Insurance for Low Mileage Maine Drivers

Many Mainers drive less than they did a year ago. By many accounts, we are logging about 30% fewer miles than this time last year. Should insurance companies reduce your car insurance rates as a result? Maybe. But it won’t happen automatically.

Here’s why.

2020 Driving Trends Affecting Car Insurance

Driving data indicates a dramatic change in behavior in Spring 2020. We all know why.

  • Fewer Miles Driven (but not by everyone).
    Many people are not working, or working from home. That means they’re driving less, and not as far. But essential workers and others continue to commute. Some people actually drive more than before, replacing lost income with new gigs.
  • What Rush Hour?
    With many offices closed, usual morning and evening congestion has almost disappeared. Those who are are driving do so at different times of day, spreading out road usage. That means less risky driving behavior such as hard stops and quick acceleration.
  • Increased Speeds
    With more open space on the road, average vehicle speed increased. Faster speeds and clearer roads can mean fewer but more serious crashes.

Is Your Car Insurance Priced Right?

You might deserve lower car insurance rates. But it won’t happen automatically.

Insurers probably won’t reduce rates across the board. That’s because they don’t know who’s driving less than before.

Car insurance often classifies usage into 3 categories:

  • Pleasure use – used around town and for personal errants. Not driven to work.
  • Commute – either short (less than 15 miles one way) or long (more than 15).
  • Business – such as a traveling sales person, trade contractor or other extensive use.

You may deserve lower car insurance rates.
But it won’t happen automatically.

Imagine two Scarborough neighbors. One commutes 7 miles on I-295 into their Portland office every day, parking on the street. The other drives 2 miles to teach at a local school, parking in the school lot. In the summer, the teacher doesn’t commute at all.

They’re rated the same, even though their drives are much different. The Portland worker pays too little, while the teacher overpays.

Customized Rating – Gaining Acceptance

New technology allow insurers to customize car insurance prices as never before. It’s called Usage Based Insurance, or UBI.

Using smartphones, customers share driving data with their insurance company. The insurer compares them to other customers. Safer drivers pay less; riskier ones might pay more. Insurance companies have their own brand for UBI: Progressive Snapshot; Safeco RightTrack; Travelers Intellidrive, and so on. Each one has slightly different features.

In prior years, consumers hesitated to share this data, often citing privacy concerns. That changed in 2020. Many are looking for ways to save money in this time of economic hardship and reduced driving. Almost 50% of people who responded to a JD Power 2020 survey were willing to try Usage Based Insurance (UBI).

Are Customized Insurance Rates Right For You?

Think you’re paying too much for Maine car insurance based on your driving? Interested in learning more about Usage Based Insurance? It’s not for everyone.

A Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent can help you decide if it’s right for you. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s top auto insurers, with and without UBI. Call our team in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

Test Drive: Auto Insurance Driving Monitor

I’ve been testing Travelers’ Intellidrive mobile app. It uses my smartphone to track the quantity, quality, timing and location of my driving. Several insurance companies offer similar apps, including Progressive Snapshot, Allstate and Safeco Right Track. Most offer an up-front discount to try it. They adjust your rates after 6 months to reflect your driving safety.

Travelers allowed me to install Intellidrive without association to an insurance policy. These apps, known as telematics, are becoming more widespread. Clients ask me about them. It’s easier to explain and advise clients if I’ve tried the app myself.

The COVID effect – Are We Driving Less?

Most of us are driving less during COVID time. Insurance companies should give us a break for that, right? Many of them did, with across-the-board refunds in April and May.

But we’re not all driving less. In larger cities, mass transit reductions have forced people to find other ways to get around. Some of us are back to work. Some are working from home; or not working at all. Others are driving even more than before, delivering food or passengers to pay the bills.

The COVID disruption was so fast and intense that insurance companies don’t have a lot of data to adjust rates. That’s why they love these driving monitoring devices.

How Telematics Works

Like most insurance company telematics apps, Travelers Intellidrive monitors:

  • Time of Day
  • Number of Miles Driven
  • Location of Driving
  • Acceleration, Hard Braking and Speed
  • Distracted Driving

It’s usually smart enough to know when you’re a driver vs. a passenger (you can re-classify a trip if the app goofed).

Hit all the targets, and you can earn up to a 20% rate cut with most insurers. High-risk driving will cost you a surcharge. The average rate effect for all drivers is minus 5%. Insurers say 70% of customers get some discount.

The app reports how you’re doing. If you don’t like the early results, you can opt out within 45 days without any penalty. You just lose the up-front discount.

Humans are Bad at Estimating Risk

Telematics are a great way to accurately price insurance to risk. Good drivers pay less. Most of us think we’re good drivers. But are we?

Humans tend to underestimate risk, and over-estimate their own driving skills. Memory is fleeting but data lives forever.

I often talk to people who say they “have a completely clean record”, but reports show otherwise. They’re not trying to lie; they just don’t remember. That time your car was hit in the parking lot? When the deer ran in front of you? Or you had a minor fender-bender but no damage? Those are all “incidents” to insurance companies. Like it or not, they indicate a higher chance of future losses.

What I Like About Telematics

  • I’d probably save money. I’m a low mileage driver. I use my bike for most errands and to commute. Intellidrive allows me to pay lower insurance premiums for reduced driving.
  • It gives good feedback. Intellidrive records “events” that adversely affect my rates. Those can be my fault, like speeding or rapid starts.
    Or they could have nothing to do with how I’m driving, but when. Driving very late or during rush hour is a higher risk.
    This knowledge can be helpful if you want to improve your driving safety. A parent could use it to keep eyes on a teen driver. The app has videos and other driver training tips, too.
  • I’m a data nerd. I like to monitor my sleep and exercise with a fitness tracker. Intellidrive is like a FitBit for my driving. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll like telematics.

Downsides to an Insurance Company Monitoring App

  • It collects a lot of data – for an insurance company. It tracks where and when I drive. That’s useful in calculating a fair price for my insurance. It’s also valuable to others who might want to know about me.
    I know: my smartphone, smart speaker and my Fitbit already have a lot of data about me. I trade my privacy with those vendors in exchange for the utility of the product or service.  
  • The insurance company owns that data. I’m sure the insurance company says “we’ll never sell your data”. But they might sell anonymized data. And data can be hacked. Or used against me if I’m in a crash or legal proceeding.

The Long Term Effect of Telematics

Attitudes about trading data for discounts are changing. More people are choosing to let auto insurers monitor their driving. As insurers gather more data, I expect higher rates for drivers who don’t choose to be monitored. There are two reasons for this:

  • The risk of uncertainty. Insurers set rates based on experience. Telematics allow them to project your chances of loss, tied directly to your behavior. Without that data about you, insurers will want to charge a “risk premium.”
  • Adverse selection. Remember the “opt out” option? If your driving score projects a surcharge, you can bail out within the first 45 days, with no rate penalty. As telematics become more pervasive, underwriters may assume that people who decline monitoring are higher risk drivers – and warrant higher rates.

Would I Sign up for Telematics?

If I could own the data, I’d be all in. I’d like to see a driving app that I control. I want to own my driving data and decide who to share it with. I expect that would cost something. You know what they say: if it’s free, you’re the product.

If I owned the data and wanted to shop my insurance, I could export a report from my app to my agent. They could check prices and recommend coverage. The insurance companies could access my scores, but not my data. That’s the kind of telematics I would sign up for.

But I may do it anyway. Privacy is an illusion in our wired society. My smart speaker probably listens a lot more than I think it does. I share my location via smartphone for the utility of real-time maps, traffic data, and more. And auto insurance is a big-ticket item. Everyone likes to save money.

Are We At the Tipping Point?

Telematics will reach a point where the cost difference will be hard to ignore. It’s probably already there for someone who drives as little as I do. And it may be for you, too, during COVID time.

Do you live in Maine and have questions about low mileage auto insurance discounts? Want to know more about Progressive Snapshot, Travelers Intellidrive or Safeco RightTrack? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of preferred auto insurers to help you find the right fit. We’re independent and committed to you.

Doing Insurance Business Safely and Remotely

Right now, staying apart is staying safe. That includes when you buy insurance, file a claim, and repair vehicles or property.

Insurance is more necessary than ever. People value stability in uncertain times. Insurance delivers. You can do your insurance business in a low-contact, safe manner. You don’t have to sacrifice personal advice and service. Here’s how.

GET NO-TOUCH INSURANCE QUOTES

  • Get insurance quotes online. Most insurance agencies and companies offer online auto and home insurance quotes. Enter information about your vehicles and property and get quotes back. A good independent insurance agency can deliver several quotes at once. That helps you compare.
  • Get advice, not just quotes. It’s hard to know if you’re asking for the proper coverage online, or to compare the quotes you receive. That’s why most people prefer to consult an agent before they actually buy a policy. A tech-savvy insurance agent should be available by text, video or real-time chat as well as phone and email.

BUY INSURANCE REMOTELY

  • Read and sign documents electronically with e-mail, text and e-signature. These tools allow you to read and sign applications from anywhere. All you need is a computer or mobile device.
  • Use contactless payment. Most insurers accept credit cards or electronic checks using your bank account info. No need to leave home and go to the insurance office.

AVOID INSURANCE PEOPLE COMING TO YOUR HOME

Many insurers allow customers to complete a self-inspection. That usually involves answering questions about your home’s systems and emailing pictures.

In case of a claim, avoid an insurance company appraiser’s visit. Email or upload photos of your damage to the insurance adjuster.

CONTACT-FREE INSURANCE SERVICE and PAYMENTS

  • Use mobile apps. Most insurers have them. Download and use them to request changes, check on billing, make payments and file claims.
  • Don’t want to use an app? You can do many of the same things over the phone, email, video or text chat with your agent.

GET VIRTUAL INSURANCE COVERAGE REVIEWS

Modern tools allow you to meet virtually with your Insurance agent. They can even share documents with you by video. You can get personal service and answers to your questions quickly and safely, without leaving home.

DOWNLOAD INSURANCE DOCUMENTS

You don’t have to go into the insurance office to get policy documents. Here are some other ways:

  • Your insurance company’s app. Get documents on your mobile device.
  • Register for an insurance company account. Set one up and download the documents to your computer.
  • Use your agency account. Tech-forward insurance agencies offer online access. These allow you to view your policy information and download insurance documents.
  • Ask your agent to email or text your document to you.

FILE CLAIMS FROM THE SCENE

  1. Report online. Use your insurer’s mobile app to start a claim. Or register for a free account with your insurance company, and file online.
  2. Call the insurance company directly to report your claim.
  3. Call your agent who can explain your coverage, answer questions and help you file a claim.

DON’T SACRIFICE PERSONAL SERVICE

One advantage of having a local agent is that we know you and live where you do. That’s more important than ever in this era of physical separation.

Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance is a forward-thinking agency. We’ve invested in tools and ideas to provide personal advice to you easily and safely. Do you prefer text, video, phone, or a combination of all? Any way, you can get a local agent’s trusted insurance advice without venturing to our office.

Are you looking for a Maine insurance agent who can serve you safely in uncertain times? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. Or visit noyeshallallen.com.

Stay safe!

How to Reduce Car Insurance Costs for Maine Teen Drivers

Car insurance is expensive for teenagers in Maine and everywhere else. Parents worry about their kids’ driving. So do insurance companies. For good reason.

Statistics show that new drivers are the most likely to have an accident. Experience matters. Newly licensed teenagers often need more driving time to learn to anticipate and avoid hazards. Even after they gain experience, teens judge risk differently than adults.

Will my teenager be a good driver?

Some drivers are better than others. It’s hard to predict. Even responsible teens and honor roll students can be terrible drivers. We all know that being tentative on the road can be almost as dangerous as aggressive driving.

We know these factors increase the likelihood of crashes for all drivers:

  • distracted or tired driving; 
  • alcohol or drug use; 
  • late night driving; 
  • traveling in unfamiliar areas; 
  • quick stops and starts. 

How much will it cost to insure my teen driver?

Modern auto insurance pricing is sophisticated and secretive. You and your neighbor may be the same age. You may drive identical vehicles. Have similar commutes and accident records. You could still pay very different prices for car insurance. How much insurance you buy obviously affects the price you pay.

So do;

  • credit scores;
  • how long you’ve been a customer of that insurance company;
  • how long you’ve lived in your home;
  • whether you bundle your home and auto insurance.

Rate complexity makes it almost impossible to predict exactly how much your new driver will add to your insurance costs. Years ago, agents could easily do “what if” quotes. No longer. Today, they need detailed information about each driver and vehicle. Your agent may be able to estimate the cost close to the time you’re adding a new driver.

How can I tell if my teenager is driving safely?

A generation ago, parents relied on neighbors and friends to report if their teen drove recklessly around town. Now, mobile apps can track where, when and how your teen drives.

Your teen probably won’t be pleased to know that you monitor them. But driving data can also bring peace of mind to teens and parents. Because they track location, mobile apps can request roadside assistance or direct tow trucks or first responders.

Many telematics apps feature a scorecard so teens can compare their driving to their peers and improve. Some parents use these scorecards to coach their teens.

Can I assign drivers to certain vehicles on my car insurance?

Some insurance companies consider your teen to be a principal operator if you have a vehicle for every driver. If you have more drivers than cars, many insurers allow you to name one driver as an occasional operator. Principal drivers cost more than occasional ones. Makes sense. 

Some insurance companies let you assign drivers to vehicles. Others use a “blended rate” method. In a blended rate scenario, you can’t assign your 2018 Mercedes to you and your 2000 Honda to your child.

Whether your insurance company uses blended rates or not, more vehicles mean higher premiums.

Recently, a top Maine insurer introduced a new way for parents to save money on teenage car insurance. They let you designate vehicles that your child never drives. You pay a lower rate to insure those vehicles. But, if your child does drive one, you’ll pay a big deductible in case of a crash.

How can I reduce the cost of insuring my teenage driver?

Check with your agent. Each insurance company files their own rates with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. Some insurers charge more than others for young drivers. Some use blended rates, others assign vehicles. 

Discounts vary by insurer, too. Maine auto insurance companies commonly offer discounts for:

  • Honor roll or dean’s list students
  • Driver training classes
  • Students living away at school without a vehicle.
  • Monitoring via mobile app
  • Specialized online driving courses for teen drivers

Get Auto Insurance Quotes for Your Teenage Driver in Maine

Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland offers a choice of many insurance companies. Get several quotes with one phone call to 207-799-5541. Or request a Maine auto insurance quote online. We can help you find the best value and fit for your family. We’re independent and committed to you.

Access Your Maine Insurance Policy Info 24/7

We’re pleased to introduce a new feature for clients of Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance. Now, you can access policy documents and information from our secure web site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Lost your Maine auto insurance card? Want to check on your coverage at night or on the weekend?  You can log on easily and get the information you need in two minutes or less. Here’s how.

Step 1 – Visit NoyesHallAllen.com


Look for the “My Account” icon on the upper right of the page (or in the list on a mobile phone). It opens to a drop-down menu. Select an option.

 

Step 2 – Log In Using Your Email Address

You must use the email address that our agency has on file for you. This is usually the one that we have emailed correspondence to in the past. Let us know if we should use a different email address.

 

Step 3 – Log In With a Secure Verification Code 

This is sent instantly to your mobile device or your email address. This code helps keep your personal information in your hands alone. It expires after 5 minutes.

 

Step 4 – Choose the Policy or Documents You Want

The default view is “policies. This allows you to view the details of your coverage by clicking “view policy” below the snapshot.(click on the image for a larger version)

Note that there’s an option to switch to “documents” as well as the default “policies”.

 

If you want to download your insurance cards, choose “documents” click “download” on the right. You can print or save them to your device from there. By law, Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, city and town halls and law enforcement officers accept electronic proof of insurance. You aren’t required to produce a paper copy.

(click on the image for an enlarged verson)

 

We hope that you enjoy the convenience of 24/7 access to your insurance policy information.

Please note:
1) Most insurance companies share their information with us electronically in a compatible form with this feature. If your documents aren’t available, call us and we can send them to you.

2) The policy information on the Client Center is a very simplified recap of your policy. You may have purchased endorsements that the Client Center can’t show, so your coverage might be different. Your insurance policy is always the definitive document of your insurance coverage.

Are Drones Covered by Maine Homeowners or Business Insurance?

Flying Drone

Innovative Maine businesses use drones to literally get a new perspective on their operations.  Land owners survey lots and buildings. Engineers use photos from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in project work.  Photographers and videographers use drones to capture unique images and videos. Marketers use or hire them to create compelling and disruptive visual content. Even individual hobby fliers own drones now.

 

 

Drones: A Money Saving Investment

High quality drones and UAVs are not cheap. It’s easy to invest $15,000 or more in a good quality industrial setup, including cameras and software. Still, that can be a lot less expensive than renting an airplane or helicopter, and offers much more control and flexibility. It’s also safer than sending an employee up on a ladder or bucket to inspect facilities at height. The price of hobby drones has dropped a lot in the last few years. You can find them for less than $1500.

Legal Issues for Drones in Maine

The FAA requires registration of drones and UAVs weighing more than 0.55 lbs. The maximum weight permitted is 55 lbs. Permitted location and other rules vary between pleasure and business use. A remote pilot airman certificate is required as well.

Drone owners and operators face many of the same liability issues as other aircraft pilots. The low altitude operation of UAVs can also create privacy and property issues. Some examples:

  • Injuring someone, either directly, or by causing an auto accident
  • Damaging property by striking it
  • Invasion of privacy or trespass

Even if a claim against you is not valid, defending yourself can cost many thousands of dollars in legal fees in Maine.

Drones are NOT Covered by Standard Insurance Policies

Because drones are considered unmanned aircraft, and subject to FAA regulation, they are excluded from coverage on homeowners or business liability policies. The Maine Bureau of Insurance recommends that you buy separate insurance for your drone. We agree.

Up to now, few insurers have offered insurance on drones. One of our company partners, Acadia Insurance recently introduced a liability insurance plan for businesses that use drones as an incidental part of their ordinary operations.

If you or your Maine business uses a drone or other UAV, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207.799.5541. We’d love to hear how you’re using this innovative technology for fun or business. We can help you manage your risk. We’re independent and committed to you.

Rideshare Insurance for Uber & Lyft in Maine

 

Does Your Auto Insurance Protect You?

Many Maine drivers are thinking about making some extra cash by driving for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. They often ask us if how their personal auto insurance company would respond.

Personal Insurance Does NOT Cover Rideshare Driving

As soon as you turn on the app and make yourself available to pick up a guest, you turn OFF your Maine auto insurance policy – at least all of the policies we’re aware of. Your insurance company should deny any claim – collision, liability, uninsured motorist, medical payments, rental or towing – that occurred while you were available for hire or driving a customer.

Do Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies Protect Maine Drivers?

Knowing that personal insurance policies do not cover livery (driving for a fee), rideshare companies have obtained blanket insurance policies to cover their drivers. Most companies seem to be insured with James River Insurance, based in Richmond, VA, and rated A- by A.M. Best. These policies cover you pretty well when you’re carrying a customer – but not when you’re simply available and waiting for a customer request. This chart shows when coverage applies, and how much.

RideShare Insurance in Maine

 

What are the Risks of Being an Uber Driver?

As you can see from the chart above, the insurance provided by Uber, Lyft and similar companies leave important gaps that could cost you a lot – especially in Period One, when you have the app on and are awaiting a ride request.

DURING “PERIOD ONE”:

  • Injury from an uninsured or under-insured driver. If you are waiting for a ride request and someone rear-ends you at a stop light, their liability insurance should pay for the damage to your car, and your medical bills and lost wages. But, what if they have no insurance – or not enough? Uber and Lyft policies do not pay anything to repair your car. And, because their uninsured motorist coverage drops to state minimum limits during that time, you would have little or no coverage for your medical bills.
  • Liability to Others for Injury or Property Damage. Imagine you’re waiting for a ride request. You decide to stop for a coffee. When you pull in, you accidentally step on the gas instead of the brake, plowing into the front of the coffee shop. Your rideshare insurance will only cover state minimum liability limits for injuries to others or damage to property. Because your personal auto policy doesn’t cover you during this time, you’re out of luck if damages are higher. You’ll be responsible for paying for the damages. That could mean a lot of fares in your future just to repay the damage.
  • Damage to Your Car. Rideshare insurance policies don’t pay for damage to your car from crashes, vandalism, theft or fire. If you have a loan on your vehicle, you could find yourself making payments on a car you cannot drive. And you won’t be able to make more money via driving since your vehicle is out of commission.
  • Your Insurance Company Might Cancel Your Policy. Many drivers fail to notify their auto insurance company when they start to drive for a rideshare company. And for good reason: even  though they don’t cover your rideshare activities, insurance companies generally don’t like the idea. Your vehicle is on the road a lot more, possibly at odd hours and unfamiliar locations. Even if you’re driving a customer and have collision coverage under the Uber or Lyft insurance policy, they require you to first report it to your insurance company and be denied coverage. That can be an uncomfortable conversation, and it can attract the attention of the insurance company, which may then cancel your personal policy.

Know the Consequences Before You Become an Uber Driver in Maine

It’s tempting to make some extra money during your spare time. Just know that the opportunity comes with risks. Rideshare companies are eager to sign up new drivers, and may gloss over the risks and limitations of their insurance program. Make sure you understand them before you get behind the wheel for a rideshare company.

If you have questions about your Maine auto insurance, contact  Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

 

Uber Comes to Portland Maine: Are Uber Drivers Insured?

 

Rideshare service Uber began operating in Portland Maine at noon on October 2. Uber and its top competitor Lyft are innovative, efficient, popular – and controversial. uber screenshotEverywhere Uber and Lyft pop up, local lawmakers scramble to address it. Taxi operators and other livery drivers rail against it. And insurance companies caution drivers who might think about joining the Uber fleet.

Are Uber Drivers Insured?

If they have a personal auto policy, their own insurance will not cover them while they’re driving someone for a fee. Period. Every PAP excludes coverage while a vehicle is being used as a “public livery or conveyance“, which basically means driving others for hire. An Uber driver in an accident shouldn’t count on their personal insurance helping out.

You can’t blame insurance companies for that. If you’re driving for Uber, you’re probably driving more miles and hours than you otherwise would. You might be in areas unfamiliar to you, under time constraints, and at hours with higher congestion or impaired operators on the road. All of those increase the likelihood you could have an accident.

The Good News
Uber’s web site says that the service provides a commercial insurance policy with a $1 million limit per incident, including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. That’s more than 90% of drivers in Maine have. It also provides $50,000 of “contingent comprehensive and collision insurance”, which should pay for repairs to an Uber driver’s vehicle as a result of an accident during an Uber trip.

Not So Good News
Uber’s insurance drops to to $50,000 per person for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage “between trips” – the absolute minimum limits allowed in Maine. That’s inadequate for most people who want to protect their assets or future earnings from an expensive lawsuit.

Uber says that most auto insurance policies will provide coverage during the time that the driver is logged on available for hire  but between trips. Talk is cheap. Don’t count on an insurance company seeing it the same way. When presented with a claim, expect an insurance company to say you were engaged in livery, just not actively driving someone – and deny your claim.

What Kind of Insurance Should an Uber Driver Have?
The only type guaranteed to cover you is a business auto policy, rated as livery use. If you insure your car with Maine commercial vehicle insurance  and are upfront about your Uber driving, you should be covered.

 Is Uber Rideshare Service Safe to Use?
If you’re thinking of taking a ride from Uber, you can expect that the driver has insurance while you’re in the vehicle. That includes if you’re hit by someone with no insurance. If you have a personal auto policy, you also have Medical Payments coverage (usually $5,000 or less) for minor medical expenses.

If you have questions about Portland Maine auto insurance or Maine business insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

Data Breach! Protect Your Maine Business With Cyber Liability Insurance

 

Every week we hear news of another household brand name suffering a data breach. Hannaford, Target, TJ Maxx, Shaw’s, Home Depot…the list goes on.

But local businesses are not immune from hacking. Many Maine small businesses – and their customers – were shocked recently to hear about a breach at two Portland, Maine locations of Otto Pizza, a local favorite.

Otto Pizza responded to the breach candidly, and with personal comments that struck at the heart of any local business owner:

Quote from Otto Pizza about theft of their customers' data

Cyber attacks are a constant threat to your Maine office, retail store or professional practice. You no longer have to be a “big fish” to be a target. Hackers, phishers and the like are always looking for low-hanging fruit in the form of networks with poor security. After beefing up your security, you should insure your Maine business against data breach in case it does happen.

How Do Data Breaches Happen?

Some common scenarios that can lead to data breach in your business or professional practice:

  • Unauthorized access – hackers gain access to your POS system or computer network.
  • Theft of Computers – Someone steals your laptop, backup data or server that holds customer or employee personal information.
  • Improper Disposal of client or patient records.
  • Human Error – your bookkeeper mixes up 1099 forms and mails them in the wrong envelopes, exposing personal information to others.

 

Sobering Data Breach Statistics

 

infographic: Statistics about business data breaches

 

 

 What Does Data Breach Cyber Liability Insurance Pay For?

What does Cyber Liability Insurance pay for?

Cost of Maine Cyber Liability Insurance

Data breach protection is a surprisingly affordable addition to most Maine small business insurance portfolios. Coverage for basic limits such as $10,000 first party and $25,000 third party are available for premiums as low as $150 per year.

What to Do in Case of a Data Breach at Your Business

  1. Notify the police immediately
  2. Report the breach to your business insurance agent or company
  3. Take all steps to protect any confidential data remaining in your control.
  4. Preserve all evidence of the breach itself.

For answers to your Maine business insurance questions, including data breach and cyber liability insurance, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We represent many insurance companies so we can help you find the best insurance fit for your business and budget. We’re independent and committed to you.

FMI:

Payment Card Security Standards

CyberRisk 2014 White Paper by Insurance Information Institute

Can I Replace Building Materials With Green Ones After an Insurance Claim?

 

Portland, Maine is a hotbed of green living. Maybe its our proximity to the sea and mountains. Or the people we attract from around the USA and the world. Whatever the reason, many Portlanders care about the environment, and make lifestyle choices accordingly.

Our farm-to-table game is strong. The cool kids here buy local, with Portland Buy Local and South Portland Cape Elizabeth Buy Local leading the charge. The cities of Portland and South Portland are converting landfills to solar farms. We have an award-winning private community composting service, Garbage to Garden. We even discuss green living over beer at Portland Greendrinks.

It’s only natural that many locals choose to repair or replace any damage to their home with “green” materials and technology. Now, they may be able to get help from their insurance companies. “Off the shelf” home or condo insurance won’t pay to replace your old oil boiler with super-efficient heat pumps. Or replace your water heater with a solar setup after a fire. Fortunately, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance represents  insurance companies that will.

Going Beyond What You Lost

Traditional homeowners or condo insurance is designed to put you in the same condition after a loss that you were before (“indemnity”, in legalese). Your insurance company promises to replace the items you lost with “like kind and quality”. If your home had green materials, the insurance company will replace them. If you didn’t have them before, you can upgrade at your own additional cost.

Upgrade to Green Materials After Your Home is Damaged

Say your home had traditional materials and technology, and you suffered a fire. You want to replace what you lost with greener options, like bamboo flooring, solar and geothermal heating, low-VOC paints, and high efficiency insulation. Some of these may save money in the long run, but initially cost more than their traditional counterparts. Basic insurance policies only pay to replace what you lost with “like kind and quality”. But there are options.

Two Insurers that Pay for Green Upgrades

In response to customer demand, Concord Group and Travelers, have introduced “green home insurance endorsements”. These provide an additional amount of coverage to replace with environmentally-friendly, non-toxic or energy efficient options. Usually, there is a maximum amount of additional coverage as well.

These endorsements are inexpensive – often $2-3 a month. 

Would You Choose to Rebuild or Repair “Green”?

We can help. For Greater Portland Maine home, condo or vacation home insurance, contact Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541. Because we’re a locally-owned Trusted Choice Independent Insurance agency, we offer choice among many insurance companies.

We’ll help you find the best value for your individual circumstance. Of course, we also offer Maine auto, motorcycle and boat insurance and insurance for Maine businesses as well. We’re always happy to answer your insurance questions.

Contact your Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent  at 207-799-5541 for details. We’re independent and committed to you.