Online Backup Programs


In a recent article on PCMAG.com we read a few frightening statistics:

1) Of the 700 million computers in the world, about 10% will crash each day.

2) 50% of the business who did not have a back up of their files will never reopen in the event a main computer or server crashes.

3) Only 6% of internet users actually back up their data on a daily basis.

The best way to avoid becoming one of the tragedies is to invest in an Online Backup program. For home use there are a number to choose from such as Mozy, Carbonite, IDrive, MiMedia, Norton Online Backup, SOS Online Backup and others. Presently they are easy to setup and once in operation they will all automatically backup any changes you make to your computer’s files without you having to do a thing.

Depending on the size of your computer’s hard drive and the speed of your Internet access, the initial backup can take some time. It can range from a few hours, to days or even a full week. If you have a lot of digital photographs on your computer, you could be looking at a week or so for the initial backup. But once the initial backup is established, the Online Backup will do incremental backups only on files which have changed or new files added since the last backup. Those incremental backups will run fairly quickly. Before deciding if Online Backups for home or business are for you, consider what the ramifications would be if you lost all of your personal photos or all of your business records in a computer crash.

Mobile Phone Rule Changes: How CMV Drivers Communicate on the Road

Here is recent information about cell phone use in CMV published by RiskControl360:

All drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) should know by now about the new rule restricting their use of hand-held mobile telephones and devices. This rule was adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and went into effect on January 3, 2012.

The purpose of the rule is to help reduce distracted driving and prevent roadway accidents, injuries and fatalities. According to the FMCSA, the odds of a driver being involved in a safety-critical event, such as an unintentional lane deviation, crash or near-crash, are 6 times greater when dialing a mobile phone while driving than when not doing so. Similarly, CMV drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event while texting and driving versus when not texting and driving.

Therefore, the rule restricts CMV drivers from reaching for or holding a mobile telephone while operating their vehicle, or pushing more than one button to operate the device. What this means is that the device must either be mounted or otherwise securely within reach at the control panel. In short, CMV drivers who use a mobile phone while driving can only operate a hands-free phone located in close proximity and cannot unsafely reach for a device, hold a mobile phone, or press multiple buttons.

So what are drivers still permitted to do?

-Locate the mobile phone so it is operable by the driver while restrained by properly adjusted safety belts.

-Utilize an earpiece or the speaker phone function.

-Use voice-activated or one-button touch features to initiate, answer, or terminate a call.

Drivers found not in compliance with these rules can face civil penalties of $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses. In addition, employers are prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000.

CMV drivers wishing to comply with the new rules and improve roadway safety can follow FMCSA’s simple slogan: No Call, No Text, No Ticket!

For more information, please contact RiskControl360’s Group Safety Coordinator, Lisa Shaver at (877) 360-3608 ext. 2367.

Tenant’s Improvements to the Premises

A common circumstance surrounding commercial leases involves the tenant making alterations, or improvementsto the rented premises. A strip mall retail location could be used for many different types of tenants. It is unreasonable to assume that the premises is already set up to handle any type of tenant from a clothing store to a restaurant. For example, a new tenant might have to build partitions, add refrigeration or install a kitchen.

The commercial property policy defines improvements and betterments as “fixtures, alterations, installations or additions that are made a part of the building that is occupied but not owned by the named insured, and that the named insured acquires or makes at his expense but cannot legally remove.” Since business personal property coverage insures the tenant’s “use interest” in improvements and betterments located at the rented premises, the amount of these improvements should be calculated into the limit you choose for your business personal property.

Do You Blog? Let Your Insurance Agent Know.

The Cincinnati Insurance Board in its January 2011 newsletter posted a great article about the risk that bloggers face. If you blog and or spend time writing in chat rooms on the internet you should contact your friendly Fey Insurance Services agent to discuss. Read why:

Blogging and the Possiblity of Lawsuits– CIB Jan 2011 Newsletter

A growing number of lawsuits are targeting individuals who blog or post allegedly libelous material on the Internet according to the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI). One report indicates a 216 percent increase in libel lawsuits against bloggers and online posters in the last few years.

These postings and blogs can result in nasty lawsuits. For example, earlier this year, a Florida man was sued for $15,000 over a negative remark he posted on eBay against the seller of a reportedly defective clock. A blogger in Georgia was sued for $2 million over his claims about the alleged misdeeds of a local government employee. Are these types of claims covered under a standard, unendorsed homeowners policy? What type of protection, if any, does the homeowners policy offer for these types of lawsuits?

The liability insuring agreement under nearly all homeowners policies pays for damages arising only from bodily injury or property damage, not from any type of personal injury, such as libel. In most cases, the only way that these claims might be covered is if the insured’s homeowners policy includes a personal injury endorsement.

So it is a good idea to remind your clients who are active bloggers and online posters of the wisdom of procuring personal injury coverage and a personal umbrella policy (which typically provides even broader personal injury coverage). Clients should also be advised that if the blogging is related, say, to a home-based business, there will likely be no coverage under either of these options due to various business exclusions and restrictions. A home-based business endorsement is essential in these situations.

In addition, you should know that the Internet is not a law-free zone where anything and everything goes. There are ramifications to consider for those avid and active posters and bloggers, ramifications that can turn out to be painful and very expensive

Small Businesses Need Liability Insurance

Today many small businesses are popping up.  The reasons for this vary.  Many want to be their own boss, some people are creating their own job since they are unable to find one or many corporate companies are encouraging their employees to become 1099 consultants to help save on benefits.  Either way, people are setting up on their own and it is to these people that I write this blog article.  


Start up costs are a difficult things to manage when you are just beginning your business.  Many demands are placed on your budget but one thing I would encourage you to put top on that list is liability insurance.  All business, big or small, should have liability insurance to both protect the business itself and its customers.  Here are four reasons I would strongly recommend liability insurance even for theone person shop.
1) Contracts:  Contracts are king these days.  Customers require contracts to do business with you.  In many contracts you will see insurance requirements so it is best to have that in place at all times to be able to meet those requirements, especially if you are bidding for a job.  Many start up business work out of their home but for those that lease space elsewhere you will find insurance requirements in your lease contract that need to be met.
2) Slip and Falls:  As I write this article Ohio is dealing with cold weather, snow and ice.  Already claims are coming in where people have slipped and injured themselves outside of businesses.  Whether you are negligent or not in these situations there is still a cost to defend yourself when someone comes to your door on crutches handing you their medical bill from the fall they took on your premises.  
3) Product Liability:  Retailers who sell products have the exposure of something going wrong with their products and causing injury.  Especially if your product is used in cooking or toys for children, this risk is always there and could be very costly.
4) Property Damage to Others: Contractors face this risk the most.  If you are mowing a customer’s yard and cause rocks to damage near by cars or houses you will be liable to pay for the damages.  If you are a contractor working on a customers building and end up damage a portion of the building you are not working on, that damage will be your responsibility.  
These are just four examples of where businesses risk having claims.  Each of these would be covered by a general liability policy setup for your business.  Be sure to consult with an independent agent that can help pinpoint the type of coverages that best suit your business and stay protected from unexpected expenses.

Vehicle Title Transfer

Several times a month our Oxford and Cincinnati insurance office receive calls from customers telling us to delete a car from their policy because they had just sold the vehicle. We always make sure to ask if this transaction was done between two individuals or if they sold it to a dealership. When we learn that it was sold to another individual we always offer a word of caution about deleting the insurance on the vehicle right away.

A normal vehicle sale transaction consists of the current owner signing over the title to the purchaser of the vehicle. Once the title is signed over to the purchaser the purchaser goes to the Clerk of Courts in that county and has the title officially transferred into their name. As everyone who has had to go to the Clerk of Courts for one reason or another knows, sometime it is difficult to carve out time in your day to make it to the county office and wait in line. This is the type of “To Do” item that many would put off or not have time to do for several days. This putting off going to the Clerk of Courts to transfer a vehicle’s title can cause a small problem for the person who had just sold and signed over the title. Technically until the title is officially switched over to the purchaser the liability for the vehicle can still fall back on the seller.

Our Oxford insurance office once had a claim on a vehicle that our client had signed over to another individual two years earlier. However, the purchaser never went and officially switched over the title and our insured was pulled into a claim on the vehicle two years later because his name was technically still on the title.

So next time you have a private sale of a vehicle be sure to follow up with the purchaser and make sure they have switched over the title prior to calling and deleting any insurance coverage on the car.

How to Avoid Contractor Fraud

Starting a house project? Read these helpful tips before you hire a contractor.

                -Get a list of reputable contractors from your insurance company, the Better Business Bureau or a specialized consumer organization like Angie’s List.

                -Contact multiple contractors, and obtain more than one estimate.

                -Don’t allow a contractor to inspect your property if you’re not home.

                -When the contractor is inspecting your property, personally watch him conduct the inspection.

                -Obtain the terms and conditions of the project in writing, including details on specific supplies being used     and who will purchase and deliver them. Include an estimated completion date and a price-deduction schedule if work takes longer than promised.

                -Ask about warranties on work.

                -Make sure the contractor gets the necessary permits and puts them in his name.

                -Ask for references from recently completed work. Call them and look at the work if possible. Ask if there were issues and if the homeowner would use the contractor again.

                -Ask the contractor if he has liability insurance, and get the policy number and agency’s name. Call the agency, and ask them to provide you with a liability certificate of insurance. There should be no charge to you as a customer of a contractor.

                -Avoid signing the contract until the document is reviewed fully and/or discuss the terms of the contract with a legal representative or a knowledgeable source.

                -Pay the contractor by check or credit card rather than in cash.

                -Don’t pay for work in advance. If possible, don’t pay until the work is done. If you do agree to pay portions at different stages, make sure the bulk of the payment is made at the end of the project after inspections are passed.

                -Get these details in writing.  
 
        -Ask for proof of insurance and get certificates of insurance especially workers compensation.

Sources: Ohio Department of Insurance, PIAA of Ohio, and Ted Kinney, CIC, CPCU, ARM

Our 100th Blog Post!

We have now reached 100 posts on the Fey Insurance Services blog. Over the past few years we have posted about a variety of insurance and risk management topics. We have helped to educate businesses and individuals on how to best protect their hard earned assets such as their home, cars, and businesses. We have also give tips on how to stay safe in an ever changing world including tips on online identity safety and how to best prepare your home for the winter months.

Our hope is that you have enjoyed the 99 other posts and found some information that was helpful in each one. For the years to come we will continue to add helpful content so that our clients and readers can enjoy a safe and protected life.

National Flood Program Expired… Again

On May 31st Congress allowed the national flood program to expire once again. As of today, June 10, 2010, there has been no renewal of the flood insurance program. This is a key issue especially since a number of areas in Ohio are being resurveyed and rezoned on the national flood insurance map. Homes that were once in Zone C or X which mean they are not in a 100 year flood zone are now being classified as a Zone A or other Zone which puts them in a 100 year flood zone.

What is the significant of this? Well, if you own a home in the rezoned area that is now in a 100 year flood zone and your home has a mortgage on it, you will be required by the bank or other lending institution to purchase flood insurance. A lot of times this can be a costly policy.

What happens if you don’t buy a flood policy? The mortgage company will purchase it for you and then bill you. Unfortunately there is no way around it as long as you have a mortgage on the property.

The ironic thing about this whole situation is that right now, as of the day this blog entry was written, you can not purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is purchased through the national flood program (FEMA) and as mentioned above the program is temporarily expired. We will be sure to keep you posted on our blog as to when the program might be back up and running. In the mean time if you have received notice from your bank that you are now in a flood zone and must purchase flood insurance feel free to get in touch with your friendly Fey Insurance Representative.

Extended Replacement Coverage on Home Insurance

The recent devastation caused by the spring tornadoes is a sobering reminder that catastrophes can strike at any time. When a total loss occurs, homeowners coverage is designed to reconstruct a home under normal conditions. But following a catastrophe, increased demand for building materials and labor can cause these costs to rise significantly, potentially leaving policy limits inadequate.

Fortunately, many insurance companies offer extended dwelling coverage to help prevent such shortfalls.

How it works

Two coverage levels give you options: Extended dwelling coverage is available at levels of 25% or %50% of additional Coverage A amounts, allowing people to choose the level that fits their needs.
Example: A home is insured for a Dwelling Limit (Coverage A) of $100,000. Following a total loss, reconstruction cost amount to $120,000. Without extended dwelling coverage, the policy holder could incur significant out of pocket expenses or be forced to make difficult rebuilding choices to reduce the costs. With 25% or 50% in extended dwelling coverage, the home would have those extra costs covered (i.e. 25%-Dwelling is increase to $125,000 or 50%-Dwelling is increased to $150,000).