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Protecting an Idle Business. 12 Tips for Managing a Business Shutdown

The continued spread of COVID-19 has forced communities, businesses and governments to adjust to an ever-changing reality. These are certainly unprecedented times. Business leaders have had to make some very difficult decisions; whether to stay open and how that would look or whether they should close.

If you have been forced to close your business, there are certain precautions that you should take to ensure the safety of your building.  We have put together these 12 tips to help you ensure that measures are in place should your business be forced to close and your property is vacant.

  1. Contact Your Insurance Broker: Should you be forced to close your building and are leaving your building vacant, it is important that you contact your insurance broker to let them know of the situation. They will work with you to look over your policy and ensure that any extra requirements are taken.
  2. Make sure that your employee contact information is up to date and that you have a plan to keep everyone updated regularly.
  3. Develop a communication plan to stay in touch with your customers and keep them informed.
  4. Contact all vendors and suppliers to ensure deliveries are halted or redirected. This would include mail, couriers, coffee and water suppliers, etc. Determine the frequency of cleaning that would be required as well and adjust that schedule.
  5. Ensure that all fire panels, sprinkler systems and alarms are operational. The risk of arson increases when buildings are vacant so ensure that all combustible materials are removed from the area around your building(s); at least 8 metres (26 feet) away from non-masonry and blank exterior walls of the building.
  6. Ensure that any stock or other valuables are locked up and stored securely. Remove all cash from the premises.
  7. Consider installing a security system if one is currently not installed. Security systems should be connected to a 24-hour central monitoring station to increase notification and police response times.
  8. Maintain electrical to your building if there are any appliances such as fridges, freezers, coolers, etc. that require uninterrupted power. If electrical is not required, switching the power off at the main breaker will help to prevent the possibility of an electrical short circuit causing a fire.
  9. To conserve energy, ensure that your building’s heating is set between 5 C and preferably at 15 C. In colder winter months, ensure that the temperature in vacant rooms doesn’t fall below 15 degrees as water pipes may freeze and burst, resulting in significant property damage. Rooms containing diesel engine drivers for fire pumps should be set at 21 C.
  10. Ensure that someone visits the property daily to perform visual inspections. When conducting inspections it is important to check every room to ensure that there are no water leaks or broken pipes. Keep a log noting date, time and capturing a signature from the individual conducting the inspection. If you have security patrols, increase the frequency of visits to the property.
  11. Empty all fridges and ensure there is nothing left at work stations that could spoil over time. Food and other garbage left around could attract rodents and other uninvited guests.

If you have questions about how to properly secure your building during a temporary shutdown or need advice on any other issue, please contact Munn Insurance toll free at 1-855-726-8627 today.

10 Working from Home Cyber Security Tips

One of the ways to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 is social distancing, which for many businesses means encouraging, or requiring, employees to work from home.  This can create cyber security problems for employers and employees and has the potential to increase the risks of a cyber-attack, as employees are not protected by the same security controls as their usual office environment.

When moving to a work from home set-up, it is important that you take the following steps to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack.

  1. Engage Your IT Department or get some technical support. The experts can help ensure that things are set up correctly. They will ensure that all devices being used for work are secured with up-to-date firewall, antivirus, anti-malware and data encryption software.  There may also be policies and procedures that you can out in place before employees access work data away from the office.
  2. Use a work-issued device when possible. Your organization will often have work-issued devices set up with additional security that will help keep your data safe. Using your personal computer to access work data increases the risk that your data can be stolen or compromised.
  3. Never Use Public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks pose significant security risks and should be avoided at all costs. Only connect to the Internet through a secure network. When connected to a public network, any information you share online or via a mobile app could be accessed by someone else.
  4. Always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic so that it is unreadable to anyone who intercepts it, adding an extra layer of security to your web use. Most organizations will provide a VPN to their employees to ensure secure, remote access for work use, and personal VPN accounts are available from various service providers.
  5. Ensure that Home Routers are Secured. Ensure that the password on home routers have been changed from the factory default and set encryption to WPA2.
  6. Use Strong Passwords. Compromised passwords are still one of the leading ways that cybercriminals gain access to sensitive user data. Passwords should be complex, changed frequently and should never be used for multiple accounts. Many people use the same or similar version of a password for everything, even between work and home. This means a single stolen password can be reused on multiple sites to unlock dozens of accounts for hackers. Remembering many secure and complex passwords  can be difficult. Password management software can help and will ensure you have strong, unique passwords for everything.
  7. Use Multi Factor Authentication. This should be enabled for all employees. Logging remotely without being prompted for the SMS/OTP code this should raise a red flag. Contact local IT ASAP.
  8. Encourage employees not to respond to requests for information from unknown sources. This is even more important if the request is for personally identifiable information or passwords. There are people out there who will try to con you into sharing confidential information by pretending to be someone you know or work with. Take extra care in identifying who you’re sharing information with – even if you think the request came from a trusted resource or organization.
  9. Train staff to be on the lookout for phishing. Educate staff on how to recognize a phishing attempt, such as emails that request private information, use a generic introduction rather than your name, have spelling errors or use a suspicious email domain.
  10. Only click on links, open attachments, and download software from trusted resources. There are people out there who will try to take advantage by masking malicious links as something informative. Once clicked, those links can be used to gain access to private information and/or freeze computers or networks. If you’re unsure of the source, don’t click.

If you have questions about working from home cyber security or need advice on any other issue, please contact Munn Insurance toll free at 1-855-726-8627 today.

Free Roadside Assistance for First Responders and Healthcare Heroes

First responders and healthcare workers who are courageously helping those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic can now receive free roadside assistance until further notice from one of our primary insurance markets, Aviva Canada!  And this is regardless of where you are insured or who you are insured with!

We are thrilled that Aviva is offering complimentary free roadside assistance to first responders and healthcare workers. You are, and continue to be, heroes.  You deserve this and more! Here is what you need to know:

Who is eligible?

Canadians working amid the current COVID-19 crisis in the following professions:

  • First Responders– those employed to carry out the duties of a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic by an emergency service
  • Healthcare Personnel – those actively working in a hospital or health care center in either a front line or support capacity (e.g. doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, respiratory therapists)

This service is offered to all individuals mentioned above, including those currently insured with other companies.

What services are available?

Within Canada, 24/7 emergency roadside services for the following:

  • Towing (to the nearest repair facility up to a maximum of 90 km)
  • Battery boost
  • Flat tire
  • Lock out
  • Fuel delivery
  • Winching

When can I access these services?

These services are available 24-7.  Mechanical breakdown or free roadside assistance services needed during trips made using personally owned or leased private passenger automobiles are eligible. Commercial vehicles/automobiles are not eligible.

How do you receive the service?

If you’re in need of free roadside assistance, please call 1-844-398-2001. When the free roadside assistance driver shows up, simply show your ID and you’ll soon be on your way. If you have questions about your insurance policy or relief measures, please call Munn Insurance at 1-855-726-8627. We are here to help.

For more information  visit https://www.aviva.ca/en/tools/roadside-assistance/

Note: these services are subject to change without notice.