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A Successful Seminar Provides Valuable Advice

Hoover Financial Advisors recently presented helpful information to an audience of 60 spring seminar guests. Speakers Edward Lee, CPCU, and Nancy Albanese, AAI, of Powers, Craft, Parker & Beard, Inc., an independent agency representing several insurance companies, gave insight and advice on a subject vital to everyone: Are you Protected?

Looking at asset protection from an insurance perspective, guests learned risk strategies to use to avoid unexpected losses, which could negatively impact assets. Taking a holistic approach, suggestions include transferring risk to a third party, as well as monitoring and updating programs. Types of asset risks are Financial, Tangible and Reputational.

Financial concerns covered are identity and cyber theft; crime; civil liability litigation; and travel and security, which may include kidnapping for ransom. Homes, automobiles and valuable collections, such as art and antiques, fall under Tangible. Reputational risk affecting credit ratings is primarily identity theft.

Identity theft, which is on the rise, frequently is committed by insiders. Because of residential access and the Internet, personal and financial information is readily available to such thieves. Your identity is a core asset and should be managed and protected. People should be extremely careful about what they share on social network sites.

Cyber criminals, who obtain personal details, cleverly devise ways to entice people to send money or click on to malicious links. They may acquire false driver’s licenses or open pre-approved credit cards. Initially, they buy low-cost items and pay bills on time. When limits are raised, they make large purchases. Those card offers should be shredded. Tossing in the trash is not safe; thieves can retrieve them.

There are several methods of avoiding identity theft. Documents, including Social Security card, birth certificate and passport should be kept in a deposit box or secure location. Sensitive papers should be shredded. Monitor credit and stagger requests for free annual reports – one every four months from each of the three agencies: Experian, Equifax, Transunion. Be sure personal belongings at home are protected during trips. Use automatic teller machines cautiously and maintain credit card company information and numbers in case of loss or theft.

Some other means of protection include monitoring medical records and benefits statements, installing computer anti-virus software and using complex passwords that are frequently changed. Other cautions are: ensure that computer browsers are completely closed after conducting online financial business; ignore pop-up virus infection ads; never leave laptops unattended; be careful of wireless networks; destroy old hard drives; and only make online purchases from secure socket layer (SSL) websites.

If identity theft does occur, it takes time to restore it. Immediate measures to put in action are:

  • Contact credit bureaus’ fraud departments and ask for free reports and a fraud alert extension from 90 days to 7 years.
  • Notify police and obtain the report.
  • Notify Federal Trade Commission and complete ID Theft Affidavit.
  • Notify creditors immediately and request new cards and numbers.
  • Notify financial institutions.
  • Notify SSA if social security card is misused.
  • Obtain legal counsel and be prepared to repair identity.

It is essential to make these reports quickly. ATM or debit cards forgive anything over $50 if reported within two days, but if filed later, forgiveness begins after $500.

Of great relief to HFA seminar attendants, identity theft protection is available. Liability insurance policies to protect financial and other assets should not be ignored either. However, care should be taken not to overpay to be underinsured.

Umbrella policies were recommended. Coverage should include damage to home, personal property, valuable items, automobiles and water craft. In addition, the policy should protect against lawsuits stemming from ID theft and third party liability. Three ways to manage loss exposure are to control it, avoid it or transfer it. This means it is wise to purchase enough coverage to not only match current income and assets at risk, but net worth plus future income.

Everyone enjoys Top 10 Lists and HFA seminar speakers offered their version. In summary, they advised:

  1. High Net Worth policies are important to consider as opposed to standard coverage. Protection is broader.
  2. Seek full replacement coverage on homes. The coverage should pay to rebuild with like-quality materials.
  3. Be sure your homeowner’s policy includes Building Code upgrades.
  4. Take an inventory of contents of home and determine actual cost to replace items.
  5. Purchase a Valuable Item Policy for art, furs, silver and other expensive products.
  6. Add Loss Assessment to your homeowner’s policy if it is part of a property association.
  7. If you are a volunteer or organization board member, be sure you are covered for any lawsuits that may include individuals.
  8. Name Trusts and LLCs on insurance policies or these entities are not protected against liability lawsuits.
  9. Increase homeowners and automobile deductibles in order to possibly save hundreds of thousands of dollars on claims.
  10. Bundle policies with one carrier to avoid gaps in coverage among various policies.

To listen to the full audio taping of this informative seminar, please click here.

We hope you enjoyed the seminar!