What exactly is MFA and why is it important?

Although you’ve heard all the talk about cyber security and data breaches in the past, have you ever really thought about it happening to you? It’s no surprise but cyber crime has grown to the highest cost in the 17 year history of reporting, according to IBM. Currently, data breach costs are upwards of $4 million.

These attacks are happening more frequently and costing individuals and business owners more money. It could be that we have more work-from-home opportunities than ever before, better cyber technology making cyber criminals more efficient, or more vulnerability in the health and finance sector. It’s been predicted that right now, a cyber attack could occur ever 11 seconds, which is nearly four times the frequency recorded just five years ago.

There are several ways you can protect yourself but one of the most simple and important methods is unfortunately overlooked. As if we insurance folks didn’t have enough acronyms to talk about, here’s another one: MFA. Multi-Factor Authorization. MFA is a security method that requires the use of two or more authentication factors to verify a user’s identity. This is most commonly used for users accessing an organization’s network or using a personal or work email remotely. MFA just provides assurance that the user tapping in to private information is who they say they are and that they deserve access. This keeps data safe even if one set of a username and password is compromised. The use of MFA can stop cyber attacks in their tracks, blocking 99.9% of account-compromising attacks.

So we clarified that MFA is just a method of double checking one’s identity. In real-life terms, that just means that before one can access your accounts or email, they have to take an extra step so that at least two of the following three categories is confirmed:

  • Knowledge – something only that user knows like a password, answer to a personalized security question, or PIN
  • Possession – typically the device the user is on like a smartphone, laptop, or software token
  • Biometric – something unique to the user such as a fingerprint or face scan

Why is MFA also important for a business?

  • Strengthen your existing security system – Firewalls & antivirus protection is only as strong as the authentication steps that protect them
  • Protect high-value targets such as Administrative or Executive accounts – these typically have sensitive information, broader access and confidential personal/business information
  • Limit digital credential theft – even if a hacker obtained username and password information, they are unlikely to have the device or access to the backup MFA such as a personal email with verification code sent
  • Stop cyber exploitation – cyber crimes are more than just stealing private information. Hackers can also destroy such data, deploy ransomware, change programs or transmit spam/malicious code

MFA is just one added layer of protection that you can implement in your email or other account specific systems that you use to stay cyber safe.

Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0: New & Improved

The National Flood Insurance Program had some major changes that became effective October 1st. They are calling this initiative “Risk Rating 2.0”, in which FEMA considers a substantial leap forward when it comes to flood insurance. While some of the changes are minor details, there are a few pretty big adjustments to this coverage that you’ll want to know about in order to best serve your clients.
Since the 1970s, this type of insurance coverage has been rated based solely off of a zone determined by the property location and elevation. FEMA now has years of analyzed data combined with a conscious effort to make flood insurance more fairly rated.
With the evolution of the new Risk Rating 2.0 program, FEMA will now use the following factors to more accurately rate a property for flood insurance:
  • Flood frequency
  • Multiple flood types such as river overflow, storm surge, coastal erosion and heavy rainfall
  • Distance to a water source
  • Property characteristics such as construction type, cost to rebuild, and elevation
  • Prior insurance/claims
Some things that remain the same are:
  • Existing statutory limits on rate increases require that most rates can not increase more than 18% per year
  • FEMA will continue to offer premium discounts for pre-FIRM subsidized and newly mapped properties
  • Policyholders will still be able to transfer their discount to a new owner by assigning their flood insurance policy when their property changes ownership
  • Discounts to policyholders in communities who participate in the Community Rating System will continue
FEMA estimated that 20% of Florida homeowners will see an immediate premium decrease, 68% will see an increase up to $120, and 12% will see an increase over $120.
Overall, this is good news and a positive, fair change moving forward. Flood insurance can be complex but it doesn’t have to be. Any time we can be of assistance with flood insurance questions, please reach out. We’re happy to help navigate these waters…. literally.