Is it time to consider earthquake coverage?

Earthquakes and California go together. Or at least that’s what most of the country thought until Tuesday’s East Coast earthquake centered in Virginia.

Reports of the earth moving were widespread, coming from New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Georgia. Even a few came from as far away as Chicago.

Although no news of significant damage emerged, such a widespread impact raises questions about preparedness and insurance coverage. That’s  because earthquake damage is not covered under standard homeowners or business insurance policies.

These policies typically exclude damage from earth movement such as earthquakes and sinkholes, said Chris Hackett, director of personal lines policies for Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, a trade group. However, it is common for property insurance to cover a fire that might be the result of an earthquake. Homeowners should read know the exclusions in their policies.

Read more


Smart Phones: Dumb Choices

A recent survey found that 54% of people check their smart phones while driving. We are over one year into Oregon’s ban on talking and texting while driving and the sight of drivers gabbing on cell phones is still a common sight around Portland.  

In a recent University of Utah study of driving and talking on the phone, only 2.5% of test subjects were able to do both safely. For the other 97.5%, the ability to hit the brakes quickly was slowed by 20%, and the tendency to drive too slowly to keep up with traffic rose by 30%. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16% of all fatal crashes in 2008 were caused by driver distraction. Think you are able to multitask behind the wheel? Gauge your level of distraction.  When you are done, you will see how much slower your reaction time was while texting compared to the average driver. If you have kids who think they can text or talk on the phone while driving, have them take the test.

Continue reading “Smart Phones: Dumb Choices”


Data Security Coverage

Health Net, Michael’s, Microsoft X-Box.  You don’t have to look far to find major corporations who have become the victims of data security breach. 

Think about it.  What is in your file cabinet right now?  Tax records?  Payroll information?  And what’s on your computer system?  Financial data from your suppliers?  Credit card numbers from your customers?  To a busy marketer, those documents are an everyday part of doing business.  But in the hands of an identity thief, they’re tools for draining bank accounts, opening bogus lines of credit, and going on the shopping spree of a lifetime – at the expense of your company, your employees and the customers who trust you.
Sophisticated hack attacks make the headlines, but many security breaches could be prevented by common sense measures that cost companies next to nothing.  That’s why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business, a plain-language handbook with practical tips on securing sensitive data.  Whether you work for a multinational powerhouse or a start-up, a sound information plan is built on these five key practices:
1) Take Stock.  Know what personal information you have in your files and on your computer. Understand how personal information moves into, through,, and out of your business and who has access – or could have access to it.
2) Scale Down.  Keep only what you need for your business.  That old business practice of holding on to every scrap of paper is “so 20th century”.  These days, if  you don’t have a legitimate business reason to have sensitive information in your files or on your computer, don’t keep it.
3) Lock it.  Protect the information you keep.  Be cognizant of physical security, electronic security, employee training, and the practices of your contractors and affiliates.
4) Pitch it.  Properly dispose of what you no longer need.  Make sure papers containing personal information are shredded, burned or pulverized so they can’t be reconstructed by an identity thief.
5) Plan ahead.  Draft a plan to respond to security incidents.  Designate a senior member of your team to create an action plan before a breach happens.
Many insurers are now offering coverage for data security.  If you are interested in learning more about data security or getting a quote on data breach coverage, call our office today (503) 227-1771 or visit us online at www.epbb.com.