COVID-19 and the New Cyber Challenges

The CIOVID-19 pandemic has affected the way we do business in a very significant way. Many businesses are requiring people to work remotely.  Employers are finding that having employees work remotely may be the new normal.

COVID-19 has forced us to become more dependent on the internet, as desperate measures, like social distancing, disrupt economic activity and everyday life.

This new way of doing business could mean that employees are collecting client information from home or other places that may not have the same cyber security as an office network.  In some instances, employees who are working remotely are forced to use their home computers because they do not have a company laptop.

Top Work-from-Home Cyber Concerns

  • Unsecured video conferencing
  • Using unsecured networks
  • Spam and phishing campaigns exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Maintaining security-critical operations, such as patch management
  • Supporting employees to ensure they have what they need to work from home without sacrificing security
  • Theft of client information from lap tops
  • Changes to regular security-critical processes
  • Using social media platforms from unsecured networks

What Can Employers Do to Reduce the Threat?

  • Do not open email from people you do not know.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in emails, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Do not provide personal information to unknown websites or uninvestigated third-party messengers.
  • Do not share the virtual meeting URL’s on social media or other public channels.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, and be wary of email attachments.
  • Lock your screen if you work in a shared space.
  • Provide corporate computers/devices to staff while teleworking, where possible.
  • Use secure, password-protected emails when sending documents.
  • Ensure that adequate information technology resources are in place to support staff.
  • Provide secure video conferencing for corporate clients (both audio/video capabilities).

Over the last sixty years, we have established a reputation for honesty, high morals, integrity and friendly, professional customer service – pillars of a successful insurance agency. Based upon this foundation, the staff of Reichley Insurance Agency commits to the following mission:

  • To provide the clients with quality products and services through financially sound insurance companies committed to the American agency system.
  • To provide prompt and courteous service by handling each account as if it were our own and by treating each client the way we would want to be treated.

Tips for Working at Home

Does COVID-19 Have You Working From Home?

Due to the stay at home mandate, there are many people who are working remotely these days.  It appears this mandate will last at least another month.  Many people have thought that working remotely would be great, but working remotely is a double-edge sword.  Sure, you get to stay home, but studies show that it can be harder to focus on work.

Remote Workers Need to Be Aware of These Challenges:

  • Lack of a work routine
  • Tendency to over-work
  • Lack of human interaction
  • Prioritizing a work project
  • Interruptions from family, pets, phone calls, and the doorbell

How to Make Working Remotely Work for You

  • Confine your workspace to a specific area in your home.
  • Set up your workspace like your office.
  • Set a schedule and create a routine.
  • When in doubt, go with over-communication; update your boss frequently on everything you are doing, and whether your schedule and deliverables are changing in any way.
  • After work, stay off electronic devices for some time to transition to “home time.”
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Get dressed every day. Taking the time to get dressed and perform your usual self-care routine can prove a big psychological booster.

We are here to help you with any insurance related need you may have. Please be safe and stay healthy.

Your Personal Insurance and COVID-19

As our country continues to manage through the COVID-19 crises, we thought it might be useful to take some time to remind you of the importance of your personal insurance during this time.  The coronavirus pandemic should not affect your auto or homeowner’s insurance too much, but there are a few coverages that could be impacted because of the temporary lifestyle change.

  • Do not cancel your auto insurance just because you are temporarily not driving.  Auto insurance is required by law.
  • Some auto insurers are considering offering discounts for a short period of time, due to the fact that there are fewer cars on the road. As of today, we do not know what this may look like, but when we do know we will advise our clients, and follow on our social media sites and web page as we will be posting update there.
  • Vehicles with loans need to maintain physical damage coverage on the vehicle.   We would love to talk with our policyholders to find creative ways to help with cost reduction.
  • Check out our COVID-19 resource page HERE
  • The Ohio Department of Insurance has issued a directive for all carriers that are billing for Property & Casualty, Life and Long Term Care that require a 60-day grace period for payments, however if not paid within the extended period – the cancellation will take effect back to the effective date of the coverage, leaving a gap in coverage. This is not a waiver of premium payments.  Those affected should contact the billing departments of either the insurance company or the agency, whoever is sending the invoices.
  • If you are working remotely via computer, there should be no issues with your homeowners or renter’s insurance.  However, this is true as long as there are no customers coming to your home.  If you are running a business from your home, you will need business insurance.  We are happy to help you with this.
  • If you have a claim, we are open, as are the insurers.  Give us a call, and we will be ready to help you. Your policy has toll-free claim numbers to help you get the process going.
  • Some health insurance providers are offering resources that include mental health issues. See attached from Anthem Health. http://www.anthem.com/coronavirus

Other Heath insurers are likely following suit with these added benefits that can be accessed online directly from home.

  • Some insurance companies are offering relaxed payment terms.  We suggest you contact them directly if you feel you may miss a payment. Of course, you can always contact our office to assist you.
  • Be aware of credit card and cyber scams. Unfortunately, criminals have ramped up their efforts during this crisis.  The fraud ranges from false claims of cures and treatments for the coronavirus to fake charities attempting to soliciting money to help those suffering.
  • As we all have so much time at home, now is a good time to complete a home inventory of your personal property.  Creating and updating an inventory of your personal possessions is one of the best ways to make the most of your homeowners or renters insurance, and it makes filing a claim easier and more efficient.  If your home is damaged or totally lost due to a fire or other event, having a home inventory will help you recover all your personal property with the least amount of time and stress.
  • Life insurance should not be affected because of COVID-19.  If you already have life insurance, you are covered, and a company cannot make changes to a policy that is already active.  If you do not currently have coverage, however, your application may be affected.  Keep in mind that each life insurance company is handling the pandemic differently.  It is important to have us shop your life insurance to make sure the company you choose meets your needs.

Our goal is to be here for you and to help answer any questions you have regarding your insurance. Please feel free to connect with us at any time.

This information seems to be changing and we will keep you advised as this relates to our customers

Another Workers’ Compensation Dividend On Its Way to Ohio Businesses

Earlier today, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will send up to $1.6 billion in dividends to Ohio employers to help ease the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

This dividend will allot $1.4 billion to private employers and $200 million to local governments when approved by BWC’s board of directors.

BWC will begin sending dividend checks to employers later this month. This dividend marks the sixth time since 2013 the agency has returned at least $1 billion to employers following strong investment returns, falling injury claims and other operational efficiencies. As with past rebates, employers are free to spend the funds as they wish.

While workers’ compensation in Ohio is a monopolistic system, it continues to be an area where your commercial clients have been positively impacted by BWC’s repeated rebates the past seven years. We encourage you to continue to explore how you can become an advisor to your clients on their Ohio workers’ compensation needs by learning more about OIA’s Group Rating and Retro programs.

Reprinted from Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Carolyn Mangas

Will Drones Change The Way We Buy Insurance?

Drones and Insurance

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released guidelines on the use of drones for commercial and personal use.  Many businesses are considering, or actually using, drones as part of their business.  Just a few applications include real-estate appraisals, making commercials, construction projects, and even security.

Most drone users have little or no aviation experience so, even if you follow the regulations and the laws, you might experience pilot error, or unplanned equipment failure. With some models tipping the scales of up to 55 pounds, rogue drones can pose a significant threat to people and property—and to your personal liability. That’s why it’s a smart to add an insurance review to your pre-flight checklist.

Here is a link to the FAA rules

Here is What You Need to Know

  1. Drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, and operation must be less than 400 feet above ground.
  2. Drones must be in your line of sight at all times.
  3. Operation must also be within 3o minutes of sunrise or sunset.
  4. Operators need to obtain a pilot certificate with the US Airspace by passing an aeronautical test.

Will My Insurance Cover Drone Operations?

It will be important to talk to your agent regarding just how your insurance policy will respond.

While the massive national agencies spend millions on television ads and offer barebones policies, they do not know you. When your needs change or your situation complicates, you don’t want an automated phone tree or cold cyber-agent. You want to talk to compassionate, honest insurance experts – that’s our team. You shouldn’t have to spend hours researching and comparing policies. Let the specialists at Reichley guide you through the complex insurance industry.

Call today to alleviate the worry and get covered – (937) 429-0655.

Is Our Sharing Economy Creating New Risks For You?

Is Our Sharing Economy Creating New Risks For You?

We live in a digital world that now allows us to share our possessions, including our car, bike, boat, apartment, and even our home, for profit with total strangers.  Smartphones, and the applications that can be added, offer many useful tools for sharing, but some of these things create new and increased liability for you.  Before you decide to jump into the sharing economy, consider the following:

  • If you use Airbnb to sublease your apartment, you might check your lease.  Many lease agreements have “no sublease” clauses that do not allow for this kind of activity.  In addition, some big cities are now actually considering outlawing the Airbnb services as it reduces hotel/motel taxes.
  • Homeowner’s insurance will not cover rental property. You need insurance when you do not occupy the same residence as your tenant. You will also need special insurance if you are renting out your own home temporarily, or sharing accommodations such as your basement level, with a renter.
  • Uber offers a taxi service where individuals can offer rides to those who subscribe.  Are you confident that these individuals have had proper background checks?  Are they experienced drivers?  Do they have the correct insurance? Remember, even in states that have mandatory auto insurance laws, over 25% of drivers do not have insurance.
  • Commercial auto insurance should be considered if using your car for hire.  There is a big difference in the auto insurance world between a carpool for work and being paid to deliver people.
  • If you rent your primary home to others, it may limit your personal insurance coverage. Call our office for a review.

The new sharing economy will most likely continue and can be a good way to make money.  However, if you have an uninsured claim, the cost to you may be much greater than your profits.  Be aware that using these services may increase your risk of loss.

A professional insurance agent can help educate you on your risks, review your current program, and then create an individualized plan to fit your needs.

While the massive national agencies spend millions on television ads and offer barebones policies, they do not know you. When your needs change or your situation complicates, you don’t want an automated phone tree or cold cyber-agent. You want to talk to compassionate, honest insurance experts – that’s our team. You shouldn’t have to spend hours researching and comparing policies. Let the specialists at Reichley guide you through the complex insurance industry.

Call today to alleviate the worry and get covered – (937) 429-0655.

 

Five Questions To Ask Your Broker

Five Questions To Ask Your Broker

There is a growing trend that involves the idea that insurance agents are different. And that when selecting your personal insurance, it pays to use an agent who has experience, knowledge and the service you need.

Your agent should have many years’ experience in the industry. They should have a staff that has the knowledge and experience to handle your individual personal insurance concerns and questions. Your agent should be able to offer alternatives and services that others can’t. For example, can your agent help you with flood insurance, ATV coverage or your second home?

Here Are Five Questions To Ask You Broker

  1. What is your experience in the insurance industry?
  2. If I have a claim, how will you help me?
  3. How often will you call me to review my account?
  4. How many markets will you use to market my personal insurance program?
  5. What is your policy on following up with customer requests?

There are other ways to help you evaluate the agent, which include; visit their web page to learn more about their services, ask for references, and check other social media sites.

One Example Of How We Define Customer Service

This past year our community has been hit hard with wind damage from the Memorial Day Tornados. We should know because many of your clients have claims that we have been helping them with. Our team of professionals has been working hard to help our clients get the best possible settlement under the terms of their individual policies.

The services we provide during a claim is another good reason for individuals to partner with a local independent insurance agent. We work under the premise that insurance is a promise between the client and the insurer. Our job is to make sure all promises in the insurance policies are kept and communication between the insurance carriers and our clients maintained. People define integrity as doing the right thing when no one is watching. Over the past few months, I have noticed our staff acting with incredible integrity when dealing with both our clients and insurance carrier representatives; here are a few examples.

  • Representing our client’s interest to claims adjusters.
  • Visiting the damaged property.
  • Outlining our client’s coverage to insurance companies.
  • Asking for advances on behalf of your clients.
  • Confirming coverage terms to adjusters.
  • Educating clients on how the claims process works and what to expect.
  • Encouraging claims adjuster to offer proper settlements.

We are in business to make sure promises are kept and to educate our clients on the risks they face and how to manage them properly. Choosing the right insurance starts with choosing the right insurance agency.

 

 

How We Help You Make Informed Insurance Decisions

When it comes to your insurance, making the right decision can be the difference between a covered loss or a nightmare. Knowing what to look for is one thing, but it’s just as important to know what NOT to do when considering your insurance agent and the kind of insurance you may need. What your goal should always be is to get the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service. To help you get to this point, we have a process that we use that helps us known you better and educates you on your risk and how best to manage them. The process is the same for a family or a business.

Understanding

It is important that we have an understanding of your needs, concerns, and risks. Our goal is to gain knowledge of what risks you have and how we can manage these together. Some risks we can say for sure may need insurance, but there may be some risks where insurance is not the best solution.

Educating

Once we understand your risks and needs, we educate you on how to manage them best. We believe that our primary purpose is to educate and inform our clients so they can make the best possible decision.

Planning

Once we agree on what your risk is, we set up a plan. The plan may be to offer insurance options, increase deductibles, transfer your risk, or self-insure. Notice that this is the first time we mention insurance. If the first word out of an insurance professionals mouth is insurance, all they are doing is trying to sell you a product, not deliver on a promise.

Managing

We manage your program through insurance placement; risk reduction techniques claims assistance and customer service. We understand that our job does not end when your policy is delivered. We answer questions and solve problems throughout the entire year.

Evaluating

To continue the process, we assess your program and make corrections based changes in your needs and risk. We believe that your insurance needs change, and therefore, our approach needs to be flexible enough to adapt and change over time.

In the end, you have a better-designed insurance program and be more satisfied with the results. Just remember, cheaper is not better and better is not always more expensive. We offer a way to add value to your insurance purchases.

Agents Keep Changing And Evolving

Things Every Agent Should Be Doing

In case you have not figured it out, I am on a mission to change the way agents/brokers and their clients interact with each other. There are three things that every agent should be doing with their clients; educate, educate, educate. Ok, I know what you are thinking. Just like real-estate, it is location, location, and location. But not so fast.

Here Is What I Mean By Educate

Educate Your Clients About Their Risk

The very first thing every agent needs to do is help their clients understand what their risks are. Not just simply fire, wind, and auto hazards, but rather the client’s complete risks.  These risks can include liability assumed in a contract, cyber risk, employment liability, and more. This involves truly understanding the client’s business and how to create and deliver real solutions; some of which may not include insurance.

Educate Your Clients About Insurance

Every agent needs to be providing information to their clients on how insurance works, and the pros and cons of the insurance their clients are considering. Do your clients fully understand all the terms, conditions, and exclusions of their insurance?

Educate Your Clients About The Market

It is very important that your clients understand how the insurance markets work, including market trends and market volatility. The swings in market pricing can actually provide opportunities for our clients. As prices go up, why not increase the deductible, thus keeping premiums level?

It should always be the goal of every agent to help your clients understand the value you bring to the relationship.