"An insurance policy may have a good price, but poor value."

- John H. Connors

CYBER LIABILITY INSURANCE

With recent attacks by computer hackers at Target and now Michael’s, Cyber Liability Insurance is becoming a hot topic.  The FBI contends that many of these cyber-attacks come from out of the country so it’s difficult to track down these hackers.  Imagine for a moment that your company has come under attack by a skilled hacker.  The hacker has accessed your customer’s names, contact information and social security numbers.  On top of that, your website is now disabled.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Insurance policy to cover that?

Insurance that protects you in case of a cyber-attack may seem like something only large corporations would ever need, or could afford.  But believe it or not, cyber liability insurance makes sense for small companies as well.  And here’s why:

1.) It’s more affordable than you think.  Since it’s still a fairly new concept, there’s a lot of variation among policies and some room for negotiation.  You can get coverage as high as $30 million and deductibles starting at $2,500.  Minimum premiums can vary among Insurance Companies too, at $1,500 to $2,500 annually.

2.) It covers more than you think.  These policies provide coverage for things like business interruption, the cost of notifying your customers of a breach and even the expense of hiring a public relations firm if needed.  It will also pay to cover any regulatory fines or penalties you might occur.

3.) You probably don’t have a risk management team.  Big companies often have entire departments devoted to analyzing the risks the company could face and helping to set up policies and procedures to protect them.  A small business wouldn’t, but an insurance policy can perform the same function.

4.) Even if you don’t host your data yourself, you’re still responsible.  And your existing insurance policy won’t cover you.  Typically, a general liability policy specifically excludes losses incurred because of the internet.  A good cyber liability policy will pick up where your general liability policy leaves off.

Make sure your cyber liability policy covers laptops and mobile devices as well to give yourself coverage in as many situations as you can.  Work with your Independent Insurance Agent to integrate cyber liability with your general liability and employment practice liability policies.  They’ll make sure to give you the most seamless coverage possible.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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FIRE SAFETY

More than one third of American homes use fireplaces, woodstoves and other solid fuel fired appliances as auxiliary home heating devices.

According to the Insurance industry, heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires.  Often these fires are due to improper installation, creosote buildup, closeness to combustibles and lack of adequate cleaning or maintenance.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for Fire Safety, which will go a long way to lessen alternate heat losses.

Do

-Before every heating season, conduct a cleaning and maintenance checkup

-Make sure there is enough clearance between stove and combustible materials

-Burn only dry well seasoned wood.  Soft, moist wood contributes to creosote buildup

-Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher near the heat source

Don’t

-Connect a woodstove to a chimney serving any other appliance

-Start a fire with flammable fluids such as gasoline

-Burn trash in a stove

-Let a wood fire burn unattended

-Install an outside wood furnace closer than 50 feet from any structure

For more information on fire safety, contact the United States Fire Administration website atwww.usfa.fema.gov

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CAR PREPAREDNESS CRITICAL DURING WINTER

The recent winter storms, not only in our area, but parts of the South and in particular Atlanta, not only wreaked havoc on traffic, but left many motorists and vehicles stranded on highways for days.  Some people were forced to stay in their cars overnight, while others abandoned their vehicles to escape the gridlock.

The harshness of the winter that the entire country is experiencing emphasizes the importance of making sure that your vehicle is prepared for cold and inclement weather.

There are two important aspects of vehicle preparedness during the winter months.  Make sure that your car is winterized and make sure you have the right equipment on hand to help solve any problem that may arise.

Some important things to check when winterizing your vehicle would be your antifreeze level, brakes, heater and defroster, oil, tires, lights and windshield wipers.  And make sure to keep your gas tank as full as possible to prevent the fuel line from freezing.

If you’re on the road when disaster strikes, having the right equipment and materials in your car can help to rescue yourself and others, or allow you to safely remain in your car until help arrives.  These would include a first aid kit, ice scraper, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, snack foods and water.

Keeping your car properly equipped and in top condition will reduce the risk of a serious winter weather related incident on the road, as well as leave you better prepared to handle any emergencies that may arise.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR AUTO INSURANCE

A question that is asked in our office nearly every day is, “How can I save money on my Auto Insurance.”  There are a number of choices you can make to put some of your Insurance dollars back into your pocket.  You can reduce your auto insurance bill by selecting coverage’s and deductibles that meet your individual and financial needs.

Reducing the amount you drive can reduce auto insurance costs.  If you car pool or use public transportation on a regular basis, you may be eligible for a premium reduction.  If you have a young driver living in your household, who is either away at school more than 100 miles, or has taken a driver education course, your premiums will be lower.  Drivers who complete an approved Defensive Driving course are also eligible for premium reductions.

You may also not need all the coverage you currently have.  Since cars depreciate over the years, you may want to consider eliminating Collision coverage on your older vehicles.  Increasing deductibles on your Comprehensive and Collision coverage can also save you money.  Of course, higher deductibles mean you’d have more out of pocket expense in the event of an accident, but most drivers save over the long run, while still being protected from larger losses.

Traffic violations, accidents and alcohol related violations can all raise your auto insurance premiums.  It is important that all drivers in your household realize the full implications of bad driving habits.  Even if no one gets hurt in a drunken driving incident, the financial consequences are expensive and long term.

Most Insurance Companies offer premium discounts for passive restraints or air bags, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, defensive driving courses, which can now be taken online, good student credits, car pools and low annual mileage.  For more detailed information on how you can reduce your auto insurance premiums, contact your Independent Insurance Agent, who will be more than happy to discuss with you ways to save money on your auto insurance.

Kevin Connors has been in the Insurance business for over 36 years, and is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at 518-664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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WINTER 2014 AMONG THE COSTLIEST

With still a few weeks of winter to go, insured losses from severe weather are estimated at $1.5 billion, and that covers only two of the four storms in 2014 so far, according to the Insurance information institute.  This compares to the $2 billion for storm losses in all of 2013.

Insured losses from winter storms include roof collapses, downed tree limbs and power lines, burst pipes from freezing and auto claims.  Businesses also suffered from closings and interruption, as well as transportation delays.  In all, over 175,000 claims have been paid to policyholders during those first 2 storms.

While most of these claims usually occur in the northeast or mountainous regions of the U.S., the severe cold this winter has also affected millions of homes and businesses in the south, many of whom were unprepared for such extreme conditions.

Severe winter weather, including snow, sleet, freezing rain, extreme cold and ice damage, is the third costliest natural disaster, behind hurricanes and tornadoes.

On a good note, Baseball’s Spring Training is already underway, with the Red Sox set to defend their World Championship title beginning March 31st in Baltimore.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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