McDougall https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com Insurance & Financial Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:27:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Meet the Dougallers: Jonny Stewart https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2019/01/22/meet-dougallers-jonny-stewart https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2019/01/22/meet-dougallers-jonny-stewart#respond Tue, 22 Jan 2019 16:46:51 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=52510 Meet the Dougallers features Jonny Stewart. Jonny is new to the insurance world and the McDougall Insurance team. He formerly worked as a manager at Golf Town and with his experience on the links he knew it would be any easy transition to the insurance world. After all, golfing is all insurance people do… Right? […]

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Meet the Dougallers features Jonny Stewart.

Jonny is new to the insurance world and the McDougall Insurance team. He formerly worked as a manager at Golf Town and with his experience on the links he knew it would be any easy transition to the insurance world. After all, golfing is all insurance people do… Right? Jonny is excited to join the insurance industry as a broker and we wanted to see what prompted him to make the switch, so we sat him down and asked him a few questions.

Place of birth?

I was born in Belleville, Ontario.

Favourite hobbies?

I enjoy spending time at the cottage, listening to music and playing sports. My favourite sports are golf and hockey but my golf game is significantly better than my hockey skills. I played on some pretty bad hockey teams growing up and we never made it to the playoffs so I was always able to hit the links early.

Favourite food and why?

Anything Italian! The food always feels like it is home cooked.

Favourite saying?

Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners.

Favourite movie and why?

Forrest Gump. Great sound track and historical references.

What is one thing we should know about you?

I have a new baby boy named Jack and a Jack Russell rescue dog name Leroy.

How did you get involved in insurance?

I had some friends already in the industry who would tell me how great the business is and how great McDougall Insurance is to work for. I decided to go for an interview and here I am!

What do you bring to the table to help your clients?

My work ethic and honest passion for helping people. I have always worked hard to provide the best customer service possible to anyone I meet in a professional environment. If the customer isn’t satisfied I haven’t done my job.

What do you think is important in a relationship with a client?

Customer service can sometimes feel forced and scripted. I think the client needs to feel that you are being genuine first and foremost. When they sense you are genuine you will earn their trust and build a much better relationship. When you have their trust – they are a customer for life.

Favourite sports team?

Toronto Maple Leafs. I have loved them ever since I was a kid and I think they have a good team this year. Maybe even a shot at hoisting Lord Stanley?

jonny stewart watching hockey game

Favourite athlete/ celebrity?

Tiger Woods. The way he plays the game is so unique and enjoyable to watch.

McDougall Insurance is very excited to have Jonny on board and we look forward to his success with our company and for his clients. Interested in connecting with Jonny? Send him an email at jonstewart@mcdougallinsurance.com.

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Welcome Dusome Insurance to the McDougall Insurance Team https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2019/01/09/welcome-dusome-insurance-to-the-mcdougall-insurance-team https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2019/01/09/welcome-dusome-insurance-to-the-mcdougall-insurance-team#respond Wed, 09 Jan 2019 16:46:16 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=50906 On behalf of McDougall Insurance we are pleased to announce that as of January 1st 2019 we are going to Dusome (more) Insurance in Barrie thanks to our merger with Dusome Insurance Group. Dusome Insurance Group is a large and very well respected brokerage in the Barrie area. It is a merger we are very […]

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On behalf of McDougall Insurance we are pleased to announce that as of January 1st 2019 we are going to Dusome (more) Insurance in Barrie thanks to our merger with Dusome Insurance Group. Dusome Insurance Group is a large and very well respected brokerage in the Barrie area. It is a merger we are very excited about

The Dusome family has been serving the clients of Barrie and Simcoe County for over 30 years. Wayne and Glenn Dusome formed Dusome Insurance Group in 2003 . There are currently 11 employees including the management team of Glenn and Wayne Dusome. All 11 employees will remain with the organization at their current office location. The Dusome team have tremendous knowledge of the area and the industry and will now be able to couple that with some of the tools, relationships and resources that McDougall Insurance brings. The company phone numbers and the Dusome name will not be changed.

The Dusome office has a premium volume of $8 million and writes a combination of commercial, life and financial and personal lines insurance with a heavier focus towards the commercial side of insurance.

The merger gives McDougall Insurance over 30 office locations across Ontario and gives us well over 350 employees. For Dusome Insurance Group it also strengthens their brokerage as they now add more markets for their clients to access, new insurance products, and the ability to better service their customers.

We are very fortunate to have merged with another well respected brokerage and we believe they will be an excellent fit for our organization in every way. Our brokerages share the same core values in that; we care about our clients, employees and adding value to our communities. This adds to our recently acquired Marshall & Bulloch office in Orillia which we acquired in Nov. 2018.

We’re very excited about this announcement and would like to give our new colleagues and clients a warm welcome to the McDougall Insurance & Financial team! Lets Dusome Insurance!

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Sleep Tight – Stay Healthy After The Holidays https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2019/01/04/sleep-healthy https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2019/01/04/sleep-healthy#respond Fri, 04 Jan 2019 20:57:20 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=50381 As the Holidays wind down and we settle back into the regular routine, it is a wonderful time to make sure to prioritize sleep for optimal health. Most adults require a full 8 hours of rest. Some require a bit less, others require some more. Here are just 3 of the many benefits of getting […]

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As the Holidays wind down and we settle back into the regular routine, it is a wonderful time to make sure to prioritize sleep for optimal health. Most adults require a full 8 hours of rest. Some require a bit less, others require some more. Here are just 3 of the many benefits of getting proper rest.

1) Alertness and Personal Safety

People in any line of work function far better at home and at work with adequate rest.

While it is true for everyone, drivers face special risks. “Drowsy driving” happens when a driver operates a vehicle with insufficient sleep.  The risks and results of drowsy driving can be devastating.  Drowsy drivers have a harder time paying attention to the road and have slower reaction times. In 2016, CAA conducted a study showing that 20% of accidents in Canada are caused by drowsy driving.

2) Faster Healing time/Better Immune System

Sleep provides your body with the downtime required to focus on healing injured tissue and to fight off infections and disease. The fever and the flu always seem to show themselves this time of year and one of the best ways to defend against it is a good sleep. When your body is fatigued it is not able to allocate the appropriate resources to help fight against these infections.

3) Healthy Weight Management

Your body produces special hormones that tell your body when you are hungry (called ghrelin) and that you are full (called leptin). Proper sleep keeps them at normal levels, and can help with weight management.

My life is too busy! How am I supposed to get more sleep?

Our hyper-connected lifestyles offer challenges to getting enough sleep. Try a few of the changes below.

  • “Unplug” from devices like cell phones, computers, TV’s and tablets an hour or more before bedtime. The blue light they emit interferes with sleep hormone production. Your body thinks it’s not dark yet, so you are less likely to feel tired.
  • Record or PVR your favorite nighttime shows instead of staying up to watch them. Plus it is more fun to binge watch them on a rainy day anyways?
  • If you live in the city or work shifts, you may benefit from “blackout curtains”. These curtains block out the daylight, or the night time ambient light from street lights and signs that may be around your home.
  • Create a ritual. Enjoying some herbal tea, doing some light reading or having a nice bath each evening can help you relax and ease into sleep.
  • Avoid the nightcap. An alcoholic drink may help you relax at first, but it can also disrupt your sleep later in the night or cause night time heartburn.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise a few hours before bed. Exercise is wonderful earlier in the day but will raise your temperature and heart rate-not, which are not ideal for rest.

If you are having continued difficulty sleeping, please consult a medical professional. You may suffer from conditions such as sleep disorders and sleep apnea. If you are feeling tired and are behind the wheel, pull over to a safe location and have a rest before continuing to drive, or park your vehicle and call a taxi, a ride share, or someone who is well rested and can pick you up.

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Blue Christmas https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/12/13/blue-christmas https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/12/13/blue-christmas#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 19:10:38 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=48605 Christmas is a time of year that can enhance the wonderful blessings we enjoy in our lives. But for some people, the holiday season is accompanied by a sense of sadness, anxiety, or loss. If someone you know is dealing with one of the below situations, you can really make a difference this season for […]

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Christmas is a time of year that can enhance the wonderful blessings we enjoy in our lives. But for some people, the holiday season is accompanied by a sense of sadness, anxiety, or loss. If someone you know is dealing with one of the below situations, you can really make a difference this season for them by providing your support and helping them avoid a Blue Christmas.

Dearly Departed
Has someone you know recently lost a loved one? The death of a close family member can make the first Christmas without the loved one very upsetting. Don’t assume that “other people have already checked in with her/him”. This is especially true for the seniors in your life. Give them a call and make plans! If you have lost a loved one, surround yourself with supportive friends and family this season.

Estrangement/Divorce
Having estranged relatives can be uncomfortable at this time of year. If you are coping with potentially stressful family gatherings, try some of these tips:

  • Create a new tradition. If a divorce has affected memories within the home, get out of the house. Go ice skating. See a movie. Take a hike in the woods. Go on vacation – anything you need to create a positive change.
  • Keep your visit brief. It’s okay to make a shorter appearance.
  • Keep busy at the event to excuse yourself from too much conversation.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
The decreased sunlight that occurs around this time can trigger periods of depression which exceed 2 weeks at a time. Light therapy may be appropriate. Anyone suffering from any type of depression should consult a physician for appropriate treatment.

Substance Use
No doubt about it; December is stressful. Trying to please everyone by getting the perfect gift, making time to visit everyone, financial stressors, meeting year end goals at work – the list seems endless. Holiday parties are plentiful. One should not “drown sorrows” or manage stress with alcohol or other substances. Social drinkers are at risk of overdoing it with so many festive gatherings in a short period. Make sure to remain hydrated by drinking water, consuming alcohol with food to slow its absorption, and always arrange a safe way to get home like operation red nose.

If you are having difficulty coping during the holidays, or any other time of year, contact the Canadian Mental Health Association to identify local mental health resources. Remember McDougall Insurance is here to help provide you peace of mind and we want to wish you, and people around you, a safe and happy holiday.

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Dude Where’s My Car? – Relay Theft https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/12/05/relay-theft https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/12/05/relay-theft#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 19:53:58 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=47783 Relay theft, the new way bad guys are breaking into new vehicles, is a big reason many people are waking up in the morning and saying, dude where’s my car? Unlike the movie, the unsuspecting victims of relay theft remembered where they parked their car, it just isn’t there when they look for it. What […]

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Relay theft, the new way bad guys are breaking into new vehicles, is a big reason many people are waking up in the morning and saying, dude where’s my car? Unlike the movie, the unsuspecting victims of relay theft remembered where they parked their car, it just isn’t there when they look for it.

What is relay theft and how does it work?

A typically car jacking, at least in the old days, would typically involve a smashed window, the vehicle being left unlocked, or some other method. Relay theft is different. It does not damage the vehicle, it does not require the knowledge to hot wire or jump start a vehicle and it doesn’t mean you left your car unlocked, at least intentionally.

Key fobs used to unlock vehicles are constantly broadcasting a signal and when in range with the vehicle are able to communicate with the specific vehicle to lock, unlock or perform some other action. In older vehicles with more traditional key fobs the user is required to press a button to perform an action such as unlocking the car. However, in new vehicle models the key fob just has to be in range in order to unlock and even start the vehicle. These new keys have provided an easy way for thieves to steal your vehicle known as relay theft.

The thief uses a device that transmits a signal from the key fob to another device close to the vehicle. The thief will typically hold the first device close to the front door of the victims home in hopes that that gives them a good enough proximity to the actual key fob. If a signal is picked up the device will transmit the signal to the second device, which the thief has placed near the vehicle. If it works properly then the locking system will respond and unlock the vehicle. The thief is then able to start the car and drive away without the key. For a visual of relay theft check out the video below (this is performed with 2 thieves who each has a device).

Won’t the vehicle shut off once it is out of range of the key fob?

So the thief has stolen your vehicle and is driving away. But won’t the vehicle shutdown once it gets far enough away? Unfortunately the answer is no. The vehicles are designed to remain on and running as a safety precaution. Manufactures designed them to stay on if you lose the key fob signal so that your vehicle doesn’t just shutdown while you’re in the middle of the road. This vulnerability allows the thief to drive the vehicle until they shut it off themselves or it runs out of fuel. In a lot of the cases the vehicles have been recovered after the thief shuts it down, but parts and items are typically stolen and not recovered.

How can you protect your vehicle?

There are several things that vehicle owners can do to help reduce the risk of their vehicle being stolen.

  • Move the keys away from the front door or away from an area where the signal can easily be picked up.
  • Purchase a faraday cage, which is an enclosure designed to block electromagnetic fields. This is the same technology some manufacturers are using for wallets and other storing devices as it stops the signal from being picked up.
  • Install a GPS tracking system in your vehicle so if it is stolen it can be more easily traced.
  • Store your vehicle in a garage or car port that is more difficult to break into.
  • Make sure you have comprehensive protection on your car insurance policy. In the event your vehicle is stolen you will want to make sure you have comprehensive coverage, which covers your vehicle from theft.

The manufactures of these key fobs are working on their own security measures and improving the security systems of their vehicles. However, there is no solution at this time for new vehicles so it is important to be aware of the risks.

Technology is a great way to help make our lives better but in some cases it can make us and our things vulnerable. Be aware of the risks your new gadgets and technologies may come with and do your best to adequately protect yourself. If you are worried about the risks surrounding your vehicle contact a McDougall Insurance Broker today!

dude where's my car meme

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Meet the Dougallers: Andrew White https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/11/07/meet-dougallers-andrew-white https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/11/07/meet-dougallers-andrew-white#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 21:48:32 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=42370 Meet the Dougallers features Andrew White. Andrew is a new employee to McDougall Insurance but he is far from new to the insurance world. Andrew started his career in the insurance industry and has been involved ever since. From the family business, to working for several other insurance companies, to opening his own insurance brokerage, […]

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Meet the Dougallers features Andrew White.

Andrew is a new employee to McDougall Insurance but he is far from new to the insurance world. Andrew started his career in the insurance industry and has been involved ever since. From the family business, to working for several other insurance companies, to opening his own insurance brokerage, Andrew knows a thing or two about the industry. He now joins our Kingston office and with all that experience and passion for insurance we knew he would make a great fit. But in this article we don’t want to solely focus on insurance, we want to get to know Andrew and what he is all about outside of insurance. So, we sat him down and asked him the following:

Place of birth?

I was born in Sudbury, Ontario.

Where did you go to College/University?

I attended Queen’s University in Kingston where I received my BA.

Favourite hobbies?

My hobbies include service work, reading books, poker and hitting the links. I’d say that is a pretty good spread.

Andrew White Hole in 1

Andrew with a Hole in One on #12 at Loyalist Golf & Country Club

Favourite meal?

Dim Sum! There is an endless variety and they all taste great.

Favourite saying?

“Work hard when others aren’t looking”

Favourite movie and why?

To Kill a Mocking Bird – Gregory Peck absolutely nailed the quiet strength and unwavering morals of Atticus Finch.

How did you get involved in insurance?

Family business. It is an industry that has always fit well with my personality.

What do you bring to the table to help your clients?

I deal in relationships and insurance just happens to be the currency.

What do you think is important in a relationship with a client?

Honesty and integrity. With insurance, you are dealing with the most important assets your clients own. It is important to be honest about what you can and cannot provide them with. You can’t please everyone but if you act with honesty and integrity they will treat you as their professional.

Favorite sports team and why?

Toronto Blue Jays for baseball. Montreal Canadiens for hockey. Seattle Seahawks for football. I love sports. Steve Buscemi in 1996

Who is your celebrity role-model and why?

Steve Buscemi – steals every scene he is in.

Final thoughts?

I will always strive to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

McDougall Insurance is happy to add Andrew to the team and we look forward to his success with our company and for his clients. Interested in connecting with Andrew? Add him on LinkedIn or shoot him an email at awhite@mcdougallinsurance.com.

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Cyber Insurance Has Never Been More Important https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/10/25/cyber-insurance-policy-pipeda https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/10/25/cyber-insurance-policy-pipeda#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 19:50:52 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=42259 Once upon a time, Cyber Crime was the stuff of Hollywood and Science fiction. But recently it has affected our everyday lives. Did Russia really influence the U.S. election?  Did 1 Billion people’s information get hacked on Facebook? According to the Canadian government, over 70% of Canadian businesses have been victims of Cyber attacks or breaches […]

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Once upon a time, Cyber Crime was the stuff of Hollywood and Science fiction. But recently it has affected our everyday lives. Did Russia really influence the U.S. election?  Did 1 Billion people’s information get hacked on Facebook? According to the Canadian government, over 70% of Canadian businesses have been victims of Cyber attacks or breaches and the average cost of those attacks was $15,000.

We recently realized from our own client’s experience and claims that anyone who uses a computer for their business needs to think seriously about cyber insurance. The landscape is changing daily with both the cyber attacks and risks that can affect your business and the legislation around what you, as a business owner, need to do when it comes to cyber attacks.

What is Changing Nov. 1st with the New Legislation?

As of November 1st, 2018 the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, otherwise known as PIPEDA, is changing. PIPEDA is the federal privacy law for private-sector organizations and it lays out the ground rules for how businesses must handle personal information. Starting Nov. 1st organizations will be required to do three things in the event of a cyber breach of personal information:

  1. Report privacy breaches to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
  2. Notify individuals about privacy breaches.
  3. Keep and maintain records of all privacy breaches.

Meaning, if you are a business operating in Canada, you will have to pay extra attention to safeguarding your data. Should a cyber attack impact your business, cyber insurance is designed to help respond and protect you from future threats.

Reporting Privacy Breaches to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner

If an organization determines that a breach of security has occurred and poses a risk, the organization will be required to report it to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. In the event of a privacy breach organizations will be required to report the breach in writing and it must contain:

  • A description of the circumstances of the breach and, if known, the cause
  • The day on which, or the period during which, the breach occurred, or if neither is known, the approximate period
  • A description of the personal information that is breached to the extent that the information is known
  • The number of individuals affected by the breach, or if unknown, the approximate number
  • A description of the steps that the organization has taken to reduce the risk of harm to each affected individual resulting from the breach or to mitigate the harm
  • A description of the steps that the organization has taken or intends to take to notify each affected individual of the breach in accordance with subsection 10.1(3) or the Act and
  • The name and contact information of a person who can answer, on behalf of the organization, the commissioner’s questions about the breach.

Notify Individuals About Privacy Breaches

One of the most important aspects of the new legislation is to ensure the individuals affected understand the significance and potential impact of the breach. When notifying an individual you must contain:

  • A description of the circumstances of the breach
  • The day on which, or period during which, the breach occurred, or if neither is known, the approximate period
  • A description of the personal information that is breached to the extent that information is known
  • A description of the steps that the organization has taken to reduce the risk of harm that could result from the breach
  • A description of the steps that the affected individual could take to reduce the risk of harm form the breach or to mitigate that harm
  • Contact information that the affected individual can use to obtain further information about the breach.

Keep and Maintain Records of All Privacy Breaches

Organizations that are aware of a breach of security or cyber attack must keep and maintain a record of the breach. This includes any breach regardless of whether it poses a real risk or not. The records need to be maintained for 2 years after the organization becomes aware the breach or attack has occurred.

Penalties for Failure to Comply

Any organization that knowingly fails to report or maintain records of a breach or cyber attack as outlined by the new legislation will be subject to fines of up to $100,000.

How Will Cyber Insurance Help My Company?

There are several ways to protect your business from a cyber attack or breach. However, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the game and prevent potential attacks from occurring. Assessing your organization and understanding where potential threats may occur and what kind of information you are storing for your clients is important. For more information on how to help prevent a cyber attack checkout these 5 helpful tips. An assessment is a good place to start but adding a cyber insurance policy is the best way to protect what you cannot prevent. Here are a few of the areas a cyber insurance policy will cover:

  • Costs to recover your organizatons data, and get you back up and running
  • Pay ransomware or advise on how to proceed
  • 3rd party costs to assist your clients who may have had their information exposed or stolen
  • Investigating the legitimacy of the event
  • Business interruption

 

Are you in need of a cyber insurance policy or want more information? You can call us directly at 1-800-361-0941 or fill out a quote and have one of our cyber insurance experts make sure you have the proper protection in place.

 

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What Does The Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Mean For You? https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/10/11/legalization-of-recreational-cannabis https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/10/11/legalization-of-recreational-cannabis#respond Thu, 11 Oct 2018 15:59:00 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=41256 That is right, effective October 17th, 2018 the  Government of Canada is legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana. The topic has been discussed in the media for quite some time now but has finally come to fruition. But what does all of this mean for you? There are certainly going to […]

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That is right, effective October 17th, 2018 the  Government of Canada is legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana. The topic has been discussed in the media for quite some time now but has finally come to fruition. But what does all of this mean for you? There are certainly going to be impacts as a result of this legislation that may affect your home insurance policy and your auto insurance policy. Lets have a look shall we!

 

How Does the Legalization of Cannabis Affect My Auto Insurance Policy?

With so many different insurance companies and options available it is almost certain that they will have different rules and concerns when it comes to marijuana and your auto policy. However, there are a few areas that will impact your auto insurance no matter what company you are with.

Drug-Impaired Driving

The Criminal Code of Canada has been revised to include roadside testing for drugs in addition to alcohol. The legalization of marijuana in other jurisdictions, has resulted in an increase of motor vehicle accidents from drug-impaired driving. Obviously for insurance companies and the safety of our communities this is a concern. The limits of drug concentration are outlined by the Government Canada and you can read more about the changes to impaired driving laws here.

Underwriting and Coverage

Similarly to a DUI, drug impaired driving will also impact your insurance rates and your coverage options. A conviction for drug impaired driving is treated the same as a conviction for alcohol impaired driving. Both of these are considered criminal code offences and the underwriting rules for standard insurance markets allow them to decline coverage. The majority of the high risk markets will have exclusions or reductions in the coverage they offer to you and you will also be subject to a premium surcharge.

 

How Does the Legalization of Cannabis Affect My Home Insurance Policy?

Insurance companies are also treating home insurance policies very differently. Some companies are excluding the growth of cannabis for recreational or medical use while others are allowing it as long as it meets their specifications. It is difficult to categorize how each and every company will treat the use of cannabis when it comes to your property insurance but it is always important to disclose this information to your insurer.

Risks That Will Not Be Written

Most insurance companies have followed the same guideline when it comes to declining risks who are growing their own marijuana.

  • If any person in the household has been convicted or has pending charges for drug trafficking, threats of violence, theft or fraud.
  • If the risk has been identified in the past as being a part of, or conducting criminal drug production operations. This includes illegal grow-ops or the manufacturing of illegal drugs.

Risks That May Be Written

Similarly, there have been a good deal of insurance companies who have come forth to support risks who intend on growing their own cannabis. The Government has set out specific limits in Ontario for growing cannabis. You will be able to grow up to four plants per residence, not per person, as long as you are over the age of 19. Should you choose to grow your own marijuana under these requirements there will not be an impact with most insurance companies. However, you do need to disclose that you intend on, or are growing marijuana to your insurer. If you exceed the limits or perform illegal drug operation your policy may be declined or become null and void. You can find out more about how much you are able to grow and the requirements here.

 

Can I Get A Commercial Insurance Policy For My Medical Marijuana Business?

This is a great question! There certainly are companies who will insure your medical marijuana dispensary or grow-op. For more information head to our commercial insurance page for Marijuana Insurance.

There are a lot of new changes in the insurance world because of this legislation and it can be difficult to understand the ins and outs of the new law as it pertains to your insurance. If you have any questions or are unclear about what is available or how this may impact you, speak with an experienced insurance broker. They will inform you about the risks and provide you with information about the legalization of marijuana.

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Smart Homes May Not Be As Smart As You Think https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/09/28/smart-homes-privacy-concerns https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/09/28/smart-homes-privacy-concerns#respond Fri, 28 Sep 2018 18:33:33 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=40259 There has been a lot of buzz in the media surrounding smart homes and all the new technology we now have access to. As a smart home owner I am the first to acknowledge all the cool things I can do from the power of my smart phone or through voice control with these devices. […]

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There has been a lot of buzz in the media surrounding smart homes and all the new technology we now have access to. As a smart home owner I am the first to acknowledge all the cool things I can do from the power of my smart phone or through voice control with these devices. “Hey Alexa, lock the front door”. “Hey Google adjust the thermostat to 21 degrees Celsius”. Pretty cool huh? Not so fast. Although the capabilities of these technologies are quite sophisticated the security and privacy may not be. We are starting to see more and more cyber attacks on smart home technology and personal computers.

How Does Smart Home Technology Work?

A good place to start is The Internet of Things, which refers to the products or things that are interconnected through the internet, allowing them to send and receive data. The smart products in your home are the “things” in this case that we would like to track or monitor. These products or things use a communication method known as Internet Protocol, or IP for short, to communicate over a wireless network or the internet. This allows us to exchange data and monitor those devices or systems from a web browser or data enabled device like your smart phone, from anywhere in the world. But that is the scary part.

Smart Homes Makes Your Home More Secure

It is true that a lot of the smart home technology is actually designed to give you better control over your home and make it more secure and private. No longer do you keep your front door key under the welcome mat at your front step. Instead, you may have security cameras or smart locks on your doors that you can monitor and control from anywhere using your smartphone. However, in a recent investigation by Marketplace their study shows that the convenience of a smart home may come at a cost to your privacy.

Smart Home Hacking

Marketplace used a team of 3 hackers to try and infiltrate a smart home. Within 2 hours the hackers had access to the passwords required to access the system and unlocked the front door. Thanks to the smart homes security cameras they were also able to view what was happening inside the home. They also used the homes Amazon Alexa to order items off of the Amazons store using the stored credit card information on the system. The time and took and the relative ease of completing all of these tasks is certainly concerning for homeowners.

Can You Prevent These Cyber Hacks?

There are methods to make it much more difficult to hack into a system. However, most of us, including myself like the convenience and ease of using the same password for everything. It is always recommended to use different passwords for different systems but this can be difficult. There are solutions out there that you can purchase called password managers. With these solutions you only need one password to login to all of your systems. Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound more secure? Password managers use two-factor authentication to login, which is a more secure way to login into a system. What two-factor authentication does is if someone tries to login to your account from a new device, a code is automatically sent to the trusted device to authenticate that you are trying to login on that new device. Without the code you can’t access the account, even if they have your password.

Why Don’t The Smart Devices Include Two-Factor Authentication?

Most of the smart home systems have their own two-factor authentication built in but it is not the default option and users have to proactively select the feature and activate it for it to work. The manufactures want setup of their device to be convenient and easy for users but it should not be at the expense of your privacy. Having the know-how to properly setup this additional security and secure your smart home devices is important.

Cyber Protection For Your Home Insurance

Personal cyber attacks are becoming more and more common. Simply having a smartphone puts you at risk. As the world continues adding more smart devices and things like smart homes continue becoming more and more popular that risk becomes even greater. Luckily, the insurance world has started to recognize this and you may now be eligible for personal cyber protection on your home insurance policy. The cyber protection varies from company to company but is in place to cover the following threats:

Cyber Attack

Coverage to pay for the recovery of data or restore systems that have been damaged or lost due to an attack involving a computer or connected home device.

Example: You open an email that appears to be from your bank. You open the document and now your computer has a bad virus. Because of the virus you need to restore your computer and reinstall the software and all your applications. This caused you to lose all your old files.

Cyber Extortion

Designed to provide professional assistance and reimbursement in response to cyber extortion demands such as ransomware or other extortion’s.

Example: A ransom note pops up on your computer saying your files are locked. The only way to get them back is to pay $1,000. If payment is not received all the files will be leaked or destroyed. You pay the $1,000 and a technology firm to investigate the attack and ensure that no viruses were left and that you have proper security in place to protect from attacks like this in the future.

Online Fraud

Coverage for a direct financial loss as a result of online information being exchanged or hacked.

Example: You receive an email from your grandson who you know is travelling abroad. The email says your grandson’s passport has expired and he will need $2,000 to get a new one or he will be held captive. Fearing for your grandson, you transfer the money, only to find out this was sent from a hacker.

Data Breach

Coverage that notifies and pays for services to affected individuals in the event that third party private personal data entrusted to a household resident is breached.

Example: You coach your child’s hockey team and gather all the player’s information including their address and date of birth and store it on a spreadsheet on your tablet. On a road trip you forget your tablet at the arena and it is never recovered. Fearing that the families of the team might become victims of identity theft you call your lawyer who advises you you to notify the families and provide them with fraud alert services.

 

Insurance is designed to give you peace of mind. If you are concerned about your privacy or potential cyber attacks contact your insurance broker. Smart homes are designed to make your life easier and we want to make sure they do!

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How to Prepare Your Home for Heavy Rainfall https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/09/07/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-heavy-rainfall https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/2018/09/07/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-heavy-rainfall#comments Fri, 07 Sep 2018 15:46:22 +0000 https://www.mcdougallinsurance.com/?p=13462 A little rain can be good for us, it helps our gardens flourish, our grass green, and our farmers happy, it is definitely no cause for concern. However, special weather warnings involving heavy rain can be a serious issue and all of a sudden those flowers are flooded, our grass is a pond, and the […]

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A little rain can be good for us, it helps our gardens flourish, our grass green, and our farmers happy, it is definitely no cause for concern. However, special weather warnings involving heavy rain can be a serious issue and all of a sudden those flowers are flooded, our grass is a pond, and the crop is ruined. Luckily for us in Ontario severe rainfall is not a common event we have to contend with, however, that is not to say it doesn’t happen and when it does we want you and your property to be prepared.

 

Preparing the Outside of Your Home

Before the storm arrives it is important to begin your external preparation. This is a quick check of the important sections of your home that will keep the rainfall away.

Check Your Roof

Examining your roof is a good place to start. Ensure your roof is in good condition and there doesn’t appear to be any potential exposures or damage. Look for missing tiles, sagging edges, cracks in the chimney and if you find any of these it is best to call an expert right away to have them examine and fix it or at least temporarily cover it.

Clean Your Eaves-Trough

Next up is cleaning your eaves-trough or gutters. If your gutters are not cleared properly, rainfall will begin to pool in troubled areas and this can cause your home problems. It is also important to make sure your downspouts are pointing away from your foundation. If water pools against the foundation it can seep into basements or cracks and now you have water in your home. Even minimal seepage can lead to mould or deteriorating foundation support which can cause problems down the road. The idea behind the gutters is to direct the water away from your foundation but without properly cleaned gutters that won’t happen. If constant clearing of leaves and dirt from your gutters is an issue it may be a go idea to invest in downspout covers similar to these:

gutter protector to keep leaves out of gutter

Clear Debris From Street Grates

If you live in the city double check street grates to make sure there is no debris blocking them. It is the cities job to inspect the grates but clearing debris away from them can go a long way in protecting your home from water damage and sewer back up issues during a heavy rainfall.

Store or Cover Valuable Items

The last item for preparing the outside of your home before a heavy rainfall is; storing any valuable items that you have outside, in a safe place. Patio furniture, garden tools, and barbeques are all at risk of damage during heavy rainfall. Storing items in a waterproof shed is a good place to start. However, not all of us have access to a shed and so storing items in a space inside your home (preferably not in the basement) seems like the next logical solution. For your BBQ make sure if it is staying outside it is secured properly so it will not blow around or tip over and that it has a properly secured cover on it to prevent the rain from damaging or rusting it.

 

Preparing the Inside of Your Home

Getting the outside of your home protected and ready is just step 1. It is also important to make sure you prepare the inside of your home.

Check Your Sump Pump

The first thing to look at is your sump pump (if you have one of course). Ensure it is working and give it a few quick tests. We also recommend carrying a battery generator in case the power goes out to ensure your sump pump will continue working. Not to mention many of our companies provide a discount on your home insurance if you carry one. It’s a win-win!

Close Your Windows and Doors

An obvious one, but it does sometimes get overlooked is to close any windows or doors that may be open. Also move away any furniture or electronics that are near windows because even when they are closed water can still find its way in and cause damage to nearby items. Remove any valuables and furniture from the basement level as this is the area that is most exposed during a heavy rain storm. And believe me not everyone will be as calm and cool as this guy when their basement floods and their items are damaged.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Make sure cell phones are charged, flashlights have new batteries in them, and there is food and water in an accessible area. With heavy rainfall can often come thunderstorms that can knock your power out. Preparing a bag of dry clothes and an emergency kit is a good idea in case you are without power for an extended period. If there are any essential medications it is a good idea to make sure they are easily accessible for all household members. Creating a plan and preparing supplies is important for your family’s safety to make sure all members are aware of what to do and have the proper supplies to keep them safe in the event flooding occurs.

Be Cognisant of Your Electrical & Gas Lines

The final area to think about inside your home is the electrical and gas lines. These often are overlooked and yet they are some of the most dangerous side effects of rainfall. Making sure you can easily turn off your electrical switch or panel is important to prevent potential electrocution if flooding makes its way into wall outlets or electronics. Gas leaks can also occur if the water rises high enough to extinguish the pilot light on your furnace or water heater. It can be difficult to cut the supply of gas to these lines in a short period of time but it is important to not use any open flames until you are absolutely certain no gas leak has occurred. If you do suspect a gas leak it is best to leave your home entirely until an expert can evaluate the area. Be careful if driving as roadways can also be dangerous and if the roadway looks unsafe do not proceed and turn back to an area with higher ground.

Making Sure You Have the Proper Insurance Coverage

Water damage has become one of the most complex elements of many homeowners’ policies and is now responsible for more home insurance claims than any other exposure. With coverage options such as sewer back up coverage, overland water, ground water, and complete water protection it can be difficult to differentiate and determine which are important for you. Understanding these coverage’s and what they protect is better left to the experts. Let a broker explain to you what they mean and if they are available to you. The help of a McDougall insurance broker is always a quick click or phone call away and we want to make sure you have the proper protection for you home insurance when heavy rainfall occurs.

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