The Reschini Blog: Cybercrime Impacts All Industries

Working in IT today is like running a marathon sprint.

Not only do the digital professionals need to keep their systems and users running smoothly at a baseline level, they also need to stay up-to-date on new applications and software packages and how they could be used to advance the growth of their organizations.

And then there’s the ever-present specter of cybercrime – an unending and constantly expanding web of innovative and malicious attempts to steal information, hold data for ransom, and generally take control of the digital identity of companies.  What’s worse, no industry is immune to these dark forces, who can wreak havoc and extort enormous financial damages.

According to the Pittsburgh Technology Council, most CEO surveys rank cybersecurity threats as a top-five risk, regardless of industry type.  CEOs care about data breaches and ransomware attacks because those attacks have become so common, regardless of organizational size or IT staff experience.  Furthermore, CEOs know that a ransomware infection or a data breach can put the very life of their organizations at risk.

IT teams have trouble keeping a current and standardized set of security best practices, because to do so – with proper patches and policies amid a continuously changing environment – is time consuming, expensive, and downright difficult.  One solution comes in the form of enterprise cloud infrastructure platforms, which offer a secure-by-default cloud experience with best-in-class security features incorporated from the start.

Using advanced tools like this can free internal IT staffs, since they only need to work with the cloud infrastructure provider to select and configure features most relevant to the organization’s needs and vulnerabilities.  Those IT professionals can then spend their time more efficiently, working on strategic projects while reducing exposure to cybersecurity issues.

Keeping the bad guys at bay online doesn’t have to be a marathon sprint, where the best efforts simply can’t keep running at full capacity.  You can bring your cybersecurity exposure under better control, thereby improving your insurance coverage against losses.

The experts at The Reschini Group can provide specific guidance in this area.  Contact us today to learn more.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: Noise Monitoring a Vital Concern

The very process of manufacturing – especially heavy manufacturing – carries with it some inherent variables that can cause damage to those working onsite.  Most companies maintain diligent safety practices and procedures to protect workers from falls, hand injuries, accident enclosures, and the like.

The dangers of excessive noise must be in that same discussion.

The Reschini Group has specialists who consult and advise client companies about the importance of noise monitoring, including use of audio dosimetry at manufacturing facilities.  Our team works with manufacturers to conduct these tests, to see the impact of onsite noise and how best to safeguard those exposed to it.

Central to these efforts is guidance from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and its requirements for establishing a Hearing Conservation Program.  According to the OSHA website, this includes noise monitoring, audiometric testing, hearing protection, training, and recordkeeping.  OSHA requires companies to implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours.

Exposure to loud noise kills the nerve endings in the inner ear, with prolonged exposure causing more dead nerve endings and permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected with surgery or medicine. Noise-induced hearing loss limits your ability to hear high frequency sounds and understand speech, which seriously impairs your ability to communicate. Hearing aids may help, but they do not restore your hearing to normal.

Hearing conservation programs are meant to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge and hearing protection devices necessary to safeguard themselves.  Paying the proper level of attention to on-the-job noise issues also makes sense regarding avoiding exposure to lawsuits and insurance claims.

The team at The Reschini Group features experts in working with client companies to lessen this exposure.  Contact us today to learn more.


Related Resource from The Reschini Group

Contact The Reschini Group with your questions or concerns regarding Noise Hazards.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Benefits Blog: Benefits Adjustments Based on COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, national benefits experts have determined that 20% of employers need support in updating their benefits programs to accommodate the changes the virus has created.  Here are some of the most common changes being considered for 2021 and beyond.

Potential Cost Increases and Plan Designs – Health care premium costs have increased at a steady rate over the past few years, with the most recent average increase being around 6%. Despite many health care providers having waived fees associated with COVID-19 testing, those costs will likely trickle down in the long run.

Employers will need to evaluate their unique circumstances and consider whether they need to shift some of their cost-sharing burden with a new plan design.

Mental Health Benefits – According to a survey from a major mental health provider, nearly 7 in 10 employees cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the most stressful time in their careers.  As employees return to work, many are experiencing financial hardship, balancing new caregiving responsibilities, managing concerns over their physical and mental well-being. Employers should consider offering or revamping an existing employee assistance program (EAP) and expanding mental health resources.

Flexible Workplace Benefits – Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, employers were feeling the pressure to provide flexible workplace benefits.  As such, employees are likely looking for expanded flexible work benefits, including:

Work-from-homeWhile not always feasible, employees who may already be working from home due to the pandemic or are equally as productive from home may expect to continue to do so.

Flexible work hours – Flexible work hours or alternative schedules during these uncertain times and moving forward may help employees balance their various responsibilities, and prioritize their health.

Virtual Open Enrollment – Traditionally held in the office during a specific time frame, organizations could instead hold town hall meetings and provide regular communications on open enrollment, and plan to conduct it virtually as necessary.

For more information surrounding the employee benefits landscape post-coronavirus or how to prepare for an alternative open enrollment approach,  today.

Related Resources from The Reschini Group:

Idea sheet regarding helping reduce COVID-19 related stress in the workforce. Easing Employee Stress Surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic_ The EAP and Return to Work plans post pandemic – a starting guide. Post-coronavirus Return-to-Work Plans and EAPs


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: Cyburgh Event Offers Cybersecurity Insight

The Reschini Group prides itself on offering pertinent, credible, practical guidance to its business customers regarding the constant threat of cyber crime.  With a presence in One Gateway Center in Downtown Pittsburgh, our firm remains connected to the city’s growing reputation as a center of cybersecurity advances and trends.

One of those premier cybersecurity-related events is “Cyburgh,” an annual conference of national and international experts, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC).

According to the PTC, vulnerability affects the bottom line of the region’s businesses.  The Cyburgh initiative aims to advance Pittsburgh as an internationally recognized leader in cybersecurity.  Through presentations and idea exchanges, Cyburgh is a forum for cybersecurity professionals to engage with and learn from peers, thought leaders, and solution providers.

Now in its sixth year, Cyburgh is a virtual event, scheduled this year in three sessions from May 25 through May 27.  Participants will learn from thought leaders and subject matter experts from Pittsburgh and beyond. The focus will be on the business and strategic areas that leaders and technical professionals need to know about.

The event is geared toward Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operations Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Information Security Officers, Chief Privacy Officers, Practitioners, Business Leaders, and IT Managers in corporate, small business, academic, and non-profit organizations who want to gain vital insight about protecting their enterprises and mitigating risk.

Cybersecurity remains an ongoing issue for businesses of all sizes, in all markets, and across all industries.  Our team offers expert advice on protecting our customers through the proper insurance packages.  Events like Cyburgh open the door to a wider, deeper exploration of the many tentacles of cybersecurity, and we encourage all business owners to take full advantage of this special event.

You can register for Cyburgh 2021 at:

https://www.pghtech.org/events/2021Cyburgh_1#2021Cyburgh_1


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: Preparing for COVID-19 Lawsuits and Claims

According to national human resources and legal experts, employers can expect to face many lawsuits and claims related to COVID-19 from infected or laid-off employees and families of deceased workers in the coming months.  Claims for gross negligence, wage and hour oversights, discrimination, and layoff-notice discrepancies are possible.

Workers Compensation claims are being submitted to insurers and tracked by rate-making or -reporting bodies at the state level.  WC laws vary by state, as they relate to communicable diseases, with some state legislatures enacting laws to expand statutes related to COVID-19 claims.

Uncertainty about whether workers’ compensation will apply to COVID-19-related illnesses remains at the federal and state levels.  For that reason, employers would be wise to do all they can to limit potential liability, legal experts advise.  The best way for employers to do this is by following all guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Exposure to lawsuits and claims could take a number of specific paths:

  • Employers should expect a wave of workers’ compensation claims from employees who have contracted COVID-19, claiming that they contracted the virus while at work. Causation should be easier to prove with someone who worked at a facility that continued operating after multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19 than with an individual who worked at a site with one previously confirmed case in a location far from that person.
  • In states that exclude flu-like illnesses from workers’ compensation coverage, employees might still bring negligence claims, or their families could still allege wrongful death, since workers’ compensation laws’ exclusive remedy provisions wouldn’t apply.
  • Laid-off workers may claim discrimination. Reduction-in-force decisions can impact older workers disproportionately because they tend to be the most highly compensated.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act may come into play, as well, if an employer denies a COVID-19 related accommodation.
  • There also could be Occupational Safety and Health Act retaliation claims from workers who contend that they were let go after refusing to return to an unsafe workplace.

The best advice to policyholders is to submit all claims promptly to get an initial coverage determination.  Waiting makes it harder to gather critical information to manage costs and losses later.  The professionals at The Reschini Group can expertly advise any public or private company on crafting the proper coverage, or anticipating how current coverage terms will be able to handle COVID-19 related claims as they are presented.  Contact us today to learn more.

Related Resources from The Reschini Group:

Read an update from OSHA about COVID-related preparedness in the workplace.  OSHA Issues Prevention Guidance on COVID-19 in the Workplace 2.1.21 Read a primer about gathering information related to Workers Compensation Claims.  WCI- The First 24 Hours After an Injury Watch a video regarding latest trends in litigation related to COVID-19 and the resulting economic impact. (LINK: https://www.reschini.com/litigation-trends-regarding-covid-19/ )


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Source: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/coronavirus-wide-range-of-lawsuits.aspx

Benefits Blog – Remote Control: Telemedicine Offers Wider Care Options

You can call up a quote from Shakespeare in seconds, send a message to the other side of the globe immediately, and even buy a car, all from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet.  So why not get checked by a physician?  Why not, indeed.

Such is the attraction of telemedicine – the practice of health care from a remote location, which has proven to be quite effective as an attractive option for many health care providers and their patients, especially given the Covid-19 pandemic.

Using live video transmission, typically through an online app designated by the provider, doctors and patients can see each other and talk in real time about any health care concerns or questions – all without needing to be in the same exam room together.  Although telemedicine is not a complete replacement for direct patient care, it can be a useful tool for a variety of medical services, such as evaluation, diagnosis, and prescribing treatment.

Patients benefit from staying in the comfort of their own homes, oftentimes with a caregiver taking part in the telemedicine session to provide additional information and follow-up care.  The potential spread of germs and infection in clinics and hospitals is minimized.  Those patients living in rural areas, or who have difficulty arranging transportation, can access quality medical care in a much more convenient manner.  And those patients recovering from surgery or severe illness can be readily monitored through telemedicine visits.

For many patients, obtaining medical care represents a significant cost in time, resources, and money.  Telemedicine helps lower those barriers, while helping to enhance the value of regular visits with the doctor.  As access to electronic medical records expands, physicians can combine this technology with telemedicine to bring patients even higher quality care.

Check with your benefits provider to see how telemedicine fits into your medical coverage, potentially lowering costs while improving the doctor-patient relationship.  The Benefits team at The Reschini Group can help in this regard.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice. To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Telemedicine Resources from The Reschini Group

Contact The Reschini Group with your questions or concerns regarding D&O Coverage.

The Reschini Blog: The Ramifications of Ransomware

It’s one of the oldest plots in the movies.  A person or object of great value gets kidnapped.  A demand for money or some other form of tribute is demanded.  And either the ransom gets paid, or a rescue ensues.  The end, curtain down, talk about the film on the ride home.  Nice and tidy.

Until it happens in real life, and the true impact of ransomware – the infiltration of your computer system, complete with unwanted access to your most sensitive information – becomes all too clear.

And don’t think it couldn’t happen to your small business.  Ransomware strikes at systems large and small.  In fact, a small contractor servicing a large corporation can serve as one of the easiest “back doors” for a hacker to make an enormous score.

In 2019, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 2,047 complaints identified as ransomware, with losses in excess of $8.9 billion.  That’s billion.  With a “b.”  Even while citing those statistics, IC3 also insists that instances of ransomware remain vastly underreported, so the true total of losses is probably much higher.

Intricate, elaborate, expensive software systems designed to block sophisticated ransomware attempts can be effective, and have real value in the ongoing fight.  But it’s also important to remember that ransomware hackers can gain all the access they need by the simplest of methods, as well.  A targeted phishing attack that gains the credentials of top managers can parlay that information into a quick and substantial ransom payment.

So how to avoid the chilling and costly incidence of being held for ransom by outsiders capturing your proprietary data?  Establish a relationship with federal law enforcement authorities and trusted organizations like the non-profit National Cyber Forensics-Training Alliance (ncfta.net), conduct continuous employee awareness training that includes top officials of the company, increase knowledge of ransomware tactics and trends to stay ahead of the threat, and review your insurance coverage against losses attributable to ransomware attacks.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can work with you to audit your exposures and craft a policy package to provide the proper level of protection.  Because being held for ransom is not a plot device in a movie that you can walk away from.  It’s all too real.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Property & Casualty Blog: Covid-19’s Impact on D&O Coverage

Among its many other ripple effects, the Covid-19 pandemic may impact Directors and Officers (D&O) liability insurance, as public and private companies fight to stay afloat amid calamitous economic conditions.  There is no assurance that shareholders, employees and customers will let companies – or their offices – off the hook, even for a worldwide health disaster.

Coronavirus-related “event-driven” litigation and shareholder derivative suits have begun to arise, alleging “a series of false and misleading statements and concealed material information” about its health and safety protocols and its alleged “role in facilitating the transmission of the virus” against cruise line provider Carnival Corporation.  Also, Sorrento Therapeutics and its officials have been accused of making misleading comments about a COVID-19 “cure” that led to a near-tripling of its share price, before the company recanted and modified its claims.

As a result, according to industry experts, both public and private companies will need to pay close attention to their D&O insurance.  Said one such expert, “Many small businesses have had to close their doors temporarily because of the coronavirus, and they lack the surplus of capital needed to sustain their operations through those mandatory closures.

“We’re seeing a lot of smaller retail businesses and restaurants suffering from economic hardships, which can lead to possible D&O lawsuits down the line. The larger publicly traded companies will likely weather this storm a bit better because they have a higher surplus of capital to see them through. However, if they fail to weather the storm and they end up closing some of their operations, we anticipate that there could be an uptick in D&O lawsuits related to mismanagement.”

Terms of D&O coverage may need to be adjusted, as well, with the proviso that – given the radical economic shifts that Covid-19 has introduced – companies may have to contend with higher premiums for similar coverage, or lower coverage at the same premiums.  The variables continue to multiply.

Yet regardless of how all of this plays out, companies still need to provide the best D&O coverage possible to protect their officers and top managers.  The professionals at The Reschini Group can expertly guide any public or private company through the forest of potential pitfalls and existing or new opportunities to meet this critical objective.  Contact us today to learn more.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Benefits Blog: Dealing with Identify Theft

The very act of conducting business in the modern world by necessity includes collecting and holding personally identifying information such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and the like about customers, employees and business partners.

Should this information fall into the wrong hands, it could put these individuals at risk for identity theft.

Medical identity theft is a growing concern for individuals and employers, as well, with more than 2.3 million Americans becoming victims annually.  This represents an average loss of more than $22,000 per incident in terms of lost employee productivity and through the fraudulent overuse of health plan benefits.

The financial impact of medical identity theft can include lost money, unpaid bills, collection agency letters, and tarnished credit reports. Finding and correcting records can be a lengthy process, often taking as long as a year to complete.

The messy consequences of inaccurate medical records and insurance claims can be both a time-consuming nuisance as well as a threat to the victim’s health. The medical repercussions for medical identity theft victims can include misdiagnosis, conflicting prescriptions, missed symptoms and other harmful consequences.

If personal information – whether of a medical nature or not – becomes comprised, it can easily and quickly result in meaningful harm to a person or business.  If identity theft is suspected, call your local police department immediately.  If your local police department is not familiar with investigating information compromises, contact the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the U.S. Secret Service. For incidents involving mail theft, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

If account access information (credit card or bank account numbers) has been stolen and you do not maintain the accounts, notify the institutions that do so that they can monitor these accounts for fraudulent activity.  If you collect or store personal information for other businesses, notify them of any information compromises immediately.  If the information involved the improper posting of personal information on your website, immediately remove the information and contact the appropriate search engines to ensure that they do not archive personal information that was posted in error.

If names and Social Security numbers have been stolen, contact the three major credit bureaus for additional information and advice. When calling, advise the credit bureau that you will also be alerting the affected parties to place a fraud alert on their files.

For more information on how to protect your business from potential security breaches, contact The Reschini Group.  We have additional risk management tools to assist you in handling identity theft.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: The Scope of Cybercrime

“Cybercriminals and certain foreign nations are not only at the door; they are inside our walls, and often have been for quite some time.  Defending our most valuable information should be of paramount importance for our citizens, businesses, and academic institutions.”  – Matt LaVigna, President and CEO, National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance (NCFTA).

While the fact of cybercrime can hardly be news, the scope of it recently made worldwide news, as multiple departments across the federal government were discovered to have been infiltrated by foreign actors, sometimes for months before being detected.  In that time, untold volumes of sensitive documents impacting U.S. homeland security, relations with countries around the world, financial and diplomatic secrets, and much more may have been compromised, perhaps permanently.

The same dynamic impacts businesses of all sizes, across all industries and locations.  Malicious actors with an abundance of skill and lack of ethics can many times forge their way into an organization’s cyber presence.  Their ability to monetize information can be just as shocking in its effectiveness as the way they break codes and seize data.

The NCFTA reports that, while cybercrime is a relatively underreported event, consider that over the last five years, the Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 1.7 million complaints and, in 2019 alone, reported losses exceeding $3.5 billion.

The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on cybersecurity may be that, as pressure increases on budgets as companies recover, resources dedicated to cyber protection get reduced.  Sharing information among peers about cybersecurity best practices helps, as do specific tactics to protect software, hardware, employee activities, regular backups and encryptions.

But not to be forgotten in this collection of cybercrime defense is having adequate and appropriate insurance coverage.  As the types and levels of potential damage from cybercrime can vary, so do the insurance options available to organizations.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can assist you in evaluating your exposure to cybercrime, and in fashioning a coverage package that keeps you and your organization safe.  Because the threat is everywhere, and growing.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.