Property & Casualty

DID YOU KNOW? Pool Safety Ensures A Swimming Summer

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Ensure pool safety before diving in headfirst. Whether you own a pool or get invited to a friend’s pool, ensure pool safety by having a plan to prevent injuries, adequate insurance coverage and a regular maintenance schedule.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 356 drowning deaths in pools and spas occur in the United States each year, with 77 percent of the deaths involving children under age five.

While drownings are certainly the most tragic, common injuries include:

  • Clothing, jewelry, or fingers becoming entangled in drains
  • Head injuries caused from diving into shallow water
  • Overexposure to chemicals used to treat the water
  • Slipping and falling on stairs, decks, or ladders

 

If you own a swimming pool, you must take reasonable precautions to ensure pool safety and prevent people from being injured. Some of the acts a “reasonable person” would be expected to do to include:

  • Keeping the pool in good repair
  • Limiting access by enclosing the pool with a fence
  • Installing a locking hard cover when the pool is not in use
  • Providing adequate supervision for children and non-swimmers
  • Posting warning signs where appropriate
  • Ensuring that lifesaving devices are readily available
  • Refusing to allow intoxicated guests to swim
  • Keeping the area around the pool well-lit and maintained

From an insurance standpoint, a personal umbrella policy is also a must-have.  It won’t ensure pool safety or prevent an injury, but it will provide you with additional liability insurance should a tragedy occur.  Most importantly, legal defense costs incurred during the claims process would also be covered, without subtracting from the limit of liability.

Besides adequate insurance coverage and a regular maintenance schedule to ensure pool safety, it is important to talk about pool safety with your children. Some tips include not allowing them to swim unattended, avoiding unsafe pools and pointing out possible hazards to those who owns unsafe pools.

If you own a pool, have set safety rules, maintain it regularly, make sure your insurance policy has adequate coverage and then slather on some sunscreen and float your days away, worry free.

Have questions about pool insurance? 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.

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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 Points: Insurance stories we're reading

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We enjoy reading about insurance. Here are seven insurance stories we're sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

The Economist takes a look at how insurance is working to tailor policies for the freelance workforce.

→ Fixing something and need insurance fast? One agency is offering on-demand coverage.

→ Why are major non-insurers like Walmart suddenly looking to get into the business?

→ Dog bite insurance claims totaled close to $690 million in 2017, according to one study.

→ The state of Kansas allows teachers to be armed in schools, but the state schools' insurer has made it clear it won't cover schools with armed teachers.

→ Here's a neat story from the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal on how area insurers and schools are working to attract students to careers in insurance.

→ The deadly Montecito mudslide has led to more than $400 million in insurance claims.

 

Why checking your homeowners insurance should be a rite of spring

Double-checking your homeowners insurance probably isn’t on many spring to-do lists. But it should be.

That’s the advice from David Miller, Vice President and risk management expert at Plexus Private Client Solutions, a suburban Chicagoland personal insurance agency protecting the life’s work of successful families and individuals with tailored home, auto, and umbrella coverage solutions.

In his recent article, “Eight Things That Might Surprise You About Your Home Insurance Policy,” Miller highlights some hot-button issues for homeowners, including:

Your home may be underinsured. Via Consumer Reports, which cited data from analytics firm CoreLogic, three out of every five homes are 20% underinsured on average. In the case of a total rebuild, this could leave homeowners left to pick up the pieces — while also picking up the check.

Take a look at your deductible, because it may have changed. Miller, who has more than two decades of insurance experience, cautions homeowners to be aware of wind and hail deductibles. These have been on the rise, with an uptick in roof-related claims particularly an issue. An insurance company can only change your coverage at renewal; make sure to read the fine print. Your agent can help.

Do not assume you have sump pump failure coverage. Most insurance companies will exclude this damage as a cause of loss. However, you can usually buy back a limited amount of coverage. Writes Miller: “Even if you have an unfinished basement, the costs associated with a sump pump/sewer claim might surprise you.”

For more information on the home and personal insurance expertise offered by Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact David Miller at 847-307-6100, or visit plexusgroupe.com. The firm's located at 21805 W. Field Parkway, Suite 300, in Deer Park, Illinois.

About Plexus Private Client Solutions

The personal insurance practice of national insurance brokerage The Plexus Groupe LLC, Plexus Private Client Solutions delivers a superior client experience and comprehensive personal insurance for successful individuals and families, including auto, home, and umbrella coverage. Our experienced, dedicated team takes a consultative approach to your personal risk management needs. For more information on Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact the firm at 847.307.6100 or via the Web.

Claims history, employment practices among underwriting considerations for D&O insurance

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Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance is an insurance coverage sought by public, private and non-profit organizations to help protect their executives from costly legal actions. Over the years, insurance companies have refined their underwriting practices for D&O insurance to reward organizations that implement proactive risk management measures. While organizations across the United States have developed a greater appreciation for the importance of D&O insurance, many misconceptions about the underwriting process for D&O insurance persist. This Coverage Insights article examines some of the information that underwriters generally review when they receive an application for D&O liability insurance.

The Basics

Applications for D&O insurance generally start by asking applicants for a basic profile of their organization. In particular, underwriters want to establish the organization’s size, location, and industry. While this information may seem basic, it impacts an underwriter’s willingness to accept an application for coverage, and sets the price, terms, and conditions of the policy.

Note that an organization’s industry may contribute to an insurance company’s perception of the D&O risk posed by an applicant. When forming an opinion of a potential new client, underwriters will often take into consideration any recent litigation trends, along with their own underwriting experience with organizations in that sector.

The Organization’s Financial Condition

Typically, underwriters will require organizations to submit a copy of their audited financial statements along with their application for D&O coverage. Underwriters require this information in order to develop an understanding of an organization’s financial circumstances, particularly its key income statement components and balance sheet components. With this information, insurance companies create a range of financial ratios to benchmark an applicant to other similar organizations within its industry.

One of the main questions the underwriters will be trying to answer is whether an organization has sufficient cash or credit available to fund its operations and service its debt obligations for the proposed policy period. Organizations with a strong financial standing operating in an industry with positive economic outlook are generally looked upon favorably by underwriters.

Claims History

Insurance companies, by their nature, want to extend coverage to organizations that will allow them to remain profitable. Insurance companies generally view an organization with a history of frequent claims or pending litigation as undesirable and may decline to offer coverage or charge more for coverage based on the likelihood of a future loss.

While each insurance company has its own internal D&O underwriting practices, underwriters typically look at the following:

-- Recent civil or criminal action, or administrative proceedings alleging violation of a federal, state, or foreign securities law.

-- Involvement in insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings.

-- Instances of employment or labor-related litigation or proceedings.

-- Disputes over employee benefit or pension plan.

Mergers and Acquisitions

If an organization has been involved in merger or acquisition (M&A) activity, underwriters will typically investigate the reasons for these transactions to gain an understanding of its associated risk. This information interests insurance companies because financing activities and M&A activity are events that often lead to D&O claims.

Depending on the nature of an organization’s M&A activity, an underwriter may recommend certain conditions or restrictions in the D&O coverage provided to the organization or choose to decline coverage altogether.

Employment Practices

Current and former employees are a common source of D&O insurance claims, especially for private and non-profit organizations. In order to get a better sense of how likely an organization’s directors and officers are to become involved in a  dispute with employees, insurance companies will typically ask a series of questions related to employment practices. Common questions include, but not limited to, the following:

-- Does your organization have a formal human resources department?

-- Does your organization have an employee handbook?

-- Has your organization recently completed any layoffs, facility closures, or early retirement programs?

-- What is your organization’s annual turnover rate?

-- Does your organization have policies forbidding discriminatory conduct in the workplace?

-- Does your organization have formal hiring and interviewing guidelines?

International Exposures

Organizations that have operations in foreign countries tend to face a higher degree of D&O risk due to the complex compliance requirements that exist in each jurisdiction.

Accordingly, underwriters will typically ask an organization applying for D&O coverage what percentage of its business is in the United States and other countries.

Diversity of Business Activities

Generally, D&O risk is lower for organizations that concentrate their efforts in one core business activity. For this reason, underwriters may look more critically at organizations that involve themselves too many unrelated areas where the directors don’t have expertise in that type of operation. As a rule of thumb, the longer an organization has been involved in a business activity, the D&O risk associated with performing that activity decreases.

Additional Considerations for Public Companies

For publicly traded companies, insurance companies often require additional analysis from their underwriters during the application process. In addition to the areas previously mentioned, D&O underwriters may examine a publicly traded company’s accounting practices, corporate structure, stock price volatility, executive compensation, disclosure practices, and corporate governance.

Contact Us

Whether your organization is a non-profit, privately held, or public company, it is likely that it can benefit from a D&O policy. While the application and underwriting process for D&O insurance may seem daunting, The Plexus Groupe's knowledgeable insurance professionals are here to ensure your organization finds the insurance coverage it needs.

For more information on Plexus's management lines insurance expertise, including directors and officers coverage, contact a Property & Casualty executive at 847-307-6100 or visit ThePlexusGroupe.com

Disclaimer and publishing credit: This Coverage 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. © 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

When it comes to home renovations, don't skip the one phone call you need to make

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In our latest roundup of personal insurance news, notes, and tips, we begin with a reminder that seeing someone's proof of insurance is one thing -- but hearing an agent verify that coverage is believing.

Hiring contractors? Verify their insurance with an agent, then trust.

Spring is ideal for home improvements, some of which might require a contractor's expertise. But before anyone starts work on your home, make sure they have insurance. Ask your contractor to furnish proof of insurance, with their agents contact information to verify the insurance is active. A reputable contractor will welcome your due diligence, and you will have peace of mind. Have any questions on this topic? Call us at 847.307.6100, and any of our Plexus Private Client Solutions team members will be happy to help.

Florida: the king of uninsured motorists

Ah, Florida. Sunshine. Beaches. And, unfortunately, a higher percentage of uninsured drivers than the rest of the country, according to the most recent available data from the Insurance Research Council (via the Insurance Information Institute). Therefore, there is no guarantee insured Florida drivers are carrying all that much coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida drivers are only required to carry $10,000 in liability coverage per person, with a minimum $20,000 per accident in liability insurance. Furthermore, drivers need just $10,000 in property coverage, per state law.

About Plexus Private Client Solutions

The personal insurance practice of national insurance brokerage The Plexus Groupe LLC, Plexus Private Client Solutions delivers a superior client experience and comprehensive personal insurance for successful individuals and families, including auto, home, and umbrella coverage. Our experienced, dedicated team takes a consultative approach to your personal insurance needs, and we transform complexity into simplicity to reduce your exposures and protect your most valued assets. For more information on Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact the firm at 847.307.6100, or reach out via the Web.

Plexus Hires Wes Hornsby as Vice President of Business Development

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The Plexus Groupe (Plexus), a national insurance brokerage and risk management consultancy with an international network, has hired sales executive Wes Hornsby as a Vice President of Business Development. Hornsby will work out of Plexus's Dallas, Texas office.

Wes Hornsby

Hornsby brings more than 20 years of sales leadership, business operations experience, and strategic planning expertise. He was most recently with Aflac, where he tailored benefit plans for clients via brokers, self-funded groups, and enrollment/software-solution companies. He has also held key sales roles with SurePoint Medical LLC, Rocky Brands, Inc., Allstate, and Bayer/Siemens.

"We are excited to welcome Wes to Plexus," said Brian F. Griffin, Plexus President and Chief Revenue Officer. "His innovative, strategic, client-focused approach, coupled with his vast experience and success in employee benefits and property and casualty, makes him a perfect fit for us. His addition is yet another example of our commitment to bolstering our already strong Dallas market presence."

The Plexus Groupe

Plexus offers expertise in property and casualty, employee benefits, corporate retirement plans, personal lines insurance, human resources administration/consulting, benefits technology services, and mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, the Plexus Global Network gives clients access to insurance placement in 130 countries around the world. Plexus has four offices: Deer Park, Ill. (headquarters), Chicago (Loop), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.

For more information on Plexus's strategic insurance solutions, please contact the firm at 847.307.6100 and ask to speak to a client executive, or contact us via the Web.

Plexus Points: Insurance stories we're reading

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At Plexus, we enjoy reading about insurance. Here are a half-dozen insurance stories we are sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

-- A major carmarker will begin a program allowing owners to rent their cars out when they are not using them, a la Airbnb and homes.

-- In case you are wondering, Airbnb does provide some free liability coverage to users, and homeowners insurance may also cover some issues, as this Kiplinger's Personal Finance article points out.

-- Here's a look at the type of coverages home-based businesses may want to explore.

-- Will marijuana-related businesses utilize captives for insurance solutions?

-- Dental implants are effective, but will your insurance cover them?

-- On homeowners policies and firearms.

Plexus V.P. Jesse Altman to present at Solar Asset Management North America on Tuesday

DEER PARK, Ill., March 12, 2018 -- Jesse Altman, Energy Practice Vice President and thought leader at national insurance brokerage and risk management consultancy The Plexus Groupe, is among the industry leaders set to present this week at a top North American solar power conference. Altman will share cutting-edge risk mitigation strategies for original equipment manufacturers at Solar Asset Management North America on Tuesday. The two-day conference brings together solar plant and portfolio experts from around the world.

As the leading energy risk management expert at Plexus, Altman delivers expertise to energy companies with complex risk management needs. He provides innovative program structures to minimize cost and maximize asset protection.

"We're excited to have Jesse at this leading industry event," said Mike Mann, Vice President and Risk Management Leader. "This is an excellent forum for Jesse to collaborate in an engaging learning and sharing environment with industry peers."

The Plexus Groupe

Plexus offers expertise in property and casualty, employee benefits, corporate retirement plans, personal lines insurance, human resources administration/consulting, benefits technology services, and mergers and acquisitions. The firm's headquartered in Deer Park, Ill., with additional locations in Chicago (downtown), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.

For more information on Plexus’s  insurance solutions and risk mitigation in energy, call 847-307-6100 or via the Web at PlexusGroupe.com.

Eight things that might surprise you about your home insurance policy

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By David Miller, Vice PresidentPlexus Private Client Solutions 

Home insurance is essential, but only having the right home insurance offers true piece of mind.

What's more, there is nothing worse than being surprised by an expense not covered by your insurance.

With these points in mind, here are eight things to consider as you think about your homeowner's coverage.

Finally, if you want to discuss issues raised in this article, please contact me at 847-307-6141 or dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

Eight Considerations

1. Your home's probably underinsured.  According to CoreLogic, which provides analytics information to insurers and other businesses, 60% of U.S homes seem uninsured by an average of 20%.  Most home insurance companies will provide additional coverage if the amount listed in your policy's not enough to rebuild your home. The amount of this cushion varies from one company to the next.

The bigger concern, however, is not working with an agent that insures the home correctly in the first place.  You don’t want to find out at the time of loss that your policy provides you with 20 percent additional coverage when you need 50 percent more coverage to completely rebuild your home.

2. Your deductible may be too low.  Many insurance companies are starting to provide meaningful premium reductions at higher policy deductibles.  Our rule of thumb is to accept a higher deductible when the increase in deductible divided by the premium savings is five years or less.

For example, let’s assume your current deductible is $1,000.  The insurance company would decrease your premium by $450 if you increased the deductible to $2,500.  If you divide the additional out-of-pocket expense ($1,500) by the premium savings ($450), the result is 3.3 years.  In this example, we would recommend moving to the higher deductible.

3. Your deductible may have changed.  We have started to notice that some direct writers are moving towards a percentage deductible as opposed to a flat deductible for all causes of loss.  Other companies are implementing higher deductibles for certain types of losses. Many range from one percent to as high as five percent for losses due to wind or hail.

4. You may have little or no coverage for losses due to sump pump failure or sewer backup.  Most policies issued by direct writers provide no coverage if water enters your home through a sump pump failure or a sewer drain backup.  Many of these same companies will allow you to buy back some coverage. The amounts may be low ($10,000 is common), or the buyback includes restrictions on the types of property covered.

Even if you have an unfinished basement, the costs associated with a sump pump/sewer claim might surprise you.  We represent companies that offer higher limits, all the way up to limits on your home and/or contents.

5. You may have a depreciation schedule for hail damage claims to your roof.  Some companies are including a depreciation table in their policies that list how much less they will pay for your roof, based on the type and age of your shingles.  For example, if you have a 20-year-old roof and asphalt shingles that  hail damaged, your company might only pay for 50 percent of the claim.

6. Your policy might not cover claims for Personal Injury.  Personal Injury refers to such things as libel, defamation, and invasion of privacy.  While these types of claims may seem far-fetched, they are on the rise with the pervasive use of social media.  And while you may be careful with what you post about your neighbors or friends, your children may not.  They might send an inappropriate photo or text to a friend, and that message's forwarded and quickly goes viral.  Adding this coverage to your home insurance is inexpensive (less than $50 a year) and often overlooked by the agent.

7. Your jewelry or other valuables may not be insured.  Most policies limit the amount of coverage for lost or stolen jewelry to no more than $2,500 – and that's after your deductible's applied.  For additional premium, you can insure your jewelry for its full value at a $0 deductible.

You can insure collections of just about anything. Whether it's sports memorabilia, old movie posters, or wine, your passion's included.

8 Your homeowner’s liability limit may be too low.  Many home insurance policies carry a liability limit of $100,000 or $300,000.  For less than $50 per year, this limit can be increased to $500,000, or even $1 million.

About Plexus Private Client Solutions 

Plexus Private Client Solutions protects the life’s work of families and individuals, offering tailored, comprehensive personal insurance solutions, including home, auto, and umbrella policies. Click here for a personalized quote.

 

Worried about distracted driving? There's an app for that.

We lead our latest personal insurance news roundup with a look at a phone feature aimed to reduce distracted driving. Now there is some technology we can all get behind. For more information on The Plexus Groupe's home and auto coverage solutions,  contact us at 847-307-6100 or via the Web.

Getting to know the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" iPhone feature

iPhone owners seeking a little peace and quiet during their commute, try out the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature. The application is available on devices using iOS 11, and Apple has a handy how-to guide for using the feature. There is some evidence the app can reduce iPhone use in the car. Via Insurance Business America, the online auto-coverage quoting service EverQuote surveyed iPhone users last September and October and found that device use while driving decreased eight percent with the Do Not Disturb function employed.

Don't let an ice dam ruin the final weeks of winter

We've reached the homestretch of winter, but that does not mean the risk of ice-related damage has passed just yet. Homeowners should look out for ice dams, which grow at the edges of roofs and cause problems if they melt. The resulting water has nowhere to go, leaving it to leak inside the house, potentially damaging walls and other fixtures. Travelers Insurance offers some helpful tips on how to prevent ice dams.

Introducing our new online home & auto quoting platform 

Plexus is proud to unveil a new online platform designed to streamline the home & auto quoting process for our personal insurance clients. Fill out this brief online form, and one of our dedicated Plexus Private Client Solutions representatives will contact you to begin the process of finding the right insurance for your needs. At Plexus, you are a valued client partner, not an account, and we will protect all you've earned and achieved with a tailored, comprehensive risk management strategy. Want to know more about what Private Client Solutions can do for you? Contact Client Executive David Miller at 847.307.6141 or via email at dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

What's in a name? When it comes to a storm, it could mean a higher deductible.

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The heavy rainfall, high winds, and storm surges associated with hurricanes and other intense storms can devastate any business, even those located hundreds of miles off of a coast. Because these storms have the potential to cause tens of billions of dollars in damage, insurance providers generally use special “named storm deductibles” to provide coverage in the event of a loss. Named storm deductibles typically cost more than traditional fixed-dollar deductibles, but specific circumstances trigger them and vary based on location. However, the details of these deductibles are important to know so you're prepared in the event of a severe storm.

Named Storm Deductibles: An Overview

Storms trigger Named Storm Deductibles: The National Weather Service (NWS) will name a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane if it's severe enough.

The NWS first started to name storms to make it easier for the public to track and follow severe storms as they developed. However, after large hurricanes and tropical storms began to cause large amounts of damage, insurance providers began looking for ways to mitigate their losses. Named storm deductibles, tied to the time periods surrounding NWS-named storms, ensure insurance providers are responsible for a smaller portion of any loss caused by a named storm.

It’s important to note other organizations have started to name storms. The Weather Channel, a privately owned weather organization, recently began naming winter storms in order to make tracking them easier for its viewers. However, insurance providers only apply named storm deductibles to storms named by the NWS.

The Triggers for Named Storm Deductibles

The triggers for named storm deductibles can vary based on the insurance provider and location, although almost all triggers generally include a timing window, such as 24 hours before a storm's named by the NWS to 48 hours after it's downgraded to a tropical storm. During this window, your named storm deductible will apply to any damage instead of a normal wind and hail deductible.

Other triggers can include when a hurricane makes landfall or when a hurricane watch's declared. Because the triggers for named storm deductibles can vary significantly, it’s important to look up the exact rules as defined by the state you live in and your specific insurance policy.

Price Differences

Named storm deductibles generally cost more than regular deductibles because they're based on percentage rather than a fixed dollar amount. Most named storm deductibles range between 1-to-5 percent of your total insured amount, but in high-risk areas, deductibles can reach as high as 10 percent.

For example, imagine that you insured your business for $1.5 million. If normal wind or hail damage your business, you would pay a regular, fixed-dollar deductible before your insurance provider would provide coverage for the remaining damage. However, if during the window of a named storm deductible, the storm caused damage, your deductible would use a percentage to calculate the cost. For a five percent deductible, this would amount to an out-of-pocket expense of $75,000 before your insurance provider would pay for damages.

What It Means for You

Deductibles for damage caused by named storms are higher in order to mitigate the financial risk to insurance providers while still offering premiums that are relatively low. Additionally, many insurance providers believe that the high deductibles will encourage business owners to take proactive steps to protect their businesses from severe storms.

Let’s Have a Conversation

Have questions about named storm deductibles or other commercial insurance matters? Contact a Plexus P&C client executive at 847-307-6100. We're here to help, and we're happy to help.

Disclaimer and publishing credit: This Coverage Insights not intended to exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2016 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Insurance stories we're reading

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At The Plexus Groupe, we enjoy reading about insurance stories. Here are five industry-related stories we're bookmarking, sharing, and thumbing through as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

→ Here's a closer look at the kinds of insurance that major motion pictures might utilize.

→ Will Maryland require individuals to have health insurance?

→ Auto insurance rates are seemingly up everywhere, but they are really going up in Colorado.

→ A fisherman, a boat, and a half-million dollars in liability insurance.

→ Wisconsin recently adjusted the insurance program available to dairy farmers that pays out when the cost of producing milk nears the cost of selling milk.

Plexus, Hunton & Williams to host Cybersecurity Seminar in Dallas on February 20

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International law firm Hunton & Williams and insurance brokerage / risk management consultancy The Plexus Groupe are excited to host a series of cyber risk management panel discussions tomorrow, Tuesday, February 20, from 1-5 p.m. at Hunton and Williams's offices at 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 3700, in Dallas. An on-site cocktail hour will follow the panel discussions. Join other local executives for cutting edge, actionable threat mitigation insights and fruitful networking opportunities featuring leading legal, security, insurance, and risk management experts.

To RSVP, contact Michael Iannaccone of Plexus Financial Services at miannaccone@plexusfs.com or 630.347.5939.

Topics to be covered by our panelists include:

Cyber Threats: Fixed and Mobile

The Internet of Things brings great opportunity for businesses. But hackers need just cheap, easily accessible technology to wreak havoc on your firm. We take an in-depth look at this dangerous landscape.

Panelists

Chris Risley, CEO, Bastille Networks Internet Security; has led nine venture-backed startups.

Andrew Hoog, Founder, NowSecure; mobile security expert.

Cyber Risk Management: Direct and Indirect

Every day, your brand and your business are on the line.

Panelists

Paul M. Tiao, Partner, Hunton & Williams; co-chair of firm's cyber and physical security task force and former senior counsel under FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

Michael Berman, Founder & CEO, Ncontracts; leading risk management software provider for financial institutions.

Cyber Risk Mitigation

So you’ve been hacked. What’s the cost? Get ready for some sticker shock.

Panelists

Erik Tammearu, National Benefits Distribution, Symantec.

Michael Iannaccone, Vice President, Plexus Financial Services; banking and risk management consultant.

Cyber Liability

When cyber-attackers hit, cyber insurance and its many components can save the day.

Panelists

Lorelie S. Masters, Partner, Hunton & Williams; nationally recognized insurance coverage litigator.

Willie T. Lindsey, Vice President, Executive Liability, The Plexus Groupe; Executive Liability underwriting and insurance brokerage leader.

 

 

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

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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.

The 2018 Plexus Team Building Event kicks off Wednesday. Here's what to look for.

It's time again for one of the biggest events on The Plexus Groupe's calendar, a foundational piece for our corporate culture. On Wednesday and Thursday, all Plexus associates will gather in suburban Chicago for our 2018 Team Building Event. It's a chance for our 100-plus team members to connect, learn, and grow, and it's an opportunity for our firm to look ahead to what's in store for the coming year. We also get a wonderful chance to connect with our insurance carrier partners, who will be attending a number of the events over the next two days.

Once again, we have lined up an outstanding and impactful keynote speaker to cap off the event: Dr. Rick Rigsby, author of the best-selling book, "Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout." We are thrilled to have him speak to us on Thursday.

We’ll be posting here all week, as well as on our social media accounts, so you’ll want to be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Instagram for the latest.

It is hard to put into words what Team Building means to Plexus. It is a jumping-off point for the rest of the year, a catalyst for growth. And on Day One, it feels a lot like the first day of school, when seeing friends after the summer break. There are smiles and handshakes and greetings with our colleagues from other offices.

Frankly, we can't wait to get started.

Plexus Personal Insurance News & Notes: Wedding season isn't that far away. Are you covered?

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In the latest edition of the Plexus Personal Insurance Newsletter, we take a closer look at three intriguing coverage topics.

Wedding insurance: a safety net for the big day

Peak wedding season will be here before you know it, and many celebrations are  being planned as we speak. When it comes to that special day, it could pay to consider wedding insurance. The coverage covers a wide range of risk, including gift theft, wedding rings, and event cancellations. Numerous carriers offer the coverage, and we are happy to walk you through your options. Give us a call at 847.307.6100, or reach out via the Web.

Want to join a board? Make sure you have proper coverage.

Thinking about joining a board of directors for a small non-profit organization or a community group? Make sure the organization carries directors and officers insurance. Furthermore, you may want to consider carrying your own coverage, just to have the right liability protection. Want to learn more? Let's have a conversation. For more information, contact Plexus Private Client Solutions Client Executive David Miller at 847-307-6141 or dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

New year, same old story: auto rates are on the rise

Here is an eye-opening statistic via the Detroit Free Press: According to Insurance Information Institute data, average auto premiums expect to reach $1,150 this year -- a 25.7 percent increase from just three years ago. Distracted driving and increasingly expensive repairs to cutting-edge technology in cars are among the factors causing rates to spike. If you get hit with an increase this year and want to discuss it, contact a Plexus Private Client Solutions team member at 847.307.6100 or via the Web.

Let Plexus lend a hand

For more information on The Plexus Groupe’s personal insurance solutions, contact us at 847-307-6100 or via the Web. We’re here to help — and we’re happy to help.

Want to join a growing Best Places to Work in Insurance honoree? Try Plexus.

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The new year brings new resolutions, such as a focus on eating healthier, or exercising more, or telling the people closest to us that we love them. For many, this list of resolutions also includes a vow to change jobs, to move up in their careers, to take the next step. Maybe this can be done at a current place of employment, but maybe not. Maybe it will take a fresh start at a new company to get to where you want to be.

This can be a tough decision to make. There is comfort in familiarity. Maybe your current role isn't so bad, and if you stick around, it might get better. That is possible.

So if you're going to look for another job in 2018, it better be worth your time. It better deliver a superior experience to what you already have.

That's why career seekers do their due diligence on prospective new companies.

And if you do your due diligence on The Plexus Groupe, you will find the following:

-- We're a Best Places to Work in Insurance honoree in each of the last eight years.

-- Our associates are proud of the workplace culture they have created, and a strong commitment to philanthropy and service is found throughout our organization.

-- We are a growing firm, with more than 100 employees across four offices in Deer Park, Illinois (corporate headquarters), Chicago (Loop), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.  The firm has more than 100 employees across offices in Deer Park, Illinois (corporate headquarters), Chicago (Loop), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.

-- We deliver advisory services and a superior client experience in the areas of property and casualty, employee benefits, retirement plans, personal lines insurance, HR consulting, and technology services.

-- A number of our team members have received recognition for excellence in their field. Furthermore, our associates are routinely interviewed by media, and asked to speak at conferences. We also jump at the opportunity to talk to students about our industry.

-- We offer our employees a wide variety of employee benefits, including medical, dental, life, short- and long-term disability, 401(k) retirement savings (with a generous employer match), wellness programs, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Additionally, we offer many other workday benefits, including walking workstations and complementary fruits, vegetables, waters, iced teas, and other healthy drinks.

-- Each year, we set aside two days for an all-company Team Building Event to plan ahead for the coming year, and we invite a keynote speaker to deliver an address to inspire and inform our team.

Next Steps 

Interested in career opportunities at Plexus? Click here to be directed to our Careers page for our updated list of openings.

We get it: a career search can be intimidating. It takes work. You need a reason to go on with it. And if you are going to change jobs, it better be for something rewarding, fun, legit.

To this we say: welcome. You have come to the right place.

Insurance stories we're reading

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We enjoy reading about insurance at Plexus. Here are a half-dozen industry stories we are bookmarking, sharing, and perusing as the work week rolls on: -- Wildfires are leading to soaring insurance costs in some areas of California.

-- On Netflix, HBO, and the future of insurance.

-- One of college football's top programs took insurance to cover incentive payouts related to team performance in 2016. It did not take out the coverage in 2017. Read on for the rest of this interesting story.

-- How much does $1 million in drone liability insurance cost?

-- Receiving an insurance payout after Hurricane Irma? Better read the fine print.

-- Iowa's Insurance Division is warning that bitcoin is not insurable.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance: more essential than ever for businesses

As sexual harassment claims rock businesses across America, the expectations set by corporate executives are more important than ever. In recent weeks, the CEOs of General Motors and United Airlines have each spoken out against harassment. It would not be a surprise to see more corporate leaders publicly take a no-tolerance stance against misconduct.

Already, some companies are taking steps to try and reduce incidents of improper behavior. One trend: alcohol was de-emphasized (or removed altogether) at some holiday parties, and other firms have reportedly skipped having parties at all this year.

However, a company can have all of the right policies in place. They can actively be building and promoting a healthy workplace culture, and still face a harassment claim. The fallout can be costly to the firm's bottom line and reputation. In this unfortunate scenario, a company needs Employment Practices Liability Insurance.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance, or EPLI, can protect a firm and its elected officers, including board members, against numerous employment-related claims, including sexual harassment and retaliation.

Let’s have a conversation

For more information on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, contact Plexus Vice President of Executive Liability Willie Lindsey at wlindsey@plexusgroupe.com or 847-307-6100. We would be happy to go over EPLI or other Management Lines questions you may have.