Insuring Your Business Against Cyber Liability

One survey found that 62% of small business executives are concerned about cybersecurity and IT risks. And yet, nearly 90% of small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. don’t use data protection for company and customer information.¹

Business owners are also required to protect their customers’ personal information. In 47 states, and the District of Columbia, businesses are required to notify individuals of security breaches involving personally identifiable information.²

As evidenced by news of large-scale data breaches, online hacking has become another form of risk that businesses now face everyday. Like many risks, businesses can insure themselves against the financial damage a cyber-attack may inflict.

Cyber liability insurance may cover a range of risks, including:

  • Data Breach Management: Pays expenses related to the investigation, management, and remediation of an incident, including customer notification, credit check support, and associated legal costs and fines.
  • Media Liability: Covers third-party damages such as website vandalism and intellectual property rights infringement.
  • Extortion Liability: Reimburses for expenses associated with losses arising from a threat of extortion.
  • Network Security Liability: Covers costs connected with third-party damages due to a denial of access and theft of third-party information.

Cyber liability insurance is fairly new so expect a wide divergence of coverage and costs. It may be purchased separately, or as a rider to your current business insurance policy. Be prepared to comparison shop to get a better understanding of coverage and costs.

Small business owners might also keep in mind that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There are steps you can take to protect your business from becoming a cyber victim.

Consider steps to protect your data.

  1. Maintain robust malware detection software and keep existing software updated.
  2. Train employees not to open links contained in emails from unknown senders. Research shows that 80% of security-related incidents are caused by employee behavior.¹
  3. Encrypt your important data, such as bank account information, customer credit card numbers, etc.
  4. Perform a security audit.

As obvious and simple as these precautions may sound, some businesses fall victim to cyber-attacks because of their failure to take them.

  1. The Guardian, January 21, 2015
  2. National Conference of State Legislatures, 2015

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

An Overview of Renter’s Insurance

Renters sometimes overlook the need for insurance based on the belief that they may not have a significant amount of personal possessions, or because the property is already insured by the owner.

While it is true that a rental property is insured by the owner, the destruction or loss of your personal belongings is not. But, that’s not the only risk renters need to worry about.

The typical renter’s insurance policy will cover your possessions against losses arising from fire, smoke, lightening, theft, vandalism, explosion, wind storm, and water damage (excluding floods).

Even if you don’t believe that the value of your personal possessions warrants insurance protection (though you may think differently after an inventory of their value), renter’s insurance covers other potential risks that can adversely impact your finances.

Renter’s insurance will cover damages and costs in the event that visitors are injured in your apartment or elsewhere by you, your pet, or a family member living with you. This includes any legal defense expenses if you are taken to court.

A renter’s policy will also cover additional living expenses should you be unable to live in your apartment due to a covered peril, such as fire, though the policy may set limits on how much you will be reimbursed.

You should make sure you know whether a policy insures for actual cash value (pays to replace your possessions after reducing for depreciation) or for replacement cost (which pays the actual cost of replacing items, up to policy limits). In most cases, replacement cost coverage is the smarter option.

If you have any possessions of particularly high value, such as art or jewelry, you may want to add a floater to the standard renter’s insurance policy.

If you are living with a roommate or domestic partner, you should inquire how the policy is expected to cover both parties as state regulations and insurance policies may vary.

Renter’s insurance is usually quite inexpensive, so if you are unsure whether to purchase a renter’s policy, talk to an insurance agent and obtain a quote. The low cost of protection may make a smart decision easier.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Protecting Your Home Against Flood Loss

From 2008 to 2012, the average residential flood claim was more than $38,000.¹

The financial loss that comes with flooding can be devastating. Yet, many Americans are not protected against flood damages, primarily because flooding is not covered under a standard homeowners policy.²

Low vs. High Risk

Even if you are in a moderate-to-low-risk area—homes not residing within mapped high-risk flood plains—you could suffer flooding at some point. In fact, moderate-to-low-risk areas account for nearly 25% of all National Flood Insurance Program insurance claims and one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding.³

To protect yourself from the financial risks of flooding, you can consider purchasing insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, which you can obtain through a local insurance agent.³ However, to be eligible, you will need to live in a community that participates in the program.

Coverage Choices

If you live in a moderate-to-low-risk area, you may qualify for coverage at a preferred rate, with building and contents coverage for one low price.

If you live in a high-risk area, the National Flood Insurance Program offers separate coverage for buildings and contents.

The cost of flood insurance depends on a number of factors, including the age of your home, the number of floors and the location of contents, your flood risk, and the deductible and level of coverage you choose, among other things.

  1. National Flood Insurance Program, June 2015. Most recent figure available.
  2. Several factors will affect the cost of flood insurance, including the age of your home, number of floors, and the location of contents. You should consider the amount of your deductible and level of coverage before purchasing a flood insurance policy.
  3. National Flood Insurance Program, June 2015.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

A Brief Guide To Condo Insurance

The ownership structure of a condominium unit is different from that of a single family house. Here’s what you need to know when purchasing insurance for your condo.¹

  1. Understand the Master Policy Since the ownership of all the common areas is shared with other condo owners, the association of owners typically purchases insurance coverage (a master policy) for the common areas, e.g., hallways, exterior walls, etc. The condo association’s policy will outline what is covered and what is not.
  2. Three Types of Coverage There are three basic types of coverage under a master policy.
    • Primary buildings and common areas
    • Your unit and any items within your unit other than personal belongings
    • Building, unit, and any fixtures

    As you can see, the individual coverage you may consider depends upon the scope of coverage of the master policy. Start by determining what is and isn’t covered under the master policy—that can influence the coverage you need.

  3. Know the Master Policy Deductible Generally, an association’s master policy has a deductible that is typically charged pro-rata among unit owners in the event of any claim. Determine that obligation because, while it may never materialize, it can represent a meaningful financial commitment.
  4. Consider Additional Coverage Similar to any homeowner, you will need to make decisions about other coverage options, such as cash value or replacement coverage, adding personal liability coverage, and whether flood insurance may be appropriate.
  1. Several factors will affect the cost of condo insurance, including the insurance coverage provided by the homeowners association. You should consider the amount of your deductible and level of coverage before purchasing a condo insurance policy. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Making Sense Of A Home Warranty

As a consumer, when you purchase an expensive item, like a car or refrigerator, you expect to receive a warranty that the manufacturer will repair or replace that product if it breaks down.

A warranty makes sense for big-ticket purchases, but what about for a home?

An Overview of Home Warranties

A home warranty typically covers the repairs on specific items in a home, such as heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, and built-in appliances.¹

A home warranty on a newly built home may be offered by the homebuilder and may cover up to 10 years on structural defects; one year on items like walls and paint; and two years for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. Appliances may only be covered for six months. Typically, the cost of this policy is contained in the price of the home.

A home warranty on an existing home also can be purchased, usually paid for by the seller or real estate agent to facilitate the sale of a house. These policies tend to have coverage not lasting more than one year.

Occasionally, a home buyer may choose to purchase a policy, for instance, in the case of buying a foreclosure.

Be Realistic

You should understand the limits to which a home warranty will protect you. A home warranty promises you that certain items will remain functional; it does not promise you a new appliance or furnace.

Though it may be comforting to know repairs are covered, a warranty may restrict the contractors you can use to do the repair work.

A home warranty may be most beneficial to someone who will be purchasing an older home.

If you elect to buy a home warranty, make sure you work with a reputable company with a long-standing record in your local area. And, as always, be sure to comparison shop.

  1. Several factors will affect the cost of a home warranty policy, including the size, location, and contents in the home. Any guarantees associated with a home warranty policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing company to continue making claim payments.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Buying Auto Insurance For Teen Drivers

Driving may be a rite of passage for teenagers, but for parents, having a teenage driver can be stressful and expensive. Your child will need auto insurance coverage as soon as he or she receives his or her driver’s license. Here are some important considerations.

Determine Whether to Add your Child to your Policy or Purchase a Separate Policy

  • Check with your insurer to see how your premiums are affected. Expect them to rise dramatically, but savings may be found through multiple car and good student discounts.
  • If your child is driving an “old beater” that doesn’t require comprehensive or collision coverage, a separate policy, in limited instances, may save you money.
  • Discuss your options with your insurance agent.

Consider Your Teen Driver Coverage Choices

  • Most personal auto policies won’t cover a driver transporting goods or services in exchange for a wage. So if your teen is planning on becoming a pizza delivery driver, contact your insurance agent to determine if additional coverage is needed.

Find Ways to Save Money

  • Consider vehicles with high safety ratings over sportier, more expensive cars.
  • Think about raising your policy’s deductibles.
  • Reassess your need for collision or comprehensive coverage.
  • Ask about “occasional” or “pleasure-only” discounts, which may apply to children away at school.
  • Explore usage-based insurance, which involves installing a device in the vehicle that monitors driving behavior and rewards good driving. It’s also a way to keep tabs on your teen’s driving.
  • Have your teen complete a driver’s education course.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Retiree Health Care Coverage Overseas

According to AARP, 45% of baby boomers expected to travel internationally in 2016.

Overseas travel may be one of the more popular aspirations in retirement, but it does beg an important question:“Will my health insurance coverage travel with me?”

Medicare Coverage Outside the U.S. is Limited

In most cases, Medicare will not cover costs for health care or supplies obtained outside the U.S. (including its territories), except in three situations:

  • You are in the U.S. when a medical emergency arises and a foreign hospital is closer than a U.S. one.
  • You are traveling through Canada on a direct route between Alaska and another state when an emergency arises.
  • You live in the U.S. and a foreign hospital is closer to your home than a U.S. one, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.

Medigap Coverage May Travel with You

Medigap is supplemental insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill in the “gaps” of Medicare coverage. If you own a Medigap policy, plans C through J offer travel emergency coverage. It has a $250 deductible with a $50,000 lifetime maximum. It will pay for 80% of emergency care and applies only during the first 60 days of the trip.

No Medigap?

Travelers who do not have Medigap coverage, but have health insurance coverage through private plans such as Medicare Advantage, should check with their plan to determine coverage while traveling.

If you do not have coverage when traveling overseas, policies may be purchased that will cover medical expenses incurred outside the U.S., including evacuations.

1. AARP, November, 2015

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

A Home Insurance Claim: To File Or Not To File

Insurance is meant to protect you against financial loss. But is it really meant to protect you from any and all financial loss? When it comes to filing a loss claim on your home insurance, there may be times when not filing may be the wisest course of action.¹

According to a CNN Money report, filing a single claim, on average, will result in a 9% increase in your monthly premium. And, if you file a second claim, your premium will climb an average of 20%.²

What About My Premium?

Some insurance companies may protect you against premium increases, and in Texas insurance companies are prohibited from increasing rates following a first claim. However, if it means your premium will rise, you may need to decide whether it makes sense to file a claim.

It may not pay to file a claim when:

  • The claim amount is small. Your policy will have a deductible, so even claims of $1,000 to $2,000 may not have a favorable long-term cost benefit.
  • You’re not covered for a loss. Read your policy first to determine coverage. The simple act of filing a claim (even for a claim that won’t be paid) may result in higher premiums.
  • You have filed a claim within the last seven years. Since previous claims are tracked by an industry database for seven years, it may result in higher premiums.

Another factor to consider: you may want to file a claim regardless of dollar amount if someone is injured on your property in order to protect yourself in the event that you are sued by the injured party.

  1. Several factors will affect the cost of homeowner’s insurance, including the location, size and contents in the home. You should consider the amount of your deductible and level of coverage before purchasing a policy. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
  2. CNNMoney.com, June 17, 2015

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

The Value of Insuring Against Life’s Risks

Did you know that…

  1. Approximately 100 million American workers have no private disability income protection,¹
  2. 30 percent of U.S. households have no life insurance,² and
  3. About one in eight drivers is uninsured?³

If you ask a homeowner, replacing a roof is probably the least satisfying expense he or she will ever face. While the value of such an investment is obvious, it doesn’t quite provide the satisfaction of new landscaping. Yet, when a heavy rain comes, ask that same owner if he or she would have preferred the nice flowers or a sturdy roof.

Insurance is a lot like that roof. It’s not a terribly gratifying expenditure, but it may offer protection against the myriad of potential financial storms that can touch down in your life.

The uncertainties of life are wide ranging, and many of them can threaten the financial security of you and your family. We understand most of these risks — a home destroyed by a fire and a car accident are just two common risks that could subject you to outsized financial loss.

Similarly, your inability to earn a living to support yourself and your family due to death or disability can wreak long-term financial havoc on those closest to you.

Insurance exists to protect you from these forms of wealth destruction.

Some insurance (e.g., home or car) may be required. When it isn’t (e.g., life or disability), individuals are tempted to avoid the certain financial “loss” associated with insurance premiums and assume the risk of much larger losses that are less likely to happen.

But insurance premiums aren’t a financial “loss;” they are designed to help protect you and your family as you build personal wealth.

  1. Council for Disability Awareness, 2015. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Federal and state laws and regulations are subject to change, which would have an impact on after-tax investment returns. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.
  2. Facts About Life 2016, LIMRA. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
  3. Insurance Information Institute, 2015.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Insurance Needs Assessment: When You’re Newly Married

Marriage changes everything, including insurance needs. Newly married couples should consider a comprehensive review of their current individual insurance coverage to determine if any changes are in order, as well as consider new insurance coverage appropriate to this new life stage.

Auto

The good news is that married drivers may be eligible for lower rates than single drivers. Since most couples come into their marriage with two separate auto policies, you should review your existing policies and contact your respective insurance companies to obtain competitive quotes on a new, combined policy.

Home

Newly married couples may start out as renters, but they often look to own a home or condo as a first step in building a life together. The purchase of homeowners insurance or condo insurance is required by the lender. While these policies have important differences, they do share the same purpose — to protect your home, your personal property and against any personal liability.

You should take special care of what is covered under the policy, the types of covered perils, and the limits on the amount of covered losses. Pay particular attention to whether the policy insures for replacement costs (preferable) or actual cash value.

Health

Like auto insurance, couples often bring together two separate individual health insurance plans. Newly married couples should review their health insurance plans’ costs and benefits and determine whether placing one spouse under the other spouse’s plan makes sense.

Disability

Married couples typically combine their financial resources and live accordingly. This means that your mortgage or car loan may be tied to the combined earnings of you and your spouse. The loss of one income, even for a short period of time, may make it difficult to continue making payments designed for two incomes. Disability insurance replaces lost income so that you can continue to meet your living expenses.¹

Life

Central to any marriage is a concern about the other’s future well-being. In the event of a spouse’s death, a lifestyle based on two incomes may mean that the debt and cash flow obligations can’t be met by the surviving spouse’s single income. Saddling the surviving spouse with a financial burden can be avoided through the purchase of life insurance in an amount that pays off debts and/or replaces the deceased spouse’s income.²

Liability

Personal liability risks can have a significant impact on the wealth you are beginning to build for your future together. Consider purchasing umbrella insurance under your homeowners policy to protect against the financial risk of personal liability.

Extended Care

Extended care insurance may be a low priority given other financial demands, such as saving for retirement. Nevertheless, you may want to have a conversation with your parents about how long-term care insurance may protect their financial security in retirement.

  1. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.
  2. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.