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PRS Holiday Season Safety Reminders

From Thanksgiving to New Year, it’s time to enjoy your favorite holiday traditions, celebrating around the table, and making memories with friends and family. To ensure that the festivities are not only happy, but also safe, here are some useful holiday season safety tips to keep in mind this season.

Shopping Safety

  • Try not to carry cash—Stealing someone’s debit or credit card takes extra work. That’s why cash is so attractive to thieves. If cash is all you’ve got, keep it in a wallet and in your front pocket.
  • Dress down—Dress comfortably and leave the jewelry at home. This will take a thief’s focus off of you.
  • Avoid using ATMs—Using ATMs can put you in a vulnerable position, not to mention the risk of card skimmers.
  • Don’t shop alone—Not only is shopping with someone safer, but it makes the adventure much more enjoyable! If you must shop alone, try your best to do so during the day, or part in a well-lit area close to the mall entrance.
  • Walk with your head high—Nowadays, everyone’s heads are down staring at their phones. Whatever the reason for head being down, lift it up! This will help you have better awareness of your surroundings and keep you safer.
  • Put purchases in the trunk—Leaving your purchases visible in any of the passenger seats can increase your risk of theft. To be safe, put as much of your purchases in the trunk. You can cover them with a sheet or blanket, too! That way criminals are less likely to entertain the thought of breaking into your car.
  • Find your keys before walking to your car—While you’re still in the mall, find and hold your keys before you leave. Looking down and fumbling through your purse makes you an easy and distracted target for someone trying to commit a crime with minimal resistance.
  • Lock your car doors the moment you get inside—Once you’ve successfully finished your holiday shopping and made it back to your car safely, lock your car doors. Yes, even before you buckle up and put the keys in the ignition. This is the proverbial safety “cherry on top.”
  •  Park in the garage to unload your purchases—When possible, park in the garage and close the garage door before unloading your items.


Unattended Home Safety

  • Check your doors and windows—Ensure that all doors and windows are closed and locked.
  •  Never hide keys around the outside of your home—Consider giving an extra key to a trusted neighbor instead.
  • Keep the outside of your house well lit—This will make it appear like someone is home. Motion detector lights may also be an option.
  • Close curtains—Close any curtains that display presents in plain view, such as under a Christmas tree.
  • Keep your mail or packages from piling up outside of your door—Schedule a delivery time for when someone is home or have a trusted neighbor sign for packages.


Cooking Safety

  • Smoke Alarms & Fire Extinguishers—Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas. Also keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen for easy access.
  • Pan fires—If a pan catches on fire, cover it with a lid to smother the flames or use a fire extinguisher. Never use flour or water to put out a pan fire. Call 911 if necessary.
  • Frying turkeys—Only fry a turkey outside and away from your home–not inside your garage, or on your porch. Do not overfill the oil in the turkey fryer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on use, including thawing your turkey thoroughly and maintaining control of the oil temperature.
  • Flammable items— Keep flammable items, like potholders and paper or plastic bags, away from the stove and oven. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing or dangling jewelry.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove—Monitor food at all times while it is being cooked. Make sure to turn pan handles towards the back of the range to prevent someone from bumping into it.


Tree Safety

  • Picking the tree—Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Placing the tree—Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2in from the base. Make sure the tree is at least 3ft away from any heat source (fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights). Make sure tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Keep it watered—If you have a real tree in your house this season, keep it watered. A tree that is not well watered is very dangerous and can turn into a fire hazard. It is best to water the tree every day and dispose of the tree after the holidays or when it is dry.
  • Turn off the lights—Always be sure to turn off the tree lights before going to bed or leaving the house.


Decoration Safety

  • Use step stools or ladders—Use step stools or ladders while putting up decorations. Keep ladders and decorations away from overhead power lines. Ensure the ladder is securely placed on the ground before climbing. Never stand on furniture as this can result in an injury.
  • Shoe safety—When putting up holiday lights and other decorations make sure to wear protective and sturdy shoes inside or outside of the house. No flip flops!
  • Check lights—Double check lights for frayed wires or cracks, and be sure there is a bulb in each socket. Discard and replace damaged strands. Indoor lights should not touch drapes, furniture or carpeting.
  • Extension cords— Prevent tripping by placing cords and decorations in low-traffic areas where they won’t be walked on. Avoid twisting, kinking or crushing cords. Use heavy-duty extension cords, and only use cords outdoors if they are designated for outdoor use. Avoid overloading extension cords by using no more than three sets of standard lights per cord. Do not hammer tacks or nails into the electrical cord when hanging lights. Instead, use clips to safely attach lights to the house.

 

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in 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 high net worth risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Port Royal, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, The Moorings, Naples Beach, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Employee Benefits Leveraging Benefits in Post coronavirus Compensation

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many organizations have been faced with making tough decisions—often leading to layoffs, furloughed employees and reduced pay. Post-coronavirus, many employers find themselves torn between balancing fair compensation and the current financial realities of their business—while hoping to return to a new sense of normalcy.

The current employment market is intrigued by more than just pay, and compensation is often viewed holistically— including benefits packages. As organizations complete postcoronavirus planning, benefits can be leveraged as an attractive offering for both current and prospective employees.

Expanded Benefits
As organizations manage uncertainty, current conditions have impacted compensation. We’ve also seen changes in benefits, such as the number of organizations extending their paid sick leave benefits. A report from Alight Solutions found that 47% of surveyed employers are implementing expanded paid sick leave or paid time off (PTO) policies, and another 11% are considering such changes. As well, numerous studies show the growth of flexible work options such as remote work or flexible scheduling—which are attractive options to many employees.

When developing a post-coronavirus compensation plan, employers can take steps to meet the evolving needs of the workforce by leveraging expanded benefits.

Benefits Considerations for Employers
Currently, employees value health, safety and flexibility—and attractive benefits packages can help retain employees while boosting an employer’s recruiting efforts. As organizations develop plans to meet the current needs of the employment market, considerations include:

  • Remote work options—Employees are often enticed by flexible work arrangements, including the opportunity to work remotely. While not all roles and responsibilities are perfect fits for telecommuting, employers can consider the feasibility of remote work in their respective workplaces.
  • Flexible scheduling—While many schools, day cares and other facilities are currently closed or operating in a limited capacity, many employees are balancing caretaking and personal responsibilities with their careers. Flexible scheduling is considered an attractive benefit to many.
  • Paid sick leave—Health, safety and flexibility are top of mind, and employees value benefits such as expanded paid sick leave more than ever.
  •  Expanded PTO—While many organizations struggle to commit to increased compensation, paid vacation remains a valuable perk.
  • Additional health benefits—Employees increasingly value access to virtual health services such as telehealth visits and mental health support. To meet evolving employee needs, organizations can also consider implementing an employee assistance
    program (EAP) to support the needs of employees. Expanded benefits can become a core competency for your organization—as well as steps taken to ensure employee
    health and safety.


Workplace Safety
When considering benefits offerings that resonate with the current employment market, the ability to work in a safe environment remains a top priority. A recent survey by Korn
Ferry found that 25% of employees weren’t confident their employer had created a safe and healthy workplace in response to the coronavirus. Safety remains a key consideration for employees, and employers can take steps to ensure they are operating using appropriate practices. Consider evaluating your safety practices, and ensure your efforts are communicated effectively. Safety practices should include specific actions in response to COVID-19, which may include measures such as increased cleanings using disinfectants, social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

When creating safety practices or considering reopening a workplace, employers should review up-to-date guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and
follow guidance from local health officials.

Employee Relations
Many lives have been distraught due to the impact of the coronavirus, and employers should be thoughtful when sharing news—good or bad—to their employees. Employers
can also consider surveying their employees to get a feel for current attitudes regarding benefits and compensation. Your employees will be a great source to let you what benefits
they consider essential.

As your organization makes updates and changes to benefits or compensation, ensure that your efforts are communicated thoughtfully, yet in a transparent and timely manner. For
example, when delivering tough news, consider outlining updates under the context of being temporary—not permanent—but necessary for the greater good. However,
leaders may find that, in light of tough times, expanded benefits may be received well by their employee base.

Expanded benefits can not only help an organization retain current employees, but make a workplace an attractive opportunity for prospective employees. If you expand your
benefits offerings, ensure they’re also included into any recruiting efforts.

Effectively Leveraging Benefits
Employers can continue to consider how their compensation and benefits offerings resonate with current employment markets. Appropriate offerings will vary by employer, so consider what steps are best for your business. As the current employment market evaluates available opportunities, expect expanded benefits to be highly valued.

As laws and guidelines related to COVID-19 update, employers should consult with legal counsel when updating or changing policies. For assistance with benefits or compensation, contact Gulfshore Insurance for additional resources.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

GEN Benefits of Cyber Liability Insurance

When cyber attacks like data breaches and hacks occur, they can result in devastating damage. Businesses have to deal with business disruptions, lost revenue and litigation. It is important to remember that no organization is immune to the impact of cyber crime. As a result, cyber liability insurance has become an essential component to any risk management program.

Cyber liability insurance policies are tailored to meet your company’s specific needs and can offer a number of important benefits, including the following:

Data breach coverage. In the event of a breach, organizations are required by law to notify affected parties. This can add to overall data breach costs, particularly as they relate to security fixes, identity theft protection for those impacted by the breach and protection from possible legal action. Cyber liability policies include coverage for those exposures, thus safeguarding your data from cyber criminals.

Business interruption loss reimbursement. A cyber attack can lead to an IT failure that disrupts business operations, costing your organization both time and money. Cyber liability policies may cover your loss of income during these interruptions. What’s more, increased costs to your business operations in the aftermath of a cyber attack may also be covered.

Cyber extortion defense. Ransomware and similar malicious software are designed to steal and withhold key data from organizations until a steep fee is paid. As these types of attacks increase in frequency and severity, it’s critical that organizations seek cyber liability insurance, which can help recoup loses related to cyber extortion.

Forensic Support. Following a cyber attack, your organization will have to investigate to determine the extent of the breach and what led to it. The right policy can reimburse the insured for costs related to forensics and seeking out expert advice. Additionally, some policies can provide 24/7 support from cyber specialists, which is especially useful following a hack or data breach.

Legal Support. In the wake of a cyber incident, businesses often seek legal assistance. The assistance can be costly. Cyber liability insurance can help businesses afford proper legal work following a cyber attack.

Coverage beyond a general liability policy. General liability policies don’t always protect organizations from losses related to data breaches. What’s more, data is generally worth far more than physical assets, and it’s important to have the right protection in place when you need it most. Supplementing your insurance with cyber coverage can provide you with peace of mind that, in event of an attack, your organization’s financial and reputational well-being is protected.

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.

GEN FAQs Address COVID 19 Vaccine Coverages and Premium Discounts

On Oct. 4, 2021, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (Departments) issued FAQs addressing rules regarding premium incentives for COVID-19 vaccinations and rapid coverage of preventive services for COVID-19.

Premium Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccinations
The FAQs clarify that a group health plan (or health insurance issuer offering coverage in connection with a group health plan) may offer participants a premium discount for receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. However, plans generally may not condition eligibility for benefits or coverage on vaccination status, and any discount must comply with the final wellness program rules.

Under these rules, a premium discount that requires an individual to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination would be considered an activity-only wellness program, which is a type of health-contingent wellness program. These programs must comply with the regulations’ five nondiscrimination criteria, including an incentive limit and a requirement to offer a reasonable alternative standard in some cases.

The maximum permissible reward (or penalty) under a health-contingent wellness program that is part of a group health plan (and is not related to tobacco use) is 30% of the cost of coverage.

Rapid Coverage of Preventive Services for COVID-19
According to the FAQs, effective Jan. 5, 2021, plans and issuers must cover, without cost sharing, any COVID-19 vaccines and their administration immediately once the particular vaccine becomes authorized under an emergency use authorization (EUA) or approved under a biologics license application (BLA). This coverage must be provided consistent with the scope of the EUA or BLA, including any amendment, such as to allow for an additional dose to certain individuals, booster doses or the expansion of the age demographic for whom the vaccine is authorized or approved.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

GEN Ransomware Largest Driver of Cyber Insurance Claims in the last Five Years

Ransomware represented the number one cause of loss in a study of almost 6,000 cyber insurance claims, with the average ransom rising to $247,000 and the average incident cost up to $352,000 in 2020.

NetDiligence’s 11th annual cyber claims study evaluated 5,797 claims arising from incidents between 2016 and 2020. Across the five years of claims data, ransomware accounted for 32% of all incidents affecting small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Hacking incidents were a distant second at 10%, and business email compromise followed at 9%.

The study revealed that ransomware events accounted for 79% of claims with a business interruption (BI) expense, with an average BI cost of $446,000 in 2020 and an average BI cost of $316,000 over the five-year period. Ransomware events also caused 81% of claims involving recovery expense losses, according to the data.

Professional services firms were found to have the highest frequency loss over the last five years, followed by manufacturing, health care, technology, retail and financial services. The top five sectors account for 70% of claims and 74% of total incident costs. Professional services firms also contributed 32% ($229 million) of overall incident costs; this number is well above health care, which was 11%.

Claims costs range from less than $1,000 to over $120 million. Nearly all (99%) came from SMEs for a total of $537 million in losses, and the losses associated with the 1% of claims striking large businesses reached $727 million.

The averages include “some very expensive claims,” the authors of the report noted. For SMEs, six claims in the sample reached over $5 million, with one costing over $100 million. For larger companies, 10 claims featured costs between $15 million and $100 million. NetDiligence said it found no link between business size and the magnitude of a L cyber loss, with the largest event affecting an SME.

“With ransomware again the number one cause of loss, we will be watching closely to see whether cyber policyholders, especially SMEs, deploy sufficient cybersecurity safeguards to reduce their ransomware exposure and qualify for ransomware coverage. If not, the challenge will be how we, as an industry, can help them get there,” said Mark Greisiger, NetDiligence president, in a statement.

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.