Agency Blog

Cyber Liability

The way we all do business has changed over the years. Many if not most companies are now reliant on computers for their businesses to operate. With this in mind the risks of cyber attacks have significantly increased. It is not just large business and online retailers that are being targeted but any company that stores their customers data is at risk.

According to a recent report published by Small Business Trend, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses and 60% of small businesses will close within 6 months of an attack. With 48 % of data security breaches being caused by malicious attacks and the rest due to human error or system failures it is a very real possibility that your business could experience a security breach.

If your business were to experience a cyber attack the cost to fix the issue could be overwhelming. From repairing databases, replacing lost or stolen laptops/computers,  notifying customers of the breach and strengthening security systems and procedures are just a few of the costs you could be faced with in the event of a cyber attack.

In the event your business becomes the victim of a cyber attack your traditional business          insurance may not provide the coverage necessary to help you restore your business.

To learn more about cyber liability or to request a quote  please call us at 716-632-6118.

 

Defensive Driving: 3 Years of Savings

Defensive Driving Courses are not just mandatory courses because you received a ticket and need to get the points on your license lowered. It is actually a course that teaches you safety tips and techniques to help you avoid having an accident.

Even if you have never had an accident this course is great because it actually will lower your insurance rate by approximately 10% for 3 years!

Traditionally classes were held on Saturdays and would take 6 hours but in the last few years there has become an alternative to having to spend your entire Saturday in a classroom. You now can take the course online.

With many of the online providers offering the option to stop and start the course (usually classes must be done in hour intervals and completed within 7-10 days) you can fit it in whenever it works for you.

The classroom setting is still available if you would prefer to do it that way.

Why leave money on the table when you can put it in your pocket! Please contact us if you would like more information.

 

 

Stay Safe During Your Holiday Party

It is often stressful to host family and friends for busy holiday gatherings. Planning and preparing the meals, decorations and comfort of your guests can take its toll, but carelessness can also cause unnecessary accidents and injuries. It’s important to take your time in preparing your home and delicious seasonal traditions. Avoid costly injuries, illnesses and damages by following proper safety guidelines. It is easy to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, which is why emergency rooms can fill up during December and early January.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clostridium perfringens is the second-most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. Outbreaks occur most often around the holidays and meat and poultry accounted for 92 percent of outbreaks with an identified single food source. It is recommended to always use a food thermometer to guarantee that foods are cooked to a safe-to-eat temperature.

Home fires also occur at a higher frequency during the winter months and especially around the holidays when large meals are being prepared or a candle is knocked over during a dinner party. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in the case of a turkey emergency. Teach all members of the household how to use it and ensure it is not expired. Also be sure that all smoke alarms in the home are in working condition with fresh batteries.

Another way to avoid a home fire is to never leave food on the stove or in the oven unattended. Always keep children away from the stove and any hot food or liquids, which can spill and cause injury. The kiddos should be assigned to other tasks if they insist on helping, such as taking guests’ coats or removing bags from entrances, which can cause people to trip and fall.

You should also conduct a quick review of your home insurance policy to find out what kind of property and liability coverage you have before hosting that holiday party. Knowledgeable, independent agents at United Insurance Agency can help identify any gaps in your current coverage, suggest ways in which you can save on your premium, and even assist you in finding a better policy. Contact us to find out more about a home insurance policy that can protect your home during this holiday season and beyond.

Find the Perfect Insurance for Your Restaurant

As a restaurant owner, you know the importance of choice, customer service and consistency. You want an insurance policy as well managed as your eatery. If your policy hasn’t been updated for years or contains undiscovered gaps in coverage, you could be risking it all.

All restaurants and food service businesses should have certain types of insurance coverage. Your state or municipality most likely requires you to carry specific policies, so be sure to check with your local bar and restaurant authorities on those regulations.

A basic restaurant insurance package should include: general liability coverage; workers compensation insurance; property damage coverage; identify theft or data breach coverage; mechanical breakdown coverage and loss of revenue insurance.

You run a tight ship, but just one accident from an employee or customer can leave you at risk to liability claims and lawsuits. Chefs could cut themselves while chopping vegetables or a customer could slip on a damp bathroom floor. A clever criminal could access credit card information from your nightly tickets. You want a full menu of protections from all of these exposures.

Mechanical breakdown coverage can save you the costs associated with the event a freezer or cooler malfunctions and spoils thousands of dollars worth of food. Loss of revenue coverage can help maintain your restaurant’s income while repairs are being completed due to a damaging storm or severe weather event. You’ll also want to ensure your property insurance coverage is up-to-date to reflect any recent equipment purchases, such as the addition of a new oven, dishwasher or smoker.

You may need to consider additional coverage options if your restaurant sells alcoholic beverages, offers catering or delivery services or grows some of its own produce or proteins. You want your restaurant insurance package to meet all of your unique culinary needs.

Knowledgeable, independent representatives at United Insurance Agency are always available to answer any questions you may have, suggest coverage options best suited for your specific type of restaurant, and even assist you in filing a claim. We are able to locate you a variety of policy quotes from a number of providers, ensuring the package you choose offers the best coverage at the most competitive rates. Contact us to find out how you can obtain the perfect restaurant insurance package.

Protect Your Financial Security With Life and Health Insurance

Life insurance and health insurance are two of the most basic ways for individuals and families to protect their long-term financial security. Without these two very powerful tools, unexpected events can literally destroy your financial future.

Why Life Insurance?

Unfortunately, your financial obligations will likely be placed upon your surviving family members after you die. Debts and burial expenses as well as the basic costs of daily living will become the responsibility of your spouse and other dependents. Life insurance is essential to protect your family should the worst happen.

Life insurance is one of the most basic parts of a comprehensive financial plan for any person. In general, life insurance pays a lump sum death benefit to your beneficiaries after you die. This money can be used to pay your debts, final expenses and estate taxes, and it can also be a source of income for them.

You can choose from term life insurance or permanent life insurance depending on your needs and your goals for the policy. Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified period of time, such as 20 years, and it allows you to provide for some final expenses and some income replacement for your family. Permanent life insurance offers a savings or investment account in addition to the death benefit.

If you do not have life insurance, you should seriously consider it. If you die unexpectedly and you don’t have life insurance, your family could be left paying your debts and struggling just to get by.

Why Health Insurance?

Without health insurance, you can run up huge medical bills. Or, you might fail to receive the care you need and be faced with a worsening condition. Because everyone will get sick or will be injured at some point in their lifetime, health insurance is essential to protecting you and your family from the many costs related to routine and acute health care. It allows you to seek care when you need it and pay for preventive care that may keep you from getting even sicker down the road.

With so many options for health and life insurance, making the right choice can be confusing. You need to work with a knowledgeable agent who can help guide you toward the coverage that best suits your needs and the needs of your family.

Our expert agents can help you find health and life insurance policies that fit your needs and budget. Even if you get this type of coverage from you employer, we can counsel you on choosing the right plans for your family, and can help you find any supplemental coverage if necessary. Do you have questions about health insurance, life insurance or any other type of insurance? We can help.

Fall Safe Driving Tips

Fall can offer a variety of challenges for drivers, from wet leaves, fog and sun glare to frost and even ice. Autumn also brings changes in traffic and pedestrian patterns with kids back to school and fewer hours of daylight. And don’t forget about the increased risk of colliding with deer in the fall!

Time to brush up on your defensive driving techniques, and make sure you are on the lookout for all the hazards the changing season brings. Here are a few tips for safe driving this fall:

  • Wet leaves can be very slippery and can obscure road markings and traffic lines. Slow down and use extra caution if the road is covered with leaves.
  • Use low beam headlights when driving in fog.
  • Sun glare can make driving difficult in the morning and evening. Keep sunglasses in your vehicle and use your vehicle’s sun visor to minimize the blinding effects of the sun. Also, keep your windshield clean to minimize sun glare.
  • Pay particular attention to frost and ice on the roads in the morning, after the overnight temperature has dropped. Be extra careful for frost and ice on bridges, overpasses, and shady areas.
  • Increase your following distance when wet leaves, fog, frost or ice are present.
  • Make sure your headlights and taillights are working properly before the shorter days of fall set in.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are clean and working properly, and fill up your wiper fluid tank.
  • Check your tires to be sure they have the appropriate tread depth for wet and slippery roadways.
  • Watch for children playing or burrowing in piles of leaves on the roadside. Never drive through a leaf pile!
  • Wipe fallen leaves off of your windshield before heading out on the road. They can get stuck to the windshield and seriously inhibit your ability to see.
  • Be mindful of children waiting at bus stops in the morning and in the afternoon hours.

Deer activity also increases during the autumn months. Drivers need to be especially careful in the morning and at dusk to avoid colliding with deer as they dart across the road. Here are some other tips for avoiding deer-car collisions:

  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs; slow down and be alert in marked deer crossing areas.
  • If you see one deer, there are likely others nearby. Deer tend to travel in packs.
  • Use your high beam lights at night if you are driving in a rural area with no oncoming traffic.
  • If you see a deer in the roadway, honk your horn to frighten it away.
  • Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer; you could veer into oncoming traffic and cause an even worse situation.
  • If you hit a deer, do not go near the injured animal. It could be alive, frightened and dangerous.
  • If you are involved in a deer-car collision, call 9-1-1 for help.

Remember that deer-car collisions are covered under the comprehensive portion of your car insurance policy. You might also have coverage for towing if your vehicle must be towed away from the accident site. If you do not have comprehensive coverage or roadside assistance coverage, you will be responsible for the cost of repairing the damages and for the cost of the tow truck.

If you swerve to avoid a deer and hit something else, such as a mailbox, a ditch or another car, you will be covered by the collision portion of your auto insurance. Remember, both your comprehensive and collision coverage are subject to a deductible.

Hitting a deer or any other kind of traffic incident can be very stressful. We are here to help! If you hit a deer or something else this fall, be sure to call us right away. We can help you through the claims process and make sure that everything is handled in a timely and satisfactory manner.

What types of precautions do you take while driving in the fall? Have you ever had a weather-related car accident? Tell us your story.

Insurance for Your Road Toys

As the popularity of motorcycles and RV ownership continues to rise, so too does the number of insurance claims filed on these recreational vehicles. As of the most recent report by the Department of Transportation, there were 8,410,255 motorcycles registered in the United States by February of 2014, and that number is projected to grow as more and more motorists choose to commute with bikes that have less demand on gasoline.

While RV owners don’t necessarily choose their recreational vehicle because of its gas mileage, they do opt for these traveling hotels for the long term savings on vacation expenses. U.S. ownership of RVs has reached record levels, according to a 2011 University of Michigan study commissioned by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). According to the study, approximately 8.9 million households own an RV.

Motorcycle and RV ownership is increasing at around the same pace and there are nearly as many motorcycle riders as there are RV owners. In fact, many households that own a motorhome or camper also have a motorcycle rider in the family. The vast majority of states require motorcycle riders to obtain some level of insurance and if your RV is driven rather than towed, you are most likely required to insure that as well.

You have worked hard to afford your road toys and the time you spend with them. Don’t let a single accident set your vacation plans back. Depending on your driving history, how many miles you clock while riding or driving your recreation vehicle, and where the road takes you, these types of insurance policies don’t have to dip into those vacation funds.

A great motorcycle or RV insurance policy should be able to protect you from paying for damages to your bike or RV, avoid having to pay to repair another person’s vehicle or medical treatment and even assist you when your ride breaks down.

Whether you need full coverage, liability only, seasonal or year-round coverage on your motorcycle, RV, or both, our agents can help. We can suggest coverage option best suited for you and your vehicle and assist you in finding a number of quotes from a variety of insurance providers. Contact us to assist you in finding the perfect insurance policy at the most affordable rates.

Don’t Overlook Professional Liability Coverage for Your Business

Certain individuals and companies that provide professional services to their clients need specialty liability coverage called professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. “Professionals” are considered to be those who have special knowledge or skill in a certain area, and who use that skill to provide advice and services to others.

Traditionally, doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and accountants were considered to be “professionals” for insurance purposes. But now, as lawsuits related to allegedly faulty business services are commonplace, professional liability insurance is becoming equally important for a wide variety of professions. Today, errors and omissions coverage is just as important for advertising and PR firms, Internet service providers, Web hosting companies and many other types of firms. In addition, it is not unusual for actuaries, real estate agents, insurance agents, appraisers, mortgage and securities brokers, business consultants and many other types of professionals to carry errors and omissions insurance.

What Does Professional Liability Insurance Cover?

Professional liability insurance provides coverage for professionals, their partners, their employees and the partnership or corporation for damages caused by providing or failing to provide professional services. Professional services firms can be sued for providing erroneous advice, making errors in the services they provide, or even if a client loses money due to an act of negligence or an omission on the part of the professional. If you are in the position of providing professional advice and services, errors and omissions insurance protects you in cases of actual or alleged errors, loss of client data, negligent oversell, system failure or making misleading statements.

Professional liability policies will cover the costs associated with your legal defense if you are sued, as well as any judgments that are rendered against you or settlements that you must pay. Most errors and omissions policies can be customized for your particular area of expertise and the risks you face.

Remember that your commercial general liability policy will not provide coverage for lawsuits related to professional liability issues. Professional liability policies also have certain coverage exclusions, including:

  • Criminal, fraudulent or malicious acts
  • Bodily injury and property damage (except in the case of medical malpractice insurance and E&O for certain design professionals)
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Punitive damages

Professional liability policies and their exclusions will vary depending upon your profession and your insurance carrier. It is important to remember that ultimately, E&O coverage is designed to protect you from liability claims that are directly related to the provision of professional services and any resulting financial loss for a client. Losses that are covered under some other type of insurance policy—e.g., general liability, automobile, property, or workers’ compensation claims–are not covered by professional liability insurance. You need to make sure you have coverage for ALL of these types of concerns, and it may mean having numerous business insurance policies to make sure that all of the bases are covered.

Do you provide any type of professional services to clients that could result in financial loss for them? Do not take your need for professional liability coverage lightly. Contact us today so we can help you assess your risks and your need for coverage.

Discover the Best Ways to Avoid Car Theft

More than 1 million cars are stolen each year in the United States and the vast majority of them are never recovered. A vehicle is stolen once every 30 seconds, which is about the time it takes some thieves to gain access to your car or truck. Don’t make it easy for them. Take these simple precautions to avoid becoming their next victim.

First, always park in an area with ample lighting. Park your vehicle under the public garage lights or street lamps. Most common criminals prefer to operate under the cover of darkness. Also, while parking near the garage exit gives you a slight advantage when its closing time, it also gives thieves a quick escape. Most car thieves target vehicles close to the exits. Park your car or truck toward the middle of the row. If possible, chose a garage that has security personnel on staff to monitor the parking lots.

While at home, always keep your doors locked and never leave your keys in the vehicle. Many times, cars are stolen when their owners feel safe enough to leave it vehicle accessible and forget their keys in the center council. Even if your home has a garage, lock the car doors and take your keys. Thieves can gain entry to your garage using universal remotes and other methods.

Despite their popularity, the advent of those blaring, loud car alarms has not seemed to deter many would-be car thieves. They have become the boy who cried wolf, as on any given street corner or parking garage, those alarms are eternally ringing often when no theft is taking place. Most of the time, the alarms are triggered by the owners themselves. Few people stop to think twice about a honking car alarm these days. If you opt for an anti-theft device, wheel locks and other visible deterrents are much more affective.

You can take all of these steps and still become victim to a savvy car thief. That’s when the importance of carrying the right kind of car insurance comes into play. Our agents can assist you in locating several quotes from a variety of insurance providers. Their experience enables you to purchase a comprehensive car insurance policy at the most affordable rate.

How Does Healthcare Reform Affect My Insurance?

Despite the increasing amount of attention state and national media have given to the healthcare reform debate, many consumers are still left frustrated and confused. As new reforms are implemented, and not very old ones are repealed, it’s tough to stay up-to-date with the seemingly breakneck speed of change. Don’t lose hope: Help is available.

The major changes the Affordable Care Act has ushered in are recognized by most. Starting in 2014, the vast majority of residents are now required to carry some form of health insurance under the ACA. Insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and parents are able to insure their adult children until they reach the age of 26. Some of the reforms are more nuanced, however, and are less highlighted in news reports.

All ACA-approved health insurance plans must now cover certain preventative care for their policy holders. These services include ambulatory patient, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management, as well as pediatric services.

The question on many consumers’ minds is: “What will these changes mean for the premiums I pay?” Finding affordable health insurance coverage is no easier now than it was before the ACA for many people. Even those whose benefits are provided by their employer, maybe paying much higher premiums than they were even a few years ago. Although several states have launched online health insurance exchanges or “marketplaces,” many folks have struggled with enrollment and have faced flawed systems prone to bugs and errors.

You don’t have to navigate these unknown waters alone. We are here to help. Our experienced agents can assist you by locating several health insurance policies from a variety of providers so you can compare coverage and rates. We have thoroughly reviewed all ACA changes so you don’t have to become a medical expert just to find an insurance policy. Contact us to find the perfect health insurance policy with the best coverage at the most affordable rates.

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