Posted by Andrew Gibbons

Client Advisory – Cyber Threats, Vacant Property Obligations & Travel Claims Advice

Client Advisory: Cyber-criminals exploiting the Coronavirus

Increased remote working can open gateway to hackers

Remote desktop protocol (RDP), when set up correctly, is a great tool for remote working. However, using it without multi-factor authentication (MFA) enabled or on an insecure network can open the gateway to hackers. In fact, in 2019, 80% of the ransomware attacks we handled were initiated through RDP.

Employees should always log on within a trusted network and ideally work with their IT department to secure personal devices – and implement MFA – prior to remote working.

Attachments linked to malicious software

Employees should be on the lookout for malware campaign purporting to be a “Coronavirus Update’.

As global concern about the coronavirus grows, it is likely that cyber-criminals will continue to abuse this outbreak to their advantage, in fact there are already reports of Phishing messages on WhatsApp, from HMRC purporting to advise people regarding the new Government financial supports for business and scams involving company salary payments being redirected. The message is be vigilant!

Client Advisory: Vacant Property Advice – (Retail, Offices, Industrial and Other Multi Let Properties)

Most property insurance policies have an “Empty Premises” condition, and if a building is empty or not in use, policy coverage will be subject to compliance with the condition. Now that the Government has effectively asked certain businesses to close temporarily, it is likely to trigger the condition. We are seeking clarification from Insurers as to whether they are likely to relax these empty buildings requirements, but as yet, there is no definitive position so you must assume that these conditions apply.

Whilst all wordings are slightly different, they have common requirements relating to measures that will minimise the risk or magnitude of any incident.

The normal requirements include items such as notifying the insurer of the unoccupancy; draining down the water system; switching off the power but maintaining any alarm system in full operation; putting all security measures into operation including the sealing of all openings (letterboxes etc); removal of all unfixed combustible items; and weekly premises inspections (which should be recorded).

Such conditions were intended to cover individual empty premises, whereas the temporary closure of huge parts of the country was obviously something that was never envisaged by anyone. The British Insurance Brokers Association is urgently lobbying the insurance companies to announce how they are dealing with this situation, but until such time as a response is forthcoming, you should check your policy wording to see what steps, if any, you must adhere to.  We would respectfully request that you check your own documents, as due to the magnitude of the issue, we are being inundated by queries and our response times cannot be guaranteed. However, if you do need our assistance in terms of advising you upon your specific requirements, it would be preferable to receive any questions by email to mail@mofs.co.uk

In a similar vein, if you have relocated some or all of your staff from your premises to alternate locations, or if you have purchased new portable equipment or similar, you should  check whether you policy cover remains adequate, and if not, please let us know and we will make the necessary adjustments for your ongoing protection.

Client Advisory: DTW Travel+ Insurance Policies:

If you have booked a trip to a destination and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for the territory changes to “Advice against all travel” or “Advice against all but essential travel” after the trip is booked and insurance purchased:

You may be able to claim under your Travel policy if you meet the following criteria:

A    You bought your travel insurance and booked their holiday before the outbreak was a known event. For example, for trips to China for instance, you must have purchased both before 23rd January 2020 when the FCO made their initial advices not to travel to China.

B    You must have tried to reclaim any lost costs from your tour operator, travel or booking agent, accommodation and transport providers or bank and credit card provider, who will be able to provide you with specific advice on your travel plans, offer an alternative destination or offer refund of monies paid. The FCO have advised against all travel or all but essential travel to the region they were planning on travelling to.

C    Once you have checked and confirmed that you are unable to get compensation for all your lost or additional costs you should submit a claim on the Travel+ policy.

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