The insurance industry has seen dramatic changes in the past few decades. Choosing insurance has become a complex task, especially when it comes to ever-evolving issues like employment law, cyber liability, and professional liability.

The right insurance advisor makes all the difference. An experienced advisor can explain complicated subjects and provide first-hand examples of situations they’ve seen. Instead of just shrugging your shoulders and taking a shot in the dark, you can pinpoint a perfect policy that fits your company’s needs.

SEE ALSO: 5 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent About Umbrella Coverage

Licensed and Educated

A good insurance advisor is fully licensed in their state and has an educational background in insurance. Reputable insurance companies check their employees’ credentials as part of the hiring process. If you’re concerned about an advisor’s qualifications, you can always search them at finra.org, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that regulates advisors, brokers, and agents.

Stays on the Cutting Edge

Good advisors also stay up to date on the industry’s latest laws and trends. When health care regulations change, they know the latest information. When a major court case sets a new precedent in employment law, the advisor is on top of it. They should alert you to new issues that might affect your coverage selections.

Goes Beyond Cost

Any advisor can give you a menu of insurance costs. A great advisor goes beyond premiums alone, explaining the details of coverage. They make apples-to-apples comparisons, which is essential. They explain why the cheapest option isn’t the best option in most situations: it leaves you exposed to risk.

Your advisor is your risk manager. If they’re willing to let you be exposed to lots of risk for the sake of saving a little money, you have to wonder whether you can truly trust them.

Looks to the Long Term

If an advisor seems too pushy, as if they can’t wait to get your signature on the documents, they might not have your best interests at heart. A good advisor allows you to take time to review your options.

They also keep an eye on the long-term picture for your business. If you’re a new startup, they should be asking about your goals for the future. If you’re nearing retirement, they should know how your plans will impact your business. And the advisor should stay in contact with you, encouraging policy reviews along the way.

SEE ALSO: You’re An Expert In Your Business, You Need Experts For Your Professional Services…

Personality Fit

Your advisor should also be a good personality fit for you. If you don’t enjoy interacting with them, you might inadvertently neglect your insurance coverage just to avoid them. Finding the right advisor personality is a combination of individual tastes and finding the right kind of professional.

For example, if you are price-sensitive and want to see lots of choices, you might mesh well with an independent advisor. These agents aren’t tied down to a certain insurance provider and can offer plans from many different sources. They’re predisposed to gathering lots of competitive bids and giving you the power of choice.

If you’re ready to choose a new advisor, click here to get a free quote from Cherokee Insurance Center, LLC and an agent will reach out to you soon.

Reprinted with permission from Links Insurance.

Cyber liability. It might sound futuristic, but its time has come.

To address a common misconception head on, it’s not limited to tech companies. Cyber liability coverage is a must for any business that handles sensitive client information— credit cards, customer records, and other confidential data. Nowadays, nearly every company deals with this sort of information as a part of the normal course of business.

The Basics

Cyber liability and data breach coverage provides protection against the costs your company can incur when a data security situation occurs. For example. say you run a small-town fitness center that charges cards on a monthly basis, and an employee steals customer bank account information.

You gathered this information with good intentions – to charge your customers’ monthly membership fees in a convenient way – and did your best to protect it in a secure system. But, unfortunately, an employee with some computer knowledge accessed the information and made fraudulent purchases on customer bank accounts. This is a data breach— and now you’re on the hook for the cost.

These situations often end up in court. If a judge orders your company to pay a settlement, legal fees or other court costs, cyber liability insurance can help. It was designed to save your business from a devastating financial blow.

A Bit of History

The first cyber policy was written in 1997 in response to the alarming rise of hackers, or high-tech thieves, who began targeting organizations in a systematic manner. During the late 1990s and 2000s, these insurance policies expanded as hacking expanded.

The insurance industry has updated policy coverage over the years to include many types of sophisticated data breaches. Cybercrime now costs the global economy $450 billion a year – yet 53 percent of businesses still report being ill-prepared for cyber attacks.

So is your business really at risk? Small business owners sometimes think data thieves primarily target big companies like Target – one of the famous cases we see in the headlines. However, 62 percent of cyber attacks are on small and mid-sized businesses. And of those, 60 percent of small businesses go out of business within six months due to the financial strain. Plus, small businesses rely on homegrown strategies like word of mouth and friend referrals – which are quickly tainted when a security breach occurs. Suddenly your business is the talk of the town, and not in a good way.

Risk and Planning

So the question is not so much if your business will be affected by a data breach, but when – and what you can do about it. Security experts say the best way to prepare for cyber attacks, and minimize their impact, is to put a plan in place ahead of time. Train employees how to handle sensitive data and train them how to respond if a data breach is suspected. Make sure everyone in your organization knows the plan from the first moment they handle customer information.

Having cyber liability insurance also creates a plan. If the worst case scenario happens, insurance helps you quickly defray the cost of a data breach and move on to restore confidence in your company.

Click here to get a quote and ensure you’re fully covered for cyber attacks.

Original post printed with permission from Links Insurance blog