What are some of the most common insurance claims that contractors make?

Did you know that 1 in 5 deaths among workers in the U.S. occur in the construction industry? This is just one of many reasons for construction businesses to have the necessary insurance to protect themselves against workplace injuries, among other hazards.

Unfortunately, the construction business is risky–but at the same time, it’s integral to the U.S. economy. From on-the-job injuries to severe weather, vandalism and break-ins, traffic collisions, and more, there are so many possible ways to experience losses as a contractor. With the right insurance, you can be protected against almost anything that can happen. It helps to know what can happen. Here are some of the most common insurance claims that contractors make.

Are contractors required to carry insurance?

Before we get into the types of claims that contractors may face, let’s take a glance at what insurance is required of contractors.

Contractors and subcontractors are sometimes required to carry contractor insurance in the U.S. Specific contractors that may specialize in certain fields, like plumbers or electricians, may benefit from having special artisan contractor insurance. That being said, insurance requirements can vary depending on the state, line of business, etc. Usually, it’s a general rule of thumb that any business with employees acquires workers’ compensation insurance.

General liability and errors and omissions insurance are also highly recommended. The former protects your business against claims of bodily injury and property damage and the latter protects your business against claims of negligence, misinformation, error, etc. Both are beneficial layers of protection to support your business in the face of costly lawsuits.

What are the five most common contractor insurance claims?

Construction can be high-risk, which means it’s ripe with opportunities for damage and losses. Here are five of the most common contractor insurance claims:

Personal injuries and property damages

Did you know that 10% of all liability claims arise from slips and falls? Accidents still happen, no matter the precautions we take to avoid them. With construction, there can be a lot of hazards–falling debris, cracks in the ground, machinery and equipment left out, etc., that passerby could trip or injure themselves on. If a non-employee injures themselves or their property is damaged by your construction business’s operations, they could sue. That lawsuit could cost your business.

For example, say your construction business was performing renovations when a heavy piece of equipment gets dropped accidentally. It significantly damages a homeowner’s living room floor and nearby wall, cracking their hardwood floor and leaving a large hole in the wall. The damages are estimated at $8,500. The total claim amount for the repairs, plus any additional expenses, amounts out to $9,500–which would be covered by a general liability insurance policy.

Workers’ compensation injury

The construction industry is huge for workplace injuries, ranging from minor to severe. It could be due to a fall, dropping heavy equipment, misuse of machinery, etc. If a workplace mishap sends a worker to the doctor or, worse, the hospital, they’ll be out of commission for some time plus may rack up some serious medical bills. Workers’ compensation insurance can be used in this instance to cover both lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation or ongoing care, and in a worst case scenario, funeral expenses and death benefits for your employee’s surviving family.

Damage to ongoing builds

Construction involves a lot of works-in-progress, which tend to be extremely vulnerable to damages during the period where they are being worked on. There’s a lot to lose on an ongoing project–materials, supplies, equipment, tools, and all the work your company has invested time and money in. One of the most common contractor insurance claims comes for projects in progress, with wildfires being among the most common causes of damage.

Stolen equipment

A probably unsurprising cause of loss for construction companies and contractors is equipment stolen off of worksites. Your contracting equipment is crucial to helping your business run. It’s also expensive–and appealing to thieves. If your tools go missing from a worksite or warehouse, or are lifted out of your company trucks, it might be time to file a tools and equipment insurance claim.

Traffic accidents

Contractors and construction companies may make use of company vans to tote around workers, equipment, materials, supplies, and more. No vehicle is immune to traffic collisions. Plus, with as much time as these vehicles spend on the roads going between worksites, it only makes sense that commercial auto claims would be popular in this industry. Keep in mind that your personal auto policy–or your employees’ personal auto policies–won’t cover your company vans or trucks if they’re damaged in a crash. You’ll need to have a commercial auto policy in your toolbox.

Do I have enough coverage?

Having enough coverage to protect your business against all that go wrong is crucial. If you aren’t sure if what you have is enough, AHI has got your back. Much of what we do is advise you in the way of coverage; we suggest where you might need to fill in your gaps by purchasing new coverage, plus we can identify where you can “trim the fat” a little. We can suggest modifications, limit increases, and more. Give us a call to find a great deal on your contractor insurance.

Do subcontractors need their own insurance?

Did you know that there were 3,776,498 construction businesses in the U.S. as of 2023? This number wouldn’t be at all feasible without the support of the subcontractors who make it all happen.

Subcontractors help carry out difficult, sometimes very specific construction work. They may be exposed to a variety of liabilities as a result of the kind of work they do. Due to this, subcontractors, like general contractors, need insurance. The contractor insurance that your employer has may not include subcontractors in its terms; if this is the case, you, as the subcontractor, may need to buy your own insurance. An insurance policy can help protect you from unexpected lawsuit costs, workplace accidents, and even accidental property damage.

Can subcontractors be covered under their general contractor’s insurance policy?

Theoretically, if a general contractor’s insurance policy included subcontractors, then yes. Generally speaking, however, subcontractors are not automatically covered under a general contractor’s insurance policy, and most standard policies for general contractors won’t include subcontractors. However, there are nuances and specific conditions where some level of coverage may be extended.

It is recommended that subcontractors acquire their own insurance irrespective of the kind of insurance coverage their employer has, as oftentimes the extension of a general contractor’s insurance policy can be limited. An additional insured endorsement can be added to a general contractor’s policy, extending some of the policy’s protections to the subcontractor. This generally includes liability coverage, commercial auto, worker’s compensation, and so on.

Again, this can be limited. This endorsement generally only covers the subcontractor for claims arising directly from the subcontractor’s work on the general contractor’s project and typically does not cover the subcontractor’s independent activities or other projects.

What types of insurance do subcontractors need?

The specific types of insurance needed for subcontractors can vary based on the nature of the work, the industry, and contractual obligations. Here are some of the most common types of insurance that subcontractors should consider:

General liability insurance

General liability insurance is fundamental for subcontractors. It covers third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury. For example, if a subcontractor accidentally damages a client’s property or if someone is injured on the job site due to the subcontractor’s work, this insurance provides protection.

Workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is typically required by law if a subcontractor has employees. It covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured or become ill due to their work. Even if not legally required, having workers’ compensation insurance can protect a subcontractor from significant financial liabilities.

Commercial auto insurance

For subcontractors who use vehicles for their business, commercial auto insurance is necessary. It covers vehicles owned or leased by the business for damages resulting from accidents, theft, or vandalism. This insurance is crucial for transporting tools, equipment, and workers to job sites.

Equipment and tools insurance

Subcontractors rely heavily on their tools and equipment. Equipment and tools insurance, sometimes called inland marine insurance, protects against the loss, theft, or damage of these assets while in transit or at a job site. This coverage ensures that subcontractors can quickly replace essential tools and equipment if needed.

Bond insurance

While not technically insurance, bonding is often required for subcontractors, especially those working on public projects or large contracts. Performance bonds and payment bonds guarantee that the subcontractor will complete the project according to the contract terms and pay their suppliers and workers. Bonds provide assurance to clients that the subcontractor is financially stable and reliable.

The benefits of insurance for client-business relationships

Having contractor insurance, or any type of commercial insurance as a business, is crucial to fostering strong client-business relationships. For subcontractors, having comprehensive insurance coverage demonstrates professionalism, reliability, and a commitment to risk management. Clients feel more secure and confident working with subcontractors who are well-insured, knowing that potential risks and liabilities are adequately covered. This assurance can lead to increased trust and credibility, enhancing the subcontractor’s reputation in the industry.

Insurance can facilitate smoother project execution, as it ensures that any unexpected incidents are promptly addressed without financial strain on either party. Being properly insured not only protects the subcontractor’s business but also strengthens the overall client-business relationship, leading to more successful collaborations and long-term partnerships.

Get insured with AHI Group

Have questions about your insurance coverage? Interested in getting protected as a subcontractor? AHI Group has many options for contractors, from more general options to specialized artisan contractor insurance. Give us a call at 913-839-1478 or request a quote today.

How much does general contractor insurance cost?

The role of the general contractor in construction cannot be understated. They oversee projects, manage subcontractors, and generally keep everything moving smoothly from initiation to completion.

With such duties comes a significant amount of risk, which is why it’s so critical for these professionals to have their own general contractor insurance. But, when managing all your different costs is so crucial to the success and growth of your businesses, where does the cost of insurance fit in? How much does general contractor insurance cost?

How much does it cost to buy general contractor insurance?

There’s no one true answer to this question. To find the approximate amount your general contractor insurance will cost, it’s better to ask an agent to find you quotes and compare between your different options. Policies for smaller businesses can cost as little as $1,000/year, whereas policies for larger businesses with specific risks may exceed $5,000/year or more.

The cost of general contractor insurance is not a one-size-fits-all figure. Various elements, or “factors,” contribute to the overall premium, each reflecting the unique aspects of the contractor’s business and the risks involved. Here are some of the factors insurers use to price general contractor insurance:

Business size

The size of a contractor’s business significantly impacts insurance costs. Larger companies with more employees, higher revenues, and extensive operations typically face higher premiums due to the increased risk exposure. Conversely, smaller businesses with fewer employees and lower revenue can often secure coverage at a lower cost.

Nature of contracts

The types of projects undertaken by a contractor play a crucial role in determining insurance premiums. High-risk projects, such as large-scale commercial constructions or those involving hazardous materials, generally attract higher insurance costs. In contrast, smaller, less risky residential projects may result in lower premiums.

Coverage types

The specific types of coverage included in the insurance policy affect the overall cost. General liability, workers’ compensation, and professional liability are common coverages for general contractors. The broader and more comprehensive the coverage, the higher the premium.

Location of operations

Geographical location is another important factor. Contractors operating in areas with higher construction activity or regions prone to natural disasters (such as earthquakes or hurricanes) may face higher insurance premiums. Local regulations and the legal environment also influence costs.

Claims history

A contractor’s claims history is a key determinant of insurance costs. Contractors with a history of multiple claims or significant losses are seen as higher risk by insurers, leading to higher premiums. Maintaining a clean claims record can help reduce insurance costs over time.

Business experience

Experience and a solid safety record can positively impact insurance costs. Contractors with many years in the business and a demonstrated commitment to safety are often rewarded with lower premiums. Implementing strong safety protocols and training programs can help improve a contractor’s risk profile.

How do I get more affordable general contractor insurance?

One of the best things to do for your business as a reputable contractor is to look for affordable general contractor insurance that doesn’t compromise on necessary coverage (or fall short of whatever contractual/state requirements that are expected of you!) Doing so is easier when you have an agent in your corner helping you out. While we do recommend giving one of our agents a call to discuss your needs one-on-one, we also have a few steps listed below on suggestions for more affordable general contractor insurance coverage:

Maintain a good claims history

A clean claims history is an asset when seeking affordable insurance. Contractors with fewer claims are viewed as lower risk by insurers, often resulting in lower premiums. Implementing robust risk management practices and safety protocols can help minimize incidents and maintain a favorable claims record.

Increase deductibles on coverages

Opting for higher deductibles on applicable coverages can lower premium costs. While this means paying more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim, it reduces the insurer’s risk, which is reflected in lower premiums. Contractors should assess their ability to cover higher deductibles, possibly with the assistance of an agent, before choosing this option.

Review and update coverages regularly

Regularly reviewing and updating insurance policies ensures that contractors are not overpaying for outdated or unnecessary coverage. As business circumstances change, adjusting coverage to reflect current needs can lead to cost savings.

Shop around and compare quotes

One of the most effective ways to find affordable insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers. Different insurance companies have varying pricing models and coverage options, so obtaining several quotes allows contractors to identify the best value for their specific needs. An agent can do this with you/on your behalf.

Give us a call

General contractor insurance is a not a one-size-fits-all, so it’s important as someone looking to continue their business for years to come to find a good fit. To find great coverage at a great price, work with AHI Group. Our commercial agents are experts in finding excellent coverage solutions for contractors. Give us a call or request a quote on our website.

Fencing Off Your Commercial Property

If you own a business and the land it is situated on, you should consider fencing it off right away. There are many benefits to having a fence around a commercial property in the Olathe, KS area, and they are listed below. 

Maintain Privacy

One of the best things about a fence is the privacy it offers your business. This is ideal for businesses that need to protect their work while maintaining the privacy of their clients. Large, solid fences are great for privacy concerns. 

Improve Security

It’s much easier to manage who comes onto a property with a fence. If you have your property enclosed and only allow certain entrances to the building, you’ll find that you can reduce the amount of vandalism and break-ins that could happen on your property. You’ll want strong fences that can keep people out and make them hard to climb. 

Develop An Identity

Some businesses are very close to others, and it may not be easy for potential customers to identify your business. With a fence outlining the property’s perimeter, you can quickly develop an identity as your business and not get lost among the others in the area. This can also give you some seclusion in the area, which customers may seek. 

Improve The Look

One of the best benefits of having a fence is how it looks and how it improves the overall look of your business. An attractive business will attract customers, and having a fence lets you keep any materials on the property secured and out of sight. 

If you want a commercial insurance quote, contact our AHI Group team today. 

What are the most common misconceptions about commercial insurance?

As a business owner, you probably have a lot on your plate. You need to run your business to make sure it is successful and also make sure that it is protected. One of the best ways to protect your business is to have commercial insurance, but there are many myths surrounding it.

Let’s take a look at some of these myths and debunk them:

Myth 1: Commercial Insurance Covers All The Losses

A common belief is that commercial insurance covers any type of loss. However, this is not true. Just like any other type of insurance, business coverage has a number of exclusions. There is no commercial policy that would cover everything. Every policy is different, and it is crucial to understand that. 

Myth 2: Small Businesses Do Not Need Commercial Insurance

The truth is that all businesses can benefit from commercial insurance regardless of their size. Therefore, if you think that your company is too small for business insurance, you are wrong. 

Myth 3: Your Home Insurance Will Protect Your Home-based Business

Do you think that your home insurance will also protect your home-based company? Well, this is untrue. Unfortunately, your home insurance covers your home and personal belongings only. Therefore, if you run a business from home and want to make sure that it is protected, you need to get commercial insurance. 

Looking For Insurance in Olathe, KS?

Are you a business owner running your business in Olathe, KS or any other town in the state of Kansas? Do you want to make sure that your company is well protected in the event of loss? Then, consider reaching out to AHI Group and getting business insurance. At AHI Group, we specialize in all types of insurance, including commercial insurance as well. Reach out to us today. 

Does My Business Need Cyber Insurance?

As we’ve discussed in previous blog articles this month, it’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, courtesy of the CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency). During this month, we’ve talked about the importance of cyber security, statistics on cyberattacks, and the interplay between two vital insurance policies: cyber insurance and business interruption. 

Here at AHI Group, your business’s security is our business. We aim to help inform business owners by equipping them with the best practices to protect their businesses against digital threats. Although cyber insurance is just one piece of a much larger puzzle, today we’re focusing on the topic of why your business needs cyber insurance, how cyber insurance can help, and what to look for in a policy.

What Businesses Need Cyber Insurance?

If your business stores or processes any information vital to its operations or that are considered private information (especially data containing information about clients) then you should heavily consider cybersecurity insurance. Consider the implementation of a cyber insurance policy, especially if you keep any cyber data that includes customer names, addresses, medical records, financial information (like credit card numbers) and even Social Security numbers. 

Few industries, if any, are required to have cyber insurance. In some instances and with certain partnerships, it may be requested of you to obtain cyber insurance to protect another party and any of their data you’re handling. IT companies, for example, might be contractually obligated to have some form of cyber insurance. Otherwise, this new product is a relatively new offering and may not be required depending on your industry.

How Cyber Insurance Can Help Your Business

Cyber insurance is a type of business insurance product that is curated toward helping businesses, small and large, recover from cyber attacks as a result of phishing scams, networking threats, ransomware, and more. Cyber insurance can help protect your business against a huge range of threats, such as:

  • Cyber extortion, or ransomware (which we’ve covered in a previous post!), which is an event that occurs where a cyber thief makes a demand for payment upon compromising your data or restricting your access to your networks.
  • Breaches of data, such as when you lose confidential or personal information, or a cyber criminal has had unauthorized access to your personal information.
  • A denial-of-service attack or technological failure, where a cyberattack results in the inability to access your online services.

Attacks vary in scale and cost, but they’re all disruptive. Cyber insurance helps to cover the costs that could come out of a successful cyber attack, including costs to notify affected parties, legal representation, the costs to restore damaged, lost, or corrupted data, and the outsourcing of a firm to investigate the breach’s source.

Most businesses purchase stand-alone policies with coverage specifically curated to cyber risks. Other businesses will opt for a business insurance endorsement that may supplement, modify, or increase existing cyber insurance coverage. Ask an AHI representative about which option is best for you.

What to Look For in a Cybersecurity Insurance Policy

In an age where digital threats loom large and cyberattacks have become an unfortunate reality, protecting your business from the potentially devastating consequences of a breach has never been more critical. Cyber insurance is the armor that can safeguard your business from financial ruin and reputational damage in the event of a cyber incident.

Financial Protection

Cyber insurance is designed to provide financial coverage in the wake of a cyberattack or data breach. These incidents can lead to substantial financial losses, ranging from the cost of investigating the breach, restoring compromised systems, notifying affected parties, and even potential legal actions. Without cyber insurance, these expenses can overwhelm a business. With the right policy in place, you can mitigate these financial burdens and ensure that your business can weather the financial storm.

Business Continuity

One of the most significant benefits of cyber insurance is its ability to support business continuity. When a cyber incident disrupts your operations, business interruption coverage within your cyber insurance policy comes to the rescue. It helps cover lost income and ongoing expenses like salaries and rent, ensuring that your business remains financially stable during the recovery process. This can be the difference between a business that thrives despite the interruption and one that struggles to recover.

Data Breach Response

A critical component of cyber insurance is the support it offers during a data breach. This includes access to a network of experts who can help your business navigate the breach, manage the response, and meet legal and regulatory obligations. Having this expertise at your disposal can make the process significantly smoother and more efficient, minimizing the damage to your business’s reputation.

Reputation Management

The fallout from a cyber incident can extend to your business’s reputation. Customers and partners may lose trust in your ability to protect their data, leading to long-term damage. Many cyber insurance policies offer reputation management services to help mitigate the impact of a breach on your brand and rebuild trust.

Customized Coverage

Cyber insurance is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Policies can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. Whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation, there is a cyber insurance policy that can be crafted to address your unique risks and circumstances.

This Cyber Month, AHI has aimed to educate, inform, and raise awareness about the growing and ever-evolving threat of cyber risks. We hope that we’ve done our part in showing you just how costly cyber attacks can be, as well as providing you with the tools you need to keep your business safe. And, as always, we’re happy to chat about the best ways to manage your business’s risk. Give us a call today.

Business Interruption and Cyber Insurance: How They Interact

In the fast-paced world of business, where every moment counts and every decision matters, the last thing any commercial client wants to deal with is an unexpected interruption. Business interruptions can arise from a variety of sources, whether it’s a natural disaster, supply chain disruption, or in our focus today, the ever-looming spectre of cyber threats.

The reality is that cyber risks are on the rise, and they have the potential to halt your business operations in their tracks. We get it, and we’re here for you. Our mission isn’t just about providing insurance; it’s about empowering you, our valued commercial clients, with the knowledge and tools you need to safeguard your business in this digital age.

At AHI Group, we believe that understanding the connection between business interruption and cyber insurance is not just a business necessity; it’s a promise we make to you, our clients, to care for your interests and provide the support you need to weather the storms that the digital world can bring.

Understanding Business Interruption Insurance

In the realm of business, every moment invested in realizing your vision can be a stepping stone toward success. Business interruption, a sudden and unforeseen disruption to your daily operations can deliver a gut-wrenching blow. Imagine managing a thriving business, steering your team toward your objectives, when suddenly, without warning, disaster strikes. It could be a natural calamity, a critical supplier’s unforeseen hiccup, or, as we delve into today, a cyber incident. The outcome remains consistent – your operations grind to a halt, revenues plummet, and the realization of your dreams feels more distant than ever. Business interruption can be an invaluable inclusion in your overall insurance plan.

The Role of Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance and business interruption insurance work hand in hand. When a cyber-attack happens that causes your business’s operations to stall, business interruption insurance can be activated to help cover the lost costs during a period of forced closure. 

Business interruption coverage in your cyber insurance policy acts as a financial safety net during these turbulent times. It helps cover the income you would have earned had the cyber incident not occurred. It also assists in paying for ongoing expenses like rent, salaries, and utilities. This crucial component can make the difference between a business that manages to weather the storm and one that faces severe financial distress.

The Growing Threat of Cyber Risks

In today’s interconnected world, cyber risks have evolved into a formidable adversary for businesses of all sizes. The digital landscape is bustling with innovation, convenience, and efficiency, but it’s also teeming with lurking cyber threats that have the potential to disrupt, damage, and even dismantle companies. This growing threat is not one that business owners can afford to overlook.

Cyberattacks, including data breaches and ransomware incidents, have become increasingly sophisticated, with cybercriminals constantly refining their tactics. The consequences of a successful cyberattack can be far-reaching, extending beyond financial losses to encompass reputational damage and loss of customer trust. In an era where information is not just an asset but the lifeblood of many businesses, the stakes are incredibly high. Every day, companies are targeted, and while some may have the resources to weather the storm, many others find themselves vulnerable to the devastating consequences of a cyber incident.

Empowering Clients to Take Action

Now that we’ve explored the vital connection between business interruption and cyber insurance, it’s time to shift our focus to empowerment. At AHI Group, we understand that knowledge alone is not enough; it’s the proactive steps you take that truly make the difference in safeguarding your business.

Empowering our commercial clients to fortify their businesses against cyber threats is not just our commitment; it’s our passion. We’re dedicated to providing you with the tools, guidance, and strategies you need to bolster your cybersecurity measures. The journey begins with self-assessment. Take a close look at your current cybersecurity practices and identify areas that may be vulnerable. It might involve evaluating your data security, access controls, employee training, and incident response plans.

That’s where AHI Group’s expertise and guidance come into play. We’re here to assist you in understanding your unique cyber insurance policy, ensuring you know how to navigate the claims process and receive the support you need when the unexpected occurs. We stand by your side during every step of your journey toward resilience and security, because at AHI Group, we’re not just an insurance provider; we’re your partners in success, ready to empower you to face the digital age with confidence and strength. Call us to discuss your cyber insurance strategy today.

The Big Halloween Scare: Ransomware and Your Business

Ghosts, zombies, ghouls, and ransomware – one of these things is not like the other. While it’s true that monsters and Jack o’ Lanterns have been the featurette of Halloween, business owners have something even bigger to be afraid of: cybercrime. Cybercrime comes in many, many forms, but one of its most popular (and perhaps most harmful) forms of cybercrime is ransomware, a malicious digital attack on your business’s valued technological assets.

This article isn’t to necessarily frighten you so much as it is to inform you, but we couldn’t ignore the irony of this year’s Cyber Month including a Friday the 13th. So, to stick with the theme, let’s talk about the big Halloween scare: ransomware and how it can affect your business!

What is Ransomware & Why Should I Be Scared?

Ransomware, by definition, is a criminal act by which a cybercriminal – an individual or entity – breaches a company or organization’s network and steals their digital assets, usually financial information or private client data. That data is then held for ransom and may be “frozen,” and therefore unable to be accessed by the company or organization.

Ransomware can be devastating. For one, it can be seriously impactful to a business’s operations to be unable to access critical data and information. Two, it can be a breach of privacy for the clients’ whose data may have been stolen. Later down the line, that can lead to costly lawsuits. That’s not even to mention the potential amount of money the data could be held ransom for, which for smaller businesses may seriously harm their finances.

Any business that uses data may be at risk of ransomware. It happens more often than you might think, and increasingly so as more and more organizations utilize data and technology in their everyday operations. Even your casual Mom and Pop shop working off the Corner of X Street could be exposed if they store any financial data on their computers.

Ransomware and Businesses: 2023 Statistics

To put into perspective just how catastrophic a ransomware attack (or any sort of cyber attack, for that matter) can be on your business, we’ve compiled a list of up-to-date commercial ransomware statistics. Keep in mind that large and small businesses alike are impacted by ransomware. These stats don’t exclude businesses with fewer than five employees, and in fact those businesses may make up a larger proportion of the businesses that are affected. Smaller businesses may be less “appealing” to cybercriminals, but their fortifications are often less than that of larger companies and therefore are easier to breach.

  • Healthcare ranks as the costliest industry for a breach, with breaches costing $10.1 million on average.
  • Phishing (sending malicious emails or attachments through email, posing as either a reputable individual or entity) continues to be the most popular scam in 2023.
  • In 2023, ransomware makes up about 24% of all cyber attacks.
  • According to a report from IBM, it can take a year (on average) to identify and contain ransomware. Paying for the ransomware has been proven to not result in any cost savings.
  • As cloud technology is adapted more and more, it too becomes a target for ransomware and is becoming increasingly exploited.

Many of the “big breaches” we often here about are involving those large companies, like Microsoft or Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that breaches aren’t happening regularly to the smaller guys, either. They just don’t make headlines like the big businesses do. It’s serious business, cybercrime! Here’s how you can keep your business safer:

Creating a Business Cyber Toolkit to Stay Safe

Just because it only might happen doesn’t mean your business shouldn’t take its cyber safety seriously. Even if you think you don’t have much to lose, taking action to protect your business’s digital assets can go a very long way – and can save you a serious headache later down the line.

Cyber insurance is just one aspect of cyber safety. To be transparent, you won’t have much luck finding a policy if you aren’t already taking measures to keep your organization safe.

Those measures, which we’ve talked about in previous blogs this Cyber Month, are doing such things as training employees on the latest up-to-date cybersecurity tips, implementing multi-factor authentication, installing (and regularly updating) your system’s firewall, having remote employees use a VPN, and more.

Small steps like these should be regularly incorporated into your business’s everyday operations. Doing so can greatly mitigate your odds of being involved in a data breach, ransomware event, or cyber attack, or at least help your organization to identify if you’ve been targeted by a scheme.

And finally, get cyber insurance. If all else fails, it’s valuable to know you have the backing of a comprehensive insurance policy to safeguard your assets – digital or otherwise.

Certain cyber insurance packages will also come with access to cybersecurity experts, who can help your business not only bolster its existing cybersecurity protocol but provide a step-by-step path to recovery if you’re ever finding yourself needing to recoup following a cyber attack. Ask an AHI representative for more information about this option.

Get Insured this Halloween with AHI Group

Before you start to decorate the office and prepare for your “spooky staff party,” it’s time to get your business adequately protected with the right cyber insurance. AHI helps its commercial partners get the cyber insurance they need.

Give us a call to discuss your business’ technological needs today and we’ll happily start the process of finding you comprehensive cyber insurance. Happy Friday the 13th!

Let’s Talk Cyber Security: Cyber Tips for All Size of Businesses

This misconception that only large businesses are at risk of cybercrime is not only incredibly untrue, but it can also be devastatingly harmful. Big businesses have far more financial muscle to protect themselves from cyber risks, and can invest more into cyber security measures, which overall can act as a deterrent to potential criminals. Small businesses? Small businesses may not seem like appealing targets from the outskirts, but the truth is that they’re perhaps more at risk because they may be less protected and less informed in how to defend themselves against cyberattacks.

All this is to say that small businesses and big businesses need to understand the importance of cyber security, which ranges from information back-ups and password management to proper employee training. Your business’s cyber security is only as strong as its weakest link! Let’s take a deep dive into some critical cyber tips for all size of businesses. 

Tailoring a Cybersecurity Strategy for Your Small Business

Cybersecurity doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can take some effort on your part as a business owner. A good plan should incorporate the maintenance of cyber insurance policies, response protocols, the installation of adequate firewalls and software, and educational materials to be laid out in advance. The prevention of an attack should always be a top priority, as it’s better to avoid an incident altogether than have to pick up the pieces after one has occurred. 

For having a consistently up-to-date strategy, you may consider hiring a cybersecurity point person. If this isn’t in the budget, that’s OK! Instead, look internally and consider adding that responsibility (for a pay raise) to an existing employee who can manage news on up-to-date tactics, the latest virus prevention software, and more. Now, let’s get into some cyber tips:

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, requires users to perform multiple actions in order to gain security access to accounts, networks, or databases. It acts as a deterrent to potential hackers and bolsters your security, plus it helps employees get into the practice of ensuring accounts are safeguarded, even if a password is compromised. MFA can include passwords, biometrics, email validation, cell security codes, and more.

Utilize Information Backups

As we have earlier addressed in our previous blog on Cyber Awareness Month, a lot of data attacks happen as a result of cloud-based software. Having information backups and storing them on separate mediums, like USB sticks, external drives, or even disk storage system can go a long way. This ensures that in case of a cyberattack or data loss, you can quickly recover without significant disruptions.

Network Security

Invest in a firewall, intrusion detection system, and antivirus software to protect your small business’s network. Segment your network to isolate sensitive data and limit access only to those who need it. Make sure to regularly monitor network traffic for anomalies that might indicate a breach, or outsource a team of professional information technology experts who can do so on your company’s behalf.

Start by Training Your Employees

The biggest risk to your company’s security? Your employees. Human error is the number one largest cause of data breaches. Start by educating your employees about cybersecurity best practices. Ensure they understand the importance of strong passwords, recognize phishing attempts, and know how to securely handle sensitive data. Regular training sessions can help keep your team vigilant, whether those are once per year, once per every six months, or even more frequently (depending on your industry.)

Cover topics that are relevant to your business, like the utilization of strong passwords and the implementation of MFA. Work remotely? Use virtual training workshops to train remote employees how to utilize their company’s network from a remote setting safely. Talk about phishing safety, safe Internet browsing, and secure communication practices.

Get Cyber Insurance

First – cyber insurance is not a replacement for cyber security. It’s a supplement. Most cyber insurers will not insure a business without pre-existing cyber security measures, including firewall, MFA, and certain cybersecurity measures. Cyber insurance can act as a fallback plan for any business that may be at risk of a cyber breach, and can help if all else fails.

Cyber insurance and sufficient cyber security are both critical tools in the digital age. Cyber insurance provides financial protection against the potentially devastating costs associated with a cyberattack or data breach. In an era where cyber threats are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, having cyber insurance can help mitigate the financial and reputational fallout of such incidents.

Cyber insurance typically covers expenses like legal fees, notification costs, forensic investigations, and customer credit monitoring, among others. It can also help cover the costs of restoring compromised systems and data. Moreover, cyber insurance can provide invaluable support in the form of incident response teams and experts who can guide a company through the crisis, ultimately minimizing the long-term damage to its operations and reputation. Given the prevalence of cyber threats today, having cyber insurance is a wise investment to safeguard your business’s financial stability and resilience in the face of digital risks.

Get Insured with AHI Group and Protect Your Digital Assets

AHI Group is an agency based in Olathe, Kansas that helps small and large businesses alike find the comprehensive insurance coverage they need. As the world of technology evolves at our fingertips, so does the sophistication of cybercriminals, making it all the more important for us to stay on our toes. Give us a call to discuss getting your business the cyber insurance it needs to stay vigilant against potential digital threats.

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month & Why Should You Care?

As we enter the month of October, the crisp autumn air isn’t the only thing that should be on your radar. It’s also the start of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the critical importance of cybersecurity in our increasingly digital world. At AHI Group, we understand that safeguarding your business’ digital assets goes beyond traditional insurance policies.

We’ll delve into why October is Cyber Awareness Month and why it should matter to you, your business, and your peace of mind. In a world where cyber threats are ever-evolving, arming yourself with knowledge is your first line of defense. So, grab a warm cup of coffee, settle in, and let’s explore the world of cyber awareness and how it can impact your life and business.

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Ever since 2004, October has been internationally recognized as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As if October wasn’t already spooky enough, we’re dealing with businesses’ awareness of cyber threats: ransomware, cyber attacks, and data breaches. In the United States, October’s Cyber Month comes out of a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. 2023 will mark the 20th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

What’s even more remarkable, this year the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (or CISA) is partnering with the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) to curate both messaging and critical resources for businesses to utilize when they go over the importance of cybersecurity awareness and staying safe online with their employees, members, and customers. 

As a business, you can also become a partner with CISA for Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and work together with the organization to help spread information about how to reduce risks online or when utilizing tech that’s connected to the Internet. Email AwarenessCampaigns@cisa.dhs.gov for more information about becoming a Cybersecurity Awareness Month partner.

Why is Cybersecurity Awareness Important?

Because around 2328 cyber attacks happen each day. Excuse the shock factor, but businesses must understand just why cybersecurity awareness is so crucial. Here’s some startling stats from 2023:

  • Between 2001 and 2021, it is estimated that a total of $26 billion was lost due to cyberattacks, breaches, and other cybercrime events.
  • The healthcare industry is easily one of the most targeted sectors, with roughly 90% of institutions in the USA having experienced at least one data breach in the last few years.
  • Between 2013 and 2019, over 70% of cyber insurance claims resulted from incident response, data breaches, and overall crisis management. 
  •  The United States is at the top of the list when it comes to countries with the highest average cost of a data breach, reigning in at 9.44 million USD. The Middle East follows with an average of 7.46 million USD, and Canada is third with 5.64 million USD.
  • 45% of all data breaches were found to be cloud-based. 

Data breaches are no joke. The thought that smaller businesses shouldn’t need to be proactive in their efforts to protect their business’s digital assets is a misconception; smaller businesses may not have the financial muscle to respond to a data breach, and they may be more tempting for cybercriminals due to their lack of cybersecurity measures. All sizes of businesses are at risk – small businesses perhaps even moreso. That’s why all organizations that use tech or access the Internet in some form need to be proactive and incorporate cyber risk management strategies. 

Risk Management and Small Businesses

In the upcoming blogs throughout Cyber Awareness Month, we will provide you with a comprehensive toolkit for managing cyber risks, tailored to businesses of all sizes. Here’s a sneak peek of the essential strategies and tips we’ll delve into:

Employee Training and Awareness

Educate your workforce on cybersecurity best practices to ensure they can identify and mitigate potential threats.

Strong Password Policies

Implement robust password policies and multi-factor authentication to safeguard your digital accounts.

Regular Software Updates

Stay current with software updates and patches to plug security vulnerabilities.

Data Encryption

Employ encryption techniques to protect sensitive data both in transit and at rest.

Incident Response Plans

Develop and rehearse incident response plans to minimize downtime and data loss in case of a breach.

Vendor Risk Management

Assess and manage the cyber risks associated with your third-party vendors and partners.

Cyber Insurance

Explore the benefits of cyber insurance policies tailored to your business’s unique needs.

Network Security

Strengthen your network security with firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular network assessments.

Regular Backups

Implement automated, frequent data backups to mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks.

Compliance and Regulations

Stay informed about industry-specific regulations and compliance requirements to avoid costly penalties.

These tips will serve as a foundation for your organization’s cybersecurity strategy, ensuring you’re well-prepared to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. Stay tuned for in-depth insights and expert advice in our upcoming blog posts throughout Cyber Awareness Month.