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143 Million People Potentially Affected by Equifax Data Breach

Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, recently announced that it had been the victim of a cyber attack that may have compromised the personal information of 143 million people. Between May and July 2017, hackers were able to exploit a weak point in Equifax’s website that gave them access to information such as Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses and driver’s license numbers. Additionally, Equifax stated that 209,000 credit card numbers were stolen.

Experts believe that the data breach is severe and widespread enough to affect anyone with a credit report. And, because hackers were able to target personal information, your business could be susceptible to cyber attacks—especially attacks that rely on social engineering and personal details.

The following is a list of steps you should take to protect your business and employees:
• Assure your employees that your priority is to protect their best interests and the business as a whole.
• Have your employees check to see if they were affected by the breach. Equifax has set up a website to help individuals determine if any of their personal information may have been stolen. All affected U.S. customers can sign up for a free year of Equifax’s TrustedID Premier service to help prevent identify theft and monitor credit reports.
• Instruct all of your employees to change any passwords that they use for work and to avoid passwords that they’ve used before.
• Tell employees to remain skeptical of any business requests that aren’t made face to face. Hackers often use personal details obtained from a data breach to disguise themselves as a trusted source and make a malicious request for money or information.

The recent data breach demonstrates the importance of commercial cyber insurance and a well-trained workforce. Contact Warren G. Bender Co. today for more details on how cyber insurance can protect your business.

Filed under: Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:12 pm October 25, 2017

New Tool Shows the Cost of Workplace Fatigue

The National Safety Council (NSC) and the Brigham Health Sleep Matters Initiative have collaborated on a new online tool that can help employers estimate the cost of workplace fatigue. According to the NSC, every tired employee can cost employers between $1,200 and $3,100 every year in expenses related to health care, absenteeism and lost productivity.

Tired employees not only work less effectively, but they can represent a safety hazard to themselves and those around them. Help ensure the health of your employees by following these tips:
• Let your employees know that they should talk to a manager about any fatigue concerns before exhaustion becomes a problem.
• Set up a flexible scheduling system that allows sleep-deprived employees to come in later or make up lost time when they’re well-rested.
• Encourage employees to take short walks to re-energize themselves. You can also consider creating a workplace wellness program to make sure employees get enough exercise.
• Promote good nutrition by making healthy snacks and water available to employees at all times.

Filed under: Health & Wellness,HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:07 pm

Advanced Planning for Hurricanes and Other Disasters

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused widespread damage and forced businesses to close their doors and focus on the immediate safety of their employees and customers. Unfortunately, once a hurricane, flood or other disaster passes, a business isn’t necessarily out of danger. Recovering from a disaster can be extremely expensive, and many workplaces don’t have a plan in place to implement important safety and continuity policies.

Even if your business wasn’t affected by the recent hurricanes, any type of disaster can lead to devastating damage and prolonged business interruptions. Taking the time to plan ahead for a worst-case scenario can help give your business the time it needs to protect your employees, property and finances. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your business for a disaster:

• Learn the types of disaster that are most likely to affect your area.
• Inspect your insurance policies to see if there are any gaps in your coverage. For example, some policies may only provide coverage if a business suffers physical damage.

Call us at (916) 380-5300 for resources and toolkits that can help you create a business continuity plan. We can help you establish a plan that takes a number of important topics into consideration, including safety, health, communication, property protection, recovery and employee training.

Filed under: Personal Insurance,Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:00 pm

Serving on a Non-profit Board can be Risky Business: Non-profit directors and officers (D&O) liability

It’s common for affluent individuals to take on board positions for non-profit organizations as a way of offering their leadership skills and connections to serve their local communities. These organizations and their directors and officers can be exposed to lawsuits for mismanagement of funds, negligent acts, errors and omissions, breach of duty, misleading statements, or wrongful employment acts such as discrimination, retaliation, failure to employ or promote, or wrongful demotion.

According to the 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, nearly half of all survey participants served on a non-profit board. According to a Towers Watson 2013 D&O survey, 63% of its non-profit respondents had been subject to a D&O claim in the past 10 years. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center reports that 85% of all non-profit insurance claims filed under D&O liability policies are employment related. Even if allegations against you are groundless, you will incur costs to hire an attorney, which can add up very quickly when defending a claim. Adding the non-profit director and officer endorsement to your Nationwide Private Client personal excess liability policy will allow you to focus more time on helping the non-profit and less time worrying about a claim.

How you may be at risk

You sit on a non-profit board and cause an actual or alleged negligent act, error or omission, misleading statement, or breach of duty resulting in a lawsuit against you.
A wrongful act could come from:
• Acts such as employment-related discrimination, slander or defamation, wrongful failure to employ or promote, or wrongful demotion
• Conflict of interest, breach of contract, or fraudulent financial statements
• Mismanagement of funds such as assets being sold for unreasonably low prices or wasting assets
• Errors in judgment such as dissemination of false information, misleading statements or improper guarantees
• Negligence such as breach of duty, failure to review documents before signing, or failure to detect or
stop embezzlement

Claims could be filed against you by parties outside of the organization including donors or beneficiaries, organization members or employees, other directors or officers of the organization, or government officials.

How Nationwide Private Client responds

If you serve as a director or officer of a qualifying not for profit organization, Nationwide Private Client offers our optional non-profit director and officer coverage, with limits up to $1 million, that can be added to your personal excess liability policy. This coverage includes costs for defense up to the limit.

If you have questions or are interested in this coverage, contact us at 916-380-5300.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:03 pm

The CA Fire Situation – a note from our VP of Personal Risk Management

Update by Denise Metz, CISR, CPSR, CPRM

California has certainly seen its share of wildfires this month. While the smoke in our area is clearing, there are still several fires raging on. Below is information I obtained from As you will see most of the fires have some containment.

We have been fortunate as, out of the many Warren G. Bender Co. clients we have in the area, we have just one home that has been a total loss. This client is insured through Nationwide Private Client who is a premier carrier with robust coverages. I foresee one of the biggest challenges will be with the loss of use coverage. This coverage, simply put, will pay for our client to obtain housing until their home is habitable again. With Nationwide Private Client the coverage for this is on an actual loss sustained with no time limit basis. With other carriers this coverage can range from as low as 20% of the dwelling limit to a 12 month time frame (most commonly seen). Given the devastation of these fires, one can reasonably conclude there will be a shortage of materials and labor which is sure to cause significant delays when it comes to the rebuilding of these homes. I’m certain we will hear many stories about how long it is taking to rebuild and how people don’t have enough loss of use coverage especially, as the rental housing becomes saturated and the cost to rent inflates.

It is a devastating situation but as insurance professionals it causes us to look at ourselves and either say good job or we could have done more. I find comfort in knowing we at Warren G. Bender Co. can say “good job”.

Stats as of 10/17/17


• In unified command with Santa Rosa Fire Department & Sonoma County Sheriff
• CAL FIRE Incident Management Team assigned
• 23 civilian fatalities & 1 private water tender operator

Tubbs Fire, Sonoma and Napa Counties (more info…)
Between Calistoga and Santa Rosa
• 36,432 acres, 91% contained
• Significant number of structures destroyed

Pocket Fire, Sonoma County (more info…)
North of Geyserville
• 12,430 acres, 63% contained

Nuns Fire, Sonoma County (more info…)
East of Hwy 12 from east Santa Rosa to east of Sonoma
• 54,423 acres, 80% contained
• The Oakmont Fire burned into the Nuns Fire overnight.

• CAL FIRE Incident Management Team assigned

Atlas Fire, Napa & Solano Counties (more info…)
South of Lake Berryessa and northeast of Napa
• 51,064 acres, 83% contained
• 6 civilian fatalities
• Significant structures destroyed

• CAL FIRE Incident Management Team assigned

Redwood Valley, Mendocino County (more info…)
North of Hwy 20 in Potter Valley and Redwood Valley
• 35,800 acres, 75% contained
• 8 civilian fatalities
• Significant structures destroyed

Sulphur Fire, Lake County (more info…)
Clearlake Oaks
• 2,207 acres, 92% contained

WIND COMPLEX (3 fires)
• CAL FIRE Incident Management Team assigned

Cascade Fire, Yuba County (more info…)

Loma Rica area
• 9,989 acres, 98% contained
• 4 civilian fatalities
• Significant structure destroyed

Lobo Fire, Nevada County (more info…)

Rough and Ready area
• 821 acres, 99% contained
• Multiple structures destroyed

LaPorte Fire, Butte County (more info…)
Bangor area
• 6,151 acres, 98% contained


Fallon Fire, Alameda County NEW
Fallon Road, 3 miles east of Dublin
• 116 acres, 70% contained

**Unified Command Incidents**

Bear Fire, Santa Cruz County (more info…) NEW
Bear Creek Canyon Road, northeast of Boulder Creek
• 271 acres, 10% contained

**Federal Incidents**

Wilson Fire, Los Angeles County (more info…) NEW
Mount Wilson, Mount Wilson Observatory
• 30 acres, 25% contained

Buffalo Fire, San Diego County (more info…) NEW
Camp Pendleton
• 1,088 acres, 50% contained

Filed under: Personal Insurance,Recent Headlines — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:48 pm October 18, 2017