Am I Protected from Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a serious crime, and one that is increasing at an alarming rate. Victims should have some way of recovering their financial losses when it happens, but this type of theft is not covered by a basic homeowner’s insurance policy.

Identity theft coverage is available in most states as an optional endorsement on a homeowner’s insurance policy, and it is important to understand the benefit of purchasing this extra coverage.

Identity theft is the taking and using of your name and other personal information, including your home address, date of birth, credit card, and bank account details. If this information is stolen, a criminal can use your personal details to take out a bank loan, to withdraw money from your bank account, or to use your credit card.

More than three million Americans have recently experienced illegal use of their credit cards, according to a recent survey compiled by the US Federal Trade Commission.

Many victims of identity theft have seen unauthorized withdrawals from their personal bank account.

You may think your identity is secure if you shred all your bank statements and credit card receipts, and you take care never to reveal passwords or banking information, but it is relatively easy for a fraudster to obtain enough information about you to steal your identity, using the internet and offline.

Almost fifty percent of personal information used by identity thieves is taken from stolen laptops, lost memory sticks or other portable devices used to store data. A stolen passport, a driver’s license, or any personal documentation obtained by theft can be sold on, or used for fraudulent purposes.

Confidential information may also be gathered by fraudsters by making deceptive telephone calls or from establishing personal contact, by sending out fake emails, or using spyware that can be downloaded onto a computer when someone downloads a file, or opens an attachment in an email.

When your identity has been used fraudulently, it can take a lot of time and trouble for you
to prove that you are not personally responsible for any loans, debts, large financial transactions or serious crimes carried out by someone else using your identity.

While the fraud is being investigated, you will experience difficulties in obtaining a loan, getting a new credit card, or applying for a mortgage, until it is resolved.

There may be legal costs to be paid, or a loan may be necessary to cover your legal defense, and there will be additional expenses involved in replacing important documents. You may need to take unpaid leave from work during this process, resulting in further loss of earnings.

Having an identity theft endorsement on your Homeowners policy ensures that you and your family will be covered up to $15,000 for expenses incurred as the direct result of identity fraud.

Every year more people are becoming victims of identity theft, so it is well worth considering the benefits of paying the additional cost for identity theft coverage, as an endorsement on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Homesite Home Insurance. (2009, March 5). Does My Homeowners Insurance Protect Me in the Case of Idenity Theft?

Concerned about your personal insurance coverage? At Cleary, our experienced Personal Lines department will work with you to evaluate your insurance needs, identify exposures, and create a customized insurance portfolio. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700

Insta-Brite Mobile Washing, Inc.

Client Spotlight

Spring is the perfect time of the year to spotlight one of our long-term clients, Insta-Brite Mobile Washing, Inc.

For over 40 years, Insta-Brite Mobile Washing, Inc. has been distinguished as the premier provider of pressure washing and related cleaning services. They are focused on meeting their customers’ needs, including reliability, responsiveness, and consistent quality.  Their clients highly recommend Insta-Brite and all agree on their exceptional service!

They are located in Whitman, Massachusetts, and operate a fleet of 16 mobile units which are operated by professionals dedicated to solving each of their customers’ unique facility, residential, kitchen, and fleet cleaning challenges.

Ocean Marine Insurance

Presented by Michael Regan

The cousin to “inland” marine insurance is “ocean” marine insurance; which is insurance that protects goods and vessels in waterways and oceans around the world.

The following are examples of available coverages:

  • Hull insurance to cover loss to the vessel itself
  • Freight insurance to cover loss to cargo
  • Protection & Indemnity (P&I) which provides owners of vessels liability coverage for damage to property of others or bodily injury to others

Bluewater coverage is for ocean going risks and brown water coverage is for risks on lakes and rivers.

Some examples of commercial ocean marine risks are: cargo vessels, tug boats, marinas, and offshore drilling rigs.

An example of personal ocean marine risk is personal watercraft, including sailboats, yachts and wave runners.

Ocean marine insurance is an integral part of international trade. It is believed that the insuring of vessels and cargo began back with the Phoenicians around 100 BC.

The term “underwriter” began at a London coffehouse owned by Edward Lloyd.  Individuals willing to insure vessels and cargo would write their names under the vessel’s name.
At Cleary, we will evaluate your business exposures and work with you to develop a comprehensive plan to safeguard your businessGive us a call today at 617-723-0700.

Fidelity Bond (ERISA) Vs. Fiduciary Liability Insurance

Fidelity Bond (ERISA)

A fidelity bond protects a business against theft of its assets as a result of dishonest actions by employees. It does not cover the assets within a company’s retirement plan because plan assets are not the property of the company, but of the plan beneficiaries.

The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was put into place to safeguard employee retirement plans.  Among other things, it requires the posting of an ERISA fidelity bond to protect the retirement plan from losses caused by fraudulent or dishonest acts by persons who handle the plan.

A plan must be bonded for no less than 10% of the amount of the plan funds.  In most cases, the maximum ERISA bond required is $500,000 per plan, however higher limits are available.  They are issued on a “blanket” basis, so everyone who handles the plan is covered.

Fiduciary Liability Insurance

Fiduciary liability insurance provides coverage for breaches of duty by ERISA plan fiduciaries.  Fiduciaries are those responsible for operating and administering a retirement plan under ERISA.  Some of these duties include:  authority and management over plan assets, making high-quality prudent decisions, documenting and rendering investment advice over the plan’s assets.  Unlike the fidelity bond, fiduciary liability insurance also offers fiduciaries protection of personal assets.  Fiduciaries who breach their duties may be personally liable to make the plan whole for any losses caused by their breach, including lost opportunity and litigation costs.  Fiduciary liability insurance can be purchased as part of an organizations management liability insurance program or on a stand-alone basis.

At Cleary, we will evaluate your business exposures and work with you to develop a comprehensive plan to safeguard your business. Give us a call today at 617-723-0700.