What Is The Purpose of Life Insurance?

For those of you who don’t know, September is Life insurance Awareness Month. 

Throughout the month, we will be answering some common life insurance questions. 

This week, we are focusing on the purpose of life insurance.

Life insurance can serve many different purposes. Here are two of the most common:

1. Final expenses

At one time or another, we will all pass away. Regardless of what our wishes are post life, there will be some costs. Many of us will have a formal funeral with viewing services preceding it. Others will choose to be cremated. Purchasing life insurance coverage to cover these costs eliminates the financial burden on those costs from your loved ones. 

2. Family protection

Many of us have children, spouses, or others who rely on our income to survive. Without you and your income, these people may suffer significant financial hardship. Life Insurance is a tool you can utilize to ensure that your loved ones have the financial resources to carry on. 

If you have any questions about life insurance, or any other type of insurance, call 412-563-2106 or click the button below to get in touch today.

Is It Difficult To Obtain A Life Insurance Quote?

Is It Difficult To Obtain A Life Insurance Quote

For those of you who don’t know, September is life insurance Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we will be answering some common life insurance questions.

Question number one: Is it difficult to obtain a life insurance quote?

This question has a simple answer: not at all. The initial process of quoting life insurance is quite simple.

A handful of questions giving a general idea of your overall health and the type of coverage you’re looking for will get the process started. Here’s a list of the general information you will need to obtain a quote:

  • Your date of birth
  • Your gender
  • Your height and weight
  • Whether or not you use tobacco products
  • Any medications that you may be taking, or any health problems that you may have

From there, your life insurance agent shouldn’t be able to provide you with quotes for the amount of insurance coverage that you wish to see pricing for.

If you have any questions about life insurance, or any other type of insurance, contact us at 412-563-2106.

Realistic Expectations for Life Insurance Pricing

What is the cost of life insurance?

Hey, come on down here and get your life insurance. And if you’re a 65 year old male and on medication, you can get it for 100 bucks per month…

You’ve heard these ads on TV and radio, right?

They are really funny. And I guess they’re pretty effective. But don’t be lulled or should I say laughed into believing that everyone is going to qualify for these amazing rates.

Sure, some people are going to qualify for these kinds of rates. But in my experience, a lot of us won’t.

I know I certainly don’t. Then again, maybe I’m hanging out with the wrong type of people.

Anyway, if you’re in the market for life insurance, go into it with a realistic expectation of what it’s actually going to cost. Not everyone is that “A triple plus” prospect.

If you need help looking for life insurance, call my agency at 412-563-2106. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process.

Do you have a Real Estate Title Agency?

Real Estate Title Agency

Do you have a real estate title agency or an arbitration mediation company? Did you know that these types of companies can be added to your legal malpractice insurance policy as an additional insured?

Adding them to your legal malpractice policy can be a cost effective method of ensuring that entity against malpractice insurance claims. All carriers have some requirements that the entity must satisfy, but usually those requirements are few.

One requirement that seems to be at the top of all the carrier’s lists is that the entity must be 100% owned by either the firm or the members in the firm. If it is not 100% owned by the firm or the members, the entity cannot be added as an additional insured.

So if you’re in this situation and looking for coverage for that separate entity, consider adding the entity as an additional insured to your legal malpractice policy. It is not a bad option. 

Risk Assessment When Working From Home

It seems like we are getting back to some kind of normalcy with more and more people going back to the office. However, there are still many people working from home.

If you’re in this situation and you have an employee working from home, don’t let your guard down. From a risk management perspective, that person still needs to be supervised, have adequate protection on the computer, printer and scanner that they are using from home.

If they’re remotely accessing your system, make sure their passwords are strong and are changed on a routine basis.

Regular meetings should be conducted by telephone and or zoom type calls. This helps keep everyone connected and on the same page when it comes to the firm’s workflow and processes.

These meetings don’t have to be hours long, nor do they have to be every day, but they should be completed on a consistent and routine basis. So no one gets left behind in the workflow.

Hopefully, this soon will all be a distant memory and we will be back in that office routine. But until then, again, don’t let your guard down when it comes to your offices and your clients’ protection.

Hackers Have Now Exposed Over 8 Billion Username and Password Combinations – Were Your Credentials Among Them?

Hackers Have Now Exposed Over 8 Billion Username and Password Combinations

The week of June 7th may have seen the biggest release of hacked data ever published to the dark web.  Hackers publicly released over 8 billion username and password combinations!

A 100GB list of data assumed to be stolen during various hacks was posted to a popular hacker forum.  This is now being referred to as the “RockYou2020” list.

Want To Check To See If You Were A Part Of This?

Check here to see if your data was part of this dump: https://cybernews.com/personal-data-leak-check/

To use this tool, all you must do is enter your email or phone number.  The tool can safely access the hacked username and password combinations on the dark web.  It will let you know if your data is found.

What To Do If Your Data Was A Part Of The Released Data

If the tool tells you that your data was compromised, you should start mitigation steps immediately.  Go to every account that uses the exposed username/password and change the password.  Be sure to use different passwords for each account that are considered to be “strong”.

Want to know what makes a strong password?  A rule of thumb is to create a password that has the following 6 characteristics:

  1. More than 12 characters
  2. Contains at least 1 uppercase character
  3. Contains at least 1 lowercase character
  4. Contains at least 1 number
  5. Contains at least 1 symbol
  6. Contains no “real” words that could be guessed via a dictionary attack (where they go through a list of words from the dictionary and try to guess your password)

In addition, you’ll want to be sure to look for any unexpected activity within the account.  Make sure that all of your personal information is correct and that no money has been transferred unexpectedly.

If given the option, turn on the “Two-Factor Authentication” (or “2FA”) option associated with the account.  This will require you to enter a code from your cell phone or email to authenticate who you are.  2FA protects your accounts from hacker dumps like this.

Yes, this is a pain.  However, it’s better to have your personal and financial data protected. 

How To Protect Your Data Easily Using Password Managers

There are ways to make tasks associated with passwords easier.  According to a study by NordPass, the average person has 100+ online passwords.  Who can remember that many passwords?

INF recommends using a password manager like KeePass or 1Password.  A password manager will help you create and remember well-formed passwords for all of your accounts.  In fact, you can copy and paste from these managers, so you don’t have to type anything going forward.

These password managers can also be installed on your phone.  This makes browsing the web a breeze when you need to access your passwords.

Is There Anything That You Can Do To Protect Your Business Further?

Yes, you can protect your business with a cyber liability policy.  These policies help protect you from the threat of hackers, data dumps, stolen passwords, ransomware attacks and more. 

It takes less than 5 minutes to fill out the application for this insurance.  Contact INF to get started at 412.563.2106.

How Can Ransomware Affect My Law Firm?

What is ransomware?

With the multitude of ransomware attacks that have been in the news recently, we’ve been receiving various questions surrounding this topic.  So, we wanted to clear up any confusion on this topic.

First of all, what is ransomware?

As the name suggests, it is software that can hold your individual computer or your business’ entire system for ransom.  A cyber thief will take control of your network and not relinquish control until you have paid the requested amount.

According to Chainanalysis, which is a blockchain research firm, ransomware attacks are up over 340% in the past year.  Over $400 million dollars have been paid in ransoms.

The average ransom amount has been on the rise over the past few years.  In 2021, the average ransom requested is over $50,000.

Naturally, this leads us to the question of “How does ransomware get on your computer or in your network?”

The most typical way hackers accomplish this is via phishing emails.  These emails will pretend to be from an authoritative entity, like your bank or PayPal.  In reality, they are just posing as them and hoping to get you to enter your username and password into an online form that they created.

Now, according to security company SecureAuth, more than 50% of people use the same password for multiple accounts.  Thus, if a hacker can get one username and password combination from you, there’s a 50% chance that it can be used for all accounts that are associated with you.

Another common way that a ransomware attack occurs is through tricking you or your employees into downloading a piece of malicious software.  The download could appear to be a pdf or some other innocuous file type.  Once it’s in your system, it works like a virus.  It will lock everyone out and demand a payment.

What happens if you refuse to pay?

If you choose not to pay the ransom, there are a few different scenarios that could happen.

Scenario 1 – They move onto the next victim.  This is the best-case scenario and leaves you in a position of having to restore your system.

Scenario 2 – They discover that you won’t pay, so they leak private information about you or your clients online.  Depending upon what type of data you store, this could prove to be a huge blow to your reputation.

Scenario 3 – They discover that you won’t pay, so they decide to make their money a different way.  They sell the private data of you and your clients on the dark web.  Again, depending upon what type of data you have, they could make more money this way than if you decided to pay.

So, how can you protect yourself and your business from this type of attack?

There are 5 very clear steps for you to take to accomplish this goal.

Step 1 – Make sure that your entire system is backed up nightly offsite and off-network.  You should retain at least 2 weeks of full backups (or a month if you have the digital space).  This way, if the code doesn’t attack right away, you have the option of multiple data sets.

Step 2 – Have a plan in place for restoring from a backup in 24 hours or less if possible.

Step 3 – Train your employees to recognize cyber threats in all forms.  There are many cyber training programs available that will send tips, tricks and quizzes on a monthly basis.

Step 4 – Keep your antivirus and firewall software up to date.  You will see some added protection if you get your employees to use a VPN as well.

Step 5 –No system is impenetrable and many times, human error is the cause.  Purchase a standalone cyber insurance policy to guard against this.  Most cyber insurance policies cover this type of attack and provide the support to get you back up and running smoothly.

Have questions about any of these steps or how to purchase a cyber policy?  Contact INF at 412.563.2106.  We can get you a policy in less than a week!

Be Sure To Report Claims In A Timely Fashion

Legal malpractice claim

No one likes to report a legal malpractice claim to their carrier. It reminds us that we made a mistake or that very difficult client that is impossible to satisfy.

To make matters worse, legal malpractice policies demand that we also report any potential claims, not just actual claims, but those issues that may develop into an actual claim.

All claims, whether actual claims or potential claims must be reported to the carrier as soon as you become aware of them. Don’t delay this process. Slow reporting to the carrier can and will cost you money in that the carrier can simply deny your claim because the claim wasn’t timely reported. Proper notice must be given to the carrier.

A good tip is to review your policy and make sure you’re familiar with the reporting process. Making that call or writing that letter may be painful and dredge up a few bad memories or two, but it will provide a level of comfort knowing that the report was made and the denial of coverage is not in the cards for late reporting.

Having Trouble Getting Gas?

protectin your law firm from cyber attacks

Having trouble getting gas recently? I think we’ve been pretty fortunate in Pennsylvania in that the pipeline shutdown did not hit us too badly.

It does, however, drive home the point that if you haven’t purchased a standalone cyber policy, or at least considered it, you should. Cyber attacks have been on the rise in all sizes and types of industries and professions.

Some of the legal malpractice policies, perhaps even yours may include cyber coverage. Although it is a nice feature and benefit to have in the policy, it usually is nowhere near enough coverage. The limits are usually sub limits lower than your aggregate policy limit. The coverage is limited in scope, and it can dilute the insuring agreement.

Don’t get me wrong. Any added benefits in your insurance policy is usually a good thing. But don’t depend on ancillary coverage to protect your firm and your clients data. You should look into obtaining a standalone cyber policy.

How To Identify Malicious Email Attachments

Malicious email alert

Do you know that more than 50% of cyber attacks are due to employee error and negligence, and part of that negligence and errors are due to the opening of malicious attachments, and the employee’s inability to identify a malicious attachment? Well, I’m here today to give you a few tips on how you and your employees can identify those malicious attachments. 

One, always listen to your malware alert. If your email service or your antivirus software tells you not to open the attachment, don’t open the attachment, listen to it! 

Two, check out the message. Do you know who actually sent you the attachment? If you don’t know who sent you the attachment, maybe it’s best not to open the attachment. Does the email content actually look normal? Or look like most of the emails that you get? Is it jumbled? Are there misspellings? Is your name misspelled in it? Those are pretty good signs that the attachment is in fact malware. 

Check out the attachment file extension. If it is a .exe, don’t open it. That’s an executable file and you do not want to open it in your email. Other attachment file extensions that are most likely malware are the .docm extension, the .xlsm extension and the .pptm extension. If you see those, I wouldn’t open the attachment. Just be careful and think twice before you open any attachment. 

And lastly, always, always make sure that your antivirus software is up to date and current.