a grandfathered automatic on board recording devices (AOBRD), then the deadline will extend to 12/16/2019 for these drivers. After this deadline, then all motor carriers and drivers will need to adhere to the ELD rule if they are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

A link to the ELD rule is shown here:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-16/pdf/2015-31336.pdf

This link from the FMCSA website will help you in choosing the correct ELD:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/choosing-electronic-logging-device-checklist

Who is not required to have an ELD?

  1. Drivers who don’t use paper logs more than 8 times during a 30 day period
  2. Driveaway or towaway drivers
  3. Drivers who drive vehicles manufactured before 2000

Aside for the requirement, there are many reasons that an ELD will be beneficial to you.

Some of the benefits of having an ELD are shown below.

      1. They make logging easier and quicker.
      2. You can qualify for a discount from your insurance company.
      3. They lower the likelihood of driver mistakes.
      4. Helps losses due to employee fatigue.
      5. Lets you better track driver location.

If you have any questions on this new mandate or where to get one. Please reach out to us at 704-494-9495 and we will be happy to go into more detail with you. Please remember to let us know if you have an ELD that you are currently using, because the discount on your insurance can be significant and we want to make sure you are receiving the proper premium credits on your insurance policy.