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October 2016

Why I Needed Travel Insurance On Our Annual Beach Vacation

13585027_10210036896509470_5011479010752401130_oLike many of you, our family has a tradition of going to the beach (in our case, the Outer Banks, aka the OBX) every year on vacation. We rent a house and generally bum around for a week. In short, it’s heaven.

My mother-in-law is the most active (and amazing) person you’d ever want to meet. You would never guess her to be in her 70’s. Just a few weeks before vacation, we had the family over for dinner. While getting out of her car after arriving home, her foot caught on the strap of her backpack purse and she fell out of the car. I don’t know about you, but I can easily see this happening to me and have been paranoid about it ever since!

After a couple of days of being in pain (and being an active real estate agent who was walking on it constantly), she asked if I’d take her to the doctor. The doctors were sure there was no way she broke anything because they said the pain would be too much to walk on for days. Well, the x-ray said otherwise and the prognosis was 6-8 weeks in a boot and on crutches.

Needless to say, walking on sand was going to be a no-go. Not to mention going putt-putt, shopping and all of the other annual traditions we do. Fortunately, we had purchased travel insurance and were able to reschedule our trip with no penalty at all. We were refunded what we paid and rebooked for later in the season when she would be fully healed.

I used to be skeptical about travel insurance and I suppose I thought of it as one of those things you purchased for exotic and exceptionally expensive trips abroad. It had never occurred to me that it would something that could be handy for a run-of-the-mill beach vacation in the OBX. I’m lucky that my family knew better and opted into this coverage.

The holidays are upcoming and like you fellow beach bums, we usually shop the available houses and book during this time. I can assure you that we’ll be purchasing coverage again this year. Sure, you hope you never have to use it, but I have seen how important it can be.


Cyber Breach Prevention Ethical Duty for Law Firms

Shutterstock_254824216Hackers are executing sophisticated data breaches on large and small companies all over the world, making the need to protect your law firm from the dangers of cyber breach more important than ever.

Although many lawyers prefer to believe that their firm is unlikely to be the target of a hack, such thinking often proves to be naïve. Cyber criminals are continually adapting looking for easy targets and sources of potentially valuable data. Because law firms are essentially warehouses of client and employee data, they should acknowledge that they are not immune to such attacks.

Personally Identifiable Information

Law firms are often considered to be perfect targets by cyber criminals looking to hack into businesses that keep lots of data containing personally identifiable information (PII) but lack protective security. Some examples of PII include:

  • Names, identifying numbers, symbols, or other identifiers assigned to particular individuals
  • Information that describes anything about a person
  • Information that indicates actions done by or to a person
  • Information that indicates a person possesses certain characteristics

Most, if not all, law firms possess a great deal of PII. This information was historically kept in paper files, but is not stored electronically for the most part. The most commonly reported cyber breach reported by law firms is related to the loss or theft of a laptop, thumb drive, smart phone, tablet, or some other mobile device. If the information on the lost or stolen device was not encrypted and contained PII, a breach likely occurred. With access to office email and other law office networks, cyber criminals can gain access to and steal confidential information.

This is an ethical dilemma for attorneys for several reasons. Besides the common law duty owed by attorneys to protect the confidential information entrusted to them by clients, the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct requires an attorney to maintain the confidentiality of information related to the representation of current and former clients, and state and federal law also imposes a duty upon attorneys to protect PII for clients.

To learn more about data breach and cyber liability coverage, Jeremy Del Priore at USI Affinity today.


My Car Was Broken Into - Who Covers My Property?

Shutterstock_476952994A couple of weeks ago, I went to leave for a doctor's appointment and noticed that the contents of my console were spread out on the passenger's seat and the back door wasn't fully closed. At first, I didn't think a thing of it. It's not uncommon for my husband to need to go into my car to look for something. When I sent him a text, I learned that it wasn't him.

Although it was disconcerting to know my car had been broken into, nothing had been stolen. Fortunately, I had the right coverage had items been taken, but that wasn't the case when I had my golf clubs stolen from a friend's car. 

We had been golfing earlier in the day and when we stopped to grab a bite to eat, my friend's car was stolen - along with its contents. Although the car was later recovered, the contents were not. My clubs were gone forever.

He contacted his auto insurance carrier and we learned pretty quickly that my clubs were not covered. Even if this had been my car that this happened in, auto insurance does not cover your personal property in the car. That is the job of your homeowners or renters policy. 

It's easy for renters to dismiss the need for coverage unless their complex demands proof of coverage, but this is just one instance where this coverage is very important. Let's say you were over a friend's house for the night and you brought your computer or you move in with your significant other, but aren't yet married. You guessed it. Should something happen to your personal property, you would need to have renters insurance (or homeowners if you own the home) to replace this property. 

Do you have questions about auto, home or renters? Send us a message!