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Debunking Home Insurance Myths

The world of insurance is complex and often difficult to understand. Rules and laws change frequently, so what was accurate, say 10-15 years ago, may not be correct now. As your broker, it is our job to help you navigate the world of insurance. This is why we have compiled a list of 6 common home insurance myths.

  1. My home’s insurable value is based on its market value.

False. Your home’s insurable value is not the same as its market value. Unlike the market value, insurable value does not include the cost of acquiring land and is generally based on the amount required for purchasing building materials and hiring contractors to build a replacement.     

  2. Your home insurance policy always covers flood damage.

False. Most standard home insurance policies cover water damage caused by things inside your home (like a burst pipe or a leak in the hot water boiler). But, damage caused by water that enters your home from external sources (during heavy rainfall, a sewer backup, or a sump pump failure, for example) is generally not covered on standard packages but can be purchased additionally.

 3. All my valuables and possessions are covered in my home owner’s policy.

False. When you purchase a home insurance policy, you receive some content coverage. However, this content coverage might not be enough to cover very expensive or valuable possessions such as artwork. Don’t assume that you have insurance on all your possessions. When in doubt, please ask one of our insurance specialists.

 4. My home business is covered under my home insurance policy.

False. Your home insurance policy will not cover claims associated with a home-based business unless you advised your insurance company and they have approved the business use on the premises.

 5. Home insurance is required by law.

True, Short of. The government does not require home insurance. However, most lenders and banks require home insurance as a condition on the mortgage. Regardless if it is required or not, we strongly recommend all homeowners purchase insurance.

 6. My property insurance covers my tenants.

False. While your property insurance policy will cover the apartment’s structure, it will likely not cover their possessions.

If you have any questions or would like to know if your “myth” is accurate, please reach out to one of our friendly staff members today at 1.855.726.8627.

Builders Risk Insurance

There are many unique risks to building or renovating a property, such as property damage, theft, or vandalism, and you need to be prepared.

Builder’s Risk coverage, sometimes referred to as course of construction insurance, is a type of property insurance specifically designed to cover property during construction, including renovation and repair. The builder or general contractor often purchases this insurance coverage; however, it can also be purchased by the property owner. If this policy is not included in the contract with the contractor, we strongly recommend purchasing it independently.

Regardless of who purchases the coverage, any person or company with a financial interest in the construction project needs builder’s risk insurance. Typically, the people named on the policy will include:
• Property owner
• General contractor
• Subcontractors
• Lender
• Architects

If you do not have builder’s risk insurance and something happens during the building or renovation process, you will be fully liable for the replacement cost. A basic builder’s risk insurance policy helps cover buildings and structures under construction. It also helps protect:
• Materials
• Supplies
• Equipment on-site, in transit or at other locations
• Lost sales
• Rental income
• Additional interest on loans
• Real estate taxes
However, you need to be aware that builder’s risk insurance may have coverage exclusions. So, make sure you talk to your broker about the exact coverage you have and don’t have.

For example, suppose you are building a home with a general contractor. During construction, a storm comes and causes significant damage to the structure; your builder’s risk insurance will cover the cost of the repairs.

When considering builder’s risk insurance, the most important thing to remember is you need to purchase it before construction starts. If you wait until after the construction begins, you will likely be denied coverage.

The cost of builder’s risk is relatively inexpensive; they typically range from 1-4 percent of the total construction costs. Call Mike today at 709-726-4498 for more information or to get a quote today.

Cyber-Attacks: How You Can Avoid Being a Digital Target

Cyber-Attack Protection

The incorporation and reliance of computers to assist us in the daily management of business operations helps make businesses more efficient and effective.  The use of these computers and technology also creates a vulnerability to cyber warfare.  This is true whether you store data, copywrite or licence software, maintain customer information, manage employee records, or accept credit/interact.  In any of these situations, your business is at risk to a cyber attack.

A cyber attack is a digital attack launched by cybercriminals on a single computer or multiple networks.

You may think that operating a company in Atlantic Canada would mean that your company is too small or not top of mind to be targeted for a cyber-attack. Unfortunately that’s not true.  Any business of any size can be targeted by cyber criminals.  In Canada last year, there were over 80,000 cyber-attacks each day and 30 million every year.

We want to help you minimize the chance that a cyber attack occurs and protect you if one does. The best way to reduce the likelihood of a cyber attack is to be aware of the risks your company faces. After all, you can not be prepared for something that you can’t anticipate.

According to the government of Canada, “There are various ways to gain access to information in cyberspace. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in software and hardware. They can exploit security vulnerabilities by tricking people into opening infected emails or visiting corrupted websites that infect their computers with malicious software. They can take advantage of people who fail to follow basic cybersecurity practices, such as changing their passwords frequently, updating their antivirus protection regularly, and using only protected wireless networks.”

The top 9 types of cyberattacks include:

1. Phishing –  A fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords, credit card details or other sensitive details, impersonates oneself as a trustworthy organization/person in digital communication.
2. Baiting –  Involves fraudulently offering something enticing to a person in exchange for private or secure data.
3. Spam –  Unsolicited and” junk” messages being sent through email, instant messaging or other digital communication tools.
4. Malware (malicious software) –  A blanket term for viruses, worms, trojans and other harmful computer programs hackers use to wreak destruction and access sensitive information. Malware is often downloaded unknowingly by the target.
5. Man-in-the-middle –  An attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two parties who believe that they are directly communicating with each other.
6. Denial of service attack –  An attacker seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting a host’s services connected to the Internet.
7. SQL injection –  This is a code injection technique used to attack data-driven applications. Malicious SQL statements are inserted into the HTML code to steal or invade your database.
8. Zero-day exploits –  When an attacker exploits a potentially serious software security weakness that the vendor or developer may be unaware of.
9. DNS tunnelling –  An attacker that encodes the data of other programs or protocols in DNS queries and responses. The attacker uses this to control a remote server or application.

In this day and age, businesses need to carry cyber insurance. While it is vital to try and reduce the risk of a cyber-attack, you need to protect your business if you fall victim to an attack. Cyber attacks can result in devastating losses such as business disruption, loss of revenue, legal fees, lawsuits and reputational damage.

Cyber Insurance is an umbrella term that covers:

    • First-party insurance
    • Third-party insurance
    • Breach assessment and repair
    • Reputation management (PR services/ crisis management)
    • Regulatory fines

Cyber Insurance can be complicated and difficult to understand. At MUNN Insurance, we know Cyber Insurance and we are experts in these types of policies and coverage. To make sure you have the best coverage at the best rate, we will search various insurance companies to find you the most comprehensive Cyber Insurance coverage at the most competitive premium.If you have any questions about what cyber coverage you need or how to reduce your risk of a cyberattack, please contact Mike, our business insurance expert, at 709-726-4498.

Sources

https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/archive-cbr-scrt-strtgy/archive-cbr-scrt-strtgy-eng.pdf.

How to Enjoy a Snow Day

A girl looking out the window at snow.

During winters in Atlantic Canada, it doesn’t take long to realize that cabin fever is a very real thing. Being cooped up with energetic little ones can be fun if you try some new things (coffee and patience don’t hurt either).  Here are a few tips to survive a snow day with the family.

Get outside (if it’s not too miserable!) Don’t be afraid to bundle up your bundle of joy and enjoy a winter’s day. Load up on snow gear and find a great toddler sled with a rope pull and seat belt strap. Make snow angels, throw some snow around, or make your own Frosty the Snowman.

Change the scenery. Find new areas to play throughout the house. Some families have a play area in with an art table, tent, play kitchen, and a gaggle of toys. Head to the living room.  Get a basket of toys and books in the main living room and stash a few favorites in a bedroom as well. If you don’t have a basement, set up a play area in the kitchen (somehow Tupperware can entertain a toddler for a long time) or build a reading fort in a spare bedroom. Just keep the kiddos moving throughout the day.

Make something! It can be anything: cookies, crayon art or a construction paper collage. The key is to get excited and do it together. Even the youngest toddlers can help you roll out cookie dough or sprinkle in chocolate chips. New experiences are fun and refreshing for parents and children alike.

Try painting. Set up with a sturdy table cloth and don’t be afraid to make a little mess. Get some brushes and get creative.  Finger painting is also so much fun!  A little messier but a crowd favorite for sure.  Just let lose that inner Picasso!

Break out a jigsaw puzzle or board game. Whether you’re rocking the snow day solo or with the whole family, you can have a lot of old-fashioned fun by dusting off a puzzle or board game.

Or try some baking.  Nothing is homier than the smell of fresh-baked cookies. Even if you have never made anything more complex than slice-and-bake cookies, following the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips or oatmeal canister is an easy way to get started as a from-scratch baker. This does not have to be Cake Boss worthy.  Most people will be able to find the ingredients in their kitchen for a simply chocolate chip cookie or you can get a cheater pack from the grocery store and just lay the premade cookies on a baking sheet.  Presto.  Baking made easy!

Try to find something “new.”  A new toy or book that is stashed away for the next snow day can be a huge hit and a nice surprise and can help keep those little minds and hands interested.

When all else fails: Cinderella, Captain Jack or C3PO to the rescue.  A snow day is an excellent excuse to cozy up and watch a movie together.  Proclaim it as pajama day, complete with warm drinks and tasty snacks. Just get comfortable.  A movie Marathon might be just what everyone needs – everything in a franchise, everything staring your favorite actor, or select films from a best-of-list.

Enjoy your snow day.

6 Tips To Maintain Your Home During The Winter Season

Tips to maintain your home during winter

Winter is here, and the probability of having a claim on your home insurance rises significantly. Damages caused by external weather events (wind, hail, water) are the number one cause for home insurance claims.

Here are some tips to keep your home protected this winter

  1. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You are more likely to have a house fire during the winter months as you use your heating sources (electric heat, wood stoves, and propane fireplaces) more often. Make sure to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors semi-annually to ensure they are working correctly.
  2. Inspect all windows, doors, and attics for leaks. You should examine your windows, doors, and attics for leaks during and after a weather event.
  3. Regularly Inspect the exterior of your home. Check for falling trees, bushes, or any objects that could cases damages to your property.
  4. Continuously inspect your chimney. If you identify any problems, stop using and contact a professional immediately.
  5. Make sure walkways and driveways are free of snow and ice. Ensure all entrances and exits to your home are clear; This will protect you and anyone entering your property ( delivery services, service professionals, etc.)
  6. Make sure your dryer vent is clear from snow. If the external vent is blocked, it will stop the required airflow that will increase your risk of fire. This is especially important if you have a gas dryer as this can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide in your home.

For more information on your home insurance, please contact our friendly service representatives at 1.855.726.8627

Our Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drinks That You Could Make This Holiday Season!

Our favourite non-alcoholic drinks!

A lot of things have changed this year, but one thing that has remained the same is the law against driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Stats Canada reported that 2019 saw the largest increase in the rate of reported impaired driving in over three decades, a total of 85,673. Eighty-five percent of all impaired driving incidents involved alcohol. This season, we need to do better.

If you are hosting a small Covid-19 friendly gathering for the people in your designated bubble, we strongly recommend that you provide some non-alcoholic beverages for those who are the designated driver, under the legal drinking age, pregnant, or who are living a sober lifestyle.

We have compiled a few of our favourite non-alcoholic drinks that you could make this holiday season!

Hosting a party comes with responsibility, so please ensure none of your guests drive impaired. Have a happy and safe holiday season.

Tips to Keep Retail Shoppers Safe This Holiday Season

A girl holding tree bulbs in the Holiday aisle of a store

Have a holly, jolly Christmas
It’s the best time of the year.

 

There is nothing like the holiday season in a retail store. Holiday music is playing, decorations are hung, and customers are searching for the perfect gift; all wearing masks and staying six feet apart!

As business owners, the holiday shopping season is a critical time of the year, and for most stores, Christmas is one of the busiest seasons. So, we want to make sure your business is taking the necessary measures to reduce the risk of accidents, and potential liability for your business.

If an accident, say a trip and fall, does occur in your store, your commercial general liability insurance should protect you in responding to a claim made by an injured customer. General Liability Insurance, also known as Commercial General Liability (CGL), is designed to protect you and your business from any matter or incident to which you may be deemed liable. This type of policy provides coverage to a business for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage caused by the business’s operations, products, or injuries that occur on the business’s premises.

For example, you own a clothing retail shop, your insurance policy should protect you if a customer was to injure themselves by tripping over a step in your shop. Should you, the store owner, be proven liable for the customer’s injuries, the CGL portion of your policy should respond to cover lawsuits/damages, etc.

As an insurance broker, we work with our customers to make sure they minimize their risk through loss mitigation steps so that this season is kept merry and bright for all. Here are eight tips to help keep your customers safe while shopping in your store.

  1. Ensure all holiday décor is secured to reduce the risk of trips or falls.
  2. Keep all plugs and cords safely out of traffic areas or properly secure them to the floor.
  3. Ensure all large decorations, such as trees, are secured so they do not fall.
  4. Keep all boxes and merchandise organized. A cluttered store is a trip and fall hazard.
  5. Have items in reach and easily accessible to customers; when this is impossible, assign a staff member to assist.
  6. Ensure you have proper signage to identify any potential hazards, such as uneven flooring, low lighting, or small steps.
  7. If you plan to use a third-party snow clearer, make sure they provide proof of insurance before offering them the job.
  8. If you plan to clear off your own property, steps, storefront, etc., please keep a logbook on dates and times of when this work was performed. If you are given notice of an injury, this will be very helpful in settling any claim.

 

One thing is for sure; this holiday season is going to look a little different. Please review the following COVID-19 specific tips:

  1. Please remind both staff and customers to wear a mask.
  2. Stay 6 feet apart from people who are not in your “bubble”.
  3. Encourage regular hand washing.
  4. Have directional signage, limit the number of customers allowed in your store, and enforce social distancing.
  5. Remind all staff members to stay at home if sick. Having a staff member or two “on-call” is an excellent way to ensure you have the right number of healthy workers this season.
  6. Offer free contactless pick up for customers that may not feel safe entering the mall/store.
  7. Have all COVID-19 regulations and protocols clearly posted for everyone to see.

 

A man and a woman looking at a window display while holding presents

Following these tips will help everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday this year.

If you would like more information on keeping your business safe, or if you have any questions on your insurance, please call Mike, our friendly business insurance specialist at 709.726.4498.