Risk in the News View Archive

Hurricane Joaquin Preparedness

Managing Political Risk

TRIA Blocked

TRIA Reauthorization Update

Safeguard your Business Against Cybercriminals

DOL 401(k) Rule Changes – Plan Administrator Beware!

Cyber Crime Warfare Strategy – Employee Awareness

401K Plan Fees & Expenses and Fiduciary Liability Concerns

Business Continuity Risks Highlight Need for Risk Management Awareness

Healthcare Reform Update – Changes effective 9/23/2010

Hurricane Joaquin Preparedness

As the National Weather Service is reporting of Hurricane Joaquin intensifying to an extremely dangerous category 4 storm, I wanted to reach out to you to let you know that our team is here and ready to help. Whether you need to understand coverage or need assistance in preparing a contingency plan, the ALS team is here for you.

Here are some useful links to sites that provide some simple tips to help you maintain your safety and minimize the potential for damage to your home and/or business.

I would also like to share a very important lesson I learned from my own experience during Hurricane Sandy, sump pumps run on electricity, so if the power goes out, the pump stops working which can pose a significant problem to those of us with basements prone to flooding. Getting a back-up generator is one way to mitigate that risk.

As both a life-long risk manager and a business owner, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the importance of having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place as part of your business strategy.

  • Make sure your employees know what to do in case you need to close your office due to lack of power, flood or other hurricane related issues
  • Confirm your network has backup power or applications are accessible if the building loses power
  • If your office is inaccessible, forward office phones to mobile devices
  • Ensure email is stored and accessible if the company servers go offline

As we all are I am hopeful that the storm will pass us by, but while being positive and optimistic is good, being proactive and prepared is much more effective.

Stay safe!

Managing Political Risk

I wanted to take a moment and share with you an interesting article I recently read in CFO Magazine (The Rise of Political Risk); which clearly identifies the increased political risk doing business in today’s global economy brings and how it could adversely impact a multi-national company’s financials and reputation. This is clearly demonstrated by the experience companies are having in Africa, South America and Russia. As noted in the article, various coverages may be purchased in the private market to mitigate a company’s physical and financial asset exposure.

However, insurance is only one tool to mitigate risk. In addition, every company needs to ask itself what it can do to mitigate its exposures at an operational level. This should include developing and engaging in a risk assessment for any country in which an organization is considering doing business. This should include evaluating the security, political, and regulatory environment. Essentially, this is a risk review of a country so that senior management can clearly identify the risks of each country and how to best avoid losses. Once you’ve planned the mitigation activities, an estimation of resultant residual exposure will provide a good view of whether or not conducting business in that country fits your company’s risk appetite. As a company, this is something that we recommend and is a skillset in which we excel.

To survive in the global economy, a company needs to adapt its risk management strategies to the ever-changing business environment or risk missing an opportunity or suffering a loss.

If you have any questions or need help in minimizing the risks associated with doing business around the world, please feel free to contact The ALS Group for more information.

TRIA Blocked

Last night the Congress failed to pass bill, S.2244 for the renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act more commonly known as TRIA.

This is a major setback for the country, as the Act is a backstop for the insurance industry as a whole. Unless Congress takes immediate action and approves the Act, the whole country will be left without TRIA coverage effective January 1, 2015.

We are closely monitoring the situation and are currently exploring alternative for our clients on a case by case basis.

If you have any questions on this vital issue or would like to discuss possible alternatives please reach out to us and we can walk you through the impact this will have on your organization.

TRIA Reauthorization Update

As some of you may have heard the Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIA) yesterday. This Act extends existing TRIA for an additional seven years, which will afford certainty to commercial property developers and contribute to further economic growth and job creation.

I thought you might find the article “Senate Banking Committee Passes TRIA Reauthorization” interesting as it provides a good background and summary of the Act and Reauthorization timeline and proposal.

If you would like to know more about the TRIA act, please do not hesitate to contact Albert Sica at 732.395.4251 or asica@thealsgroup.com.

Safeguard your Business Against Cybercriminals

Cyber crime and liability from data breaches has been in the news almost daily. The article in July 5th edition of the Wall Street Journal goes through the sad story of a small business owner who was “robbed” of $1.2M of cash due to a virus embedded in the company’s data system.

Cyber crime against small to medium sized businesses is on the rise, and it is more important than ever to closely scrutinize the risk mitigation steps that are taken – both insurance and non-insurance related. Several months ago I wrote to you about a similar article that appeared in CFO Magazine and it seems the trend is not letting up.

The risk from data breaches, cyber crime and general vulnerabilities the company may experience due to a breach of security can range from theft of assets (as in the case of poor Mr. Kellson) to a breach of private third party data (which might trigger an obligation under State affirmative notification laws (state by state summary).

In most cases the Company’s internal IT staff should seek specialized IT Support that will analyze IT security measures from infrastructure to employee practices. With almost everyone carrying a smart phone these days, the possibilities for data/privacy breaches to happen and then go “viral” are easier than ever. The Reputation Risk that a company can suffer from such a breach can be devastating.

The insurance marketplace can provide very sophisticated products to mitigate many of these risks but, like any insurance product, if you really need it, it is likely the insurance will not be available. The first step is to seriously and methodically consider the sources of a breach and work through mitigating that risk.

Taking a proactive approach to these cyber and data risks is a prudent way to prospectively lower the Company’s Total Cost of Risk (TCoR) and add another measure to insulate the company from very real threats that can have a material effect on the financial health of the company.

Please feel free to contact Albert Sica to discuss any concerns you may have in this area and to structure a program to work through the risk identification and mitigation process.

Click to read the full article “Cybercriminals Sniff Out Vulnerable Firms”.

DOL 401(k) Rule Changes – Plan Administrator Beware!

The recent article in the Wall Street Journal, 401(k) Plans Step Into the Sunshine, goes into a great deal of detail regarding the changes in the Department of Labor rules on 401(k) fee plan disclosures and the caution employers and plan administrators must exercise while administering these plans.

We think that these changes will attract a great deal of attention from plan participants and can potentially result in an increase in Fiduciary Liability claims.

Fiduciary Liability insurance is a fairly inexpensive coverage that can be an effective tool used to mitigate a company’s Total Cost of Risk. This coverage responds to a breach of fiduciary duty (or perceived breach) by plan fiduciaries.

Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article, 401(k) Plans Step Into the Sunshine.

We’ve addressed this issue on our blog in the past. Most recently in January of 2011, before the Department of Labor rule requiring full fee disclosure. Read the blog post 401(k) Plan Fee Disclosure – Let the Games Begin.

In an even earlier post, 401(k) Plan Fees & Expenses and Fiduciary Liability Concerns, we’ve posted some very useful resources, such as articles, claims examples and Fiduciary Liability Loss Prevention guide.

If you would like to know more about the measures that can be taken to mitigate risk in this area or to better understand Fiduciary Liability coverage, please do not hesitate to contact Albert Sica. He can be reached at 732.395.4251 or asica@thealsgroup.com

Cyber Crime Warfare Strategy – Employee Awareness

In Monday’s (October 31, 2011) Wall Street Journal there was a curious article explaining many security breaches resulting from unsuspecting employees. It also touches on another huge problem: The trend to share more and more personal data on social networking sites.

Breaches of private information can be a serious assault on any business framework and wreak havoc on business security resources. Risk awareness and transparency are good risk mitigation measures to lower prospective Total Cost of Risk (TCoR).

We suggest awareness plans to remind employees about security measures already in place and to caution against the obvious.

For more cyber risk advice or to discuss how a methodical approach to risk management can protect your firm contact Albert Sica at 732.395.4251 of asica@thealsgroup.com.

401K Plan Fees & Expenses and Fiduciary Liability Concerns

Fiduciary Liability is a coverage often overlooked within a company’s risk management plan and while coverage is generally inexpensive, it provides an effective tool to mitigate a company’s Total Cost of Risk (TCoR). The McGuire Woods legal team wrote a great article on plan fees that I would suggest be required reading for anyone who is or knows a plan trustee – http://mcguirewoods.com/news-resources/item.asp?item=5010.

You can familiarize yourself with Fiduciary claim examples by searching the web, but Travelers provides some good information at:http://www.travelers.com/business-insurance/management-professional-liability/private-non-profit/pnp/documents/59112.pdf

There is a very comprehensive guide put out by Chubb on Fiduciary Liability Loss prevention at http://www.chubb.com/businesses/csi/chubb2218.pdf

Please contact Albert L. Sica if you would like to discuss the risks or ways they can be mitigated.

Business Continuity Risks Highlight Need for Risk Management Awareness

This week, a report entitled Business Continuity & Risk Management was included in editions of USA Today in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Houston, Seattle and San Francisco. RIMS President Terry Fleming authored the forward for the report, which can be read in its entirety HERE.

The article specifically mentions Cyber Security Breaches and the devastating effect this can have on a business. Business continuity planning does not have to be a huge dramatic exercise to be effective. Often asking the question “what do I do in 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days” for each critical area of the Company is a good start. Get folks in your company together, think about the risks-exposures, bullet point out what to do, then have a plan to revise the “outline” and mature the response & planning. By approaching the exercise in this manner it allows a Company to quickly surface the issues that may stop it cold without any prior warning or discussion.

Having a current and thoughtful way to stay in business after a disruption event will allow the Company to continually concentrate on lowering the prospective Total Cost of Risk (TCoR) for the Company.

Healthcare Reform Update – Changes effective 9/23/2010

On Sunday, October 3rd, Gregory Bresiger published a concise article on healthcare reform that caught our attention. We would like to share his take on the first set of key initiatives that have gone into effect since the new healthcare legislation was approved six months ago. What lies ahead for business owners? How will complying with healthcare reform affect you?

Read the “Health Care Cost to Soar” article on the New York Post’s website.

ERM | Risk Appetite and Risk Tolerance: The Path to Informed Decision Making Now, we’ll begin looking at the “big picture” viewpoint of risk, starting with identifying and prioritizing risks...

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