Technology to help Hurricane Harvey Victims

How technology is helping flood victims recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey has dumped the most water on Texas of any Hurricane in modern US History. According to Matthew Cappuci, a current student at both Harvard and MIT, ‘If you took the Empire State Building, more than a hundred stories tall, you could fill that entire volume 33,000 times with the water that fell on Houston and the surrounding areas’.  This massive amount of water has and will take an enormous effort to recover from. Technology will play a tremendous role in the rebuilding efforts. Here are four ways technology is helping Hurricane Harvey Victims.

Communication Challenges for First-Responders.Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

During the first few days of relief efforts, in response to the Hurricane, First Responders were having to get creative in order to communicate with each other and victims needing help.  In the hours and days after the hurricane, many 911 call centers and radio centers were out of commission. The disrupted networks also left more than 250,000 people without phone, TV or internet access.  As a result of this disruption in telecommunications, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) set up more than two dozen mobile communication office vehicles throughout the damaged areas. These areas had satellite-connected trucks helping FEMA employees and first responders with voice, video and data networks.

Social media as a way for Hurricane Victims to communicate with police and first responders.

In the early stages of the relief efforts, many victims were finding it difficult to get through to 911.  Dajauh Zhane Henix was separated from her daughter during rescue efforts and posted a message to Facebook that was shared more than 32,000 times. With the help of search and rescue and the power of social media, Mrs. Henix was reunited with her daughter. This is just one of many examples of the power of social media to reach many people quickly in a moment of need. Unfortunately, this power can be used in negative ways when videos or pictures go viral with inaccurate information.

Facebook is even matching up to $1 Million in donations made through the site.

Text to Donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.First Responder coming to the rescue after Hurricane Harvey.

This is not such a new technology, but mobile devices now make it easier than ever to donate to relief efforts.

The Red Cross has usedtext messages asa way to donate inmany disaster relief efforts.  For Hurricane Harvey they are asking people to Text: “HARVEY” to “90999” to automatically donate $10.

If you would rather donate to a local charity, you can Text: HARVEY2017 to 91999 to support the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Drones are helping the insurance industry process claims.

Hurricane Harvey Weather MapWhen disaster strikes, the speed at which insurance companies process claims can be slowed dramatically. This process is important because the more quickly this process gets done, the more quickly the victims can get back to everyday life. Drones are helping insurance carriers process claims at a much faster rate than in the past. This is because an insurance carrier can now use a drone to view the damage of an area several times as big as in the past in a matter of hours. In the past the carrier would have had to have someone physically inspect the property.  They may have had to wait several days if not weeks for flood waters to recede enough to get in to the impacted areas. Now this can be done with a drone over an area inspecting ten or more covered properties at one time.  This can all be done either from a remote location or even at a location near the disaster area. Drones can allow the carrier to have a visual representation of the impacted area in a matter of a few hours instead of it taking days if not weeks only five or ten years ago.

3 TYPES OF CYBER INSURANCE EVERY BUSINESS SHOULD HAVE.

What if my business does not deal with computers.  Does that mean I really don’t need Cyber Liability Insurance?  What if I am the only person in my business who uses a computer.  Doesn’t that mean I don’t face all that much risk?  Let’s say I might need Cyber Insurance, but what kind and how much?

Do any of these statements sound familiar? If so, you definitely need Cyber Liability Insurance. The term Cyber Liability Insurance is used pretty generally because cyber security is such a young sector and the data about the risks are changing very rapidly.  Business owners and insurance companies are still having trouble determining who is at risk and how much risk those businesses actually face. Just because this is a new type of insurance coverage does not diminish the importance it can have for protecting your business.

Many business owners think a data breach can only occur to a big multi-national corporation. For the big data breaches that make the news, this is certainly true, but the truth is most data breach first start out with small mom and pop businesses. These mom and pop businesses are first hacked with the hackers intention of gaining access to a much larger database.  This usually occurs through carious types of vendor partnerships. In the case of Target and Home Depot both of these breaches were first accessed by a much smaller business partner, who was hacked.  For this reason it is immensely important for you to talk with an experienced independent insurance agent about all the risks your business faces.

Cyber Liability Insurance

The three main types of Cyber Liability Insurance Coverage are Cyber Security, Cyber Liability and Technology Errors and Omissions Insurance. The first two deal with risks relating to a Data Breach. The third deals with companies that provide technology services and products.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security Insurance is also known as Privacy Notification and Crisis Management Expense Insurance.  This coverage includes coverage for first party damage to you and your business. This coverage does not protect your business from damage done to third parties. Cyber Security Insurance deals specifically with the immediate response costs associated with a data breach. In many cases it is required by law to find out how the breach occurred, notify those affected and provide credit monitoring services for one year.

Examples of costs included in Cyber Security Coverage include:

  • hiring a forensics expert to determine the cause of the breach, suggest measures to secure the site and prevent future breaches

  • hiring a public relations agency to assist in dealing with the crisis

  • setting up a post-breach call center

  • notifying affected individuals whose personally identifiable information (PII) has been compromised

  • monitoring these individuals’ credit (usually for 1 year)

  • paying the costs to “restore” stolen identities as a result of a data breach (e.g., expenses of notifying banks and credit card companies)

Cyber Liability

Cyber Liability Insurance, also termed Information Security and Privacy Insurance, covers the insured’s liability for damages resulting from a data breach. It does not cover expenses that deal with the immediate response cost. This type of insurance protects businesses which sell products and services directly on the internet.  Also, it protects businesses which collect data within its internal electronic network. The most common forms of data breach involve personal or financial information like credit card numbers, bank account information, social security numbers, health information, trade secrets or intellectual property.

The types of situations where this information are accessed include:

  • An employee’s car is broken into and a business laptop is stolen.

  • An email containing sensitive customer information is sent to the wrong person.

  • Important paperwork, like a credit application, is taken during a break-in.

  • Failure to timely disclose a data breach.

Technology Errors and Omissions

Technology Errors and Omissions Insurance, also referred to as Professional Liability or E&O, is a form of liability coverage that protects businesses who provide or sell technology services and products. This coverage prevents businesses from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and damages awarded in a civil lawsuit. This can include business who sell and service computer products, but it can also include graphic designers and advertising agencies who create digital content that can harm a company’s reputation. It covers computer programmers who may create faulty code for a website that causes that business to mail products to the wrong addresses.

Cyber Liability Insurance is a new and emerging part of the insurance industry and it is not going anywhere. These risks are only going to become stronger as more and more business operate online. Before too long Cyber Security Insurance will be a normal part of businesses insurance policy just like workers compensation Insurance and general liability Insurance are today. Now is the time to consider if and how much cyber insurance your business needs.

Drone Technology

How Drone Technology impacts the Insurance Industry.

Drone Insurance

Many new technologies impact many different industries on a daily basis.  As long as there has been commerce taking place, there have been new and better technologies that have come along to shake up things for most industries. No matter if it was Benjamin Franklin discovering electricity in the 1700’s, Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone in the 1800’s, the Wright brothers inventing the airplane in the 1900’s or Mark Zuckerberg inventing Facebook new technology has been developed longer than the United States of America has been a country.  Companies that adapt to technological change are the companies that succeed in the long term. Today, many technologies are changing our lives at a dramatic pace.  None more apparent than drone technology.

Drone technology is advancing at a very rapid pace. As the technology advances the capability of the drone is growing and the price to enter the market place is dropping dramatically.  Because of this people are buying up drones at an enormous pace. What far too many of these drone owners do not realize at this time is the type and amount of risk they are taking by operating a drone.  This applies whether the drone is being used for commercial or personal use and whether the person is on their own property or on the property of a third party. Here are a few ways that drones will impact the insurance industry now and in the future.

Drone Technology

What industries are using drones to do business?

Construction Industry –    In the Construction Industry  business owners can use drones to analyze a property in ways that were not imaginable just a decade ago. They also can aide construction companies in the repair of facilities after an accident or natural disaster.

Insurance Industry –  The Insurance Industry is using the technology to examine properties after a natural disaster to get a jump start on which properties need the most examination and at what part of the property.  In the future drone technology may be able to aide in the prevention of fraudulent insurance claims by taking pictures of insurable assets periodically throughout the policy period.

Real Estate –  Real Estate agencies are able to get an in-depth look a the properties they are working with in new ways. They can use this technology to give their clients an even better idea of the property they are purchasing or selling.

TV Media –  Drones will give the television industry the ability to get to even more places when covering live footage or it can allow a camera to get to a new place that was not possible before.  Laws and legislation over the next few years will determine how much this technology will be allowed in the media.

Search and Rescue –  Search and Rescue groups can use drones in some scenarios instead of helicopters. This will put the operator of the helicopter in danger less often and will allow the search and rescue teams to get to new places that a helicopter cannot access.

 

Beneficial impacts of the drone industry on insurance. 

Drones can speed up the processing time for claims.  With the use of drones the time to process a claim may move from a few weeks to a few days to eventually a few hours.  Because of this quick turn around in processing, companies in the insurance industry will be able to hire less employees or it can free up more employees to service customers in different ways. This will increase the level of service they are able to provide and lower the price they are forced to charge customers for coverage.

Fraud Prevention is another beneficial part of the use of drone technology on the insurance industry.  The main way drones can aide in preventing fraud is by allowing insurance carriers to more easily monitor what a property looks like throughout the period of the policy.  If they can fly a drone out to observe your property once a month or even once a quarter it is more likely to be able to prevent people from filing fraudulent claims after a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado.  This is a prime time for property owners to claim damage to their property was caused by the natural disaster when in reality the damage occurred much sooner and was not a covered loss.

 

Challenges drones present for the Insurance Industry

Start-ups will pop up that challenge the current business model.  A few businesses have already poppped up to serve drone users in ways the traditional insurance industry is not able or prepared to.

Verfily and Dart Drones are two such companies that have already formed to fill a void in the drone market.  Verifly is a that offers drone users the opportunity to buy insurance coverage for a small amount of time when they will be using the technology.  When the drone is not in use they do not have to pay for coverage of the product.  This is especially beneficial to businesses who want to use the technology, but may use the drone only a few times a month or even only a few times a year.  Dart Drones is a business that sprung up because there currently is no industry standardized license for operating a drone. This business offers classes and certifications on the proper use of a drone.  This will allow a business owner to show his insurance company the people using the drones are trained professionals and it is a way for the employee to show they are prepared to operate the drone for the needs of the business.

UAV

Like many things in life, every problem presents an opportunity.  This is very much the case in the drone industry.  Successful insurance industries in the future will be the companies that can harness technologies like drones for their benefit and use the technology to gain a new share of the market they did not have previously.  The companies who are the quickest to adopt this technology and offer coverage for it users will position themselves to be the leaders in this potentially high growth portion of the insurance sector.