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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

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

How Your Business Pays for Employee Substance Abuse

A recent survey from the National Safety Council (NSC) has revealed a gap between employer perceptions and the reality of employee substance abuse. According to the survey, addictions and substance use disorders can cost businesses between $2,600 and $13,000 for each affected employee. However, only 24 percent of employers believe that drug misuse is a problem that impacts their bottom lines.

Employees who abuse alcohol and other substances are more likely to miss work, be less productive and experience higher health care costs. Here are some facts from the survey that highlight the ways that substance abuse can affect your business:

• Substance use disorders and addictions cost businesses and taxpayers more than $440 billion every year.
• Employees in the construction, entertainment, recreation and food service industries are twice as likely to have a substance use disorder compared to the average U.S. employee.
• Health care costs for employees who misuse prescription drugs are three times higher than for other workers.
• Employees with a substance use disorder miss nearly 50 percent more days of work than their peers.
• Seventy-five percent of all adults with a substance use disorder are currently in the workforce.

If you believe that one of your employees suffers from a substance use disorder, it’s in your best interest to help him or her get treatment. Experts have shown that outside concern is a large factor in getting individuals with substance use disorders into treatment. Additionally, the NSC survey found that businesses can save up to $8,400 by providing assistance to these employees.

Filed under: Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 10:58 pm April 5, 2017

BLS Reports Injuries and Illnesses Continue to Decrease

x-ray-1459448The latest numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses are the lowest they’ve been in 13 years.

The BLS’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) showed that, in 2015, the rate for private industry workers was 3.0 recordable cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers—down from 3.2 in 2014. The rate for state and local government workers, conversely, increased slightly, from 5.0 in 2014 to 5.1 in 2015. Combined, the overall rate dropped from 3.4 in 2014 to 3.3 in 2015.

Despite an increasing population, the total number of cases dropped as well. The BLS estimates that there were 3.66 million injury and illness cases in 2015, down from 3.68 million in 2014.

The most notable outlier was in the public health care sector. For instance, public nursing home workers experienced an injury and illness rate of 12.6, while their private sector counterparts experienced a rate of 6.8.

Filed under: Property & Casualty,Recent Headlines — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 10:58 pm November 9, 2016

Ballot Measures Expand Marijuana Use in 8 States

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHBallot measures to expand the use of marijuana passed in eight states last month, bringing the total number of states allowing some form of legalized marijuana use to 28, including the District of Columbia.

The following offers a brief summary of those ballot measures:
• Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota passed ballot measures that allowed or expanded the use of medicinal marijuana.
• California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada passed ballot measures that legalized recreational marijuana use.
• Voters in a ninth state, Arizona, rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana use. (more…)

Filed under: Property & Casualty,Recent Headlines — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 10:21 pm November 2, 2016