After a record year of breaches, two cybersecurity experts share tips on securing your business's most valuable assets to prevent a cyberattack.

How to Prep for a Cyberattack, and 3 Steps to Take When Your Company Does Get Hacked

After a record year of breaches, two cybersecurity experts share tips on securing your business’s most valuable assets to prevent a cyberattack.

inc.com | BY BEN SHERRY | Cyberattack | Shield Cyber Liability Insurance

Was your company hacked in the past year? If not, consider yourself lucky.

It’s not a question of if, experts say, but when you’ll get hacked.

Cybercrime is up exponentially, driven in part by the pandemic shift to remote work and employees using their own devices to access company networks or, alternatively, adopting work devices for personal use. According to a year-end report from cybersecurity services provider Flashpoint, 4,146 global data breaches were reported from January 1, 2022, to November 30, 2022. About a third of those, 31.8 percent, targeted U.S.-based companies. And while we hear a lot about the hacks at large companies and organizations, small and midsize companies tend to be even more vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

“I often see smaller companies that say I’m small enough that hackers wouldn’t care about me,” says Tiffany Kleemann, clients, and markets leader for cyber and strategic risk at Deloitte. “That’s just simply untrue. I don’t care what size business you are–everyone these days is a target.”

Kleemann points out that smaller companies that experience hacks can face an existential threat. Take ransomware for example, a type of cybercrime in which an attacker encrypts a victim’s data and demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data. A smaller company without the cash flow to meet a hacker’s demands could be sunk. 

Cyberattack prevention starts with awareness

Kleemann says that “job one” for every company looking to safeguard from cybercrime should be to conduct a cyber risk assessment. A cyber risk assessment is a process for evaluating the potential risks to an organization’s technology infrastructure, business processes, and security controls to identify vulnerabilities and the potential impact of a hack or data breach. Kleemann likens the process to identifying your company’s “crown jewels,” and then formulating specific plans for how to safeguard those valuable assets. 

Also vitally important is training your employees to identify attempts from external actors to break into your internal systems. These attempts often come in the form of phishing scams, in which someone attempts to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity via electronic communication. These days, Kleemann says, cybersecurity consultants are going a step further than hosting classes on phishing scams; they’re sending fake phishing emails to employees as a low-stakes way of testing their abilities to recognize threats. 

Cyberattack Damage-control steps

But what if it’s too late? What should you do when you check your website and suddenly, instead of your homepage, you see a message demanding that you pay for the ability to regain control of your business? That’s where Frank Shultz, chairman and CEO of business resilience solutions firm Infinite Blue, comes in. Shultz has vast experience helping companies pick up the pieces after a hack, and he shared three key tips with Inc. readers. 

1. Trust your gut

If you have any suspicion that an intruder has breached your network, trust your gut and immediately take all communications with your employees to a separate, secure network that isn’t being monitored (examples include Signal and Wire). Shultz says that he’s seen hacks in which the infiltrators impersonate an employee in the company’s Slack channel, and then are able to watch along while the company formulates a plan to counter the hack. Shultz adds that businesses should consider adopting a code word to let employees know that there’s been a breach and to switch to the secure messaging service. 

2. Get insurance

Shultz also says that companies of all sizes should consider getting cybersecurity insurance, which he claims can be a lifesaver if you have no other option but to pay out a ransom. This type of insurance is just emerging, so look for policies that include access to teams that help negotiate with the hackers, and help craft communications about the hack to employees and customers. 

3. Know your IP

The best thing you can do is be prepared and ready to quickly take action, figure out which of your assets would be the most painful to lose and invest heavily to keep those assets secure.

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layoffs and hiring freezes

The tech industry’s moment of reckoning: layoffs and hiring freezes

The Verge | By VERGE STAFF | Jan 26, 2023 | layoffs and hiring freezes | Business Insurance with Shield

Over the past few months, the economy has started to turn, and tech workers are being hit hard. Meta, Twitter, and more have fired thousands, and others are slowing or freezing hiring.

Over the last year, it feels like every day, we’ve heard the news of mass layoffs and hiring freezes from big tech companies that were formerly famous for having deep pockets and near-endless amenities for workers.

Now, it’s clear that the industry as a whole is tightening its belt, leaving hundreds of thousands of employees out of work — and more wondering if they’ll have a job within the next few months or searching for jobs in an industry that no longer has a spot for them. It’s gotten to the point where one tech recruiting site created an interactive tool to track the layoffs across established companies and startups.

To open 2023, Amazon announced layoffs of mostly corporate employees will trim 18,000 workers from the roster, the biggest reduction — in raw numbers, despite Amazon’s 1.5 million-strong workforce — yet. Slightly smaller raw numbers popped up at Google, with 12,000 layoffs, and Microsoft, with 10,000.

Elizabeth Lopatto spoke to experts to try and answer the question of why so many layoffs are happening right now, despite tech companies continuing to register sizable profits. One reason is that “investors have changed how they’re evaluating companies,” even if there’s a lack of evidence that the layoffs can help solve any of the problems they may have.

Twitter’s layoffs happened because Elon Musk bought the company and took it private, and Meta’s CEO claims its 13 percent reduction in staff is a course correction after the company went on a hiring spree during the online retail boom that came out of the pandemic. Companies that rely on advertising, like Meta and Snap, have also been hit hard by privacy policy changes from Apple.

Meanwhile, the iPhone maker is blaming the economy for its own hiring slowdown, despite being one of the few companies still announcing record-breaking earnings and beating estimates.

We’ll probably see even more reasons for layoffs or freezes as other companies announce their own. Stay tuned to this page for the latest on big tech companies’ cost-cutting measures and how they affect current and former employees.

Here’s all our coverage of the recent outbreak of layoffs and hiring freezes from big tech, auto, crypto, and more:

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GROUNDHOG DAY, FEBRUARY 2ND 2023

Groundhog Day

Groundhog.org | February 2023 | Groundhog Day | Shield Insurance Agency

GROUNDHOG DAY, FEBRUARY 2ND 2023

Groundhog Day is a Popular Tradition

A popular tradition in the United States, Groundhog Day is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

Legend & Lore

One holiday that brings thousands of people together from all over the world to celebrate the prediction of a furry forecaster.

What would you rather be doing in the middle of the night, in the middle of the winter in western PA? How about enjoying the ambiance of the brisk night air with thousands of new friends by your side, waiting for the Seer of Seers, Punxsutawney Phil, to make his prognostication sounds like a great thing to experience! 

Whether Groundhog Day has been on your bucket list for years or it is your birthday, or if you just would like a reason to celebrate — Groundhog Day is the event for you.


The History of Groundhog Day

The Christian religious holiday of Candlemas Day has become most commonly associated with the current celebration, but it’s roots are older than that. The celebration started in Christianity as the day, (February 2nd), when Christians would take their candles to the church to have them blessed. This, they felt, would bring blessings to their household for the remaining winter.

As time rolled on the day evolved into another form. The following English folk song highlights the transition to weather prognostication.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

This “interpretation” of Candlemas Day became the norm for most of Europe. As you can read, there is no mention of an animal of any kind in the preceding song. It wasn’t until this traditional belief was introduced to Germany that an animal was introduced into the lore, hence another evolution of February 2nd. If, according to German lore, the hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day there would be a “Second Winter” or 6 more weeks of bad weather. As German settlers came to what is now the United States, so too came their traditions and folklore. With the absence of hedgehogs in the United States, a similar hibernating animal was chosen. This leads us to yet another evolution in the legend and to present day Punxsutawney.


The First Groundhog Day Celebration

In Punxsutawney, 1886 marked the first time that Groundhog Day appeared in the local newspaper. The following year brought the first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob. Each year since then has seen a steady increase in participation of the celebration from people all over the world.


Today’s Tradition

Today, Groundhog Day remains what it was when the tradition first came to our shores and found its way to Punxsutawney. A day to take everything a little less seriously, and break up the winter monotony… at least for a little while!

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How Much Should You Donate?

How Much Should You Donate?

Charity Navigator | Donate | Compare insurance quotes here | Shield Insurance

Donating time, money, and goods are all great ways to engage with and support those in need. But how much should you be giving away? This is a highly personal decision that everyone must make for themselves. Here, we provide guidance to help you find the appropriate balance for your life and circumstance.

“Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Assisting Others”

Do not give away what you cannot afford to be without. Prioritize paying your own expenses and building up an emergency fund against unexpected expenses in the future. Once that is done, you can decide how much of what remains in your budget you can donate. 

Create a Budget and a Calendar 

Consider your annual income and expenses and decide what you are comfortable setting aside for charitable giving. Remember, giving to a 501(c)(3) organization is tax-deductible. Determine when you’ll make your gifts to the organizations you choose to support. Will it be mid-year when you receive your annual bonus? Will you set up a recurring monthly contribution? This arranged frequency is preferred by charities as it allows them to have a more informed idea of how much money they will have available to budget for the projects ahead.

Similarly, decide how much time in a year can you afford to spend volunteering. Can you book a weekly slot at a food bank? Commit to donating blood every two months? This decision will be as personal as your calendar and lifestyle.

Then, take a few moments to think about your passions, values, and beliefs. What do you love? What frustrates you? If you could be remembered for changing the world in one way, what would it be?

Once you’ve identified what you’re passionate about, you can find an organization that aligns with your values and goals. Use Charity Navigator’s search tool help you find your perfect match.

Donate Money

Never feel like your gift is too small to make a difference. While major gifts are an important revenue source for most nonprofits, individual donations are also necessary. A diverse support base makes charities more sustainable.

We recommend limiting the number of charities you support. Rather than supporting 10 organizations with $10, consider supporting 2 organizations with $50. This is more beneficial to the charities and increases your investment in their work.

In-kind Donations

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Best Emergency Supplies to Have at the Ready

From Fire Starters to First Aid Kits, These Are the Best Emergency Supplies to Have at the Ready

Emergencies happen — be it snow storms, wildfires, or tornados. Here are some of the best emergency supplies to make sure you’re prepared

Rolling Stones | OSCAR HARTZOG | Emergency Supplies | Shield Insurance Quoting Portal | Shield Home

NO MATTER WHERE you live, emergencies can (and do) happen. But whether it’s snow storms, tornados, wildfires, or hurricanes, the danger of serious emergencies can almost always be mitigated by investing in the best emergency supplies.

But choosing the right emergency gear — or just figuring out what types of emergency supplies you should have — can be tricky. To make things easier, we’ve created a checklist of the best emergency supplies to help your household stay safe in the worst-case scenarios.

What Are the Best Emergency Supplies?

When stocking up on the best emergency supplies, you’ll want to start by considering what needs your emergency stash has to meet. Namely, you’ll need food and water, first aid supplies, and light and heat. If you want to go beyond the basics, we also recommend adding power, shelter (like an emergency tent), and survival tools to your emergency supplies checklist.

No matter what kind of emergency supply you’re looking at — be it a multi-tool, a camping stove, or an emergency food supply — be sure it’s well-built and capable of staying in working order while shelved. The best emergency supplies can be tucked away and taken out months, if not years later, and still function properly.

Read on for a full checklist of the best emergency supplies to stock up on now.

1. Survivor Filter Pro

The most important thing to secure in most emergency situations is clean drinking water. One way to create an emergency water supply is to buy a water tank that you fill up if you know an emergency is on the horizon (i.e. if there’s a tornado warning).

But a more efficient option for securing drinking water is to get an emergency water filter, such as this Survivor Filter Pro. The compact rig uses a pump mechanism to suck up water, run it through a filter, and pump out 500 milliliters of clean drinking water per minute. It’s also very lightweight (half a pound), so you can transport it if need be.

2. Leatherman Wave+

A reliable multi-tool has always been part of our everyday carry, but they become absolutely essential when disaster strikes. Our favorite multi-tool is this Leatherman Wave+, which packs 18 tools in a small package, measuring just four inches when closed. Inside, you’ll find basics like knives, scissors, screwdrivers, and pliers, as well as some good extras like a saw and a wire stripper.

3. Judy Mover Max

Survival kits are a great way to create an emergency supplies stash with just one purchase. Good examples include the Oprah-endorsed Judy Mover Max, which has water and food, safety and warmth, and tools and first aid — all in one ultra-durable, weatherproof backpack. It has enough supplies to sustain four people for 72 hours, and you don’t have to worry about grabbing multiple items during an evacuation.

4. Mountain House Classic Bucket of Emergency Supplies

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10 Smartest Money Moves for 2023

10 Smartest Money Moves for 2023

Ring in the new year right with smart money moves

AARP | By Bruce Horovitz | December 19, 2022 | Money Moves | Shield Insurance Agency

With 2023 just days away, could there be a more confusing time for investors? On one hand, the discussion is all about the upcoming recession — but is there actually going to be one? On the other hand, the discussion is also about the inflation monster, which has seriously impacted all of our wallets.

But are there signs that the monster is finally getting tamed, or is that just an illusion? In either case, what is the best way to prepare for spending and investing in the year ahead? AARP reached out to certified financial planners for tips on what older investors need to consider for the coming year. Here are their 10 best tips for 2023.

Smart Money Moves

1. Supersize your retirement plan contribution

If you are still working and have the cash flow, 2023 could be a terrific time to max out your tax deferrals, says Rachel Elson, a certified financial planner in San Francisco, California. Federal limits have jumped sharply, so with catch-up contributions, workers age 50 and up will be able to put $30,000 into workplace retirement plans like a 401(k) or 403(b).

You’ll need to have sufficient income to allow this kind of saving because you could be tying up those dollars for several years, she says. But if you’re in your peak earning stage — and especially if you’re living in a high-tax state — the tax break from maximizing your deferrals can be meaningful.

2. Double-check charitable contributions

The one place that’s most obvious for tax deductions — charitable contributions — is also the place where many folks fail to get their full deductions, says Mitchell Kraus, a certified financial planner in Santa Monica, California. In reviewing his clients’ tax returns, Kraus discovered that most of them weren’t getting the full deduction from their charitable contributions because they either took the standard deduction or they were giving from the wrong pool of money.

More than 80 percent of Americans take the standard deduction, he says. There are other options. People over age 70½ can donate up to $100,000 from their IRA. (The contribution will not count as income.) Also, donating appreciated assets, such as stocks, might not create an extra deduction, but can avoid the capital gains taxes you would have to pay if you simply sold the asset, he notes.

3. Create a business owner retirement plan

More than 54 percent of America’s small business owners are age 50 and over, according to the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Those who are self-employed can still have access to a retirement plan although many don’t realize it, says Marguerita M. Cheng, a certified financial planner in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The benefit to them is additional savings for retirement and tax savings either today or in the future. For those who have employees, the options include Simple IRA, SEP IRA or 401(k).

4. Invest in U.S. Treasury bills

Few investments offer the safety and security of U.S. Treasury bills, says Jordan Benold, a certified financial planner in Frisco, Texas. These are U.S. securities that mature in one year or less. Currently, a two- to six-month treasury bill will pay more than 4 percent, Jordan says.

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How to reverse burnout at work

Balance these 6 things to reverse burnout at work, says social psychologist and author of ‘The Burnout Challenge’

CNBC.com | Renée Onque@IAMRENEEONQUE | Nov 14 2022 | Burnout | Business Insurance

Do you struggle to pinpoint why you’re burnt out at work? Is it you? Is it your job?

It may actually be a mismatch of the two, according to Christina Maslach, a social psychologist, retired professor of psychology at U.C. Berkeley and author of “The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs.” 

“You really have to look at the relationship with the job, and that means looking at both the job and the person. It’s not like one or the other,” Maslach tells CNBC Make It.

“It’s certainly not just the person who has to make the changes.”

The cure for burnout isn’t just taking time off or a starting a mindful morning routine, but it’s actually discovering how to get a better match between what your job requires of you and the tools you have to complete your duties, she says.

Maslach, and co-author of her book, Michael P. Leiter, identified six areas within your profession that should meet your standards, or else your risk of more stress and potential burnout increases.

Here are the six factors and how they may be affecting you.

Workload Burnout

It can be extremely difficult to meet high demands when you’re low on resources, says Maslach.

Lacking supportive tools like time, people, equipment or information may be affecting your ability to do your job how you’d like to.

Control

Having autonomy, discretion and an ability to make choices are necessary in the workplace in order to feel like you’re doing your job well, she notes.

“People often complain about having a lack of control, that they’re told what to do, no ifs, ands or buts about it,” she says.

Reward

The way you feel about your salary and benefits can influence your emotions toward work. But, rewards aren’t just limited to finances.

“A lot of times, it’s social recognition, that people are pleased by what you’ve done and let you know it,” Maslach says. If you’re working hard and aren’t receiving positive feedback, you’re more likely to feel unjustified.

Community Burnout

From co-workers, bosses, and people you supervise to clients, patients, or students, everyone you interact with while working can affect your feelings about your job. Without mutual respect, trust, and support within your team, even the best job can turn into a “socially toxic workplace” that you hate, says Maslach.

Fairness

“Where there’s an absence of fairness, this is where discrimination lives. This is where glass ceilings exist,” Maslach says.

Rules, policies and practices should feel equal in your work environment or it can lead to resentment, she adds. You need to believe that you have an equal chance at receiving promotions and just as many opportunities as the rest of your team.

Values

You’re a lot more likely to quit your job if it doesn’t align with your basic moral principles, says Maslach.

Working for a company or organization where there are ethical conflicts can deter you from feeling enthusiastic about what you do, she notes.

How to approach an imbalance in these areas

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Economic uncertainty and risk management resilience in 2023: 3 trends to watch

Economic uncertainty and risk management resilience in 2023: 3 trends to watch

Liberty Mutual | 01/06/2023 | risk management | Business Insurance

Organizations across the country face uncertainty and tough choices as economists continue to paint a gloomy picture of an impending recession.

“We’ve never experienced inflation, recession, pandemic, supply chain issues, social inflation, and labor shortage — all converging at the same time,” notes Matthew Moore, executive vice president and president of underwriting for Liberty Mutual Global Risk Solutions.

We’ve never experienced inflation, recession, pandemic, supply chain issues, social inflation, and labor shortage — all converging at the same time.

-Matthew Moore, EVP and president of underwriting for Liberty Mutual GRS

In a landscape of turbulence, how can companies effectively forecast their futures? What tools can they use to engineer resilience and reanalyze risk?

According to Moore, proactive risk-management planning, and the help of strategic partnerships with insurance providers, offer a way forward.

“Insurance can offer real solutions,” says Moore. “You need to work together with your carrier to develop smart solutions that strategically manage and mitigate risk.”

Three risk management trends to watch in 2023

In this time of uncertainty, here are three risk-management trends to look out for, along with why partnering closely with insurance providers can help companies build a roadmap for resilience.

Companies’ risk management profiles will likely shift.

For corporate risk managers, a critical takeaway is that economic turbulence has likely shifted your company’s risk profile — leaving many organizations at risk of being underinsured. As businesses may be tempted to reduce costs by cutting corners on risk mitigation, loss controls, workforce safety, good governance, and compliance, insurance providers will be keeping a close eye on risk profiles.

Property valuations are another factor impacting risk profiles. “Inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues all are driving property-replacement costs that are out of sync with valuations,” Moore says. In fact, Liberty Mutual’s experts estimate that a whopping 75 percent of commercial businesses are undervalued. For example, because of rising costs, a building valued at $1 million five years ago could easily cost 20 percent more to replace today. There are also other factors beyond construction costs, including the frequency and severity of weather activity and business interruption, that should be considered.

If you’re underinsured, Moore notes, “you may face another unpleasant surprise after you’ve already experienced a loss.”

Working together with your provider and broker, proactively, is the best way to help ensure your operations have the right coverage and can recover quickly after a loss.

Insurance carriers may become more selective in response to economic disruption.

It’s not just insured businesses who are carefully navigating change — insurance carriers are also feeling economic pressure. Working to stifle inflation, the Fed raised rates for the seventh time this past December, this time by 0.5 percent. With so much rapid change, insurance carriers are rethinking their business strategies.

“Commercial insurance lines can face an amplified impact, as exposure bases like payroll or sales can decline quickly, reducing premium and increasing risk,” says Moore.

As the economy slows, carriers expect a decreased demand for insurance and, consequently, a decrease in premium pricing. While carriers’ investment income might increase, their tolerance for risk may weaken. Carriers could, for example, reduce their capacity in some industries and lines based on market cycle vulnerabilities.

The potential for carriers to become more selective highlights the importance for companies to communicate any business changes — both within their organization and to their insurance partners — to mitigate any unexpected changes

Value-add insurance offerings play an even more important role in managing the total cost of risk.

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Why cybersecurity leaders are actively recruiting neurodiverse talent

Why cybersecurity leaders are actively recruiting neurodiverse talent

 Worklife News   | BY OLIVER PICKUP | JANUARY 10, 2023 | Cybersecurity | Cyber Liability Insurance

In an attempt to clamp down harder on the increased risk of cybersecurity threats to businesses, tech leaders are actively hiring neurodivergent people because of the strong problem-solving and analytical skills they can offer.

The neurodiversity spectrum is wide, ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, and Tourette syndrome, to autism and bipolarity. But common characteristics of neurodivergent individuals – including pattern-spotting, creative insights, and visual-spatial thinking – are finally being realized, not least in the cyber security sector.

Holly Foxcroft, head of neurodiversity in cyber research and consulting at professional search firm London-centered Stott and May Consulting, said that neurodivergent individuals have “spiky profiles.” Foxcroft, who is neurodivergent herself, explained that these visual representations highlight the strengths and areas needed for development or support. “Neurodivergent profiles show that individuals perform highly in areas where neurotypicals have a consistent and moderate line,” she said. 

The areas in which neurodivergent individuals have “exceeded skill” include high-level problem-solving, creative “out-the-box” thinking, hyper-focusing, and pattern spotting. “These are much-needed attributes and skills in cybersecurity,” added Foxcroft.

Unique skills for unknown unknowns

Perry Carpenter, chief evangelist and strategy officer at KnowBe4, a global cybersecurity awareness platform, said: “As someone on the autism spectrum, I’m very encouraged by the efforts of the security community to recruit neurodivergent employees actively.” 

The resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, is proud his work community is leading the way. He said these recruitment efforts mark an essential step in helping to overcome some of the ”inherent stigmas” associated with neurodivergence. However, Carpenter also warned against yet more generalizing “Just because someone is neurodiverse doesn’t mean that they will naturally be great coders or analysts. We don’t want to create new stereotypes.”

“Our adversaries [cybercriminals] are not universally neurotypical, so it makes sense for us to have a defensive force that is also diverse and representative of their thinking patterns and skillsets.”

Perry Carpenter, chief evangelist and strategy officer at KnowBe4.

KnowBe4’s Carpenter listed the main reasons cybersecurity leaders are “actively recruiting” neurodivergent staff. First, the community understands more than most that “unique individuals” can offer “unique skills” suited to cybersecurity. Different ways of thinking are critical in the fight against cybercriminals, who also know the benefits of employing innovators. “Our adversaries are not universally neurotypical, so it makes sense for us to have a defensive force that is also diverse and representative of their thinking patterns and skillsets,” said Carpenter. 

Whether “hyper-focused” or offering out-of-the-box thinking, neurodivergent workers enable “teams to continually grind data, identify patterns, or find solutions to complex problems that someone else might miss,” according to Carpenter.

Paul Baird, the chief technical security officer in the U.K. for cybersecurity firm Qualys, built on this theme. “If you have a neurodiverse team, they will react differently when a problem arises,” he said. “The alternative is that you have a cookie-cutter approach to security where every problem gets handled the same way each time.” 

The latter strategy struggles with unknown unknowns or unexpected events. “At that point, you need people with multiple views and backgrounds to solve these problems effectively,” Baird added.

Narrowing the cybersecurity skills gap

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5 ways to get the most out of your small business’s health insurance plan - Shield Insurance Blog

5 ways to get the most out of your small business’s health insurance plan

The Business Journals | By Cigna + Oscar | Oct 25, 2022 | Health Insurance

Whether you’ve just purchased small business health insurance or you’re shopping around, you’re probably aware that coverage can be costly, depending on the plan you purchase. According to a 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report, the average annual premium was $7,739 for an individual and $22,221 for a family plan. Employers helped cover 83% of the costs for a single person and 63% of a family plan.

That’s why it’s critical to make the most of the plan you have — and help your employees stay engaged. Here are five key ways you can maximize your health insurance coverage, so your employees use the plan often, become healthier and help lower your business’s costs.

1. Emphasize the health insurance plan’s customer support programs and tools.

Some health plans offer dedicated customer support, online tools, and even concierge-like services that can help employees understand and use their plan. For example, Cigna + Oscar is unique in that it offers Care Guides, a team of professionals who help members find doctors and answer their questions about specific benefits and claims. Care Guides can also help coordinate care and prepare members for their upcoming procedures.

The more employees understand how their plan works, the more likely they are to use in-network providers, purchase generic medications, and rely on other cost-saving methods. In turn, this can help you, as an employer, lower your overall costs too.

2. Encourage your employees to manage their health insurance plan digitally.

If your health plan offers a mobile app, it may be where employees can access telemedicine services and prescription refill requests and even pay their premiums online. Encourage them to make the most of these convenient, digital services. After all, they help make your business’s health plan easy to use and can increase employee satisfaction.

If you’re shopping for a health plan now, look for one that offers digital services. You may want to ask your broker:

  • What telemedicine services are available to my employees, if any?
  • Is virtual urgent care available?
  • Can employees request prescription refills online?
  • Is there an easy way for employees to search if a doctor is in-network?
  • What other digital services are available with this health plan?

The bottom line: Today’s employees want to manage their healthcare at the click of a button. A convenient and easy-to-use mobile app and website can help them do that.

3. Communicate to employees about mental health care offerings.

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