General Insurance

Minimizing risk with cyber insurance

Minimizing risk with cyber insurance

Follow any tech or security blogs and news and it quickly becomes apparent that nearly every week there is some massive new security breach found in computer software, operating systems, and sometimes even hardware. In many cases these risks are actually fairly minimal to many companies in China, but at least once every couple months there is a risk uncovered that poses a potentially massive threat. In mid-May, 2017 that threat was WannaCry, one which has infected a disproportionately high number of computers in China. Here, Sylver Zhong, Pacific Prime China’s Head Property & Casualty Consultant discusses this threat, why your business may be at risk, and how cyber insurance can help you effectively deal with the risk of cyber threats.

What exactly is WannaCry?

WannaCry is a piece of malware (malicious software) called a “worm” that infects computers and essentially holds important files hostage until a ransom – in this case around USD 300 in bitcoin (a digital currency) is paid. This type of infection is commonly referred to by experts as “ransomware” and has become a major concern for companies around the world.

While ransomware has been infecting computers since the early days of computer networking, attacks have become more frequent and sophisticated. This attack is simply the latest major computer security threat, and is being hailed by some as the biggest ransomware threat to date.

What sets it apart from other worms and ransomware attacks is the fact that it has managed to attack a number of public institutions and companies around the world. Initially discovered on May 12, this worm which attacks computers and networks running Microsoft Windows, has since spread around the world.

In fact, according to CNET, the worm managed to infect over 200,000 computers in 150 different countries by May 15. From what we know of the malware, it has been quite successful. Companies like Deutsche Bahn, FedEx, and even the National Health Service in the UK have all been infected.   

How is it infecting computers?

When WannaCry was first detected and reported on, it was noted that the worm was being transmitted in an email campaign where files attached and opened would introduce it to computers and infect them. While this is a common way for malicious software to be spread, WannaCry was, in fact, not transmitted this way.

Instead, the hackers who created it did so using a little known Windows OS security flaw originally discovered, and used, by the National Security Agency in the US. According to this article which discusses how WannaCry is spread in Wired, “Without additional proof as to another cause of infection, it can be concluded that the attackers initiated their plan to specifically target machines with a pre-existing vulnerability, using these to spread WannaCry to other systems on a connected network.”

The most important thing to be aware of here is that Microsoft actually published a security update for Windows earlier this year which blocked this hole. Machines with the most up-to-date security update installed are safe from this specific ransomware. That said, the software powering this ransomware is advanced enough to scan networks for out of date machines and start the attack there.

Once one machine is infected, the worm has coding that allows it to scan other computers on the network for ones that do not have the recent security update installed and then transfer and install itself on any other vulnerable computers.

Arguably the most interesting, and scary, thing about this malware is how fast it spread, and how widespread the infections have become. When looking at the numbers infected, it appears that China is easily one of the hardest hit countries.    

Why is it more prevalent in China?

According to this article in the HKFP, “China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Center has confirmed that by 14 May, half of the infected IPs were located in China. The attacks have affected about 30,000 institutions, including universities, immigration checkpoints and oil stations.”

The article goes on to cite that the major reason as to why businesses and institutions in the country are adversely affected is because of the fact that many people in China prefer to use unlicensed versions of Windows. If you do not register your copies of Windows, you will not receive the incredibly important security updates, which means your system is vulnerable.

Another reason as to why it has been so widespread is due to the fact that people might not have known about it and taken steps to update their business’s networks against this threat.

How can I minimize my company’s cyber risk?

Regardless of the reasons why this threat has inversely affected organizations in China, it highlights the fact that many businesses in China can be heavily impacted by a cyber attack. For example, the HKFP article linked above mentions that universities, petrol stations, and immigration networks were heavily infected. In fact, it was reported that WannaCry had managed to infect the Shanghai city and Beijing Chaoyang immigration offices.

When it comes to ransomware, it is important to note that your files are usually locked and if you do not pay the hacker the specified amount there is a good chance the files will be deleted. In many cases, the attacks are coded to look for files with important sounding names and keywords e.g., profit, report, figures, etc. and files that might contain this information e.g., PDF, Word, and Excel files.

Having these files locked could result in your business losing an untold amount of money and time, and in some cases could result in lawsuits from being unable to meet contracts or even a forced closure of your business.

Therefore, it would be a good idea to take steps to avoid cyber threats. The most critical thing is to ensure that you keep all of your software up to date, and if you have not licensed your operating systems, it would be worth doing so.

But it’s not just your systems and networks you need to protect. You should protect your business as well. One of the best ways to do so is by securing two main types of insurance:

  • Cyber insurance: A newer form insurance designed to help businesses from losses stemming from cyber threats such as infected computers, lost data, etc. Many plans also cover things such as the costs of data recovery, replacement systems, ransomware, lawsuits that arise due to hacks and cyber loss, etc.
  • Business liability insurance: An increasing number of liability insurance solutions for businesses are starting to offer cover for cyber and digital related incidents. Having a solution that protects your business’s digital aspects is becoming increasingly important.

At Pacific Prime China we offer a variety of solutions to protect your business including both cyber and business liability. If you are looking to protect your business from the next cyber incident, contact us today.  

Posted by rmcbroom in General Insurance, News
HomeGuardian Plus: New home and contents insurance for China homeowners

HomeGuardian Plus: New home and contents insurance for China homeowners

Your home is one of the most valuable assets that you will ever own. Housing is growing more and more expensive, so it makes a lot of sense to protect it and those things it houses, as best you can. Homeowners in China can now take advantage of a new and exclusive home and contents insurance product by Pacific Prime China and leading insurer PICC P&C; the HomeGuardian Plus plan.

Introducing the HomeGuardian Plus plan: an affordable and flexible plan designed specifically for China

As part of our commitment to providing clients with a wide range of suitable and comprehensive insurance options, Pacific Prime China has teamed up with PICC P&C to deliver what we believe is a home and contents insurance plan with great value. PICC P&C is the main subsidiary of PICC Group and is the largest property insurer in Asia. Together with Pacific Prime, the two believe this new product is a great entry to the P&C market.

The HomeGuardian Plus policy provides homeowners with a premier home and contents insurance solution available across China. Our new solution has been customized specifically for residents of China, and comes with high benefits and extensive coverage options. Homeowners will have the opportunity to fully personalize their plan through multiple, flexible benefit options.

Alongside solid insurance coverage for property and contents damage and theft, our HomeGuardian Plus plan offers extended benefits such as Pet Liability (coverage for damage to persons or property caused by your pet) for up to RMB 300,000 and worldwide coverage for lost or damaged portable electronic devices up to RMB 20,000. There is a complete list of benefits available from our website.

Applying for a HomeGuardian Plus plan is simple. It comes in three tiers (Classic, Silver and Gold) and obtaining your own plan is as easy as filling out our online application form. With little more than a few details, you too can can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your property and belongings are safe with the combined power of Pacific Prime China and PICC P&C.

home and contents insurance in china

Five reasons why you should secure home and contents insurance

While obtaining some form of home insurance might seem like common sense, the China market has only just begun to recognize the value in property and casualty insurance. Locally, insurance has taken some time to adapt to Chinese culture and values, but a rise in disposable income for many coupled with a desire to protect their hard earned assets means that insurers are now seeing better interest in their products than ever before.

Those of you still unsure about whether or not home and contents insurance is right for you, Pacific Prime China has five important reasons why you should be considering such a policy:

1. Protect your property and valuables from natural disasters

As a property owner, the weather can be a significant source of concern when it comes to damage. In fact, the Asia region has consistently reported having the highest value of economic losses stemming from natural disasters. There were 327 disaster events in 2016 which caused an estimated US 175 billion in economic losses, with US 83 billion being experienced in the Asia region alone.

Home and contents insurance helps you and your property recover from the effects of a natural disaster. It might be a fire, cyclone or tornado, earthquake, lightning, or flooding; a comprehensive policy ensures that you’ll have support to rebuild or replace property and valuables damaged by a catastrophe. Bearing the costs yourself can be far too expensive, and can sometimes cost you more than your home’s original value.

2. Coverage in the event of theft

Home burglaries are an ugly crime that can often leave homeowners feeling as if their safety and privacy has been violated. The theft of belongings is both a terrifying and frustrating crime as sometimes robbers can make off with some of your most valuable possessions. According to the Chinese Government, crime rates are generally quite low; however that doesn’t mean forgoing insurance is wise.

In neighbouring Hong Kong, home burglaries were up 70% in the past year, with some high-end household break-ins involving losses of up to USD 65,000. Holding a home and contents insurance policy means that the value of your lost items can be reimbursed so that you may replace them if possible. While you might have personal items of little monetary value that can’t be replaced, home policies ensure you don’t end up paying for other people’s misdeeds.

3. Liability protection

The liability clauses of a home and contents insurance policy ensures that you’re not left paying out of pocket for any damage or injury caused by or on your property. If a visitor falls down a flight of stairs after the handrail breaks, this side of a home policy helps cover medical expenses, legal fees, and the material damage you could be liable for as the homeowner, especially if the insurance company of the person affected is looking for compensation.

4. Meet your mortgage obligations

Many mortgage lenders and banks now require homeowners to have insurance in order to approve home loans. It helps shelter both the homeowner and the bank from risk in the event something unexpected and costly arises. Even if you are currently mortgage free, having a home and contents policy will make any future mortgage applications easier as you’ll have a history of meeting payments of your premiums.

5. Take advantage of extended coverage for specific assets and areas outside the home

Some comprehensive home and contents insurance plans, such as HomeGuardian Plus, provide extra coverage for damage caused by pets, stolen or damaged golf clubs, lost portable electronic devices away from the home, and temporary accommodation or home relocation in the event your property becomes uninhabitable temporarily or indefinitely. There are a wide range of extra benefits you can add to some policies that extend their value.

Pacific Prime China: your expert for all things insurance in China

Your home and belongings are valuable, personal assets, and ones that are worth protecting. Whether you live in an area prone to the elements, or you simply want to ensure that your personal items are safe from theft or loss, Pacific Prime China believes its new HomeGuardian Plus solution is right for you.

We have been providing clients around the world with comprehensive insurance solutions for almost 20 years, and this new product is another great offering that allows us to grant our clients peace of mind across the spectrum of their needs. If you would like more advice, or would like a free quote, contact our expert team at Pacific Prime China today!

Posted by Luther in General Insurance
Disaster insurance and your business in asia

Disaster insurance and your business in asia

Why did you open a business in Asia? Well, like many investors and entrepreneurs around the world, you probably noted the potential of the region for its production capacity, quality workers and favorable policies for business ownership. Not only these, but as far as burgeoning markets go, Asia is developing at a rate that has shown the world it will continue to be an area full of opportunity for companies that can appeal to the people of the various nations in the region, which is especially true for China, as it is on track to become the world’s largest sovereign economy within a few decades. There’s another trend in Asia, however, that should give potential investors pause: This one region fell victim to a very large portion of worldwide economic losses caused by disasters! What does this mean for your business, and what can business owners in Asia do to protect their companies? We discuss the topic of disaster insurance here in more detail.

Disaster insurance by number

Asia is the world’s largest continent. It takes up 30% of the total land area of the planet. (57.3 million square miles to be exact.) However, the percentage of burden the region’s economy has taken as a result of disaster is disproportionate to this figure. In 2016, of the 327 separate disaster events around the world (191 natural disasters and 136 man-made), Asia accounted for 48% of economic losses globally, to the tune of USD 83 billion. In 2015, Asia accounted for over half of the world’s disasters, with 16,000 lives lost and over USD 45 billion in damage. In addition, Asia is remarkable due to its population. The continent is home to 60% of the world’s human population, which may account for some of the reason that disasters result in such large economic losses here. Indeed, over 700 million people in Asia live in cities labeled to be at ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ disaster risk.

The most notable major disaster that occurred in Asia in 2016 was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Southern Japan in April of that year. However 2015 saw its share of calamity as well, including a huge earthquake in Nepal, massive explosions and fires in China, floods in India  and typhoons hitting the Philippines. Even this year, we have already seen devastating flooding in Thailand in January. All the while, Vietnam has been going through a drought over these past few years, as the El Nino effect has led to dry weather in the country.

To be sure, Asia is ripe with causes for disasters, so a healthy amount of caution from those deciding to base all or part of their business operations in the region is understandable.  So how can businesses best protect their interests in Asia? There are a number of different disaster insurance products out there to look after businesses in the region.

Partner with protection pros

For business owners operating in a single country, you can chose to be insured with local insurance companies, but if you have a multinational corporation you can avail yourself of insurers with a global reach. Furthermore, when it comes to protecting your company from disaster, there are a few types of disaster insurance that are of paramount importance:

Property insurance

Also known as building insurance and contents insurance, it can really pay to protect your company’s property in Asia. This type of insurance coverage is quite versatile, as it protects your property from an array of different types of damage. Whether it’s fire, theft and vandalism, wind and storm damage, earthquakes, explosions, frozen pipes or water damage, any damages incurred can result in the repair or replacement of your property. When insuring a building, a property insurance policy may even cover garages, patios, sheds or other features found on your grounds, but be sure to clarify this with your insurer before assuming what will be covered. Floods may or may not be covered depending on the risk of flood where your property is located. Due to this, additional flood insurance may need to be purchased.

If you take out a mortgage on an office building or other facility, it is very likely that the lender will require that the building be covered by disaster insurance, so be sure that you remain in compliance with the terms of the contract.

Business interruption insurance

Okay, so a disaster happens and you’re being compensated for the repairs to your business. The problem now is that you basically have to shut your whole operation down while they are being performed. What’s more, not only is there no income coming in due to the shutdown, but you still have overheads to worry about. This is where business interruption insurance comes in! This insurance will ensure that you are still able to pay your bills and cover your obligations to employees and other business partners if your business operations have significant downtime.

Business interruption insurance does not only apply to problems at your particular business, either. If a key distributor or customer has major damage that affects your business in a major way, the insurance can still kick in and help you weather the storm.

Third party liability insurance

Speaking more to man-made disasters, it’s possible that your company could even find itself responsible for the creation of a disaster. You really never know what could happen. After all, the owners of the warehouses in Tianjin that exploded in August, 2015 that led to over 150 deaths and almost 800 injuries did not expect chemicals that they were storing to cause a reaction that caused the incident, but that made them no less culpable for the result. In order to make sure that potential damages that might be caused by your business don’t bankrupt your company, you will want to have a high quality third party liability insurance – also known as public liability insurance – policy in place.

In China, as in many other nations, it is compulsory for businesses to own a certain level of third party liability coverage to remain in line with government regulations. These plans will come with a maximum amount of benefits that they will pay out, so make sure that your plan will provide enough coverage for the most rationally plausible issues that you could run into with regards to third party liability.

Other points

While the insurances mentioned above are crucial for businesses in Asia that want to insulate themselves from the costs that both natural and man-made disasters can bring, there are others to consider as well. Businesses with vehicles will no doubt need to have at least third party liability insurance on them, and comprehensive insurance to ensure that the vehicles can be replaced if they somehow get wrecked. Also, don’t forget your employees. While it may or may not be required that you provide your employees with medical insurance in the country in which your business resides, providing comprehensive benefits will keep your company competitive when trying to hire top level talent.

In order to find out more about the various disaster insurance plan types listed above, contact the helpful insurance experts at Pacific Prime China. They are standing by to provide you with answers, find out about your specific needs, and provide you with plan comparisons and price quotes from major insurers in Asia where appropriate.

Posted by Travis Jones in General Insurance
China retirement readiness falling: How to stay on track

China retirement readiness falling: How to stay on track

Retirement is something that needs to be on the minds of every adult, not just those who are nearing their golden years. In fact, planning ahead for three decades or greater is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to ensuring that your financial future is healthy and bright. However, for those in the Middle Kingdom, there has been bad news recently regarding China retirement readiness. Here, Pacific Prime China examines the news and its implications for future China retirees, as well as the areas you should focus on when considering your own personal retirement plans.

China retirement readiness falling

Tsinghua University has released an updated index on retirement readiness that shows China’s rating falling from 6.51 out of 10 in 2015 to 6.0 in 2016. Similarly, in 2015 20% of people reported that they felt they were well prepared for retirement, which dropped to 15.3% of people in 2016. This index takes many factors into account in order to come up with this number, including people’s retirement plans, preparations and expectations. Additional factors include current retirement savings, knowledge of financial issues and financial planning, and awareness of retirement responsibilities.

So what is the reason that China retirement readiness is taking a step backward? There are many factors contributing to this trend, but perhaps the biggest and most obvious general reason is that the Chinese economy and stock market have not been doing so well as of late. Cultural feelings about personal responsibility also seem to be a factor, as only 9% of Chinese citizens feel that retirement financing should fall solely on them. Neighboring territories in Asia, including South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, see this number come to 40% of their respective citizenries. Meanwhile, 63% of citizens believe that the onus of China retirement readiness should fall to the government. This number also sits at 40% in the other territories mentioned.

These feelings may be mirroring the current state of retirement savings in China, where the major vehicles for saving is a government run pension plan. However, there are also voluntary savings plans participated in by both employees and employers, as well as private savings plans and commercial retirement savings plans. The latter products are of negligible popularity in China at the moment, but the Chinese government is promoting such commercial savings vehicles to try to offset providing for an aging population.

Savings and investment

So how should one go about organizing their retirement savings? One of the best ways for people who already have a significant amount of savings is to invest their money. Utilizing capital to create capital is a great way to build up a nest egg and ensure that you can maintain a certain quality of living well into your golden years. Once you have your investments set, and factor in other sources of income like government subsidies for the elderly that you will be eligible, you can create a retirement budget and see if you will have enough money to achieve your desired lifestyle and China retirement readiness goals. Of course, you are going to want to have extra savings available each year so that you can address unexpected costs that arise.

Health insurance

Any retirement planning should start not only with an overview of your financial health, but also your physical health. After all, planning for the future is not strictly about dollars and cents, but also being healthy enough to enjoy your hard earned nest egg. For this reason, factoring in the cost of your future healthcare is important. Of course, one of the best ways to addressing these costs is to make sure that you have a comprehensive health insurance plan in place to avoid the costs that can come along with the major ailments that tend to occur more commonly later in life, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.

When you are planning your medical insurance there are some common exclusions that come up time and again that you should be aware of. Namely, these are maximum age limits and pre-existing conditions.

Maximum age limits

Many insurers impose maximum age limits on their policies. This is because as people age, insurance underwriters have to consider if the medical costs of the average individual or a certain age will be greater than the premiums that the individual would pay the insurer. An insurance company cannot operate running on a loss, so they institute maximum age limits to avoid insuring the people that are most at risk of costly medical conditions. Generally this limit tops out at 70 years of age, although some plans go as high as 80. Still yet, there are plans available out there with no maximum age limit on them. As with health insurance at any age, though, the riskier a person is to insure, the higher their premiums are likely to be, so people of advanced age will likely have to pay a hefty cost to remain insured. This can make planning ahead for inflating insurance costs somewhat daunting.

Pre-existing conditions

Another risk factor that insurers are always on the look-out for is pre-existing conditions. This is simply when you have an ongoing medical condition that was present before you obtained your current health insurance policy. In most cases, where not prohibited by law, a private health insurance plan will exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. This means that, while an insurance policy will provide benefits for many illnesses, the specific pre-existing conditions will not be eligible to be covered. Sometimes pre-existing conditions can be covered after the ailment in question has not occurred for a particular period of time – usually a number of years.

To ensure that you never get stuck with having excluded pre-existing conditions, you can simply obtain a policy with a particular insurer, and maintain continuous coverage for as long as possible. However, this can limit your choice of insurance provider. If you develop a condition while on an insurance plan, you will be disincentivized from switching providers, because a new insurer is likely to count the condition as pre-existing.

Life insurance

While it won’t necessarily help you enjoy your retirement, when it comes to planning for the end of your life, life insurance is a must to make sure that your family is well taken care of after your passing.

Other similar insurances to ask your insurance agent about that can help in dire circumstances include critical illness insurance, personal accident insurance, permanent disability insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

While we will leave the savings and investment to the financial advisers of the world, Pacific Prime China can certainly help those that need assistance in obtaining comprehensive insurance to address medical concerns, as well as avoid burdening their families with financial hardship following a hospitalization or death. Contact us today to be put in touch with a knowledgeable insurance advisor that can answer any questions you may have about China retirement readiness, and provide you with free insurance plan comparisons and price quotes. As a broker we compare prices from a number of the world’s best insurers; saving you the trouble of tracking down multiple quotes from multiple sources.

Posted by Travis Jones in General Insurance, News
Pacific Prime China is now on WeChat!

Pacific Prime China is now on WeChat!

Pacific Prime China is excited to announce the launch of our very own portal on popular Chinese messaging platform WeChat – a welcome new addition to our current repertoire of social media accounts already on Facebook, and LinkedIn. Joining an active user base of 846 million, the official Pacific Prime China WeChat account now offers a whole host of exciting new features exclusive to our followers. To avail these perks, simply follow us on WeChat (WeChat ID: PacificPrime) today!

Pacific Prime China meets Chinese market trends

In joining the ubiquitous WeChat platform, Pacific Prime China taps into a whole new audience of avid users – more than 90% of WeChat users go on the messaging app every day, and over 50% of users use WeChat more than 1 hour daily! By keeping up-to-date with the latest market trends in China, Pacific Prime China joins in with 560,000 other official company accounts on the most popular online community channel in China.

With a current active user base that is hiking its way up to the 1 billion user mark, WeChat has far surpassed Twitter’s 317 million users and is steadily catching up with Facebook’s 1.79 billion active users. Interestingly, corporate workers form the largest user group on WeChat, making up 40.4% of total users.

More than just a messaging platform

Pacific Prime China sees enormous potential in finding new ways of personalizing our services to existing and new clients on WeChat, especially when looking at the different ways that users are currently engaging with the platform. For example, not only are people communicating via chat, but they are also engaging on its social media platform “Moments” with friends and companies – a significant 61.4% of users go onto WeChat Moments when they open the app.

Another popular feature is WeChat Payment, which links WeChat with the user’s credit card. There are now 200 million users connected to WeChat Payments, and this highly availed feature has even seen over 8 billion “red envelopes” sent over WeChat during Chinese New Year in 2016!

Key features offered in new Pacific Prime China WeChat portal

Here are a key few of the many exciting new features that you can expect from the new Pacific Prime China WeChat portal:

  • Claims processing: Existing clients of Pacific Prime China can now access their policy details, easily process claims, and also change their policy information.
  • Assisting new clients: Our WeChat portal allows us to assist our new clients with regards to securing their new policies
  • Access to a dedicated service team: We now have a dedicated team servicing our WeChat account, helping you with any questions you may have.
  • Keeping you informed: Followers will be able to access exclusive blog articles so that they can stay up-to-date on the latest, most important market information relevant to the insurance industry, covering topics related to expat health insurance, general insurance, health trends, and many more.

Don’t forget to follow us!

To access the exciting new features now available on Pacific Prime China’s latest portal, be sure to follow us via our WeChat ID: PacificPrime, or by scanning the QR code below:

Pacific Prime China WeChat

 

Interested in learning more about our WeChat portal or the plans that we offer? Contact us today and our team of insurance advisors will be more than happy to have a chat.

Posted by Jess in General Insurance, News