casualty

DID YOU KNOW? Texting While Driving Deaths On The Rise

textinganddrivingresized.jpg

Drunk driving is down by 65 percent since 1982, but deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving – like texting while driving – are on the rise. People are busier than ever, juggling home and work lives, managing kids' schedules and rushing from one thing to the next. It is no wonder that people use their time in the car to navigate their day -- making appointments, responding to email, returning a text -- when instead they should just navigate the road.

This wasn't always the most prevalent problem on the road. Alcohol was.

According to the National Institutes of Health, in the mid-1970s, alcohol was:

  • a factor in over 60 percent of traffic fatalities
  • involved in two-thirds of traffic deaths among persons 16 to 20
  • allowed to be purchased by anyone 18-years old.

Since then, a number of factors have been implemented to reduce drunk driving fatalities. Some of those reasons include:

  • the drinking age is now 21 in all 50 states.
  • The level at which a person can be arrested for drunk driving has dropped from a 0.10% blood alcohol content (BAC) to 0.08%
  • a zero tolerance law of 0% BAC for underage drinking have been adopted.
  • drunk driving has been stigmatized
  • the use of designated driving has been promoted.

 

According to Responsibility.org, these efforts have reduced alcohol-impaired driving fatalties by 65% since record keeping began in 1982.

But with the onslaught of cell-phone use -- over 330 billion Americans use one daily -- the statistics for distracted driving are going in the other direction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 9 people are killed and 1,100 people are injured per day due to distracted driving and these statistics don’t include near-misses where an accident was avoided at the last second.

A number of years ago, Car and Driver magazine conducted a test that measured the reaction time of a drunk driver compared to a texting driver. The texting drivers took significantly longer to react to an alert than drivers who were legally drunk, yet texting and driving continues virtually unabated.

Despite these statistics, legal deterrents for distracted driving lag far behind those that have been implemented for drunk driving. In Illinois, the average fine for texting and driving is $75 for a first offense and little or no change in your insurance premium with most insurance companies.  Contrast this with a first-offense DUI in Illinois – A one-year suspension of your driver’s license, a fine of up to $2,500 (not counting attorney fees), and up to one year in jail.  From an insurance standpoint, a DUI may also result in non-renewal of your auto insurance, or astronomical increases in your premium combined with coverage restrictions or eliminations for up to seven years.

In order to fill this void, the insurance industry needs to get tougher on distracted driving. Awareness campaigns are a good first step, but meaningful financial penalties need to be implemented as a deterrent. Perhaps tripling a policyholder’s collision deductible for a distracted driving claim would work because it would have an immediate financial impact at the time of loss.

Have questions about your home and auto insurance coverage and want to make sure you are covered if a texting while driving accident occurs? David Miller has answers. Miller, who writes the monthly Did You Know blog, is The Plexus Groupe’s Vice President, Client Executive for Private Client Solutions. Miller can be reached by calling 846-307-6141.

Cyber attacks don't just affect computer systems. Your machinery may also be at risk.

Machinery-picture-e1525287107933.jpg

Cyber attacks threaten the financial stability of a company. The steep, monetary burden of a cyber attack isn't exclusively tied to damaged digital assets, lost records, and the price of investigating and reporting a breach. Damage to an organization’s physical assets can be just as harmful.

The physical damage of a cyber attack typically occurs when a hacker accesses a computer system that controls equipment. Examples include technology-based controls in a manufacturing plant, refinery or electric generating plant. After a hacker gains access to an organization’s machinery, they control it.

These types of events can lead to major disruptions and costly damages. To safeguard physical assets, it’s critical for organizations to understand the types of businesses and assets that are exposed to these attacks.

What’s at Risk?

Let's compare a cyber attacks to a natural disaster or other industrial accident. Following these kinds of incidents, organizations can incur costs to repair and replace damaged equipment in addition to any lost revenue caused by the disruption.

Unlike natural disasters, however, cyber attacks that result in physical damage aren’t limited to a geographic location and can impact an entire network. This means damages caused by a breach can be widespread, affecting multiple sectors of the economy depending on the target.

Because of this, cyber attacks that cause physical damage are often dynamic and extensive. When an attack on critical infrastructure occurs, it not only affects business owners and operators, but suppliers, stakeholders and customers.

Who’s at Risk?

Cyber attacks that cause physical damage — including the targets, assailants, motives and means of the attack — are constantly evolving.

Incidents can occur in a variety of ways, including: phishing scams, internet exchange point attacks, breaches of unsecured devices and plots carried out by rogue employees.

Many experts deem power and energy sector organizations the most at risk. However, vulnerabilities also exist in utilities, telecommunications, oil and gas, petrochemicals, mining and manufacturing, and any other sectors where industrial control systems (ICSs) are used.

ICSs are open computer systems used to monitor and control physical processes as well as streamline operations and repairs. ICSs are not often designed with security as a primary consideration. This leaves them susceptible to attack. And, for many automated processes, attacks don’t even need to cause physical damage to result in significant disruption and losses.

The targets of cyber attacks vary greatly by industry, and the damage can be extensive due to the interconnected nature of ICSs.

Real-World Examples

Organizations are not always required to report cyber attacks, so they largely go unreported. However, here are a number of high-profile incidents that demonstrate how important it is to consider infrastructure cyber exposures:

→ Ukrainian power grid attack. This was a multisite attack that disconnected seven 110 kilovolt (kV) and three 35 kV substations. The attack resulted in a power outage for 80,000 people and lasted for three hours. The attackers caused substantial, prolonged disruption to the economy and general public utilizing a phishing scam.

→ Saudi Arabian computer attacks. Hackers destroyed thousands of computers across six organizations in the energy, manufacturing and aviation industries. A simple virus stole data and then computers were wiped and bricked. Not only did this mean critical business data was lost forever, but all of the damaged computers had to be replaced — a substantial fee for businesses of any size.

→ Petrochemical plant attack. This attack targeted a Saudi Arabian petrochemical plant. The unique attack wasn’t designed to steal data, but rather sabotage operations and trigger an explosion. The only thing that prevented an explosion was a mistake in the attackers’ computer code. Had the attack been successful, the plant would likely have been destroyed and many employees could have died. Experts are concerned that similar attacks could happen across the globe.

→ Hospital ventilation attack. In this incident, a hacker was able to control a hospital’s HVAC system using malware. This attack put the safety of staff, patients and medical supplies in jeopardy, as the hacker could control the temperature of the facilities.

Cyber attacks will likely become increasingly common, as technology advances and hackers become more creative. Even more concerning is that these kinds of attacks not only endanger a company’s data, reputation and finances, but human lives as well.

How Do I Protect My Organization?

Insurance coverage for cyber attacks is still in its infancy, and your organization may have gaps in protection. Even if your property insurance policy includes physical or nonphysical damage overages, you may not necessarily be covered from first- or third-party losses from cyber attacks.

The level of protection your company has depends largely on the structure of your policies. Therefore, it’s critical for businesses to do their due diligence and understand if their policies do the following:

→ Impose any limits on coverage, particularly as it relates to physical damage of tangible property.

→ Cover an attack and any resulting damages.

→ Provide contingent coverage for attacks that aren’t specifically targeted at the organization.

There are a number of steps businesses can take by themselves to protect their physical assets. In addition to implementing a cyber risk management plan, businesses should consider the following:

→ Keep all software up to date.

→ Back up files regularly.

→ Train employees on common cyber risks and what they should do if they notice anything suspicious.

→ Review your exposures and speak with your insurance broker to discuss policy options for transferring risk.

Contact Us

Have questions about today's newsletter or other commercial insurance matters? Contact a property and casualty client executive at The Plexus Groupe at 847-307-6100, or reach out via the Web.

Disclaimer and publishing credit: This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Plexus Introduces 2018 Summer Internship Program

2018-7.png

Deer Park, IL, April 18, 2018. -- The Plexus Groupe, a national insurance brokerage, is proud to introduce its Summer Insurance Internship Program. The Insurance Internship Program allows students entering their junior or senior year in Fall 2018 to apply. Interns will gain valuable real-world business and insurance experience in a workplace environment annually honored as one of the "Best Places to Work in Insurance" by Business Insurance magazine and Best Companies Group. The firm seeks a pair of interns for its Deer Park, Ill. office. It also looks to fill one position in its Dallas office. The paid insurance internship program runs from Monday, June 11 through Friday, August 3.

"We're excited for the launch of our insurance internship program," said Stephanie Martinez, Plexus VP of Human Resources. "It's a wonderful opportunity for students pursuing a career in insurance, a fast-paced field that employs three million nationwide. Also, a field that is undergoing considerable change because of technology. These are exciting times for our firm and we are looking forward to working with these students."

Internship Qualifications

In order to qualify for a Plexus insurance internship, candidates must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Candidates will preferably major in Risk Management, Insurance, Human Resources, Business, or Finance. Employee Benefits will have two internships open: one in Deer Park, one in Dallas. One intern will work with Plexus's Property & Casualty team in Deer Park.

The Plexus Groupe will nominate interns for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers' Scholarship. This will give them a chance to win $5,000 towards their college educations.

Who is The Plexus Groupe

Plexus offers expertise in employee benefits, property and casualty, corporate retirement plans, personal lines insurance, human resources administration / consulting, benefits technology services, and mergers and acquisitions. In each of the last eight years, the firm has been honored as one of the "Best Places to Work in Insurance" by Business Insurance magazine and Best Companies Group. Headquartered in suburban Chicago (Deer Park), Plexus also has offices in Chicago (Loop), Dallas and Oklahoma City.

For more information on Plexus's 2018 Summer Internship Program, please contact the firm at 847-307-6100 and ask to speak to a Human Resources team member, or visit the firm's Career Opportunities page to apply.

While a stormy 2017 was expensive for insurers, it could have been worse

Untitled-design-30.jpg

In our latest look at Property & Casualty news and notes, we dive into the subject of 2018 commerical insurance pricing for insurers after a disaster-laden 2017.

Market watch: Though plenty of roofs caved in last year, the sky isn't falling in 2018

Global weather and storm losses reached $330 billion in 2017, with insured losses at $135 billion, according to reinsurer MunichRe. However, these losses do not necessarily mean that insurance rates will significantly rise, with numerous published reports suggesting that insurers built up excess capacity before a tumultuous 2017 -- and that losses were within acceptable limits. Nevertheless, property, conmercial auto, business owners, and general liability rates were up slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, per the IVANS index, which tracks rate renewals from more than 380 insurers.

Report: Securities lawsuit filings jumped 53% in 2017

Directors and officers of publicly traded companies found themselves at the center of more lawsuits than usual in 2017. Per Business Insurance magazine, securities lawsuits increased from 271 in 2016 to 415 in 2017, according to data from Kevin LaCroix, executive vice president at RT ProExec, a division of insurance wholesaler RT Specialty. That's a 53 percent increase over the previous year. Whether your firm is publicly traded or not, having the right directors and officers is key. We can help. For more information, contact Plexus Vice President of Executive Liability Willie Lindsey at wlindsey@plexusgroupe.com or 847-307-6100.

Getting to know Plexus's Cyber Indication Form

Ever thought about getting cyber insurance for your business but didn't know where to start? Check out our quick and easy Cyber Liability Indication Form. Fill it out, and one of our client service team representatives can give you a sense of the coverage you need -- and what it could cost.