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Keep your business ‘cyber-safe’
By Travelers Canada.
As a business owner, you store data that is critical to company operations, as well as sensitive information about employees and customers. You have a responsibility to secure that data, and a special duty to protect all personal identification information. If that information is stolen, lost or contaminated due to a cyber attack, your business and reputation could be jeopardized. With more businesses reporting data breaches every day, here are a few guidelines to help keep your business protected from the financial and property loss that could occur: Set up an incident response team to create a plan that outlines how your company will address any data breaches; establish clear roles and responsibilities for team members. Develop a data retention policy that explains how your company will retain data and keep it secure. It should also show how you will destroy and dispose of unneeded data, such as dormant customers’ accounts, job applications and former employee privacy information. Make sure you and your employees back up critical information regularly. Have secure locations where this data and its backup can be stored. Keep up to date on state and federal laws and regulations regarding data breach and privacy, and on mandates that outline how you must notify customers if your data is breached. Incorporate them into your data policy. Failing to do so could critically damage your company’s reputation. It could also result in fines, penalties and lost customers if a breach is ill-handled. Be sure your anti-virus protection is installed and kept up to date. Designate a limited few within your company who will be responsible for downloading and installing programs. Only download programs from trusted sources, and instruct all employees to stay away from software ads or links on email or pop-up ads. Teach employees how to identify and report breaches. Email is the most prevalent way of spreading computer viruses. Inform employees to never to open an email that looks suspicious or contains odd spellings or characters. They should only open emails from people they know or with whom they have communicated in the past. Explain phishing and hacking techniques. Have them fully shut down their computers at the end of the business day. Require employees to change passwords on a regular basis and to use strong, unique passwords. Passwords should be unique to each program, account and computer in use. They should not be written down or shared. A good password is sophisticated enough to thwart hackers, but straightforward enough to be remembered easily. Make sure mobile devices that contain company information – laptops, smart phones, tablets and flash drives – are encrypted and password secured in the event they are lost or stolen. Control access to your computer systems and establish a process to deactivate former employees and third party contractors whose service has ended.
New Address for Expo Insurance Brokers Inc
5484 Tomken Rd
Same Phone Numbers
Wed, 22nd January, 2014 - Posted by (0) Comment|
Driving safely in winter weather,
By Travelers Insurance Company
Falling snow can be picturesque, but it can also wreak havoc on the roads. While no one enjoys driving in snowy or slippery conditions, there are steps you can take to help improve your safety.
Here are some guidelines that can help you stay safe when driving in adverse winter conditions:
Make sure your car is prepared for cold temperatures and wintery conditions like snow and ice. Keep your equipment properly maintained and include a winter survival kit in your vehicle: an ice scraper, snow shovel and sand/salt. Jumper cables are also a good idea since batteries are prone to failure during cold weather.
Clear snow and ice off your car – including windows, mirrors, lights, reflectors, hood, roof and trunk.
Drive with your headlights on, and be sure to keep them clean to improve visibility.
Use caution when snow banks limit your view of oncoming traffic.
Avoid using cruise control in snowy or icy conditions. In adverse conditions, you want as much control of your car as possible.
Know how to brake on slippery surfaces. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes operate much differently from those that do not have anti-lock brakes. You should consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to brake properly if your vehicle should start to skid.
Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season. This helps ensure you have a source of heat if you are stuck or stranded.
If you do venture out or are unexpectedly caught in a snowstorm and encounter problems, stay in your car and wait for help. Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow. There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if snow blocks the pipe and enables the deadly gas to build up in your car. Open your window slightly to help prevent the buildup.
Keep your windshield washer reservoir full, and make sure your car has wiper blades that are in good condition.
Remember that speed limits are meant for dry roads, not roads covered in snow and ice. You should reduce your speed and increase your following distance as road conditions and visibility worsen.
Be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they are commonly the first areas to become icy.
Avoid passing snow plows and sand trucks. The drivers can have limited visibility, and the road in front of them could be worse than the road behind.
Monitor road and weather conditions by checking local news stations or Internet traffic and weather sites.
If you must travel during a snowstorm or in blizzard conditions, be sure to let a relative, friend or coworker know where you are headed and your expected arrival time. Avoid the temptation to check or be on your phone while driving as all of your attention should be on arriving safely
Mon, 20th January, 2014 - Posted by (0) Comment|
WATER DAMAGE CHECKLIST (by Intact Insurance Co)
Water damage has now surpassed fire as Canada’s leading cause of personal property claims. Examples of water damage include flooding, sewer backup, broken pipes, leaky plumbing, and more. To help avoid water damage in your home, take a few simple precautions to decrease the chances of it happening to you.
INSIDE YOUR HOME
• Buy or increase your sewer backup coverage as needed
• Install a sewer backup prevention valve on the main line of your home
• Install water monitors that alert you if a leak occurs and shut off the main water supply if moisture is detected
• Inspect all plumbing for signs of cracks or leaks, and replace older plumbing
• Inspect older appliances, particularly washing machine and dishwasher hoses, and replace them with steel braided hoses.
• On appliances and/or plumbing fixtures, replace old and worn rubber hoses with flexible steel-braided hoses
• Avoid pouring fats, oils and grease down household drains
• Check water supply lines regularly for leaks and loose connections
• Check caulk and grout around bathtubs and showers and retouch as necessary
• Reduce home water use during heavy rainfall and rapid thaw to reduce pressure on sewage systems and potential for water back-up.
Talk to your insurance broker to review your policy and learn what coverage exists in regards to water damage
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
• Before the winter, drain all pipes and garden hoses
• Keep storm sewer grates clear of leaves and debris
• Disconnect downspouts draining directly into the sewer system and redirect them at least 6 feet away from your home’s foundation; test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof
• Ensure your lot is graded to aid drainage away from your home
• Make considerations for reverse-sloped driveways
• Ensure there is at least 200 mm (8 in) clearance between finished ground level and the bottom of the downspout; otherwise consider installing window wells
• Ensure waste water lines are not blocked by tree roots
• Ensure you roof doesn’t have loose or curled shingles
• If you have a septic system, have it pumped and serviced regularly
FOUNDATIONS AND BASEMENTS
Your home’s foundation and basement are areas where significant, and often expensive, damage can occur. The origin of leaks is often traced to the foundation. Minor cracks in the foundation are not normally cause for concern; however, major cracks can represent substantial movement and can allow water to seep into your basement. Filling in foundation cracks and stopping them from spreading helps to prevent water damage and serious structural issues. To diminish risks of water damage in your basement:
• Find and seal any cracks in foundation walls and basement floor
• Avoid storing items directly on the basement floor (store items in plastic storage containers on raised shelving)
• Be sure to keep floor drains unobstructed
• Always check your basement for leaks after heavy rainfall or a rapid thaw
SUMP PUMPS AND BACKWATER VALVES
A sump pump is a common and effective basement water collection system. Sump pumps collect water from the weeping tiles around basements and send it outside, away from your home. The sump pump is activated by a float switch that turns on when the water in the sump rises past a certain level.
To ensure your sump pump is in good working order, check the float to ensure it’s clean and moving freely by slowly pouring water into the sump tank. Watch for the float to rise and start the pump. Once the pump starts, the water level will quickly lower and the float will shut off the pump.
Backwater valves installed on the main water line of a home are an effective way of preventing sewer back-up. Many municipalities amended their building codes to ensure that backwater valves are installed in all newly constructed homes.
Tue, 24th December, 2013 - Posted by (0) Comment|
Travelers Canada ( Dominion Ins Co) claims update:
Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada freezing rain
Heavy amounts of freezing rain and snow began on Saturday Dec 21 in Ontario and Quebec, and reached the Atlantic provinces by Sunday morning. This storm has caused widespread damage and power outages. The majority of the damage has been caused by falling tree limbs landing on cars and property, and by the power outages.
Trust in Travelers Canada:
• We are open today, December 23, and tomorrow morning and will continue to provide service to your clients with claims from this storm and other occurrences. Contact one of our local claim teams through the contact numbers available on travelerscanada.ca and thedominion.ca.
• When our offices close for the holidays, our service does not. You and your clients can always reach us, 24/7 at the following numbers:
The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company: 800.661.5522
Travelers Insurance Company of Canada: 888.235.2447
• These types of claim situations are given our highest priority and are managed by our in-house claim team to make sure we safeguard your client’s experience.
• Travelers Canada has access to a network of dedicated vendors to assist our policyholders when they sustain damage from an unfortunate event like severe weather.
Travelers Canada has already received a number of claim notifications and we are responding accordingly. We understand that no one ever wants to have an insurance claim and we make the claim experience as stress-free as possible for your clients. Responding with speed, compassion, integrity and professionalism, we are there for you and your clients 24/7. Travelers Canada provides the confidence you need, and rely on.
Mon, 23rd December, 2013 - Posted by (0) Comment|
Important fire safety tips during power outages!
From the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
To reduce fire risk during a power outage, the Office of the Fire Marshal offers the following safety tips:
• Electrically-connected smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms will not work when the power is out unless they have battery back-ups. Make sure your home has battery-operated smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Everyone should know how to get out immediately if there is a fire. Plan and practice your escape plan before emergencies happen.
• Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns instead of candles or hurricane lamps. If using candles, place them in a secure holder and cover them with a glass chimney, away from children and pets.
• Propane and charcoal barbecues are for outdoor use only. Do not bring them inside.
• Purchase generators with recognized approval labels. Make sure the unit has proper connection receptacles and circuit breakers.
• Portable generators should only be used outdoors and carefully located to ensure that exhaust fumes do not enter the home. Allow the generator to cool before refuelling. Refuel the generator outside, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Store fuel for the generator in approved containers, outside the home.
• Use only portable space heaters that have been designed for indoor use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Provide adequate ventilation by opening a window slightly while the heater is in use. Before refuelling, turn off the heater, wait for it to cool and take the heater outside to refuel.
• Make sure electric stove elements and small appliances are OFF or unplugged to prevent fires from occurring when the electricity is restored.
• Cordless phones will not work when the power is out, so it is recommended to have at least one phone that does not require electricity to operate.
• Use extreme caution during flood emergencies and power outages. Electrical equipment impacted by flood water can be extremely dangerous. For more important information about electrical safety during floods, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority’s website: http://www.esasafe.com/
• Further information on emergency preparedness can be found at http://www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/english/home.html
Customers with emergency claims should call 1 866 MY AVIVA (1 866 692 8482). Our phone lines are operating, but wait times could be long feel free to contact your Broker’s office as well.
Here are a few tips for our customers who are experiencing power outages:
- Use caution and care around candles, portable heaters and generators.
- Limit the number of times that fridges and freezers are opened to minimize food spoilage. Alternatively, take frozen food and pack it in coolers to store outside.
- To avoid freezing pipes, keep the tap on so a small amount of water continues to flow through the pipes or turn off the water at the source and drain the taps. Flush toilets so water is drained from the appliance.
More safety tips can be found on the Ontario Community Safety and Correctional Services website.