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Commercial Lines Lightning Safety When Working Outdoors 2021 09 REV1Lightning is a dangerous natural force. Annually in the United States, cloud-to-ground lightning occurs 20 to 25 million times and over 300 people are struck by lightning. During the past 30 years, about 50 people, on average, have been killed by lightning strikes every year, and many more suffer permanent disabilities.

Precautions should be taken to prevent worker exposure to lightning. Employers should recognize lightning as an occupational hazard. Supervisors and workers at outdoor worksites should take lightning safety seriously.

Workers whose jobs involve working outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects, or near explosives or conductive materials (e.g., metal) have significant exposure to lightning risks. Worker activities at higher risk for lightning hazards include:

  • Logging
  • Explosives handling or storage
  • Heavy equipment operation
  • Roofing
  • Construction (e.g., scaffolding)
  • Building maintenance
  • Power utility field repair
  • Steel erection/telecommunications
  • Farming and field labor
  • Plumbing and pipe fitting
  • Lawn services/landscaping
  • Airport ground personnel operations
  • Pool and beach lifeguarding

 

Fact Sheet Lightning Safety OSHAClick here to download the Fact Sheet that provides employers and workers at outdoor worksites with lightning safety recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

Tim Spear, is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in the construction, oil/petroleum, and landscape industries. Through his consultative and diagnostic approach, he helps clients develop customized programs to meet their risk management needs. Comments and questions are welcome at tspear@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines Multi Factor Authentication A Must Have for Critical Cyber Coverage

A growing number of cybersecurity threats have companies on high alert. More sophisticated cyberattacks have been aimed at the data and assets of corporations, and carriers are increasingly requiring insureds to implement multifactor authentication as a subjectivity for a cyber liability policy.

What is MFA?

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more credentials in order to gain access to an account. Rather than just asking for a username and password, MFA requires one or more additional verification factors unique to the individual, which decreases the likelihood of a successful cyber attack.

Picture yourself at an ATM withdrawing money from your bank account. Your debit card (something you have) is one authentication factor. However, to access your account, you also need to enter the PIN that is associated with your debit card. Your PIN (something you know) is your second authentication factor.

Credentials May Include:

  • Things you know: a password or personal PIN
  • Things you have: a badge or cellphone
  • Things you are: biometric information such as fingerprints or facial recognition

Why is it Important for Cyber Security?

Password compromises have accounted for 81 percent of data breaches in recent years. There are limits to what a single password can do. Rather than asking for a single password that hackers and cyber criminals can gain access to, this adds an additional layer of security. MFA helps protect against unauthorized access, data breaches and password-based cyber-attacks.

Where Should it be Implemented?

MFA is recommended to be implemented across:

  • all remote access to data or the environment (email, VPN, etc.) for access to cloud and on-premises applications
  • for any additional applications (internal or external) that contain personally identifiable information (PII)
  • internal activity with privileged users (owners of a credential that has admin access locally to  a  part of the system or domain-wide across many devices or servers).

In plain English, companies should look to secure any remote access points to their systems or data with MFA. Internal usage of privileged accounts, such as local administrators or domain administrators, should be also secured with MFA where possible.

Some Factors are Stronger than Others

Cybersecurity professionals have long advocated  that two factor authentication utilizing text messages (SMS) is less secure than other methods. The US government stopped using SMS authentication in 2016 — and encouraged others to do the same. Since then, there have been successful breaches across organizations that still utilize this less secure variation of MFA.

There are countless ways for criminals to bypass SMS authentication, some more complex than others, but opt for utilizing MFA apps like Duo, Google  Authentication, or Microsoft Authenticator if you’re using a  smartphone as a means to enable MFA for your organization.

MFA is Not the End-All-Be-All

MFA is an important preventive measure to take to avoid security breaches, but it is not an all-encompassing solution to protect an organization. As noted above, there are weaknesses with SMS-based authentication — and even the most secure forms of MFA have limitations.

For example, if an employee’s personal computer was already compromised and they were utilizing a VPN to work from home, MFA may not prevent malware spreading throughout the corporate network . Additional external defenses would be necessary for further risk mitigation.

What Does an MFA Roll-out Involve?

The timeline and cost of implementing MFA is dependent on several factors, like the size of your organization, the email provider and other technology platforms you’re using, and how you plan to introduce the concept to all of your employees (from stakeholders to the IT department). In some cases, for companies who are already using a system, like Microsoft O365, that has MFA built in; it would only be a slight exaggeration to say that the process for implementing MFA at these organizations is as easy as flipping a switch. In other organizations, with many overlapping technology platforms and access points that have accumulated over time, implementation can be a bit more involved.

While the ultimate goal of MFA implementation is to eventually cover all users across your systems, it’s good to prioritize where to begin based on the risk level to the organization. Starting with administrative (and high-risk) accounts has two key benefits: privileged accounts have the greatest security impact, and you can use what you learned in the roll-out with senior leaders to aid in deploying to the next round of employees. As you consider what systems require user log-in, recognize where you’ll need to update (or replace) older infrastructure that doesn’t support modern authentication.

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Click to download instructions on setting up MFA in Office 365.

OSHA Top 10 Violations for 2020

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced its preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for fiscal year 2020. Although multiple standards swapped positions, the Top 10 violations from FY 2019 to FY 2020 did not change. Ladders (1926.1053) climbed to a top-five spot, and Respiratory Protection (1910.134) rose to the third rank from fifth. Additionally, the data show that Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard for the 10th successive fiscal year.

The Top 10 for FY 2020 are:

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,424 violations
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 3,199
  3. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,649
  4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,538
  5. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,129
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,065
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,932
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,621
  9. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,369
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,313

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines Florida Legislature Passes Property Insurance Bill to Improve AffordabilityProperty insurance rates are on the rise with insurers reporting $1.6 billion in losses last year. And one of the biggest drivers of rate increases is the extraordinary number of roofing claims in Florida. Florida lawmakers are hoping legislation passed recently will help lessen the blow, but even with the proposed changes, rates may likely keep increasing in the short term.

The recently passed legislation clarifies insurance coverage related to roof damage and replacement; creates a uniform period for filing a claim; requires the insured to notify the insurer before filing a lawsuit; and changes how attorney fees are handled in litigation.

The bill allows insurers to offer homeowners policies that adjust roof claims to actual cash value if the roof is older than 10 years and allows property insurers to offer homeowners the option of purchasing a stated value limit for roof coverage. It also creates a uniform two-year period for filing a property claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim, versus the current three-year statute of limitations in Florida.

Under the bill, insurers must be notified of claims in detail and given sufficient time to inspect properties before lawsuits are filed.

The bill also changes how insurers are obliged to cover insured’s attorney fees. Whereas currently insurers must pay a fee even if the insured only recovers a small amount, the new legislation means insurers’ obligations will be directly related to how successful the claim was and sets out a “strong presumption” that fee awards should be limited to a reasonable lodestar fee structure.

The legislation is now awaiting the governor’s signature, and we will continue to keep you updated. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact us. We are here to assist you and happy to answer any questions you have.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines 6 Essential Truck Driver Safety Tips to Minimize RiskKeeping your drivers safe on the road isn’t just essential for their health and well-being. Their safety directly impacts other motorists on the road, as well as your bottom line. The Department of Labor (DOL) singles out trucking as one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. In fact, transportation and logistics fleets have some of the highest numbers of injuries and fatalities on the job—and those numbers seem to only grow year over year. By improving the safety of your drivers, you not only ensure their protection, but you can also reduce costs associated with accidents, claim payouts, and rises in insurance premiums. The good news is that you can improve your truck drivers’ safety by creating a work culture that actively coaches, trains, and rewards the safest drivers. Here are 6 essential truck driver safety tips to keep your drivers protected on the road.

  1. Encourage your truckers to practice defensive driving. Drivers are encouraged to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries by anticipating potentially dangerous situations and making safe, well-informed decisions while behind the wheel. By using defensive driving techniques, drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents—so you can worry less about costly repairs, claim payouts, and insurance premiums increases.
  2. Develop preventative maintenance schedules. The safety of your drivers really starts with the safety of the vehicles they’re in. Trucks and tractor-trailers that aren’t up-to-date with their regular maintenance—like oil and brake pad changes—are more likely to break down on the road. Telematics devices offer real-time visibility into odometer and engine data, including fault codes.
  3. Ensure comprehensive pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Hand-in-hand with increasing driver safety through maintenance is using thorough vehicle inspections to ensure all trucks are safe before drivers start driving. While pre-trip and post-trip inspections are required by the DOT, not just any inspection will do. To protect the safety of your drivers, use tools that ensure all inspections are thorough and accurately documented.
  4. Coach drivers to avoid distractions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has identified distracted driving as the number one cause of accidents for truck drivers. Distracted driving is anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel. Distractions can range from eating lunch while driving to turning out the window to stare at a billboard. But the most common form of distracted driving is cellphone usage, in particular, texting while driving.
  5. Encourage proper rest and breaks. Under HOS regulations, all drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are required to take certain breaks before they can continue driving. For instance, under HOS truck driver limits, all CMV drivers must take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving and a 10 to 11 hour break before coming back on duty. Outside of taking these mandatory breaks, encourage drivers to always prioritize their safety and the safety of other motorists while on the road
  6. Build out coaching and rewards programs with dash cams. An important part of building a safety-first culture is incentivizing and rewarding drivers who embody good driving habits and practices. One of the easiest ways to ensure safety in your fleet is through building out coaching and rewards programs. By introducing dash cams to your fleet, you can use real footage to actually show drivers how to improve their safety on the road.

Nick Wichmanowski a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance who specializes in construction, landscaping, and the oil and petroleum industries. Comments and questions are welcome at nwichmanowski@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.