Directors and officers liability insurance is becoming increasingly challenging to both purchase and maintain.

State of the Public D&O Market

Directors and officers liability insurance is becoming increasingly challenging to both purchase and maintain.

While SPAC’s, often referred to as a “blank check company,” have become very popular, the speed and intense pressure to have the SPAC go public in a short window of time presents risks.

SPAC Coverage Considerations

While SPACs, often referred to as a “blank check company,” have become very popular, the speed and intense pressure to have the SPAC go public in a short window of time presents risks.

Ransomware on the Rise

Spotlight on Ransomware

Spotlight on Ransomware

Ransomware has become increasingly sophisticated, specialized and often incredibly difficult to prevent. This form of cybercrime involves hackers breaking into computer networks and locking up digital information until the victim pays for its release. Larger companies have been the primary target assumably because they have deeper pockets, but cybercriminals are increasingly attacking smaller organizations because they typically have less security in place. While ransomware is on the rise, there are ways to dramatically reduce if not eliminate the threat.

Download this post as a U.S. Risk White Paper (PDF).

Ransomware Trends

  • Payments are soaring. The average ransomware payment nearly tripled last year as compared to two years prior.
  • Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee data recovery. One survey found ransom was paid in about one-third of cases. However, only a tiny percentage got all their data back, and nearly a third couldn’t recover more than half the encrypted data.
  • There is a rise in double extortion. This is when an attacker seizes data and demands payment. If payment isn’t made, the attackers will publish the data in an attempt to damage or embarrass the victim. In an increasing number of cases, it seems the demand for payment is really in return for not leaking stolen information online.
  • Cost of ransomware recovery has doubled, with the average total cost of recovery estimated to be ten times the average ransom payment.
  • Lawsuits being filed over small incidents are growing: more cases are seeking early settlements.

Proliferation of Ransomware

Experts predict there will be a ransomware attack every 11 seconds in 2021 and that the global cost associated with ransomware recovery will exceed $20 billion. By 2025, organizations will invest more than $1 trillion in their cybersecurity.

Ways to Reduce Your Risk

The most basic approach should include developing a companywide focus on security, an incident response plan and a separate backup system for data. In every ransomware event to date, it appears at least one (or more) of the following causes was to blame: no endpoint detection and response (EDR) strategy, ineffective backup solution/implementation, and open remote desktop protocol.

  • Implement Social Engineering/Phishing training to all employees, at least annually
  • Implement email filtering solutions
  • Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) in the following areas:
    • Privileged User Accounts
    • Remote Access to Computer Systems by Employees
    • Remote access to Computer Systems by Vendors and Independent Contractors
  • Implement Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)
  • Implement a Patch Management Program
  • Implement Daily Backups and Encrypt Backups
  • Implement Network Segmentation both physically and virtually
  • Disable all Remote Desktop Protocol ports (RDP) and Remote Desktop Gateways (RDG)
  • Implement Use of Net Generation Antivirus Software (NGAV)
  • Implement External Penetration Testing, at least annually

The Final Safety Net

While cyber insurance cannot act as a replacement for the security measures all companies should be implementing, it can help organizations with a financial safety net as well as proactive risk mitigation and management resources.

Top 10 Cyber Insurance Trends

  1. Cyber claims are growing in number and complexity
  2. External attacks are causing the most expensive losses, but internal accidents are occurring more frequently
  3. Business interruption is becoming the main cost driver behind claims
  4. Remote work and COVID-19 have heightened exposures
  5. Ransomware incidents are becoming more frequent and financially damaging
  6. Business compromise email attacks are surging
  7. Regulatory exposure is increasing around the globe
  8. Class action litigation is rising
  9. M&As are introducing cyber risk
  10. Nation state-sponsored attacks are increasing

Glossary of Terms

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
An electronic authentication method in which a device user is granted access to a website or application only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence (or factors) to an authentication mechanism. MFA protects the user from an unknown person trying to access their data such as personal ID details or financial assets.

Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)
Also known as endpoint threat detection and response (ETDR), EDR is a cyber technology that continually monitors and responds to mitigate cyber threats.

Patch Management Program
Patch management is the process of distributing and applying updates to software. These patches are often necessary to correct errors (“vulnerabilities” or “bugs”) in the software.

Network Segmentation (physical and virtual)
Network segmentation is an architectural approach that divides a network into multiple segments or subnets, each acting as its own small network.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Gateway (RDG)
A Windows server role that provides a secure encrypted connection to the server via RDP. It enhances control by removing all remote user access to the system and replaces it with a point-to-point remote desktop connection.

Next Generation Antivirus Software (NGAV)
Detects, responds to and prevents all kinds of cyberattack tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).

External Penetration Testing
External penetration testing is a security assessment of the perimeter systems. External penetration testing usually tests from the perspective of an attacker with no prior access to your systems or networks.

The Bottom Line

Preparation is key when it comes to cybercrime prevention and loss controls. A trusted insurance expert highly experienced in all the various forms of cybercrime and how to insure them needs to be brought into the process as early as possible to ensure coverage for critical risks, future potential claims management, and the latest developments in terms and conditions.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Transportation

Transportation Industry Increases Diligence and Efficiency to Maintain Viability Amid Pandemic

The idea of driving a truck may bring to mind images of the open road and freedom. However, in the wake of COVID-19, the entire transportation sector has been forced to change in order to survive.

Managing cash flow, running efficiently, and reducing expenses all require creativity on this pandemic-stricken planet. Investing in transportation sector insurance helps your haulage-focused clients protect themselves in this strange, new world. The pandemic has ushered in the need for multiple changes in this sector. Here are five examples of how the transportation industry has tightened up in a fight to survive in the face of COVID-19.

Postponed Expenditures

Several trucking companies have delayed making large purchases, such as new trucks for the fleet. Businesses have done so to preserve cash flow and avoid spending too much in these uncertain times. Another type of safety net the transportation sector relies on is commercial transportation insurance. Primary liability and physical damage coverage help fleet owners, managers, and drivers breathe easier.

En-Route Relays

Another way trucking companies have tightened up is by adopting relay schedules for haulage jobs. Drivers take cargo to pre-determined destinations where other drivers pick it up to take it to the next location. Each driver returns home after his or her route is finished, thus saving companies money by eliminating costs for hotels and incidentals. Commercial transportation insurance companies also help protect companies in the transportation sector with specialized cargo and vehicle coverage during the extended periods of time spent on the road.

Efficient Repairs

Trucking companies seek to complete repairs faster and leaner to reduce costs.

  • Renegotiating supplier costs
  • Performing more repairs internally
  • Capping labor hours

The idea is to maintain the fleets in the most efficient way possible without sacrificing safety. Transportation sector insurance gives fleet managers and owners the assurance of financial safety with comprehensive packages covering trailers and cabs. Your clients will benefit from the coverage provided by experienced commercial transportation insurance.

New Processes

Daily operations in many transportation companies are shifting as the need for social distancing is changing the way people work. Some jobs were lost while others shifted duties and began working remotely. This change helps segue to adopting new technologies for some aspects of business, including electronic bills of lading, toll management, and arranging bypasses for weighing stations. Commercial transportation insurance helps companies prioritize upgrading operational processes without fear of sudden financial ruin.

Transportation Sector Insurance

Companies specializing in commercial transportation insurance are the best choices for your clients because they are familiar with the various types of available coverage, and they know the unique needs of this industry. These days, peace of mind is a valuable commodity the transportation sector needs.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at 800-232-5830.

delta variant

The Future of American Offices After COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has dramatically altered our perceptions of the world around us. Self-quarantine and stay-at-home orders impacted business environments, forcing many to adapt rapidly to meet public health guidelines. The economic hardships brought on by COVID-19, and the fundamental changes in the way companies do business, will resonate for years to come. Rather than a “return to normal”, many companies are rethinking office spaces in an effort to protect employees and to ensure smooth operations. American offices are sure to be transformed in both novel and familiar ways in the coming years, with the modern workplace offering a bit of new and old.

Before the Pandemic: Office Work Environments


Beginning around the time of the “dot com” era, or around the mid-1990s, office-oriented businesses began to explore new ways of arranging office work spaces. The goal was to get more employees into smaller spaces while fostering a collaborative environment. The cubicles so ubiquitous of offices around the country were discarded in favor of open-concept work areas. Modern workplaces were open and inviting, with few physical barriers between workstations. This open atmosphere allowed easy collaboration between office workers and subconsciously reinforced team-building efforts on the part of office managers and staff.

Frequent in-person meetings were another hallmark of the “new” office environment. Most offices had dedicated conference rooms for small gatherings and for full team collaborations. In the wake of COVID-19’s effects on offices, open plans and in-person conferences have come under scrutiny for their potential in increasing infection risks among office workers.

A Path Forward: Adopting New and Time-Honored Solutions in the Office Environment

Cubicles, or workstation systems that function like them, may be making a comeback in American offices. Post-pandemic, modern workplaces may feature transparent dividers, helping to reinforce the social distancing guidelines published by public health agencies. Although the dividers will keep office workers separate from each other, the overall look and office atmosphere will remain open, unlike the cubicles of old. Dividers may appear in common areas as well, including bench workstations, restroom sink counters, and eating areas in break rooms.

New – or reimagined – office tech is transforming the modern workplace as well. Companies are leveraging remote access technologies to reduce the number of workers in an office at any one time. By splitting offices into shifts, some workers can telecommute while others report to the office. The shift teams then switch work locations according to a rotating schedule. Video conferencing platforms are also taking the place of in-person conferences, even within the office itself. Participants can remain at their own socially-distanced workstations instead of reporting to a closed-off conference room, reducing direct contact between groups of people.

Finally, many companies are taking steps to enhance office cleaning, with advanced disinfectants to wipe down common areas, high-touch equipment, and fixtures, UV light systems, and antibacterial coatings on equipment items that are handled frequently. HEPA air filtrations systems, already popular in many office environments, will see further adoption. Surfaces that are difficult to keep clean or to sanitize, such as carpeting and fabric upholstery, will be discarded in favor of solid surfaces, including tile, woods, and plastics. These surfaces are more easily wiped down with disinfectant products as needed.

By blending traditional office layouts with new technologies and strategies for improving office safety, American offices are witnessing a transformation. The post-pandemic office will be designed and maintained to help workers avoid the spread of infection, allowing them to keep operations running with a minimum of workplace-related illness claims. Ultimately, these new office environments will promote productivity while managing insurance costs – and workers benefit from improved safety in their modern workplaces.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Trucking and Fleet Risk Management Strategies

Trucking and Fleet Risk Management Strategies

Among business operations, trucking companies and fleet management firms face some of the most diverse and dynamic risks. Transportation is inherently risky, with many moving parts coming together to transfer cargo and personnel across the country. Unfavorable road conditions, vehicle breakdowns, logistical concerns, weather, regulatory compliance – each of these represents a significant challenge for transportation-oriented businesses. U.S. Risk Underwriters, a leading provider of specialty insurance solutions for the transportation industry, knows that fleets must adopt risk management strategies not only to protect cargo and employees but to minimize the liabilities that can negatively impact future business. 

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Distracted Driving A Rising Issue in Transportation

Distracted Driving: A Rising Issue in Transportation

The rise of technologies like mobile computing, onboard navigation, and infotainment systems have given rise to new risks on America’s roadways. Distracted driving is a growing issue across transportation sectors, resulting in billions of dollars in injuries, property damage, and lost revenue each year. Transportation insurance brokers like U.S. Risk Underwriters know that fleet managers must understand this emerging risk as a means of combating the expenses and liabilities associated with distracted driving. By gaining an understanding of distracted driving’s impact, transportation-oriented businesses can better protect drivers, vehicles, and cargo from loss.

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Winter Safety Hazards in the Transportation Industry

Winter Safety Hazards in the Transportation Industry

Winter weather creates unique challenges for the transportation industry. Poor driving conditions, freezing temperatures, and an increased risk of injury are all associated with winter storm activity. The transportation sector already faces numerous risks in its daily operations, and these risks are only compounded in the winter months. U.S. Risk Underwriters, a leading provider of specialty insurance solutions for the transportation industry, knows that fleet owners and operators should be aware of winter-related risks. With this knowledge, drivers and related personnel can be better protected no matter what winter brings. 

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Challenges in Implementing Risk Management Measures

Challenges in Implementing Risk Management Measures

Risk management is a fundamental component of every business or organization. Identifying risk exposures, then creating solutions to help mitigate or reduce those exposures, is an important tactic designed to keep overhead costs in check. U.S. Risk Underwriters, a leading provider of specialty insurance programs for commercial operations, understands that while risk management strategies are critical, implementing these measures can pose significant challenges. In this guide, we will explore some of the challenges business owners face as they create workable risk management plans to protect business assets and employees.

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Winter Forecast Workers’ Compensation Claims Likely to Rise

Winter Forecast: Workers’ Compensation Claims Likely to Rise

The winter months are notorious for presenting extra challenges to business owners. Cold weather brings seasonal risks to employees of any organization, and occupational insurance claims typically rise as a result. While workplace injuries can occur at any time of the year, winter’s unique risks require employers to take additional measures to keep employees safe. With winter-oriented safety strategies, employers can better manage workers’ compensation and occupational insurance costs. 

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