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    NEED COVERAGE, LIKE YESTERDAY?

    Whether you just closed a huge new account or if you are moving into that sweet new office; chances are you need proof of insurance - and you need it fast!

    Here @ Insurance4Technology, we utilize the best insurance tech available to turn around customized quotes catered to your exact needs in hours, not days.

     
    Thursday
    Nov212013

    Are You Goal Planning for 2014 the Right Way? 

    There are less than six weeks left before the new year. Chances are good that your business has experienced a decent 2013. If this is the case, CONGRATS! However, don't get too excited... The economy is rebounding, the Dow Jones is at an all time high and unemployment continues to trend downward. Much of the growth that businesses are experiencing is due to these favorable circumstances. This economy lends itself to grow your business exponentially with good planning. Whether you are a one person operation or a conglomerate, all businesses should plan and project at least a year ahead. The question is, are you planning the right way? 

    we are not a management consultancy and not suggesting that our way is better than yours or any other business out there. We are however a business insurance brokerage, meaning that we talk to business owners all day, every day. We have close insight to how technology related businesses operate and plan for growth and success. You may already be using these techniques, but here are a few valuable suggestions that we have picked up over the years that you may want to incorporate into your planning for 2014 and beyond:

    • Business goals can be tied to employee personal goals. Sure, you ask your sales staff to provide projections, you may get the classic "dartboard projections" where numbers are thrown at you out of nowhere. Try asking staff what their personal goals are first... Getting to the route of what drives your employees will surely lead to help them reach their business goals. Then you can backtrack and relate their personal goals to business and how they can reach both. Happy employees make good employees. If they are reaching their personal goals they are probably more likely to reach their business goals.
    • Consider expanding your product or services. Technology changes by the minute which means consumer demands and expectations change just as fast. Are you providing enough of a solution to win customers or letting a competitor win by providing added services? Chances are you or your staff know enough to be able to provide the same services, but you may not be communicating it as well as your competition. 
    • Use the "Buddy System." Unless you make something like this, your business is probably not unique. Try to find a business similar to yours to share ideas for growth. Reach our to a business that might serve a different market so they are not your competitor, but can work with you to reach common goals. You can save a lot of time in trial and error by joining groups and sharing what has worked or not worked in their business planning. Share ideas with people you trust before investing your time and money.
    • Get away from the office to plan. It's too hard to be creative and stay focused on business planning with phones ringing and other interruptions that distract you from the primary purpose of planning and goal setting. Consider a day or overnight retreat with owners and key employees to only work on planning. You may want some structured outline, but get creative! Lose the cell phones and work as a team. It's better to risk looking dumb brainstorming for ideas than to go out of business by not!

    Have additions, comments or suggestions to share? Feel free to leave comments below. We love to hear how businesses plan for success. Hopefully you are taking some serious time to consider your personal and business goals for 2014 and beyond, but remember that planning does noting without implementation.  

    Monday
    Nov182013

    Is Your Bark Louder Than Your Bite? 

    The internet is a LOUD place... Everyone is fighting for attention. It can be overwhelming to say the least. One of the biggest problems we are seeing with digital marketing is that there is a real lack of value to the vast majority of it. Marketers are seemingly so desparate for attention that they often tend to digitally "bark" their product or service instead of proving value. 

    Sure, a loud voice is heard, but a clear voice is understood. Another analogy of this concept is the "bullhorn" marketing approach... Adam Bain, President of Revenue at Twitter, helped bring this to light at the 2013 Marketers that Matter Awards (video here go to minute 17). Pop-ups, instant video ads, and useless call to action light boxes are a few types of bullhorn marketing techniques. Okay, you just got your prospects attention, but at what cost? Now they are annoyed and turned off. It can ruin the user experience. I would bet that at these techniques either lose more conversions or gain the wrong type of client that the business might be looking for.

    Are you making sure your prospective clients understand your value? Small business owners are often the CEO, CFO and CMO of their companies. You could be amazing at spreadsheets, but terrible at marketing. Or fantastic at marketing, but not great at managing. My point is if you are creating an online presence for your business, make sure your bark as not louder than your bite. If you're able to gain the attention of your audience, make sure you have the platforms in place to keep them without annoying them. If you are spending money on marketing you should have equally invested in your ability to maintain interest and convert your prospect into a client. Hiring talented staff or contractors for this can be a tough pill to swallow, but if done right is money well spent. It's okay to make noise in marketing, just please don't BARK!

    Monday
    Nov112013

    Understanding Employment Practices Liability Insurance

    Employment Practices Liability Insurance

    What is Employment Practices Liability?

    Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is a relatively new form of liability insurance. Lawsuits are becoming more regular and coverage is becoming harder to come by. EPLI provides protection for an employer against claims made by employees,former employees, or potential employees. It covers discrimination (age, sex, race, disability, etc.), wrongful termination of employment, sexual harassment, hour and wage disputes and other employment-related allegations. It covers your firm, including its Directors and Officers.

    When is Employment Practices Liability Needed?

    Employment Practices Liability is needed as soon as you start to hire employees. Most investors and directors will require that you carry this coverage as part of your Directors and Officers Liability insurance since they can also be held liable in suits relating to employment practices. 

    When is Employment Practices Liability Needed?

    Cases against employers are on the rise. It is estimated that three out of five firms will be sued by an employee. Companies are finding that they are vulnerable from the pre-hiring process through the exit interview, even if the employee was never hired, or only at the company a matter of days. It can happen to ANY firm. We have all experienced it. It could be a joke told in the break room, an employee you had to fire, a “friendly” programmer, or that person you chose not to hire. Every employer faces the reality that it will be the target of legal action from past, present and prospective employees. Even if the claim is groundless or fraudulent, the defense of a suit can be expensive in time, resources and financially. The number of lawsuits filed by employees against their employers has been rising. While most suits are filed against large corporations, no company is immune to such lawsuits. New firms are especially vulnerable. Newer and fast growing companies are often prey to these types of claims because their management team has not yet designed or implemented procedures for hiring, firing, and disciplining employees.

    Welcome to reality. Just because you might not have told the off-color joke to the new employee on their first day, your Independent Contractor, or client, might not think the same way. It’s still your firm that gets sued, and you can’t always monitor every hire, termination, or conversation that takes place in your office. Nor can you always know who will sue, and you can’t always prevent a disgruntled employee from lying or exaggerating just to “get even” with you. In today’s work environment Employment Practices Liability Insurance is becoming more of a necessity than an option.

    To learn more about Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) and how to protect your business and yourself, please contact us today. 

    Wednesday
    Nov062013

    SEC Policy Could Impact D&O Policies


    The recent announcement that the SEC will begin requiring admissions of wrongdoing could drive up costs due to the possibility of extended investigations and prolonged litigation. 

    It wasn't quite the shot heard 'round the world, but the Securities and Exchange Commission's recent announcement that it's going to start requiring admissions of wrongdoing before agreeing to settlements certainly got insurers' attention. However, the big question seems to be whether or not the agency's bite is as big as its bark.

    "Obviously, Harbinger and JPMorgan are the big cases at the moment," said Will Fahey, senior vice president of Management Solutions at Zurich. "Those were somewhat extreme situations that are not typical enforcement actions. It remains to be seen if the SEC is going to be looking to implement this new policy requiring admissions of guilt more broadly or if they are just going to do it in isolated circumstances."

    If the policy truly becomes the SEC's new mode of operation, it could have a big impact on D&O policies.

    "If an individual admits guilt, then clearly there would be no coverage for that individual," Fahey said. "Where there's an admission of wrongdoing by a corporate entity itself, it's not at all clear whether that invokes the fraud exclusion. It may. But that's by no means settled.

    "It's a wait-and-see game to see how the SEC proceeds. Depending how that goes, we might see insurance carriers potentially address that coverage uncertainty."

    Steve Boughal, vice president and chief underwriting officer at Hartford Financial Products pointed out the potential for a sharp rise in costs for insurers due to the possibility of extended investigations and prolonged litigation.

    "Seeking admissions of wrongdoing has the potential to decrease cooperation between the SEC and the target of the investigation," he said. "Admission language will be heavily negotiated between the SEC and the target, which may increase legal costs associated with finalizing a settlement."

    Samuel Rosenthal, a partner at law firmPatton Boggsand chair of the firm'sGovernment Investigations and White Collar Litigation practice group,said that admissions of wrongdoing may hit some directors and officers hard.

    "In D&O policies, there's often a regulatory exclusion so it may mean that the policy itself will disclaim any liability for a regulatory action.

    "But that's policy by policy," he said. "However, there are also exclusions for fraud and criminal conduct. Most policies -- virtually all -- won't let somebody insure against fraud or criminal conduct. If you've admitted to engaging in fraud or criminal conduct, yes, you're probably going to vitiate your D&O coverage."

    That doesn't mean that insurers' costs won't skyrocket in the meantime. "You can insure if there has been no final determination," Rosenthal said. "If somebody has been charged with fraud, there's still coverage until there's a final adjudication."

    While the impact of this directive continues to play out, Boughal cautioned both carriers and insureds to pay close attention to the finer points of policy language.

    "It's important for policyholders to understand the language of their policies and know whether it covers activity related to SEC investigations. Fines and penalties may be excluded from an insurance policy's definition of loss.

    "Directors and officers should review the type and amount of insurance they've purchased," he said. "They might want to consider E&O insurance as a complement to D&O. This is especially important for companies in the financial institutions industry or companies that provide services to them, such as accounting or law firms."

    From the insurers' perspective, Rosenthal said the SEC's potential requirement is an opportunity to refine coverage exclusions.

    "The carrier looks at this policy as a good thing. They may want to broaden their regulatory exclusions and their exclusions for fraud. I would think that the carriers always have an interest in broadening the exclusions; they always have in interest in making sure there are limits to coverage. The insured by contrast, has the opposite interest in making sure that the exclusions are as limited as possible."

    Trish Sammer Johnston is a freelance journalist based in the Philadelphia area who writes about financial issues.

    October 30, 2013

    Copyright 2013© LRP Publications

    Courtesty for usage provided by Risk & Insurance

    Full article: http://www.riskandinsurance.com/story.jsp?storyId=533355225

    Tuesday
    Nov052013

    Is One Million Dollars Really Enough?

    Do you realize that sixteen years have gone by since the great movie, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was made? The year was 1997 and the scene depicted above was when Dr. Evil unveiled his plans to hold the world ransom from eminent destruction for "One Million Dollars." His henchman had to remind him that since his cryonic freeze in the 1960's, inflation had gone up a bit and one million dollars was not that much money anymore...

    In insurance, a standard limit of liability is $1,000,000. Dr. Evil got me thinking, "Is one million dollars really enough coverage for a business in 1997 let alone 2013?" Maybe it's time business owners should take a closer look at their assets and liaiblity exposure to see just how a million dollars of coverage would protect them. Most carriers can now offer a base of two million dollars coverage in General Liability on a standard Business Owner Policy for a very nominal charge. Small businesses can also purchase a $1,000,000 umbrella for as little as $450 per year and up to $10,000,000 at reasonable rates as well. Other lines of coverage like Errors and Omissions, Directors and Officers, and Cyber Liaiblity can be increased as well. The first million in coverage is almost always the most expensive, so you should look into what 2, 3, 4 million, etc. would look like.

    Since 1997 the inflation rate has gone up 46%. That would make $1,000,000 from the time this movie was made to be $1,460,000 today. With inflation so goes the cost of attorneys, cost of living, etc. This would mean that your liability insurance in 1997 would probably not be sufficient in today's economy. The good news is that we are still in the midst of a soft market where insurance premiums are at a low. Therefore, you can purchase added protection for you and your business at remarkable rates. It's the perfect time to review your current insurance and liabilities to see if increased coverage makes sense. It would be best to do this before someone out to sue you gets told by their henchman (attorney) that "One Million Dollars is really not that much..."


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