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Coronavirus Preparedness  

As the coronavirus situation continues to develop and dominate world headlines, these resources and tips from Philadelphia Insurance Companies outline steps that individuals and organizations can take to protect themselves. It’s worth the read.

Coronavirus Resources and Tips for Individuals and Organizations

Protecting Workers from Coronavirus  

Protecting Workers From Coronavirus

As concerns about the COVID-19 continue to rise, many employers are left to wondering what they can do to protect their workforce. This Risk Insights will examine what coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what employers can do to protect their workforce.

What Is Coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Common signs of infection include headache, fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Individuals who are elderly or pregnant, and anyone with preexisting medical conditions are at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill from coronaviruses.

How Does Coronavirus Spread?

Although the ongoing outbreak likely resulted from people who were exposed to infected animals, COVID-19 can spread between people through their respiratory secretions, especially when they cough or sneeze.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the spread of COVID-19 from person-to-person most likely occurs among close contacts who are within about 6 feet of each other. It’s unclear at this time if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

CDC Interim Guidance

In order to help employers plan and respond to COVID-19, the CDC has issued interim guidance. The CDC recommendations include:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of signs of a fever and any other symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines. What’s more, employees should be instructed to notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Separate sick employees. Employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Emphasize hand hygiene. Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning. Employers should routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs.

Additional Best Practices

In addition to following the CDC’s interim guidance, employers should consider the following best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Educate employees on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and the precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting the virus, without causing panic.
  • Appoint a single individual or department as the point of contact within your organization for employee questions about COVID-19.
  • Review safety programs and emergency action plans to ensure that they include infectious-disease protocols.
  • Implement travel guidelines and procedures for approving travel to and from China.

Stay Informed

Despite the current low level of risk for the average American employee, it is important to understand that the COVID-19 situation evolves and changes every day. Employers should closely monitor the CDC and WHO websites for the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19.

Cyber Security Planning Simplified*  

Privacy and data breaches, security compromised, millions of dollars lost, businesses closed; you have heard the horror stories of why you need to be concerned. Most solutions can leave small business owners overwhelmed, however there are practical ideas within reach for any organization.

Here are a few steps to get you started:

  • Provide online cyber awareness training to your employees. Your greatest vulnerability is your people, not your equipment or software. There are several inexpensive or free resources available.
  • Document the steps you are taking to protect your sensitive data. Cyber laws and regulations use very general terms. You need to show you have made a reasonable effort to protect the data in your possession.
  • Inventory your equipment. Know which equipment holds or transmits sensitive data, and then categorize each piece as low, moderate or high sensitivity.
  • Inventory who has access to sensitive data, and categorize this group too. This includes staff, management team, vendors, and software suppliers. Putting something in the “cloud” does not change your obligation. If you collected the data, the affected person and regulators are still going to look to you to be accountable if there is a breach.
  • Change permissions so users have the lowest security level needed to perform their job, and then increase permissions as necessary.
  • Assign a point person to represent the company in the event of a cyber incident, and to monitor compliance with the cyber plan throughout the year.
  • Implement a written cyber plan sooner rather than later, even though you may not be able to say you are fully compliant. Adopt the plan now, and work to become compliant with all the elements.

To help fund, organize, and implement a cyber program consider a cyber liability policy from a company that offers many of these tools at a discount or at no cost. These would include items such as a pre-loss hotline to ask questions, risk management tools, checklists and sample plan documents, a cyber breach coach in the event of a cyber event, password management software, and access to cyber awareness training for your staff.

Mark D. Sammarone, CIC, CISR

About the author – Mark D. Sammarone, CIC, CISR is Executive Vice President/Agency Principal at Arthur Hall Insurance and the Chief Information Security Officer for the agency. Request a free Cyber Response Planning Tool Kit, at cyber@arthurhall.com.

*This article appeared in the Nov/Dec 2019 edition of The Chamber Chatter, a Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce news and information resource.

Insuring Your College Student  

Sending a child off to college is a significant milestone. As you prepare for the start of the semester, you should consider how your insurance needs may change with your son or daughter away at school. Coverage for your student’s personal property changes, and can depend on where they live while they are away at school.

Protecting Your Student’s Belongings

Many homeowners policies consider a dorm room as an extension of your home, so items your student keeps there may be covered to some extent. However, if your student has expensive electronic equipment or furniture, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage.

If your student lives off campus, his or her possessions may not be covered by your homeowners policy. In that case, you may want to consider renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance will cover possessions in your student’s off-campus apartment or house as well as provide liability coverage if someone is injured in the residence.

Changing Auto Coverage

If your student moves more than 100 miles away from your home to attend school and doesn’t keep a vehicle there, your auto insurance premiums could decrease.  However, if your student does take their car to campus your auto coverage could change. Good Student rates and discounts still apply if your child has a 3.0 GPA. Documentation may need to be submitted in order to obtain discounts on your insurance program.

As you prepare to send your son or daughter to school this fall, remember to ask your Arthur Hall Insurance advisor to review your policy so that you and your student can make the transition to college as stress-free as possible. Call us today at 610-696-2394 to learn more about your best coverage options and how they can help to protect you.

Keeping Your Child Healthy While on Campus

In addition, you may want to reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss any considerations or restrictions. Many students can stay on their parents’ health plans if they are full-time students. However, restrictions vary greatly by state, and coverage could be even more complicated if your student is attending an out-of-state school or is a member of an intercollegiate sports team.

If you find your student doesn’t have coverage under your plan, you have a few options. Most colleges have their own health plans, but some policies have high deductibles and low coverage maximums. A few don’t offer any coverage for conditions present before entering the school, so be sure to examine plans carefully. Otherwise, you may want to consider an individual policy for your student.

Vacation Tips to Keep Your Home Safe  

Ten Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

When preparing for vacation, it’s easy to overlook some basic home safety precautions. Keep these tips in mind to protect your home while you’re away.

  1. Unplug small appliances and electronic devices.
  2. Stop the newspaper and mail. Visit the U.S. Postal Service’s website to stop mail service online.
  3. Lock all windows and doors.
  4. Arrange to have your lawn mowed.
  5. Remove any house keys you keep outside our home, even if you think they are in a safe place.
  6. Set timers on inside lights. Install motion-activated sensor on outdoor floodlights.
  7. Consider turning off your home’s water.
  8. Have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home throughout your trip.
  9. Raise the temperature on your thermostat.
  10. Avoid posting photos of your trip on social media until after you return home.

Taking proper precautions before you go on vacation can make all the difference when it comes to preventing damage to your home. Accidents can still occur, and it’s important to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. Contact your Arthur Hall Insurance Advisor to learn more.