Category: Tips Finance

July 5th, 2015 by usop

Cyber security has become a growing concern for U.S. companies over the past couple of years, and for good reason. Information breaches have not only become increasingly common, but also much larger. Nothing illustrates the state of modern web security quite as well as the most recent breach, which saw hackers target the IRS by exploiting faulty security to compromise over 100,000 taxpayer records.

Similar breaches have also affected much smaller companies, and it’s common to see a forward-thinking insurance company racing to adapt. Here is what you need to know to determine if, first, you’re actually in need of cyber insurance and, second, what you should look for in a policy.

Are You At Risk?

If you work with customer information of any kind, then the answer is likely yes. The term to look out for here is Personally Identifiable Information, or PII. It’s not a technical term, but rather a legal term that carries some teeth if you have to deal with it.

At its root, PII is any piece of collected information that could potentially allow a third party to identify a business’s individual clients. Given how good the Internet is at leveraging even tiny hints to track down a person, that definition is awfully broad. Full names, email addresses, site nicknames, and (sometimes) even web cookies can all qualify as PII.

If you’re storing anything that falls under the PII umbrella, you’re at risk of a breach. Breaches are enormously costly, both for affected customers and for the company responsible for the loss. Companies in the healthcare and retail industries are obviously at an increased risk, but when it comes down to it, any business that makes a habit of collecting information should ask their insurance company about cyber policies.

What Your Cyber Policy Needs

You’ll need to look for a few things in any cyber insurance policy. As you may expect, a good policy should cover the financial damages directly caused by a breach. However, cyber attacks can cause financial damage in a wide variety of ways. In particular, make sure that your company is protected against:

– Losses caused by lost time and productivity. A major hack can cause company gears to grind to a halt. Find an insurance company that guarantees coverage for the revenue lost during this period.
– Indemnification caused by a third party. Few modern companies handle their data on their own. Outsourced IT support or other companies can fall victim to a breach that affects your customers.
– Loss of Reputation. Breached companies, even those that have done their due diligence, almost always take a PR hit in the wake of an attack. A good policy offers some cushioning against the customer losses that generally ensue.

Finally, also try your best to work with an insurance company that has an educational component. Some plans will also come with training to avoid a breach. As nice as protection is, it’s safe to say that it’s best left unused. Installing a set of best practices can help keep you from having to rely on a safety net in the first place.

Posted in Insurance, Tips Finance

July 5th, 2015 by usop

Insurance is great. Yes, it can be a hassle to find. Sorting out the pricing and policies can be complicated. So what if the whole thing could be made as easy as pushing a button? The great news is that it almost has.

What Makes it Frustrating

Making the monthly payment on a premium can be frustrating, but it’s easy. Once you file a claim, you realize how much that monthly payment was worth it. Finding the right policy, on the other hand, can be a challenge. There are policies for your home, condo, apartment, motorcycle, car, and health. Also, there are many different companies. Getting insurance quotes from each carrier can take much more time than you have available. Once people find coverage, they rarely re-evaluate it to see if it is still the best option available.

Technological Evolutions

Luckily, the Internet has revolutionized insurance quotes. Trained agents can help you identify what your priorities are and which policy best meets your individual needs. Filling out a simple form online can generate quotes from several major carriers at once. Many agencies are also now able to incorporate smaller, more specialized carriers into their networks as well. The ability to organize and sort through so much information so quickly has made getting insurance quotes almost push-button simple.

Working Closely with an Agent

Getting a variety of insurance quotes is just the first step. The most affordable policy may not be the one that best meets your needs. Understanding the often complex policy language can be a daunting task. At this point, it is essential to get a trained agent involved. Like many service professionals today, agents are highly trained and strictly regulated. They are a personal part of their clients’ lives because they are helping to protect the most valuable aspects of a client’s life: their health, home, and family. You should be able to work closely with an agent who knows you and understands your priorities.

Your agent can sit down with you and evaluate each of the quotes individually. Together, you can structure a comprehensive package that addresses your coverage needs and financial commitments. The package may consist of the best policies from several carriers or a single umbrella. The use of digital technology allows for highly personalized packages of coverage. With access to so many quotes and coverage options at your fingertips, what you decide to do is up to you.

Obviously finding a safe level of coverage is not something you want to put off until you need it. The task of obtaining insurance quotes and sorting through coverage packages used to prevent people from shopping for insurance. New technology and highly trained agents have simplified the process. Highly personalized packages can provide better coverage and save you money. If you haven’t looked at your insurance lately, now is a great time.

Posted in Insurance, Tips Finance

July 5th, 2015 by usop

For a car dealer, competition can be tough, and the trick to creating brand and business loyalty is to lure in the next generation. Many have tried to produce interesting ads featuring hip-hop music, computer graphics, and cutting-edge humor, but they have found that that really isn’t enough to pull in the generation known as the “millennials.” This demographic has been notoriously hard to reach, and television advertising to the younger buyer is nearly a moot point in the age of DVR recordings, YouTube, and Netflix.

The age group’s importance to auto sellers is also compounded by the fact that they have much less interest in driving than those in previous generations. However, there are still recent high school and college grads that are ready to become proud owners of their first vehicles that are not registered to Mom and Dad. So, how can a car dealer cater to these new consumers? Here are a few things that vehicle sellers can do to maximize their sales to young adults:

1. Recognize The Extent Of Their Smartphone Dependence

Young adults these days use their smartphones as electronic guides to the world. Why wouldn’t they? After all, they don’t really know life any differently. This demographic relies on their phone, or better yet, the Internet, to get directions to the dealership, find reviews, get showroom hours, and browse inventory. Therefore, the savvy car dealer will ensure that he or she has an updated and informative, mobile-friendly website, and perhaps even a mobile app.

2. Respect The Fact That They Have Already Done Their Research

Many vehicle salespeople get frustrated when attempting to pitch various automobile models to college-aged clients. Younger drivers already spend countless hours researching each automobile online to see if all their standards are met. After doing their homework, most of the adults in this age group visit the car dealer after their choices have already been narrowed down to one or two models.

3. Get Straight To The Point Without Gimmicks

Many millennials already have quotes from up to four competing sellers at the time that they walk through the door of a dealership. In this day and age, many younger auto buyers realize that they have the power and opportunity to leave a seller as soon as they hear something that they don’t want to hear.

Google’s statistics have shown that most adults in their early twenties tend to visit an average of 25 websites before they decide to purchase an automobile. This only reinforces the idea that an informative website is crucial for modern-day marketing. Auto sellers should also take note that young adults prefer quick responses to any online inquiries that they send through the seller’s website. Many young consumers wish to hear from the business immediately, not after several hours or days.

Hopefully, each neighborhood car dealer will eventually understand these modern ideas so they may earn the business of the next generation of consumers. Just like any other industry, automobile sellers will have to research the methods used by younger customers to shop for vehicles, and incorporate what they find into unique ways to market to that audience.

Posted in Automotive, Buying Selling Auctions, Tips Finance

July 5th, 2015 by usop

In this day and age of Internet boards and surveys, more car businesses are concerned with customer satisfaction than ever before. Sales people who have high satisfaction ratings could be in for higher bonuses and other incentives. Dealerships can even earn special rankings with the manufacturer.

Talk to Friends, Family, and Co-workers

When on the search for car dealers to purchase from, start by talking to friends and family. They are going to be the ones to give the most honest opinion of their latest car buying experience. They will want to steer their loved ones to someone who isn’t going to try to scam them out of their money or intentionally sell them a bad car.

When talking to friends and family, ask detailed questions to understand whether or not it was actually a dealership’s fault if something went wrong. Sometimes the person will blame the dealer rather than themselves in the event of a bad deal. It is important to know all the details before making a decision.

Shop Away From Home and Online For Best Price

It doesn’t hurt to take the shopping online, at least to get an idea of what is available. Car buyers that go into a dealership with the information in hand may find that less time is spent negotiating, and the overall experience is much better. While online, take the time to cruise some of the seller reviews to see how other people’s buying experience went.

It is important to shop around when looking for a car. Dealerships can vary on price by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Some showrooms have a greater variety and may be able to get the customer a vehicle in a different color or even lower mileage.

While it is tempting to stick close to home to find a vehicle, it might be a good idea to broaden the search further from home. Starting further out will give the buyer a better idea of what some sellers are asking for the same car.

Car dealers that are located closer to home have a tendency to see these customers as neighbors. Even if the car on their lot is a higher price, they may be willing to meet a competitor’s price for their local client. On occasion, they may even beat the price in order to keep the sale within the neighborhood.

With the changes in how people spend their money and how they insist on being treated, fewer bad apples makes the whole car buying experience that much sweeter.

Posted in Automotive, Buying Selling Auctions, Tips Finance