Insight from the President

The boat show is over and it’s back to normal. Today I’m going to talk about cyber security. Cyber security insurance is not yet a household name. It’s not yet required by law, nor is it as commonplace as other types of insurance like fire, earthquake and liability insurance. However; with all the major cyber crimes we’re reading about the subject is fast becoming a major issue.
It’s not just the big companies that are being raided or extorted for money and you may think that it will never happen to you. But nearly two thirds of all cyber-attacks are small to mid-sized family owned business – about 4,000 a day according to IBM. The hackers know that small business doesn’t have the inclination nor resources to protect themselves. So they are going after small business and ransoming small amounts of money so that they never get on the FBI radar.
And don’t think that this type of theft occurs only to business. Personal computers are a prime target for cyber criminals because they are easier to hack and often have readily available personal financial information on them. With your personal information they can make wire transfers or file false income tax returns and collect the refunds. In fact, the insurance industry is now seeing this crime move, more and more, into the private individual sector. We are seeing several high-net-worth individuals taking out cyber insurance policies to protect their assets and their reputations against hacks and online smear campaigns.
I can see it may soon become a standard coverage in property insurance. Especially as more internet connected devices come into the home. But until then I want to emphasis’ the growing importance of a good firewall and malware program for your personal and business computers.
I hope I’ve scared you a little into paying more attention to protecting your computer system.
All this being said I want to bring up a related issue with the increasing premiums on auto insurance. Your credit rating is used as part of the rating process. If you freeze your credit account that means the insurance company can’t get a credit rating. With no access to your credit rating the computer will assume you have none and increase your auto insurance rate.
Now, auto insurance premiums are on the rise due to the dramatic increase in accidents caused by inattention (cell phones and dashboard screens). But if you have frozen you credit account, they will go up even more. If you see an unusually large increase, check with your insurance agent to be sure that you are not being overcharged due to the lack of access to your credit.
It’s early afternoon and Kathryn has told me that Mars is aligned with the full moon. She says that although I’ll be in tip-top shape this morning, I shouldn’t make any decisions this afternoon. It’s a beautiful day with the temperature getting up to 70 degrees and I’ve been putting in a lot of extra hours the last few months. So I think this would be a good day to take the afternoon off.
Till my next newsletter.
Fred Kempe, President
Bristol Insurance Group