reprinted from Complete Markets
We are working together with Microsoft to help educate the Insurance Industry about important issues surrounding end-of-life Microsoft products, online security and cyber-crime. The insurance industry is very Microsoft-centric. While end-users may be using iPads and other devices, most servers, server applications, desktops and laptops are powered by Microsoft.
In addition, we think that many of your clients would pay attention, if you, as their trusted insurance advisor, extended valuable information to them - information that affects their livelihood.
Please forward this on to your IT folks, and onward to your clients. We want to make sure individuals and small businesses are alerted to the risks. In the months ahead, we will be offering you more important content related to online and cyber security, that you could re-distribute to your clients, bringing them more value.
This notice is about Microsoft ending support for Windows Server 2003. This could impact small businesses significantly, leaving them exposed to elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, and they may no longer be able to satisfy compliance requirements. An official Microsoft announcement is below, with links to the Department of Homeland Security's alert. There are also resources that businesses can use.
Thanks in advance for helping to raise cyber security awareness!
An important message from Microsoft:
Windows Server 2003 extended support ends on July 14, 2015. Start planning now with help from Microsoft.
As a part of normal product lifecycles and to accommodate the shift towards modern technology and mobility, Microsoft will completely end support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. Security patches and updates will no longer be available after this period. This Alert from the Department of Homeland Security indicates the seriousness of this event, and Microsoft encourages all businesses to carefully evaluate a migration plan.
Research from IDC confirms that businesses should thoughtfully consider using this moment as a starting point for the shift toward modern technology. "We think customers should take advantage of this deadline and see it as an opportunity not only to move forward to a newer version of Windows but also to modernize and prepare for the next generation of computers. Hybrid and public clouds are important components of next-generation IT."
Taking extra good care of valued employees is many a manager's top concern. Finding and keeping good employees is considered as important, or slightly more important than improving customer service, increasing sales and cutting operating costs, according to a recent survey of 248 top executives conducted by Newstrack Executive Service of Alexandria, Va. But there are many stumbling blocks that hinder managers from attaining that goal:
•Companies face tough competition to become "an employer of choice."
•Employees no longer feel they must be loyal to their employers forever.
•Workers feel overextended from handling heavy workloads and new productivity goals.
What Can We do?
Managers can deliver simple messages to win employees' support, boost their job satisfaction and encourage them to stay. Here are some ideas, adapted from various publications I've read:
•Let employees know when you agree with them.
•Write down their ideas while they're with you.
•Recognize important events in their lives. Inquire with empathy about their personal problems.
•Invite senior managers to acknowledge employees' good work and express appreciation.
•Greet them by name and with a smile.
•Hand-write thank you notes for jobs well done. Be specific about what you liked.
•Express sincere concern when they call in sick. Encourage them to take off the necessary time to recuperate.
•Show constructive concern about performance problems. Notice improvements.
•Support their causes. Buy their fundraising candy bars, pledge their marathons.
•Celebrate awards with the entire staff. Provide a pizza party or coffee and doughnuts.
•Don't allow their projects to become last-minute rush jobs because of your disorganization, procrastination or indecision.
•Think of your employees as working with you, not for you or under you.
•Invite individual employees to join you for coffee.
•Allow employees to take "well days" once or twice a year to enjoy a beautiful day or do something special with family or friends.
•Mention their accomplishments during meetings, in the staff newspaper, on bulletin boards, in memos to senior managers.
•When work gets rough, help them remember the successes they've had in the last six months.
•Celebrate small and intermediate successes - reaching a milestone, preventing a problem, surviving a difficult period.
Use social gatherings after work, a success chart or T-shirts with an office joke printed on them.
•Make and keep commitments to them.
•Deal directly and informally with them. Don't hide behind memos, reports and pretentious meetings.
When creating procedures, words and pictures alone will not suffice. It is important that more be included in procedures besides, "attach this, mail this, etc." Procedures should include more than just step-by-step workflow. Incorporated in each procedure should be the following:
To illustrate what I mean I will use the example of an exposure checklist that is incorporated into a new business procedure. The staff should be taught not only the step-by-step procedures, but also how to address the four items mentioned above.
Perceptible Customer Service The only time that a client perceives that they are receiving service from their agent is when they are engaged in some type of communication, whether that be face-to-face, mail, phone, or e-mail. While all other agents merely quote apples for apples, you will take the time to do a full review of your customer's needs. Using an exposure checklist will show that you are not only selling the client a policy, but also that you really care about their exposure to financial loss.
Protection from Errors and Omissions Losses
The number one cause of Errors and Omissions losses is failure to provide coverage. Incorporating the use of an E & O checklist will all but eliminate that exposure. It is important that this checklist be used to show that you recommended coverages and that they are accepted or rejected by the client and then the client should sign and date the checklist indicating that they have been advised of your recommendations.
Passive and Active Suggested Sales
By incorporating the use of an exposure checklist into your new business procedure, the salesperson or CSR will be required to talk about various exposures to loss that the prospect has not even considered. This in turn could lead to additional sales. This checklist should also be used at renewal time to reinforce any recommendations previously made, which have not been accepted by the client.
Productivity and increased efficiency will result from the consistency of each employee doing the same thing all the time. It will also allow anyone in the agency that is contacted by the insured, to properly address prior discussions and recommendations. If the agency is currently imaging documents (and if you're not it's costing your agency hours of productivity) anyone in the agency can access the exposure checklist at any time.
By incorporating these four processes into your workflow procedures you will accomplish more than just pushing paper.