Posts made in April, 2015

10 Unpredictable Risks Businesses Fear

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Because of a globally interdependent market place, industry or location no longer isolate risks to businesses. They are harder to predict and much more complex than even a seasoned risk management professional can anticipate. Because of that, It is becoming increasingly difficult to respond effectively to the expansive and evolving threats to their clients. Unfortunately, managing and mitigating risk is necessary for survival – however – unlike transoceanic cargo or natural disasters, not all risks are as insurable. Forbes posted ten of the most unpredictable risks that organizations fear the most from a survey by risk management firm Aon Plc.:   10: Political Risk Whether its European protesters against austerity changing the minds of their elected officials, or Middle East politics lowering the price of oil, political risk ranks as No. 10 for the worry-warts in risk management at companies around the world. 9: Cash Flow & Liquidity Risk One minute the market looks like it’s going well, then one day a big bank says they’re running out of liquidity. Risks like these are increasing, and seem to happen almost overnight.  Cash flow and liquidity risks are No. 9. 8: Commodity Price Risk This is mostly insurable, and usually through the derivatives markets of futures and options.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that companies that are natural resource dependent have to be extra cautious in a volatile commodities market to make sure they hedge their price risks. 7: Business Interruption Aon classifies business interruptions as major disasters that create havoc and impact whole communities, such as natural disasters. But one cannot ignore those occurring on a smaller scale that might not make it to the headlines.  Unforeseeable risk events, both natural and man-made, can have a crippling effect. Aon says that 80% of companies that fail to recover from a major disaster within one month will go out of business. 6: Failure to Innovate Remember Borders Books? They opened their first store in Michigan in 1971 and pioneered the book megastore business that it dominated for 40 years. In 2011, hundreds of Borders stores were closed and more than 10,000 employees lost their jobs after the company filed for bankruptcy. The vast tracts of retail space that Borders vacated in cities across the U.S. speak volumes to a gigantic business that failed to innovate. 5: Failure to Attract Top Talent To attract talented workers, you have to pay them and make working for you enticing. Companies need to have an engaged workforce. Aon says that an engaged workforce means having engaged leaders who are more likely to drive productivity in the workforce and generate stronger business results. An engaged workforce is more likely to promote the organization in a positive way, and employees are less likely to leave the organization for other opportunities. 4: Damage to Reputation Corruption and bad press can destroy a company’s image. Since reputational events often arrive with little or no warning, organizations are forced to respond in real time while the firm’s economic losses are mounting. This doesn’t count brand damage. 3: Increasing Competition Companies see increased competition from local and foreign firms as problematic. Increased competition has made it imperative for companies to focus on innovation, brand awareness and product differentiation to survive. 2: Regulatory Risk Since the financial crisis in 2008, governments have stepped up their regulatory functions and are becoming more active in setting and determining policies for businesses, not simply for the financial sector, but for industries across the board. While most companies accept the need for rules to govern business and are accustomed to working within...

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Tips to Manage Privacy and Security within Your Business

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in News | 0 comments

As many as 43 percent of companies experienced a data breach in the past year – a 10 percent increase from last year, according to an annual study conducted by the Ponemon Institute. As companies scramble to keep their names out of the headlines by bolstering up security practices and protocols, it’s important to take a deeper look into the little things you can do to better manage privacy and security within your own company. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you think about how to keep your company secure this year: Host a policy refresher. Employees can be your company’s greatest asset, as well as the weakest link when it comes to upholding standard security protocols. While it may seem obvious that an informed workforce is a more secure workforce, many employees aren’t always aware of the latest corporate procedures established to protect the organization. As the calendar turns, consider hosting a policy refresher course for all employees, regardless of level, to start the new year off strong. It will give you an opportunity to address any policy changes that may have been made in the past 12 months, speak to any industry-wide security changes and update the staff on the privacy and security tools at their disposal. Protect against visual hacking. While a lot of resources are spent protecting data from high-tech cyber criminals, many overlook other potential threats like visual hacking, a low-tech method that may be used to capture sensitive, confidential and private information for unauthorized use. If an employee is working on sensitive company or customer information outside of the office or in full-view of an office with employees who don’t have the same access, information is at risk of falling into the wrong hands. In fact, the 3M Visual Hacking Experiment, conducted by Ponemon Institute on behalf of the 3M company, a leading manufacturer of privacy filters, found that in nearly nine out of 10 attempts, sensitive corporate information, such as employee access and login credentials, was able to be visually hacked. In addition to providing employees with the right tools, like privacy filters, it’s important to educate them on the potential risks of a visual breach and incorporate the need to protect visual privacy in corporate security policies. Rethink the open floor plan. As a means to increase productivity, many organizations are creating open workspaces, allowing employees to work within a more free-flowing setting. While it may work for some, an open floor plan comes with its own set of privacy and security drawbacks. By taking employees outside of the confines of their office walls, it becomes all too easy for vendors, third-party workers or even malicious, opportunistic employees to see confidential information from a device screen or hard-copy file. This office configuration can needlessly put your employees and data at risk. If you have, or are moving to, an open floor plan, it is critical to assess how the set up will affect your company’s security procedures and make sure that privacy protocols are updated to reflect what information can be worked on where and when to better secure corporate information. Prevent social engineering. Employees may succumb to a social engineering attack because they were simply trying to be helpful and nice. However, that same employee can be the “in” a hacker needs to launch a more widespread attack on the company’s system. Before this happens within your organization, take the necessary steps to teach employees about the impact of social engineering and how they can be part of the solution to prevent it. Show them examples of what...

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How Your Business Benefits from Digital Data

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in News | 0 comments

I read an article on the topic of “digital data” in PropertyCasualty360.com this morning and wanted to share the information with you in our blog. Data has seriously changed the way risk is underwritten. With the availability and a constant avalanche of information in today’s digital world, it is very overwhelming and unless we understand business outcomes, insurers lack the ability for insight into these changes. The article states that “strong products and services are the backbone of insurance, but smart data management distinguishes winners. Today’s customers leave a trail of clicks, swipes, and comments that create a unique virtual identity for each individual. We call this trail a Code Halo and it enables P&C insurers to find new ways to create value.” In order to do this, insurers need to leverage this data by reinventing their operations and creating a new customer experience. The article lists five ways for organizations can benefit from digital data: More Accuracy in Risk Profiles P&C carriers typically rely on historical analyses. Code halos provide higher levels of accuracy by incorporating real-time data on weather and geopolitical issues that had previously been difficult to track. Now carriers can track risk as it changes over time. Uncovering New Exposures Call centers have long had access to data on customers’ cars and homes. They can now access additional details via each customer’s code halo, driven by social networks, digital footprints, and agency interaction—and unlock buying potential. As a result, P&C call centers can proactively recommend product mixes that best serve customers’ needs. Investing in Predictive Analytics Traditional data provides insight into the past; predictive analytics looks forward. By dovetailing analytics with the code halos of smart homes, P&C carriers can predict more accurate failure rates for the appliances they cover with extended warranties. Smarter Underwriting Decisions Digital data is a game-changer for underwriting criteria. Carriers can organize information faster to better mitigate risk and improve the quality of their decision-making. Sharpening Loss Prevention Strategies Digital data drives new methods for prediction and prevention. Technology is putting a rapidly changing spin on loss prevention, sometimes literally. Rapid innovations in the technology space, from smart fields and smart homes to wearables, are forcing rapid change upon the insurance industry. By leveraging code halos created by each customer, insurance companies can offer better, smarter, and more personalized service – simultaneously driving growth and profit while bolstering customer satisfaction. Read the entire article here. Source:...

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