Posts made in October, 2015

Time to Put your Data and Network Security to the Test

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Cyber crime has become increasingly frequent, complex and costly. In the wake of an event, would you know who to call, how to react, or what to tell your employees, customers and media? Could your organization handle the potential financial and reputational impact of a lawsuit? What could your company be doing to better manage the risk? Take this four-part questionnaire via Travelers to put your data and network security to the test. Est. completion time: 5...

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A List of Post-Storm To-Dos After a Flood

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in News | 0 comments

If your property has been heavily damaged during severe weather, filing an insurance claim should be first on your list of post-storm to-dos. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), when filing a commercial, homeowners or auto insurance claim, the first step is to call your insurance professional as soon as possible to start the claims process. If the storm caused you to relocate, let your company know where you are currently residing and how best to reach you. Flood damage to either a residence or business is covered by policies provided by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as a few private insurance companies. Keep in mind that standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy covers flood-related damage. When filing your flood insurance claim: Locate the insurance company name and your policy number before calling your insurance professional. Provide a list of damaged property to help your adjuster prepare a loss estimate. This includes a written inventory along with receipts, bills and photos, if possible. Check with your adjuster before discarding flood-damaged items. If local authorities require disposal of these items for health or safety reasons, photograph them first for your records. Understand that flood claim payment checks from your insurance company are often made payable to both you and your mortgage lender. Make sure you understand what forms need to be filled out and when. Homeowners, renters and businesses who sustained flood damage but were not covered by an NFIP policy may be eligible for state and federal assistance....

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Tips to Prioritize Your Employer Provided Benefits

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Most American workers say they understand the importance of their employee benefits and personal finances, yet two out of five admit they know little or nothing about them, new research finds. As employee benefits season begins, most people seemingly have their financial house in order, saying they prioritize understanding their personal finances (77 percent), having enough medical insurance (74 percent) and being on track to retire comfortably (65 percent), according to the 2015 MassMutual Employee Benefits Security Study. Yet, 38 percent say they know little or nothing about their employer provided benefits such as health care, life insurance, 401(k) retirement plans and other benefits, the study finds. MassMutual commissioned the study by KRC Research as part of an initiative to help educate workers about their employer-provided benefits and enable them to make better choices in selecting health care coverage, insurance protection, retirement savings and other benefits. The study focused on 1,517 working Americans who were at least age 18 in a wide variety of jobs and industries. “Personal finances continue to bedevil many Americans, especially when it comes to understanding and making the most of their employee benefits,” says Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual Retirement Services and Worksite Insurance. “Fortunately, there are resources for people to turn to get help in prioritizing and managing both their benefits and finances.” While many people assert they do just fine managing their finances, 37 percent find doing so “somewhat” or “very difficult” and 40 percent say personal financial problems are a distraction at work, according to the study. Some groups find personal finance more difficult than others, including Millennials (58 percent), parents (50 percent), Generation X (47 percent), women (44 percent) and those with annual incomes of $50,000 or less (44 percent). Many workers would appreciate having access to online tools. Seventy-three percent indicate they would be likely use such a tool if it were available free, especially if it were provided by a “trusted and respected financial services company.” More benefit and personal finance tools are becoming available through employers and many are free, according to Sarsynski. Many employers and benefits providers are introducing new tools to help you prioritize your retirement, health care and insurance protection benefits, she says. Tips to prioritize your benefits As workers are required to pay more or share more of the cost for their benefits, Sarsynski says, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize your benefits to fit your individual needs and budget: * Health care coverage is the most important benefit unless you are already protected by a spouse’s medical plan. * If you are married — especially if you have children — securing life insurance and disability insurance are critical to your family’s well-being. * Save as much as you can as early as you can for retirement to take advantage of the long-term benefits of compound earnings. At a minimum, contribute enough to your employer’s 401(k) or other retirement savings plan to obtain any matching contributions. * It’s less critical for lower-paid employees earning the minimum wage or close to it to save for retirement because Social Security will replace a relatively high percentage of your pre-retirement earnings. Other benefits such as health care and insurance protection are likely more important. * Take advantage of employer-provided wellness benefits to boost your physical, emotional and financial...

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Don’t Be a Cyber Slacker

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in News | 0 comments

There’s no question about it: those who fail to protect themselves online are vulnerable to identity theft. Are you a cyber slacker? If you’re a millennial, you might be. According to a recent TransUnion survey, most millennials are not taking action to safeguard their personal information online, despite being the most concerned about cyber crime. In fact, almost 90 percent of millennials store bank account information on their phones, and about 85 percent check financial accounts while connected to public Wi-Fi – actions that put them at risk of identity theft. In contrast, only a third of baby boomers report being concerned about identity theft, but at least half take basic precautions to protect themselves. Just half of boomer respondents said they store important information on mobile devices and just over half check financial accounts while connected to public Wi-Fi. “Cybercriminals don’t care about your age; they just want access to your identity and credit,” says Ken Chaplin, senior vice president at TransUnion. “It is important for people of all ages to be aware of the behaviors that make them vulnerable to identity theft and to not sacrifice security for convenience.” TransUnion advises all Internet users, millennial or otherwise, to heed the following best practices for cyber security. • Activate password protection on your phone. Cyber criminals can install applications on stolen phones that give them access to the device’s personal information, like photos, personal calls and banking applications. Set a unique password on your phone to create a barrier that makes it difficult for anyone to access the information. • Approach near field communication (NFC) applications with caution. Criminals have traded spam and antivirus hacking methods in favor of third-party applications. NFC applications, which allow data to be transferred between two local devices, such as through tap-to-pay methods at checkouts, and other third-party payment applications should be approached with caution. • Avoid accessing sensitive information on public Wi-Fi networks. Businesses that offer public Wi-Fi are required to share a liability notice, but many may not read it. By using Wi-Fi sniffing, when criminals intercept information while it travels from the access point to the device, your personal data can be at risk....

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Workplace Risk: How to Prevent Employee Injuries before They Happen

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in News | 0 comments

More than one million Americans suffer from work-related injuries each year, ranging from serious crushing injuries at a construction site to muscle or joint problems caused by repetitive activities in an office setting. Workplace injuries can also be costly to both the person injured and the employer. Most employees do not receive their full pay while in recovery, and, according to the National Safety Council, employers pay an average of $40,000 per injury. In addition to the $1 billion the U.S. Department of Labor estimates employers pay annually in direct medical and workers’ compensation costs, businesses incur several indirect costs when an employee is injured. These expenses can include training for replacement employees, accident investigations and corrective actions, repurchase or repair of damaged equipment or property, absenteeism and more. Helping employees avoid injuries before they occur is always the best course of action, but when workplace injuries do happen, employers should have a prepared plan that helps employees recover as safely as medically appropriate and manages costs for all parties involved. Early medical intervention is one approach that can make a difference for the injured employee and the business. Delaying either the reporting or treatment of a workplace injury can increase costs by more than 50 percent, according to a new study by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. When an employee is injured, he or she should promptly identify the injury and work with his or her employer to establish the best plan of care. This will help reduce recovery time and lower the costs associated with the injury. Travelers developed a patented program called ConciergeCLAIM Nurse to provide injured employees with live, face-to-face engagement with a Travelers on-staff nurse who can answer their questions, guide them through the workers’ compensation claim process and assist them with that process throughout their recovery. Because many injured employees come to urgent care clinics as a result of their first on-the-job accident, the Travelers ConciergeCLAIM Nurse program places nurses in select urgent care clinics operated by U.S. HealthWorks or Concentra in more than 50 locations across the country. After the employee has met with the clinic’s doctor, the Travelers nurse reviews the treatment plan and develops a comprehensive return-to-work focused recovery plan. This process includes: * Clearly setting expectations about the claims process in order to reduce uncertainty, anxiety or fear; * Assisting the employee with information he or she may need about the medical treatment plan developed by the clinic’s physician; and * Using the nurse’s medical knowledge to help facilitate the care suggested by medical providers. This help can also lead to faster and more accurate claims and claims-payment decisions. Over a three-year period, workers’ compensation cases using this approach reduced the number of days injured employees were out of work by 41 percent. The number of days it took them to recover from their injury and close their claim fell by 31 percent. For all the preventive measures employers put in place, workplace injuries may be inevitable, no matter the type of business or line of work. Among the uncertainties associated with such injuries, one thing is clear: reporting and treating them early is vital to reducing the pains they inflict on both the employee and the...

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