FAPEO is Right Around the Corner!

FAPEO’s annual business meeting is next Wednesday (8/4).

Click here to access the agenda. If you haven’t registered yet, you can email Suzanne Hurst at suzanne@helpmembers.org

In addition to the important legislative updates, we are certain that cyber security for PEOs will be a hot topic. Below is an overview of how we at Libertate look at cyber coverage. We will be available at FAPEO and would love to discuss further.

Paul HughesSharlie ReynoldsDavid Burgess
321.217.7477305.495.5173321.436.8214
phughes@libertateins.comsreynolds@libertateins.comdburgess@libertateins.com  

Parent Company of PEO Carrier Key Risk Reports Another Strong Quarter!

Kudos to our friends at W.R. Berkley for a stellar Q2! So happy they are a part of our PEO community.

W.R. Berkley Corp. reported net premium growth exceeding 27 percent and a combined ratio under 90 for the 2021 second quarter, positive results the commercial lines insurer and reinsurer attributed to rate adequacy and an improving economy.

Consolidated net premiums written during Q2 surpassed $2.2 billion, up from $1.7 billion in the 2020 second quarter.

The company booked net income of more than $237 million in Q2 versus $71.2 million a year ago.

Additionally, net investment income jumped nearly 97 percent to $169.2 million during the quarter.

The company said that its rate increases continue to outpace loss costs, with new products also helping to achieve or exceed its targeted rate levels. During the quarter, W.R. Berkley focused on exposure growth and business expansion, and it said the strategy should help lead to additional underwriting profits down the line.

W.R. Berkley’s consolidated combined ratio was 89.7 during the quarter, compared to 98.7 a year ago.

W.R. Berkley even produced gains for workers’ compensation, which had average rate increases of just under 10 percent.

Commercial auto and casualty reinsurance also saw large premium increases. Professional liability was among the largest gainers, jumping to $287 million in net premiums written during Q2, versus $174.2 million the year before.

Current accident year insurance losses from catastrophes, including COVID-related losses, landed at $36.8 billion during the quarter, improved from $114 million in the 2020 second quarter. Reinsurance and monoline excess losses were just under $7.2 million, compared to $31.8 million a year ago.

Source: W.R. Berkley

AM Best Assigns Credit Rating to Sunz Insurance Company

Congrats to our friends at Sunz for the A- (Excellent) rating!

Sunz Insurance

OLDWICK, N.J., July 16, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AM Best has assigned a Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” (Excellent) to SUNZ Insurance Company (SUNZ) (Bradenton, FL). The outlook assigned to these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The ratings reflect SUNZ’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

SUNZ was formed in 2005 and primarily writes high deductible worker’s compensation coverage utilizing its proprietary technology-driven platform focused on collateral management for its medium and small business clients.

SUNZ’s balance sheet assessment is supported by its risk-adjusted capitalization as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR) in current periods, projected future scores, and under stress scenarios. SUNZ balance sheet assessment also considers the capital contributions in support of recent premium growth, improved reserving patterns exhibited during the recent five-year period, its comprehensive reinsurance program diversified among highly rated participants, and a conservative investment portfolio that matches assets with liabilities.

SUNZ’s operating performance is assessed as adequate as evidenced by average pre-tax return on revenue measures that trail AM Best’s workers’ compensation industry composite over the recent five- and 10-year timeframe. SUNZ’s business profile assessment is limited as 49.9% of premiums are written in two states, California and Florida, when considering both direct and assumed premiums. Operating as a single line workers’ compensation insurer, SUNZ’s limited business profile exposes the company to the potential legislative, regulatory or judicial changes occurring within these states. SUNZ’s ERM approach is considered appropriate for the scale, scope and complexity of the organization.

While positive rating actions are unlikely over the near term, positive rating actions could be taken on SUNZ’s ratings should operating performance improve and be sustained at a level that is in line with peers with stronger operating performance assessments.

Key factors that could result in negative rating actions on SUNZ’s ratings and outlooks include a weakening in operating earnings to a level that is not supportive of the adequate operating performance assessment.

Negative rating actions could occur should adverse reserve development or strong premium growth result in a weakening in risk-adjusted capitalization that falls short of supporting the very strong balance sheet assessment.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper use of Best’s Credit Ratings, Best’s Preliminary Credit Assessments and AM Best press releases, please view Guide to Proper Use of Best’s Ratings & Assessments.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2021 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210716005296/en/

Contacts

Gordon McLean
Senior Financial Analyst

+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5304
gordon.mclean@ambest.com

Robert Raber
Director
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5696
robert.raber@ambest.com

Christopher Sharkey
Manager, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5159
christopher.sharkey@ambest.com

Jim Peavy
Director, Communications
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644
james.peavy@ambest.com

Week in Rewind <<

If you haven’t noticed our focus has been heavily weighted in the area of cyber risk! Too many of our friends and clients have been impacted lately by cyber thieves. Yes, we sell insurance, but we are passionate about the benefits of insurance. We are all about Mitigating Risk and Loss Exposure!

So How Does Cyber Insurance Actually Help?

What Does It Cover?

First thing to know here is, in most cases you can design a plan to cover your business’ specific needs. As a generalization Cyber Coverage includes the following:

  • Defense and Settlement – civil proceeding or investigation
  • Regulatory fines and penalties including forensic examination
  • Re-certification services
  • Cyber extortion
  • Ransomware
  • Website media
  • Business interruption
  • Data recovery
  • Crisis management and fraud response
    • notification to breach parties
    • call center operations
    • design and implementation of website for advising breach parties
    • credit monitoring
    • public relations
    • associated legal expenses

What It Does Not Typically Covered

  • Potential future lost profits
  • Loss of value due to theft of intellectual property
  • Improvement costs to internal systems after cyber evet
    • Your other policies may be “activated” in the event of a cyber incident, but there are likely gaps in coverage for what damages are actually covered. The industry term, “Silent Cyber” refers to cyber loss exposure not covered under traditional, non-cyber insurance policies; namely the exposure is silent.

IT Risk Management

In an effort to further educate our audience we are providing links to our previously published articles on creating a better infrastructure to avoid successful attempts.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Colonial Pipeline authorized ransom payment of $4.4 million as a result of the company not being able to quantify the magnitude of the cyberattack breach to their system and the length of time to get things up and running again. Feet held to the fire for resolve and the decryption tool provided for ransom payment did not bring full restore back to Colonial. We can all feel the impact of the Colonial hack.

CNN reports that the Justice Department indicated that 2020 was the worst year for cyber attacks with ransomware demands, on average, exceeding $100,000 but as high as tens of millions of dollars. “….A key lesson here is that while technology and automation is good, we must also have the ability to efficiently operate manually as well. Attacks will happen, but how quick can you recover and restore critical services?”, Brian Harrel, former assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the Department of Homeland Security, as reported by CNN. Having the support of insurance coverage through a Cyber policy is definitely one way to mitigate recovery exposure, should you fall victim.

NAPEO has pre-recorded webinars and information available on Cybersecurity. For non-members, follow this link to join.

Libertate Insurance Services has access to a variety of programs for Cyber Risk Coverage. Contact us, let us help you identify your Company’s Cyber Risk and find the best placement for your needs.

Cyber Attack Nightmares Continue

While most of us were celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday, Colonial Pipeline was attempting to assess the damage related to a cyber-attack last week. Colonial Pipeline accounts for 45% of the East Coast’s fuel (diesel and petroleum). Colonial has had to take 4 of their main pipelines offline; they are operating off of smaller lines and delivery points. Impacts from New Jersey down through Texas are expected. As a response to the cyber-attack and limitation of the company’s resources the US government issued emergency legislation to lighten the regulation on fuel transportation. Extended shutdowns are “fueling” fears over pump prices.

The 5 Key anticipated cybersecurity risks in 2021 were reported as Endpoint threats (servers, VPNs and cloud based software services), Remote workforce exposures (weakened network security of remote devices), Cloud Security (business-critical data on cloud platforms), and Shortage of security professionals or services (availability and affordability). You can check out the full article here of expected cyber threat trends for 2021.

Newer threats emerging are “multi-stage attacks like ransomware or “low and slow hacks”. Ransomware attacks gain exposure through stolen credentials and are designed with the goal of systems and data infiltration. While mutli-factor authentication (MFA) is an important security feature to mitigate ransomware attacks, it is reported that 78% of Microsoft 365 admin users don’t activate MFA.

Colonial Pipeline’s hack is reported to be a ransomware attack, ” Sources said the ransomware attack was likely to have been caused by a cyber-criminal gang called DarkSide, who infiltrated Colonial’s network and locked the data on some computers and servers, demanding a ransom on Friday.

The gang tried to take almost 100 gigabytes of data hostage, threatening to leak it onto the internet, but the FBI and other government agencies worked with private companies to respond. The cloud computing system the hackers used to collect the stolen data was taken offline on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Colonial’s data did not appear to have been transferred from that system anywhere else, potentially limiting the hackers’ leverage to extort or further embarrass the company, the news agency said.” You can read the full Colonial Pipeline article issued by BBC News here.

Mitigate Your Cyber Security Risks

1 – Identify and document asset vulnerabilities; What data are you storing?

2 – Identify and document internal and external threats; disgruntled employees, Dark Web techniques

3 – Assess your vulnerabilities; software security up to date and in place

4 – Identify potential business impacts; financial, operational, etc

5 – Identify and prioritize your risk responses; Response plan, best practices, documentation of procedures

Check out our previous articles on Cyber Risk at PEO Compass search Cyber. Libertate Insurance Services has Cyber Programs available to mitigate the loss.

The 2021 PACE Conference is Right Around the Corner!

Who’s excited about an in person conference? We are!

PACE is next week (May 2 – 5) in beautiful Asheville, NC at the Omni Grove Park Inn. Below is additional information. Hope to see you there!

Your Clients Need You Now, More Than Ever!

Recover, Regroup, and Rebuild – Together

This is the most important conference we have ever had. It is a must-attend experience for success.

Tomorrow belongs to the bold, agile, and digital. Luckily, that’s us. It has to be. Now, more than ever, we need each other – and we need technology, not only to survive, but to bounce back — no, FORWARD! — full force and really thrive.

We can rebound so much faster if we combine our genius. Friends before competitors, right? We’re all going through an unprecedented, difficult time. The world’s business landscape has changed in ways that we never imagined. We’re in the trenches and we need each other to get back to high ground. For almost 40 years, we’ve been on the cutting edge of innovation, making history. We can’t stop now.

We need concrete, actionable strategies to reboot and triumph – and that’s what the 2021 PACE Annual Conference is all about.

Sales, marketing and technology: we need to excel in all three in order to charge ahead. Our speakers are experts at digital success. The sessions are practical and aimed at capitalizing on newfound opportunity caused by the pandemic, and protecting your company from future uncertainty. Be sure to bring your senior sales and marketing managers to keep them on the digital forefront.

Come to where senior PEO leaders freely share their insights on what’s working and what’s not, in a fun and spirited environment, where transparency, honesty, and friendship come standard.

We’re going to succeed – together.

For more information, click here