Safe and Secure: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Safe and Secure: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Every day has always looked different, but now more than ever, our days are unpredictable. Whether you’ve gone from working in an office to working remotely or learning to teach your kids virtually at home, we are all making adjustments every day. While tackling these challenges, we need to be reminded of the importance of cybersecurity. Since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we urge you to take some time to determine how cyber safe you really are. 

With COVID-19, working, and learning remotely has become a norm for many people. We are conducting meetings and classes via video, using messaging applications for quick communication, and sharing even more confidential information virtually. While it’s great to have these tools at our fingertips, what are we sacrificing to use them? That question unpacks many more questions involving hacking, phishing, spam, illegitimacy, and more. We must protect our information at all costs, but if compromises do occur, Penny Insurance offers Cyber Liability Insurance. 

One of the biggest threats to cybersecurity is email phishing. People use email daily to communicate for work and personal life and we are seeing an increase in the number of phishing emails. There are a few ways to check emails and determine if they are legitimate. One way is to look for grammar mistakes. If the subject line or body of the email include grammar mistakes, this may be a quick way to rule out if the email is valid. Another way to check is if the email asks for personal information or has links to websites you are not familiar with. You should delete emails with these prompts right away. It’s easy for hackers to embed viruses and tracking bugs in links, so you should never click on an unknown link. 

Some other threats to your cybersecurity that you should be aware of, include video privacy, WiFi hacking, spam calls, and illegitimate job postings. Especially during these times, we are using video communication, working on our home’s WiFi, receiving many calls, and possibly looking for a job. It is important to read the privacy policies from these service providers before sharing confidential information while using them. Another privacy tip is to never share personal or financial information with anyone you are unsure of. Make sure you have proof that you are sharing with a confidential source and not a scam. 

Most scams are easy to overlook, so taking the time to double-check the information you are receiving is a simple way to avoid being a victim. In general, you should always be on the lookout for illegitimate information. Even if you take precautions, our technologically advanced world makes it easier than ever for your information to be compromised. Make sure you have our Cyber Liability Insurance, so in the event of a security breach, your information is safe. 

Sources:

https://www.amerisbank.com/Personal/Learn/Financial-Articles-Advice/Coronavirus-The-Latest-Cybersecurity-Threat

https://staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/about-the-month/

https://pennyinsuranceagency.com/blog/2019/10/10/national-cyber-security-awareness-month-stay-cyber-smart/

Labor Day: No Work, All Play

Labor Day: No Work, All Play

It’s already here, the last hoorah of Summer – Labor Day. You’ve worked hard to enjoy this long weekend and we want to make sure you don’t have anything to worry about. Whether you’re planning to take the boat out on the lake, grill in the backyard, or travel to a new location, there are always risks involved. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us, so knowing the risks and insurance options available is crucial. 

Boating 

Boats are a great way to get out on the water and enjoy the warm summer weather, however, we want you to know the risks involved before you take them. As with anything, there is a risk of personal injury. Boating personal injuries include but are not limited to, electric shock drowning and propeller accidents. Always check your surroundings for a source of electricity in the water. If you are unsure of the water’s conditions, you can get an electric current detector. Another risk is a collision with another boat or object. With our Motorcycle, ATV, RV, and Boat Insurance, you can worry less about what happens if these scenarios occur. 

Grilling 

Labor Day is notorious for grilling out in the backyard with family and friends. Even with grilling, there are risks you should be aware of. You should always make sure that children are kept away from the grill, to prevent any injuries. Also, reading the safety guidelines and rules for your grill is the best practice for keeping your grill functioning properly. Even with these precautions, unknown issues can arise. With a comprehensive liability policy, you can grill and relax without the burden of worrying about legal consequences if a mishap were to occur

Traveling 

Are you planning to go on a socially-distanced weekend getaway? If you are, you should think about the risks of leaving your house alone and traveling in a vehicle. To take the best precautions, ask a neighbor to watch your house or set up a home security system. Regarding your travels in a vehicle, you should always make sure you have your routine maintenance up to date. If you take these simple precautions, you can lower the risks of a weekend getaway. To take extra precautions, our Homeowners Insurance and our Personal Vehicle Insurance are the best options for you.

Whether it’s boating, grilling, traveling, or other Labor Day weekend activities, always know you’re covered with Penny Insurance’s liability options. We want you to have a fun and safe lifestyle, without the worries of liability hanging over your head.

Source:

http://www.bmbplawyers.com/how-to-avoid-a-premises-liability-lawsuit-this-labor-day.html

Common Summer Liabilities and How to Avoid Them

Common Summer Liabilities and How to Avoid Them

Accidents happen, especially when outdoor summer activities are involved. To be sure your
summer is filled with fun in the sun, be aware of these common liabilities and ways to avoid
them.

1. Swimming Pools
Sadly, each year, numerous accidents, injuries, and deaths occur in pools. When allowing your
children or neighborhood friends to use the pool, be sure to keep a close watch on them.
Drowning can occur silently and in a matter of seconds, if there is not keen adult supervision in
place. Diving into pools can cause serious head injuries, paralyzation, and even death. Limit
and advise adults and children alike on how to safely enter the pool to avoid injuries. In addition,
adhere to your state’s recommendations and requirements for safety signage around your pool.
Though it is unpleasant to think about, accidents do happen. In the event of an accident, the
right liability coverage can protect you and your family from liability issues. A comprehensive
umbrella policy might be right for you. If you would like to know more about your options, give us
a call at (828) 692-9171

2. Bikes, ATV’s, Golf Carts, Skateboards, Scooters, and More
Anything with wheels can be fun, but can also be dangerous. If your children and their friends
enjoy activities like biking, riding four-wheelers, using skateboards and more, be sure to train
them on proper ways to enjoy these things, emphasize the importance of helmets, and invest in
an umbrella policy for an extra layer of liability protection. Outdoor activities like riding around
are certainly fun, but things can go wrong in the blink of an eye. Be sure to enjoy summer fun,
safely, and with a peace of mind.

3. Bonfires and Grills
Some of the best memories are made around bonfires in the summertime or grilling out on the
porch with friends. If you’re planning on enjoying bonfires or grilling out this summer, be sure to
take all the necessary precautions to keep you, your family, your friends, and your home safe.
Bonfires can easily get out of control and ashes can fly far distances into the air, which can burn
people and items. In addition, grills are one of the top causes for house fires during the summer.
Check to make sure your grill is in good working condition, remember to properly clean your grill
to prevent fires, and check your propane tank for any leaks.

4. Home Invasion
Summertime is the one of the most popular times for vacations and therefore vacant homes,
and home invaders know this. If you’re planning to leave town, let a neighbor know. They can
help keep an eye on your home while you’re away and collect your mail. Also, consider
investing in an alarm system to deter invaders. Most modern alarm systems can alert you
directly on your smartphone in the event of an invasion. Finally, be sure you have a
comprehensive home insurance policy in the event of a home invasion or burglary.

At Penny Insurance Agency, we want our clients to have a peace of mind knowing they are
covered, so they can soak up the sun and enjoy life’s best moments.

Sources:
https://www.insuramatch.com/blog/5-common-summer-insurance-claims-and-how-avoid-them
https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_summer_fun.htm
https://www.sagaciousinsurance.com/blog/summer-liabilities

Action Steps for Property Damage in Winter

Action Steps for Property Damage in Winter

How to Prevent Property Damage in Winter and Action Steps to Take When It Occurs

Did you know that homeowner’s insurance claims related to wind or hail damage are the most common homeowner insurance claims? According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) “About one in 20 insured homes have a claim each year, about one in 50 insured homes have a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year, and homeowners’ claims related to wind or hail are the most frequent.”

Unfortunately, the statistics on the likelihood of property damage in the winter are not very promising. At Penny Insurance Agency, we want our clients to be as prepared and informed as possible. We’ve compiled some of the most common property damage incidents that occur in the winter with tips on how to prevent them and actions steps to take when property damage does occur.

1. Hail Damage

Many factors can play into the severity of roof damage during a hailstorm – wind speed, the size of the hailstones, the density of the hailstones, the quality of the roof materials, and natural barriers such as trees. If you want to set yourself up for success should this scenario occur, check your house for any damage immediately following a storm. Even seemingly insignificant damage can have a snowball effect and contribute to significant damage later down the road. If you’ve determined that there is damage that needs to be repaired, contact your insurance company and connect with an advocate who can you take you through the next steps in filing a claim and hiring a contractor to get the damage repaired.

2. Roof Damage from Tree Limbs or Snow

In addition to hail, tree limbs and snow are very prevalent causes of roof damage. Winter storms can wreak havoc on homes with intense wind blowing down limbs and snow weighing heavy on a roof. Snow can cause roofs to cave in, clog gutters and collapse decks. Tree limbs can cause power outages, cut through house siding and more. As with hail damage, the best way to position yourself for the best possible outcome is to keep a close eye on your property because small damages can intensify later on. If you see obvious damage to your property, don’t hesitate to document the damage with photos and mark it with chalk to make filing an insurance claim and the repairing the damage easier for everyone involved.

3. Frozen Pipes

Water damage from a frozen pipe that has burst can cause immense damage to a home. Busted pipes can ruin sewage systems, cause flooding, and more. To prevent pipes from freezing and bursting, ensure that your house temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit, know the location of your home’s main water shutoff switch in case you need to use it, and frequently allow your faucets to slowly drip to keep the water in the pipes flowing. If you suspect that your pipes have frozen, take immediate action to unthaw them before they burst. Call a plumber immediately if you need assistance unthawing your pipes. This preventative measure could save you money and hassle later on. If the worst-case scenario happens and the pipes do burst, immediately cut off the water supply and be proactive about drying any water damage. Contact your insurance provider right away to file a claim in order to ultimately repair your home.

From the day we were founded, Penny Insurance Agency has been building trust with clients and providing comprehensive homeowners insurance. If you would like more information about homeowner’s insurance, or if you are facing property damage to your home, give us a call. We’re here to help.

https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-homeowners-and-renters-insurance

https://nrc4help.com/roof-hail-damage/

https://www.insurance.com/home-and-renters-insurance/natural-disasters/winter-homeowners-insurance-claims.htm

https://www.iii.org/article/tips-surviving-severe-cold-weather

Why Equine Insurance is Critical During the Winter

Why Equine Insurance is Critical During the Winter

Call Your Vet, Not Your Bank: Why Equine Insurance is Critical During the Winter

At Penny Insurance Agency, we understand your passion for horses, and we understand the time and monetary investments you make each day for your passion. For this reason, we offer customizable equine insurance policies from an independent, local agency you can trust. Horse ownership is a huge responsibility, and we’re here to provide you with what you need to keep your horse happy and healthy.

Because horses are well… horses… equine insurance is critical for your peace of mind when unplanned incidents occur. Especially in the winter, horses are much more susceptible to injuries and illnesses, which can result in serious stress and serious damage to your bank account if you’re not protected. Since winter isn’t melting away anytime soon, we’ve compiled some common risks your horse is exposed to during these months and why equine insurance is critical now more than ever.

1. Sliding on Bad Conditions With ice, sleet, and snow on the radar this winter, your horse is especially exposed to slipping, tripping, spraining, fracturing, or breaking an ankle or leg. It is very easy for horses to lose their footing in bad conditions and become lame in the blink of an eye. Horses will naturally move around outside during the cold months to keep warm and regulate their body temperature, so unfortunately, this mishap isn’t uncommon. Not only this, but snow can get packed into your horses’ hooves and damage their tissue, causing a separate injury to tend to.

2. Stiff Joints and Muscles, Causing Injuries Despite many horse owner’s best efforts, a large majority of horses experience stiff joints and muscles during the colder months of the year, which leads to a higher risk of injuries. With limited hours of daylight and harsh conditions outdoors, horses are often not ridden as frequently and can start to lose muscle strength and flexibility. This can result in stiff muscles that are easy to strain and pull. In addition, many older horses even experience arthritis and joint pain due to limited mobility, which can lead to serious complications.

3. Dehydration and Sickness Horses are accustomed to eating fresh grass during the warmer seasons, which provides significant hydration for them, but it’s difficult to come by fresh grass during the winter. 1 It is extremely important for horses to stay hydrated in the winter, because dehydration can trigger colic, the leading cause of equine deaths each year. In fact, 10% of the United States horse population suffers from colic each year. 2 When winter strikes and your horse’s main diet is dry food like grain and hay, you may need to be even more proactive about keeping your horse hydrated and ensuring that they have clean, accessible water at a lukewarm temperature. Furthermore, horses can catch colds and coughs just like humans, and they are more susceptible to respiratory complications when cooped up in barns without proper ventilation. It may seem beneficial to close barn doors in harsh conditions, but this can actually cause more damage than good, limiting natural airflow.

Although it is unpleasant to think about, accidents happen, especially with horses in the winter. We’re here to ease your worries with equine insurance policies customized to your needs, so that when accidents do happen, you can just call your vet, not your bank.

If you would like more information about our equine insurance coverage solutions, please give us a call at 828-692-9171 (Hendersonville, NC) or 828-859-6700 (Tryon, NC). We’re here for you (and your horse.)

https://dressagetoday.com/horse-health-/debunking-winter-horse-care-myths
https://www.horseillustrated.com/horse-news-equine-colic-research/amp
https://broadstoneequine.com/blog/winter-safety
https://www.petplan.com.au/blog/horse/winter-health-problems-for-horses/

Cyber Monday: Best Practices for Safe Online Shopping

Cyber Monday: Best Practices for Safe Online Shopping

If you are like eight out of ten Americans 1 , then you know and participate in the convenience of online shopping. While online shopping is easy, budget-friendly, and a “shopping trip” can be accomplished from the comfort of your couch, it is important to be aware of the increased risks of online shopping, especially during the holiday season. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year in the United States 2 , consistently breaking records year after year, and hackers capitalize on this fact.

Did you know that last year there were 6,000 scams disguised as Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales? 3 In addition, in 2017, there was a 57.5% increase in attempted cyber-attacks on Cyber Monday 4 compared to other days of the year, and this statistic is only projected to grow.

During the time window from Black Friday until the end of the year, online shoppers will be
particularly exposed to phishing scams, unsecure malware, pop-ups and unsecure websites that
could result in serious, long-term implications. At Penny Insurance Agency, it is our
responsibility to ensure our clients are secure from cyber-attacks and equipped with the
knowledge of how to avoid them. With Cyber Monday quickly approaching, we’ve gathered
some helpful practices to stay safe and maintain your cyber hygiene to steer clear of hackers
this holiday season.

Change Bank Account Passwords After Online Shopping

We can’t emphasize this enough– change your passwords. If you plan to shop online during Cyber Monday, remember to change your online bank account passwords on Giving Tuesday. Hackers are working non-stop during this vulnerable time window to steal sensitive information, and one of the easiest ways to prevent being hacked is to simply change your passwords. That’s not all though… make sure to never re-use old passwords and that your passwords are different on each account and are difficult strength passwords. In case you were wondering, your name or birthday just won’t cut it.

Always Use Two-Factor Identification/Authentication

Two-factor Identification/authentication is an easy safety net you can utilize to protect your information. Setting up two-factor authentication doubles your protection and makes it twice as hard for hackers to steal your information. Be sure to activate two-factor authentication all on your accounts and devices before online shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Never Click on Pop-Up Links

The world of digital advertising is continuing to grow with digital ads becoming more interactive
and “following” consumers around with relevant products. While this is convenient and
trending, be wary of pop-up ads. Cyber attackers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated
in their tactics and can disguise themselves to appear safe and reputable. To prevent this, just
go directly to sites manually instead of clicking your way there through a pop-up.

Be Cautious of Free Wi-fi

One of the most common ways hackers inch their way into your devices to steal information is through Wi-Fi. Be very careful with where you connect to Wi-Fi, especially free Wi-Fi, and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity after connecting to a Wi-Fi source. If you’re able, use your own personal data on your mobile device instead of connecting to Wi-Fi as one way to prevent this type of phishing scam.

Always Check the Site Before Making Purchases

One of the simplest ways to prevent your credit card number from being stolen is to double- check your browser for the letters “https” before the website URL. Simply double-click on the URL tab at the top of your browser and check for “https” before submitting any purchases. Getting in the habit of verifying web browsers is an easy and simple practice for good cyber hygiene.

In light of Black Friday and Cyber Monday– the busiest online shopping day of the year– it is imperative to practice proper cyber hygiene habits to avoid common mistakes that can lead to serious damage to your private information. These tips do not just apply to individuals, though. Business owners need to be especially aware and proactive as well, because data breaches can cost them their reputation, legal fees, and more.

If you need assistance protecting your information or would like to learn more, contact us today by filling out our contact form or call us directly. We’re here to help.

1. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2016/12/19/online-shopping-and-e-commerce/
2. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181126005829/en/Adobe-Analytics-Data-Shows-Cyber-Monday-Broke
3. https://www.wired.com/story/black-friday-scams/
4. https://www.carbonblack.com/2018-holiday-threat-report/