What Choice Escrow Taught Us About Cyber Risk

Are You Relying On Your Bank To Protect Your Money? Stop!

If the recent attack on Choice Escrow taught us anything, it is that you cannot rely on your bank to protect you from a virus—like the Zeus virus used in the Choice attack—it swipes money from your account. In fact, the federal appeals court ruled that this loss was the responsibility of Choice Escrow and that their bank is not at fault and consequently does not need to replace the funds.

Choice lost $440,000 in this instance. Would your business be able to recover from this kind of financial blow? Since this ruling shows that we can no longer lean on your financial institutions to protect ourselves from cyber risk, what do we do?

The easiest way to protect your business from the threat of a breach is by carrying cyber risk insurance. These insurance policies can cover the cost of determining the extent of your breach, alerting all of your contacts that have been affected by it, and paying out settlements when necessary for compromised private information.

Even while you have coverage in place, your life will be much easier if you do not become the victim of a hack in the first place. Encouraged company-wide protocol that ensures private information is only passed via secure means, and make sure you are taking advantage of every safeguard your bank and other services offer to you. Typing in an extra password might seem tedious, but it could save you a big chunk of change as is evidenced by the Choice Escrow case.

What has your business done to limit its cyber liability? Contact the insurance professionals at The Insurance Shop in White Bear Lake, Minnesota for all of your cyber insurance coverage needs. Do not wait to give your business the safeguards it needs in the modern age.

Snow Safety Suggestions For Seniors

happy boy jump outdoors

happy boy jump outdoorsStaying Safe In The Face Of Dropping Temperatures

As you age, performing certain tasks can feel more difficult. Do not let the winter weather compound that difficulty. Certainly, the sidewalks are icy and the temperatures are low, but that does not mean you cannot continue to live life normally. Use these winter safety tips to stay safe until spring arrives.

  • Maintaining A Refuge: Your home is your safeguard from the inclement weather. Keep it warm and well stocked with plenty of non-perishable food items should getting to the store become difficult after a heavy snowfall. Also, make sure you always keep a glass or bottle of water with you while home. It is very easy to become dehydrated in the winter.
  • Keep A Clear Path: Slips, trips, and falls can lead to decreased mobility in your golden years. So you do not have to worry about struggling to get from Point A to Point B, make sure you keep walkways clear both inside and out. Inside, this means keeping paths de-cluttered, tying up electrical cords, and even considering non-slip indoor footwear. Outdoors, this looks like keeping driveways and walkways shoveled and deiced. If you are unable to maintain those pathways, hire someone else. (There is probably a student in your neighborhood that would love to make a quick buck helping you!)
  • Stay In Touch: Winter weather can bring power outages, so find a way to maintain communication with your loved ones should you be unable to use a landline.

Are your car and home protected from the harsh winter weather so you can be freed up to focus on staying safe during the coming storms? Contact the insurance professionals at The Insurance Shop in White Bear Lake, Minnesota for all of your insurance coverage needs. We are here to protect you in every season. Call us today!

Good News For Housing Trends in 2015

Paperwork at home

Paperwork at home2015 Housing Trends

The increasing economy is showing great signs for homebuyers. Many millennials are expected to start looking for their first home in the coming year, with rents rising much faster than incomes. There are many different housing trends that are helping to shape the housing market for the year, including:

  • Loose lending standards – the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been putting new lending guidelines in place that allows buyers to qualify for a mortgage with only a 3 percent down payment. With a strengthening job market, many millennials are jumping into the housing market, looking to buy their first house.
  • More homes – to help accommodate the entry-level buyers, homebuilders are increasing their production of smaller, more affordable homes. Many homebuilders are starting to build “no-frills” homes that will be listed around half the price of what their typical builds cost.
  • More affordable prices – with an increase in the homes that are available, some of the pressure of home prices will be released, which will make even the most sought after areas affordable. Institutional investors are also expected to relax on their home buying, making more properties available, leading to more affordable price tags.
  • Eventual increased mortgage rates – almost all experts agree that mortgage rates will rise in 2015, but not by much. Buyers who are able to get into a home during the beginning of the year will benefit from lower mortgage rates, saving them thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

When you have found the perfect house to move into, contact The Insurance Shop in White Bear Lake, Minnesota for all your homeowner’s insurance needs. We will work with you to ensure that you have the right amount of home insurance coverage to provide protection for your new home.

Overall Vehicle Sales Are Expected To Rise In The Coming Year

Colorful Cars Stock

Colorful Cars StockVehicle Sale Predictions

If you are looking to invest in a new car, there is no better time than now. Car and truck sales are expected to increase by almost 3 percent in 2015, bringing the estimated number of vehicles that will be sold to the highest level in more than 10 years.

An increase in the number of vehicles sold is a good sign for the economy. Experts agree that the increase in vehicle sales will be driven by very favorable economic circumstances, including improved job rates, a more confident consumer, and lower gas prices. In terms of economic growth and the revenue that is coming from utility, pickup, and luxury vehicle sales, the past year has been remarkable and 2015 is expected to be even better.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, or NADA, is predicting that sales of new cars will stay just a little under 17 million. The chief economist of NADA is warning that the forecast of new car sales hinges on the Federal Reserve deciding to keep the interest rates where they are, or at least in an affordable territory. Due to the improving economy, many people are expecting interest rates to rise. Even if the interest rates do increase, it is likely that it will be small, which will not make a large impact on the total number of vehicle sales.

Although the favorable economic situation may seem like all good news, it will also lead to increased prices of vehicles. Both new and used vehicles are expected to have a sticker price that is around 2 percent higher than last year.

Having the right auto insurance policy is the best way to ensure that you and your new car are protected from any peril. Contact the insurance professionals at The Insurance Shop in White Bear Lake, Minnesota for all of your auto insurance coverage needs.