Remote working posts serious new risks you probably haven’t considered

Changing times demand a change in the way you insure your business. Are you covered? Remote working is rapidly becoming the new norm for many companies. Even before the pandemic, telecommuting increased by 115% in the past decade. And it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.

Many companies will continue to work remotely even after the pandemic ends. This requires a number of revisions to how businesses operate. And something most might not consider reviewing is their business insurance.

Have you reviewed your policy lately? While it’s likely that you have the usual property insurance, business interruption insurance, and general liability, it’s important to make sure that you’re covered for the unique situations that come with remote working.

Protect your company’s physical assets

Commercial property insurance is designed to protect equipment, inventory, and other assets. It will reimburse you for any business property that is lost, damaged, or stolen from your physical office.

Standard commercial property insurance covers property that is in your office, but it may exclude or reduce coverage for any property that’s taken out of the office.

It’s important to check that your commercial property insurance will cover a laptop or other equipment used by remote workers. Your employee might have homeowners or renters’ insurance, but it probably won’t pay to replace any employer-owned property.

Check with your insurance agent to ensure you’re covered.

Protect company data

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the UK National Cybersecurity Center have warned about the increased activity of malicious hackers using COVID-19-related subjects. No one is immune – these hackers target individuals, small businesses, and even large corporations with phishing and scams.

Hackers are also taking advantage of the move to remote working, looking for any vulnerability in remote software, working tools, and virtual private networks.

It’s likely that your current business insurance only has limited cyber coverage if any. Check your policy; you’ll probably need a separate cyber insurance policy. You should consider your business’ risk factors, and whether you need things like preventative guidance and legal cost reimbursement. 

Make sure your cyber policy:

  • Protects against liability from the disclosure, unsanctioned use, or destruction of any protected proprietary and confidential information
  • Reimburses any costs to comply with any security breach law
  • Covers the cost of hiring a computer forensic consultant
  • Covers the costs of recovering your company reputation if there is a data breach and includes any costs to set up call centers and/or credit monitoring services for any customers affected
  • Reimburses you if you are extorted by a hacker
  • Includes liability coverage for incidents that come from a failure or break of your network security; this would also cover any impacts to someone else’s network, including malware or virus infections, and any access issues, unauthorized use, destruction, or disclosure of your software or data
  • Has business interruption coverage if a cyber attack shuts down your network or is otherwise made unusable
  • Includes your employee’s remote devices that have network access

Protect your employees, and yourself

Remote workers are still protected by your workers’ compensation policy, so do a health-and-safety check at workers’ homes, just if you’re sued or otherwise held liable for a loss.

Employees can fill out a safety survey first, and then have someone do a physical inspection to make sure:

  • There’s sufficient lighting
  • There are no tripping or fire hazards caused by extension cords
  • There are smoke detectors
  • There’s adequate ventilation

It’s also important to keep in contact with your employees to check their state of mind.

And while you may feel uncomfortable telling your employees what to do in their own homes, you must mitigate your risks. Your employees should designate an area or room for work-related activities. This will limit your responsibility for anything that might happen to a small portion instead of the entire home.

When you and the employee have settled on what area of their home they’ll use for work, take photographs of the space, and update every six months to make sure there are no changes that would add risk. This is for your protection, in case an employee decides to sue you for developing a repetitive motion disorder. Photos can show that you took the time to make sure your employee had safe, ergonomic working conditions.

Avante Insurance: for all your business insurance needs

New working conditions come with new risks. Make sure your business policy is up-to-date and offers maximum protection against equipment loss and cyber attacks and provides protection for your employees.

Avante can help you make the right decisions on coverage amounts for your unique business; contact us today.

This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.