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Careless Data Storage = Opportunity and Risk for IT Businesses

of businesses do not have a “fully mature” method of controlling sensitive data

According to the Trustwave State of Risk Report, 81 percent of businesses store or process sensitive data, 63 percent don’t have a fully developed way of controlling that data, and a shocking 19 percent of businesses don’t have any method to protect their data at all. As the concern over data breaches grows, more of these companies will call on IT contractors and consultants for help. Those who get the job will need to be exceptionally clear about the scope of their work and what they aren't responsible for, lest they risk a negligence lawsuit. Encourage your IT clients to use contracts and to purchase a Professional Liability Insurance policy that includes Cyber Liability coverage.

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Important Insurance Policies for Computer, Web, IT Services, & IT Staffing Businesses

Information technology professionals, whether they are technical writers, computer programmers, or IT consultants, need small business insurance that protects them from the distinct risks present in their work. Even if you've written hundreds of IT insurance policies, reviewing the coverages that are most critical to the industry will help you become a trusted ally for your IT clients.

Your IT clients need business insurance that addresses their unique property, data, and services-based liabilities. These essential policies include:

General Liability Insurance

Accidents happen - even in IT businesses where the risk of premises liability or property damage is relatively low. General Liability Insurance steps in when third parties (i.e., non-employees) are hurt on your client's property and sue for damages. It also covers claims that your client lost or damaged someone's property. GL can pay for medical expenses, court costs, legal fees, settlements, or the replacement of damaged property.

Property Insurance / Business Owner's Policy (BOP)

Your IT clients rely heavily on technology - computers, tablets, and smartphones - to compete in their industry. Property Insurance protects their valuable equipment and office space, compensating your client if a covered event damages their insured assets. Your client may be able to combine their Property and General Liability Insurance through a Business Owner's Policy (BOP), which can reduce their premiums.

Errors & Omissions (E&O) / Professional Liability Insurance

IT professionals tend to work with critical and sensitive data. Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance, also called Professional Liability Insurance, safeguards your client should a disgruntled customer claim they lost money because of your client's negligence. Be sure your client finds a policy that includes third-party cyber risk coverage. This type of Cyber Liability Insurance protects your client when their customer claims they are responsible for a data breach. For example, if your client's software transmits a virus to their customer's computer, third-party Cyber Liability coverage can pay for legal fees if the customer decides to sue.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Most states require even small-business owners to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance in case their employees suffer a work illness or injury (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome). Workers' Compensation may pay medical expenses or replace lost wages. Some policies also cover legal expenses if your client's employee sues them for negligence.

Umbrella Liability / Excess Liability Insurance

Your client may want to purchase Excess Liability Insurance to further protect their business assets. Also called Excess Liability Insurance, this policy allows your client to draw on more coverage when certain other policies have reached their limits. For example, if a lawsuit exceeds their General Liability Insurance limits, your client can make a claim on their Umbrella policy to cover the remaining amount. Purchasing an Umbrella policy is often less expensive than raising policy limits individually. Please note: Though your client can apply Umbrella Insurance to their General Liability, Employer's Liability, and Hired and Non-Owned Auto coverage, it can't be applied to Errors and Omissions Insurance.

Please note: Though your client can apply Excess Liability Insurance to their General Liability, Employer's Liability, and Hired and Non-Owned Auto coverage, it can't be applied to Errors and Omissions Insurance.

Tips for Insuring Computer, Web, IT Services, & IT Staffing Businesses

There are unique risks to consider when writing policies for technology professionals. Some issues to keep in mind are:

The type of information involved

Programmers and developers may have a finger in just about any industry, which can give them access to very private information that is subject to strict regulation. If your IT client programs or consults for medical or financial professions, they may need greater liability coverage.

No company is too small to be named in a lawsuit. Even if your client worked on a small portion of a larger project, they could still be named in a lawsuit if something goes wrong.

Financial service professionals know a good deal when they see it. Be sure to compare policies for adequate coverage, affordable premiums, and reasonable deductibles.

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