Are You and Your Customers Vulnerable to Ransomware?

You’ve probably been hearing the term “ransomware” a lot lately; reports of this type of cyberattack have doubled in the past year alone. Any business, or even individual, can be targeted by this form of malware, with which a cyberattacker encrypts a victim’s files and then demands a fee, or ransom, to restore access to the data. Because these attacks are so widespread, one could happen to you or your clients, so it is important to learn what you can do to protect yourself from one; if you are not properly protected, you or your customer might have to pay the ransom, which is far less expensive than replacing or restoring the locked files and computer. One thing you can do is purchase cyber insurance, which will cover ransomware, and encourage your customers to do the same, but is having one of these policies good enough, or could it cause more harm than good?

How Ransomware Works

Ransomware is different from other types of malware in that, during these attacks, a cyber criminal gains administrative access to your information and takes your data hostage. The most common way these criminals get access to your data is by sending out phishing scams through emails and texts; usually, the emails will look like they are from your bank or another trusted company you work with, and will contain an attachment or link that, if clicked on, will give them full access to your files.

computer screen with a padlock on the screen

Once the cyberattacker has full administrative access to all of your information, they will encrypt your files and essentially put a lock on your computer, demanding that you pay them a ransom to be able to gain access to your data again. Some will even take it a step further and threaten to publicize the data if the ransom is not paid; this can put your business in jeopardy because, as an agent in possession of sensitive customer information, it is your duty under HIPAA to protect that information.

Cyber Insurance & Ransomware 

If you’re worried about ransomware attacks, remember that almost all cyber insurance policies cover ransomware, including the cost to restore and recover your data. However, you should also know that not everyone agrees that giving in to the attackers is the best solution, and lately, insurance companies have been getting scrutinized for paying ransoms. Regulators feel that by paying these ransoms, it further incentivizes cyber attackers: because of this, some insurance companies are dropping cyber insurance from their list of policies, while others are taking the ransom payment coverage out of their policies. This will require people to either pay the ransom on their own, which is typically anywhere form $700- $1,300, or have to pay for the restoration of their computer systems. The insurance companies and regulators hope that this will slow down ransomware attacks in the long run, but it doesn’t help individuals and businesses who are attacked in the short term.

With that being said, this has not stopped many insurance companies from providing cyber insurance, including ransomware coverage. What’s more, after recent high-profile attacks such as the one on the Colonial Pipeline, there is now a greater push for ransomware legislation to support private and public sectors and to punish the criminals. Hopefully the focus will be taken off the insurance industry and put back where it belongs: on stopping the attackers. 

As of now, if you are looking to protect your business and your clients’ businesses, there are still affordable cyber insurance plans, but there are some precautionary steps you and your customers can take as well. 

How To Prevent Ransomware

black USB
To prevent ransomware, back up your files and keep your system up-to-date.

A cyber insurance policy will help you restore your encrypted data if you are attacked, but there are other steps you can take to help prevent attacks on your computer and files:

  • Keep your system up-to-date.
  • Do NOT install software unless you are completely sure it is from a trusted source, and do NOT give administrative access to anyone else unless absolutely necessary (and safe).
  • Install antivirus and whitelisting software to prevent unauthorized applications.
  • Backup your files as often as possible.

Ransomware can destroy your business and cost you – or your customers – thousands of dollars. Cyber insurance is a great way to protect you and your customers’ businesses, but this type of coverage is becoming controversial, meaning that some insurance companies are no longer offering it. So, not only should you make sure you follow the steps above to prevent ransomware, and share the information with your clients, you should also compare cyber insurance plans from different companies to make sure they still cover ransomware.

How To Help Businesses With Worker’s Compensation

The past year has been a serious struggle for many business owners, and many who have managed to stay in business are confused and seeking help from agents about their insurance options. Many businesses are looking to reduce costs and recover some of the losses they have experienced. In addition, some businesses have had to let go of some of their employees, or have had to change the roles of their workers, which could put those employees at greater risk of injury. Business owners will turn to agents like you for help evaluating their worker’s compensation needs, and will also be looking to save money, so be prepared with your strategy for how to help them. 

illustration of money bills over a person's hand with a suit on
Payroll changes will affect the worker’s compensation benefits and costs.

Discuss Payroll Changes

How much an employer pays their employees plays a crucial part in determining worker’s compensation premiums. This also means that the number of employees a business has determines how much they will pay in premiums. The less employees they have (possibly due to layoffs), the less they will have to pay. You can help your customers save money on their premiums by going over their payroll changes with them. 

Ensure Employees Are Correctly Classified 

During the pandemic, some businesses were forced to lay off workers, or needed to change some employees’ positions – and classifications – due to being short-staffed, or both. These changes will affect how these workers are covered for the new risks they can face. When an employees’ classification is changed, the cost of your customers’ premiums could change, as well. Incorrectly classifying employees, or forgetting to change their classifications, is an easy mistake for business owners to make. Make sure to discuss this with them in order to make sure employees are correctly classified, so you can possibly save them money. 

two set of hands each holding a magnifying glass.
When an employee gets hurt, it is important to send them to see a medical professional and then investigate what happened.

Know What To Do When Employees Get Hurt

In the event that one of their employees is injured, your client might come to you for help. Knowing the process will make it easier for your clients. Let them know the steps: first, they should always direct their employee to get checked out when they are injured. Next, your client needs to investigate the accident and take any statements. Finally, they can file a worker’s compensation claim with the insurance company. 

Be The Middleman

Sometimes a business owner will come to you to play the middleman between them and the insurance company. It is your job to point them in the best possible direction and, because you work directly with the insurance company, you can serve as the intermediary between them. 

Help Build A “Recovery-At-Work” Plan

If  your customer’s employee gets hurt, getting them back to work can be a long process. When the employee is able to return to “light duty,” they will have some restrictions. You can help your client come up with a great return-to-work plan to show employees that they can still be productive and be part of the team, when they are ready. You can help your customer identify work activities that their employee can engage in based on their doctor’s restrictions. 

The best way to help your client and keep them happy is by explaining employee classifications, how to deal with payroll changes, and what to do when an employee gets hurt. You can help them save money by going over their options, pointing them in the direction of their best option, and providing the best customer service you can. 

Taking On Overwhelmed Customers

Businesses have been through tough times lately. Many owners who have managed to stay afloat will be looking for new commercial and group insurance policies. This will bring new customers to your door, and many will be understandably overwhelmed by recent events. These customers will be upset and will be looking to you for help.

man in business attire with a contract in one hand and a pen in another pointing at signature part.
Customers will be dealing with a lot and will need help from someone who is understanding and not pushy.

Customers want to be taken care of and crave personal attention. They want fast, easy quotes that will save them the most money while providing them with the most coverage. This is especially true for business owners who will be opening their businesses back up, or new business owners making a start in uncertain times. Keep in mind that this situation is new to them, and that they may be dealing with a tremendous loss of money due to the pandemic. At times, these kinds of customers can be a lot to handle, but there are some strategies to keep in mind as you work with overwhelmed customers.

Don’t Be Pushy 

No one likes a pushy person, and that goes double for a pushy salesperson. If a customer is dealing with a lot of stress, the last thing they want is to have an agent that they feel is just trying to make a quick buck. Be open-minded and honest, and let them take the lead; this is the best way to approach overwhelmed customers. 

Stay Calm & Communicate

There is no such thing as over communicating after a major crisis like a pandemic. Customers are going to feel overwhelmed with rebuilding their businesses and will need immediate help. While these customers can be a little difficult to deal with, as an agent it is your job to stay calm and reassure them that you will take care of them. 

Tell your customer that they can sit back and relax while you do all the work to find them the best coverage. Allow customers the chance to express anger and frustration, then take control of the conversation. Let them know that you understand their concerns and show your dedication to finding a solution.

woman in a blue button up shirt with a cell phone to her ear while smiling
It is important to stay in touch and keep checking on how they are doing.

Stay In Touch

When you are faced with an overwhelmed customer, you need to be ready to come up with a practical solution for them. Once you do, it is important to stay in touch and keep checking on how they are doing. Just because you have completed the sale, doesn’t not mean that you can forget about your customer. Follow ups are just as important as the initial sale. Make sure they are okay and that their insurance suits their needs. Return their calls, find answers to their questions, and care for your clients’ needs as if they were your own. Not only will you keep your client, but they will more than likely refer you to others.

What insurance agents need to know during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s going to be the buzz word of the century.  COVID-19, The Coronavirus, The pandemic.  Right now, it has the world’s economy in shambles and people are fearing for loved ones’ well-being.  It will go down as the great interruption of the 21st century.

With schools shut down and businesses operating remotely, any sense of normalcy is all but forgotten.  Along with personal lives, this same impact is being felt in industries across the country.  The insurance industry is no exception to this, and what insurance agents need to know during the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be laid out.

As a lead company that runs marketing campaigns nationwide, we have experienced the digital impact of this virus first hand.  We have generated leads digitally for over 10 years in numerous verticals including Medicare supplement, individual health, commercial, and group health.  We are seeing wild disruptions in how consumers typically interact with insurance agents in every one of these verticals.

However, we are discovering trends that could help agents maximize sales during this turbulent time. Your adaptation to these discoveries and use of available tools will make the difference.

The impact in numbers

The signs are all around us.  At the time of writing this, there has been a 36% drop in the US stock market in a span of 5 weeks.  Video streaming rates are so high that some companies are decreasing quality by 25% to save bandwidth.  And in some cities, maximum capacity of patients and exhausted resources have become a reality for healthcare workers.

Insurance agent adapting working from home

These extreme statistics are a reality for the entire country.  Granted, most are not as severe as those surrounding the medical industry.  However, the impact is still considerable.

In the insurance industry, we know that variability in traffic is inevitable.  Even when there isn’t a pandemic, our average variability is 3% from day-to-day.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic has settled in the United States, we at Benepath have seen as much as a 33% variability in impressions and traffic.  An 11x difference.  Through discussions with the competitors in the insurance space whom we have a relationship with, we discovered this variability has been universal.

What’s startling is we do this professionally, we specialize in it, can you imagine what the impact is for agents who try to do this on their own?

What does this mean for agents?

Here are the top 3 topics of conversations our sales team and customer service staff is having with clients:

  • Closed offices
  • Need for supplemental traffic
  • Market uncertainty

We’ve seen call centers close their doors temporarily and large agencies having to adapt their standard procedures.  While a frightening reality for some workers, this is an opportunity for agents around the nation capable of working from home.

With call centers closed and large agencies’ productivity slowing, fulfillment opportunities now move in the direction of independent agents and smaller agencies to field the demand for insurance.  In short; while your personal life may be experiencing disruptions, your sales trajectory doesn’t have to.

However, for agents who typically operate out of an office serving clients face-to-face or visiting their clients’ homes, adjustments have to be made.  The question is how do you get “in front” of these potential clients.  Social media and advertising are great ways to do this normally, but like previously stated, nontraditional consumer behavior creates a unique set of challenges in the current sales environment.

Board that read "Things To Do: 1) Own Today 2) *left empty* 3) *left empty*


So what can you do?

It’s time to think from a perspective of how your clients are spending their time.  Because consumers are forced to minimize typical life distractions, consumerism is in a cycle unique cycle compared to standard trends.

To start, adopt new technologies.  With the common availability of video chat systems like Zoom, BlueJeans, Skype, FaceTime and so many more, the option of getting “in front” of your client doesn’t have to stop because you can’t be there in person.  You can even utilize social media messengers, texting, and personalized video presentations to get your message in your customers hands.

Now may also be the time to work with a digitally focused lead company like ourselves.  Companies who have been adapting to this unique set of challenges from the beginning have a leg up compared to most smaller marketing teams or general marketing agencies.  At Benepath, we understand where insurance consumers are going to get their insurance coverage needs fulfilled.  Because of this, we have started to field a surge in consumers turning to online means to do so.

Another option is to express your availability to your network Insurance agent video chatting with client on computerof clients and offer incentives for referrals.  Your clients are on the phone and engaging through social media with their family, friends, and business acquaintances more often during this period.  If you can secure head space in those clients, the likelihood of a referral if the topic of insurance comes up increases.

Lastly, make yourself available.  Consumers will have new questions, new concerns, and uncertainties about their coverage.  The more effectively you defuse their anxieties, the more likely you are to develop a relationship with them that will outlast this pandemic.  That directly lends itself to sales down the road.

Resources to help you

We pride ourselves in our motto; Together we succeed.  We stand behind this now more than ever.  As a community, an industry, country, and part of our interdependent world, we need to support one another.  To play our part, we compiled these tools and articles to assist you in these trying times.

  • Benepath agent guide download sample imageAgent Lead Calculator – This tool allows an agent to quickly calculate how many new clients they need in order to achieve their goals (or needs in these circumstances).
  • Agent Guide – This guide lays out disposition data that agents we partner with have reported back to us.  Based on best practices and compiled data, we present our findings to help you succeed with your insurance leads.
  • Best Places to Find Online Classes – We compiled a non-bias list of online sources to find classes in skills you want to learn or improve.  This may be the perfect tool to help you adapt to the current conditions.
  • Harnessing the Power of Referrals – As discussed above, we believe that the power of referrals could benefit you greatly during this time.  In this blog post, we discuss best practices for gaining referrals through your network.
  • Maximize Productivity – Have you heard of Covey’s 4 Quadrant Theory? It’s a simple process to maximize the productivity of your time.  Successful professionals across all industries use it to organize their personal and professional lives.  It’s time to apply it to yours.
  • Outbound Sales Cadence Insights – Every agent has developed cadences that work for them, but could they work better is the question you should be asking.  We recently developed this guide to help audit your sales cadence and provide you with tips to implement better ones.

We are here to help

This compilation is just a sample of the beneficial tools and documents we create for insurance agents.

We are confident that you can make it through this.  If you are in need of a partner to help drive profitability or just want to talk about the benefits we can provide to your business, contact us at the number above or fill out the form on the side bar.  Together we can help you achieve your goals.

Together we succeed.

PSA:  Listen to the CDC and WHO, and for the safety of the nurses, doctors, elderly, and immunocompromised.  Lets work together on eradicating this disease.


Scam Alert! Professional Liability Clients Targeted By Fraudulent Wire Transfers

62%. That is the number of businesses that experienced phishing and social engineering attacks in 2018. About 71% of those breaches were financially motivated. Cybercrime is the most threatening crime that a business faces, and it has grown exponentially over the years. Businesses are not protecting their data, which makes them a target for cybercrime, and scams like the fraudulent wire transfers.

envelope on a laptop screen with a hand coming out of it grabbing money and card.
Wire frauds is an epidemic and can destroy a business. Notify businesses of these scams and how to be protected with cyber security.

As an agent, the more you are informed of these kinds of scams, the better you can inform your clients and protect them. Cyber security can help cover this kind of scam a business faces. First let’s talk about what these fraudulent wire transfers are, and then how you can protect your client’s business.

Business Wire Frauds

Wire fraud is a growing threat to businesses in the United States, mainly because of the increased online financial activity and mobile banking. It has gotten so bad, that the FBI issued a warning about a wide-ranging email scam in which people were emailing businesses in order to conduct a wire transfer.

These criminals will get personal credentials and passwords by installing malware, sending out phishing emails that pose as a legitimate business in order to get personal and financial information, or hacking into email accounts. 

For example, a lot of people recently have received emails posing to be their bank stating that someone tried to hack into their account. There will be a link there for the person to sign into their account and check it. These are usually scammers. If a bank suspects fraudulent activity, they will call you. Once a person gets those kinds of emails, they should call their bank immediately. 

Protection With Cyber Security

Notify clients of the ongoing scams and threats to their business and how they can protect their business. One sure way to prevent fraudulent wire frauds is by having cyber security insurance with wire fraud coverage added. Once a business has had a wire transfer fraud or cybercrime claim, it is hard to find coverage afterwards. The business is branded as high risk then.

laptop with a lock on the screen over a map of different continents.
Protect your clients from fraudulent wire frauds by providing cyber security insurance with wire fraud coverage added.

For this reason, it is better for a business to be protected before the crime occurs. This is something every agent should point out to their customers. As an agent, your main goal is to make the customer happy. In order to do this, you must provide protection and a sense of security to clients, within an affordable price. Your customers will appreciate your knowledge of scams and your compassion to protect their business.

Commercial Insurance Rates are Rising. Here’s Why

No one wants to pay more for insurance, but it is our unfortunate reality. Commercial insurance rates are rising, meaning higher premiums across the board for many businesses. Coverage affected ranges from Business Owner’s Policy to Worker’s Compensation. It is projected that prices will continue to rise throughout the rest of 2019. From underwriting to pricing, these changes come from two major sources: cars and catastrophes.


Auto insurance aside, vehicles have become a major factor in the rise of our commercial insurance rates. You may think “why does this matter to me?” It matters because vehicles are our main source of transportation, influencing our economic structure deeply. Everything you have as a business owner is brought to you by some type of vehicle.  With more production and vehicles on the road come more opportunities for accidents to occur. This involves more than just passenger cars. 

With our economic boost, we see an increase in areas like construction. Motorized vehicles operate in these zones, causing more concern for insurance companies. More work means more workers are needed to operate these vehicles. It only leads to an upward climb in insurance rates.

There is no easy solution for the car aspect contributing to this climb. We can only wait for legislation to step in.


We’ve recently experienced a lot of natural disasters. In November 2018, California was ravaged by wildfires. While it is accustomed to fires, these were the worst in years, affecting areas as far north as San Francisco, and areas as richly populated as Malibu. The Woolsey Fire destroyed over 1600 structures (including most of Paradise, CA) and caused the death of three individuals.

Besides fires, hurricanes are a force to be reckoned with annually. In 2017, Texas’ southeastern area, including Houston’s almost 6 million people, were decimated by Harvey.  This storm solely caused $125 billion worth of damage. Not to mention the opioid epidemic, which is heavily affecting our medical industry with 60,000 people dying from it in 2016. All of these things only scratch the surface of the disasters our country is experiencing. 

This is causing rates to climb between 1-5% for insurance deductibles depending on how close you are to at-risk areas. As people scramble to make sure they are covered more for potential disasters, insurance companies raise their rates. At the same time, claim payouts are in the billions of dollars, forcing the capital in insurance companies to deteriorate. It’s simple supply and demand affecting the market.

While it may not provide much comfort, the reality is that an increase in productivity added to the disaster influx is causing inflation for commercial insurance prices. While it’s mostly liability markets that are affected, the results can be felt by everyone. 

Benepath Introduces Commercial Insurance Leads That Work

Benepath is pleased to announce its new product line of exclusive commercial insurance leads, connecting agents throughout the United States with businesses wanting coverage.

Benepath’s commercial leads provide exceptional benefits to both small businesses and insurance agents. Businesses looking to purchase coverage will be given the opportunity to work with companies and browse plans they usually would not have access to, making it more likely they will secure the right policy for their needs and budget. Agents will gain exposure with small businesses wishing to buy commercial insurance at an affordable price. This new product line expands Benepath’s commercial offerings as the lead generation company already delivers one-to-one matches for small businesses searching for group health insurance and the agents who sell the plans.

“We are in the business of generating exclusive leads that work, and our new product line of commercial insurance is just the latest way Benepath assists agents in providing companies with the coverage they require,” said Clelland Green, president of Benepath.

Agents can connect with small business owners looking for commercial insurance and deliver the protection employers need most, whether that involves a workers’ compensation, business owners policy, general liability, professional liability or cyber liability plan.

Benepath provides real-time, exclusive leads to insurance agents and agencies across the country. Relying on feedback from its agents, Benepath utilizes its digital marketing expertise to bid on keywords in search engines that attract business owners looking for insurance. After obtaining a lead’s information, Benepath sends the details to one agent who is licensed to sell commercial insurance, orchestrating a one-to-one connection. Benepath also creates a customized thank you page that lets business owners see the agent they will they hear from, which makes them less likely to look elsewhere for a quote and allows the agent to prepare before contacting the lead.

Benepath does not just offer leads to agents and then let them figure it out on their own. In addition to receiving the best leads available, agents who use Benepath are given better tools, more guidance, unsurpassed sales training and techniques from the most successful agents in the industry.


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