Basement Flood Prevention

January 30, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Did you know…

  • 1 in 3 homes built in the US has a basement (National Association of Home Builders).
  • 60% of Basements are wet – American Society of Home Inspectors.
  • In the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods (http://www.floodsmart.gov/).
  • Total Flood insurance claims averaged nearly $4BN/Year between 2003-20012 (http://www.floodsmart.gov/.
  • Just a few inches of water inside a home can cause tens of thousands of dollars in losses.
  • Causes of basement flooding commonly include: fast melting snow; heavy rainfall and severe or prolonged storms.
Top Ten Tips to Protect Your Basement From Flooding

Exterior of Your Home:

  • Ensure the ground slopes away from your home on all sides including patios and driveways.
  • If grade cannot easily be altered, consider installing swales, berms or drains on the upslope side of your home that will capture and divert surface and ground water away from your foundation.
  • Annually clean and inspect gutters and downspouts and ensure downspouts extend at least 6 feet away from the foundation, preferably onto a splash pad.
  • Ensure basement window wells and doors have watertight seals and that window wells remain clear of debris and leaf litter that could block drains.
  • Look for cracks in your foundation wall and have a contractor professionally seal or repair any that might allow moisture to penetrate in to your basement.
  • If you are in an area with a high water table consider flood-proofing your basement by sealing the exterior surface or installing footing drains.

Interior of Your Home:

  • Install, maintain and service sump pumps annually & ensure all pump discharges are clear and downslope from the home. Having multiple pumps is preferable to relying on a single pump.
  • Consider a back-up power supply such as a battery back-up or generator, so your pump will continue to operate during power outages commonly associated with severe weather events.
  • Consider installing a high water alarm on your sump pump that will notify you and your alarm company if the pump fails to keep pace with rising water, before it reaches finished surfaces.
  • Elevate all valuable contents in your basement above the floor level.

 

from Chubb Group of  Insurance Companies 2014-2015

Posted in Benefits

Securing Your Files in Cloud Storage

January 13, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Cloud storage—a service that allows you to upload documents, photos, videos and other files to a website in order to share those files with others or for backup storage—is proliferating across the Internet. Users can access their files stored in the cloud from any location on any type of device. While it’s easy to use, a quick glance at recent newspaper headlines shows that storing files in the cloud—especially sensitive files—is not without risks.

For example, in late August, an anonymous hacker extracted private, nude photos of several major celebrities from Apple’s online iCloud storage service. Because the celebrities had synced their iPhones with their iCloud storage, any photos they took on their phones were automatically saved in the cloud. Apple believes that the hacker either correctly answered the users’ security questions or used a phishing scam to breach the celebrities’ accounts.

The message is clear: Anything saved in the cloud is vulnerable. Therefore, if you choose to store your business’ files in the cloud, check that the security and availability is right for the types of files you want to upload. When considering whether to use a cloud storage service, ask yourself the following:

  • Who can access my files? Choose the privacy control that matches the sensitivity of your files: private (only you can view the files, although the cloud storage provider may be able to view them, too); public (everyone can view the files without any restriction); and shared (only people you invite can view them).
  • What is my password? Choose a strong, unique password, and never use the same password across more than one site.
  • What are the storage provider’s terms and conditions? Reputable cloud storage providers should have clear, transparent information describing how they secure your information. If you cannot find it or feel the terms are unclear, shop around for other providers.
  • What types of encryption does the provider offer? Encryption adds a further layer of security by rendering your files illegible unless the user has the decryption key. Some cloud storage providers encrypt files on your behalf.

Posted in Blog, Cyber Liability, Risk management