As 2018 approaches, business owners should reevaluate their commercial insurance policies and safeguard themselves against the “hot buttons” that could put them at risk. We met with Partner & Managing Director of Commercial Lines Manuel Zuniga and asked him how our commercial lines clients can best protect themselves and their companies in 2018. Here are his predictions:
1. Rising Auto Insurance Costs
Insurance companies are trying to increase rates, and Texas is a difficult market for them. They are experiencing larger losses than anticipated, especially in the claims department.
Here’s how you can manage your company's risk:
- If your company has an auto exposure, be sure to closely evaluate the motor vehicle records for existing employees and new hires in 2018. Ensure your drivers have a good driving history and that you are confident in their ability and performance.
- Evaluate motor vehicle records quarterly. Avoid relying on your insurance carrier to validate safe drivers; it’s in your best interest to manage your company’s risk.
- Engage your insurance broker with any risk management or safety training available related to distracted driving and safety.
Help minimize rate increases by implementing auto safety policies across the board (ex: no phone use at all while operating the vehicle, the implementation of on-board dash camera, GPS, or anything that can eliminate at-risk driving).
2. Cyber Liability and Social Engineering
More than ever, business owners must protect themselves and their clients from cyber security risks. When a breach occurs and personal information is exposed, the business is responsible for repairing and rectifying the situation. Cyber liability policies come alongside these businesses to assist in credit monitoring and corrections on credit reports.
We are also seeing more “social engineering” in the business world. Social engineering happens when a third party manipulates human behavior in order to gain access to buildings, systems or sensitive data. They will often present themselves as a friend or colleague to request information. For example, someone might pretend to be the owner of a company and requests that the accounting department make a payment to a vendor. These scenarios don’t always involve money, as many hackers are also looking to exploit proprietary information. Social engineering coverage protects the business in similar scenarios when money has been fraudulently stolen.
It is possible to help safeguard against social engineering attacks. Call the person requesting the funds to confirm legitimate payments, or set up a check approval system before checks are distributed.
3. Employment Practices Liability
Employment practices liability policies protect companies in the event of harassment and wrongful termination allegations. Your human resources department can also help with mandatory training to educate employees and leadership on best practices. If your business doesn’t have an HR rep on staff, consider hiring an external HR consultant.
We’re sure to see a myriad of commercial insurance issues in 2018, but by staying informed, you can do your part to set systems in place ahead of time that will help protect yourself and your company in the long-run.
About the Author
Partner & Managing Director of Commercial Lines