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How Can You Help Your Clients Prepare for a Natural Disaster?

Posted By Donna M. Gray, Friday, September 8, 2017

We are all devastated by the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. It seems relentless, unforgiving and unpredictable. Although many of those afflicted knew it was coming, most did not expect it to get this bad nor imagine the disaster it would cause. Nearly 52 inches of rainfall fell in southeast Texas in six days, forcing more than 30,000 individuals to flee their homes. Unfortunately, numerous home and business owners were not prepared for this impact.

And Irma, the second strongest storm recorded in the Atlantic, now threatens Florida and the East Coast.

As professionals, in the insurance industry, you have some influence in how a business handles a natural catastrophe pre- and post-disaster. There are a few things you can do to help your clients prepare for a disaster no matter the geographic location or type of catastrophe. Remember, a natural disaster can be smaller than a hurricane or earthquake. A fire or burst pipe can be just as damaging.

  • An emergency response plan is the first step to any solid preparedness program for both small and large businesses alike. Know evacuation routes. Form a communication strategy to make sure everyone is informed. Create a survival kit just in case. Consider remote work options and what aspects of the business will or will not continue.
  • Coverage. Of course, you need to ensure your clients have the proper coverage for their property and business possessions. Go over flood insurance programs, business interruption insurance and property damage details to make sure they're properly insured.
  • Data and technology. Because information is extremely valuable these days, help to make sure each client's data is backed-up and stored far enough offsite or in the cloud so retrieval is easy and accessible.

With these tools, your clients won't have to panic the day before a storm hits. Give them tools they need to properly prepare and plan for a natural disaster, so they have peace of mind when a crisis occurs. Let them know you're on their side and here to help keep things running smoothly.

What are some tips and tools you give your clients when it comes to natural disaster preparedness? Does your agency have a few go-to guides and methods that you use? We want to hear your insight so we can all be better prepared when a disaster strikes.

Tags:  AIMS Society  Auto Coverages  Be Prepared for Natural Disasters  Cyber Attacks  efficiency  Insurance Education  Personal and Commercial Coverage  productivity  Risk Management  teamwork  Technology 

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Planning on Disaster

Posted By AIMS Society, Monday, June 12, 2017

Depending on which part of the country you live in, you're probably very familiar with at least one major natural disaster threat. You may even be "luck enough" to have two disaster threats considered primary for your area. And although any natural disaster has the potential to strike at any time, each has a designated "season":

  • Tornado season: March-July
  • Hurricane season: June-November
  • Fire season: October-January
  • Earthquake season: January-December (okay, there is no season on this one; it's year-round)

When's the last time you talked to your clients about their plans should disaster strike? And are you addressing the threats that impact your clients' businesses in all the locations that they operate. Don't make the common mistake of addressing only those you're personally most familiar with. A business may be headquartered in the Midwest, but the location of its greatest resources could make hurricanes a bigger threat than its HQ region suggests. Is your client fully versed in disaster preparedness, not only for headquarters but also for where the organization's other locations operate?

Points to cover with your clients:

  • The need for business interruption coverage
  • The most common causes of business disruption: office fires, burst water pipes, a smashed transformer or a fallen communications tower. Of course, it doesn't take a natural disaster for any of those to happen, and without adequate coverage, just one of those events could cause the end of a smaller business already working with limited resources.
  • Disaster plan requirements:

 Back up processes in the event of power outages

  Communication plans to reach both clients and employees in emergencies 

  Remote work options if their office becomes unusable

  Basic supplies in reserve at an off-site location

  Identified disaster-preparedness point person or team.

For you, the biggest value in covering this information is that it positions you as more than a salesperson. It positions you as someone interested in creating a valued, long-term partnership. If you'd like even more detailed disaster plan ideas to share with your customers, visit agilityrecovery.com  or check out Emergency Essentials for ideas.

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  Be Prepared for Natural Disasters  Cyber Attacks  efficiency  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  Risk Management  Social Media 

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How to Protect You & Your Clients from Cyber Attacks

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, May 19, 2017

On Friday, May 12, a massive ransomware attack hit computer systems at private companies and public organizations around the word. Some sources say WannaCry — also known as WannaCrypt Wanna Decrypter or WCry — is the largest ransomware delivery operation to date.

The cyberattack hit more than 300,000 computers by midday on May 15, and users in more than 150 countries have been confronted with a screen demanding a $300 payments to restore their files.

Ransomware, a computer virus that is typically spread via spam emails and malicious download links that lock up files and demand a ransom to unlock them, isn't a new concept or threat. But hackers are getting smarter, leveraging new technologies and designing more sophisticated systems. There isn't an "if" something like this will happen again, it's "when".

The amount of personally identifiable information your agency holds is immense — from Social Security numbers to credit card numbers, form birth dates to drivers' license numbers — and hackers want it. Ant it's more important now than ever to ensure your systems are securely protected from cybersecurity attacks and data breaches while also adhering to industry, state and federal regulations.

At the very least, take the time to make sure your anti-malware and antivirus software are up-to-date. Look at business interruption and cyber liability insurance for yourself. And consider teaming up with a third-party data management company to properly encrypt your data in the cloud.

The most essential part? Communication. Let your clients know exactly what measures your agency is taking to protect their sensitive information. When you take cybersecurity seriously, you'll gain your client's trust and they'll see you as a dependable reliable source.

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  Cyber Attacks  efficiency  Leadership  productivity  Risk Management  self-improvement  Social Media  teamwork  Technology 

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Do You Know if You Have Rideshare Drivers on Your Books?

Posted By AIMS Society, Thursday, May 4, 2017

Do You Know if You Have Rideshare Drivers on Your Books?

If you haven't considered the impact of new ridesharing options, such as Uber, Lyft or SideCar, on client auto coverage, it's time to add it to your list of risk assessment issues. You may have clients right now who haven't even considered the impact on their policies if they are using their personal car to earn money as a rideshare driver.

The leading rideshare company, Uber, has only been around since it tested its first app in 2012. It's convenient for users, particularly since the instant pay option was added, and it's certainly a great choice for drivers looking for flexible scheduling. In addition, it's been reported that Uber's internal data reveals that "drivers who use the app to give rides-for-hire in their personal cars are making more money as chauffeurs than professional taxi drivers do — as much as $17 an hour in the District and Los Angeles, $23 in San Francisco and $30 in New York."

And Uber continues to expand, having recently added UberEATS (restaurant meal delivery), Uber for Business (to support business travelers) and UberPool (to provide commuting options).

So, knowing this, what's an insurance agent to do? First, it's important to understand what is covered by each insurance company.Typically (but not always — which is why you need to investigate each situation), personal auto coverage, including liability, applies when the car is being used for personal travel, and then rideshare companies assume coverage when there is a paying passenger in the car.

But who is responsible when the driver is actively using their car for ridesharing, but doesn't have a passenger at the time of an incident? Who is liable when the driver is simply driving to a pickup, waiting, or has just dropped off a passenger? This is the gray area that requires your careful analysis as an agent. Most personal auto insurance companies won't cover this transition time, arguing that these on-the-clock times are part and parcel of the job. Many companies view these times in similar light to those exclusions related to other commercial activities that a person may do with their personal vehicle, for example pizza delivery. There may also be gaps in liability or umbrella coverage during these time periods.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut, always reliable solution. Some insurance companies have begun offering a ride sharing endorsement that can be added to a personal auto policy. This "blended" solution bridges personal and commercial use, but again, it isn't available from every company or in every geography.

But now you know — rideshare has to be on your radar. Are you asking your clients directly if they're involved?

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Tags:  AIMS Society  Auto Coverages  Insurance Education  Personal and Commercial Coverage  Rideharing  Risk Management 

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FREE Attendance at 2017 PRO-to-PRO

Posted By AIMS Society, Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How to Get it PLUS a Designation!

Free attendance for the 2017 PRO-to-PRO? How can that be? Actually, it's quite the deal.

If you come to Celebration, Florida just two days early, you can earn your CPIA designation and then stay through the end of the week for the PRO-to-PRO Retreat — free,

Yes, you read that right: Anyone who signs up for the CPIA seminars February 7-9, 2017 and stays at the Bohemian Hotel Celebration in our event's block of rooms will have their PRO-to-PRO attendance fee waived; that's how dedicated we are to making your time in Celebration even more worthwhile. 

You're committed to only one trip (to a pretty awesome location, particularly in the middle of winter), but will reap multiple benefits, including the only focused sales and marketing designation in the insurance industry, as well as interaction with some of the smartest minds in the industry.

Here's the itinerary:

February 7 — Position for Success (CPIA 1) — Facilitator: John Fear

February 8 — Implement for Success (CPIA 2) — Facilitator: Becky Lathrop

February 9 — Sustain Success (CPIA 3) — Facilitator: Ed Lamont

February 9-10 AIMS Society PRO-to-PRO Retreat

February 11 Optional golf outing

Of course, we welcome everyone for any portion of the week, but would love to send you home with both the CPIA Designation and the PRO-to-PRO experience. It's not too late to register, either, and we're eager to answer any questions you might have in advance of signing up. Just contact Donna Gray at donna@aimssociety.org. Hurry! The cut-off date for the discounted block of rooms ends January 26th!  

Check out all the details of the 2017 PRO-to-PRO agenda, read more about the benefits of the CPIA Designation, and sign up today! We look forward to seeing you in Celebration!

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