Volunteering on a Non-For-Profit Board - Protect Your Personal Assets

  Serving on a non-profit board is a great way for you to give back and support a good cause. When you serve on a non-profit board, you become an integral part of helping your community. Serving also expands your skill set, helping you grow both professionally and personally. There’s also great pride in helping shape the non-profit organization’s vision and help it reach its full potential. However, you probably weren’t initially thinking about your liability exposure and how, as a board member, you’re exposed to quite the variety of potential lawsuits. Non-profits can sue Employees, competitors, vendors, and even donors. Many of the claims made against non-profits deal with harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and other employment practices. As a board member, your decisions may be challenged, exposing you and your assets. As a volunteer board member of a non-profit organization, you can be held personally liable for the actions and decisions of the organization. You need to be insured adequately as your future income may be at risk. Limiting Liability as a Board Member To limit liability exposure, you need to take proactive steps. Make sure you have thoroughly studied your duties as a board member and adhere to them. Understand the laws governing non-profit organizations in your province. If you are aware of any conflicts of interest, disclose them before accepting the position. Ask if Directors and Officers (D&O) liability is provided. If not, get a policy. However, whether or not a D&O policy is in place, it would still be wise to look to your umbrella policy for protection. The problem with D&O is that you share the coverage limit with the rest of the board members. Remember that many non-profit organizations have tight budgets. So, if the non-profit organization’s limit is $1 million and there are 15 of you, there may not be sufficient protection for all of you. Ask your insurance broker if Non-Profit Board Member Protection is an available option to add to your Personal Umbrella Liability and protect yourself from liability lawsuits that could potentially deplete both your net worth and future income. Your umbrella policies will typically only cover you for property damage or bodily injury that arise from your activities as a board member. They will not protect you from your alleged poor decisions such as discrimination, termination, conflict of interest, breach of duty, mismanagement of funds, wrongful termination, and so on. If Non-Profit Board Member Protection is not an available option, ask your insurer about adding D&O coverage to your umbrella policy. It won’t always be possible, depending on your insurance carrier. If not, ask your broker about what options are best for you, so you can continue serving as a board member with peace of mind that you have protected assets.   Read more

5 Cybersecurity Tips for Your Personal Online Security

Most people don’t take cybercrime seriously because they don’t believe they could ever be a target. They figure that hackers are only interested in prominent organizations such as Ashley Madison, Yahoo, the FBI, or JP Morgan – all of which fall under the list of the biggest hacks of all time. However, just because you’re not a big brand, a media company, or a government agency, it doesn’t mean you’re immune from a cyber attack. The truth is, anyone with a smartphone, laptop, computer, or connected device is a target. Hackers commit cybercrime for many reasons, and it’s not always for financial gain or to commit corporate espionage; many cybercriminals want to gain notoriety within their circle by holding systems hostage or infecting them with viruses, worms, bots, or spyware. If you don’t want anyone destroying your data, compromising your systems and networks, stealing your confidential information, or gaining access to files where you keep your financials, you need to protect yourself. Here are five tips to ensure your cybersecurity:
  • Use a Strong Password
Your first line of defense is your password; don’t forget to turn it on. Remember, passwords are used to open your accounts such as your email, but they’re also used to access to your computer system. Hackers use automated software to submit hundreds of guesses to open accounts. If your password is something basic and predictable like 123456 or your birthday, you can be sure that a cybercriminal determined enough to hack into your system will do so within minutes. To make your password more secure, inject numbers or special characters instead of letters such as a '1' instead of an 'I' or a '5' in place of an S.' Avoid using complete word patterns. If you want to use a common phrase to make it easier for you to remember, misspell it. Use uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Update Passwords Regularly
It’s entirely up to you how often you update your password. Some people will change theirs as often as every 45 days while others will update their credentials every six months. When you do change your password, remember to use a secure password. Never reuse an old password even if you slightly modify it. Also, avoid using the same password across multiple accounts.
  • Install Updates
OS updates often say they fix bugs or will make your apps of software run faster. However, they also address security issues. Some updates will say that they were explicitly designed for added security; don’t ignore these updates.
  • Think Before You Click
Don’t become a victim of phishing. Be suspicious of emails sent by your bank or any email that has an external link for you to click. These external URLs could be a trick to steal your password or open up a door for a virus to enter. If your bank or PayPal has sent you an email, skip clicking the link and go directly to their website to access the message instead.
  • Enable Two-Step-Verification and Notification Alerts
Take advantage of two-factor-authentication and notification alerts whenever you can. When it comes to your safety, you’re never too busy to first sign in with your password, receive a text message with a code on your specified trusted device, and enter that code before accessing your account. And for added security, say 'yes' to receive an alert each time your account is accessed, mainly if an unknown device logs into it from a new location. Many security breaches are a result of carelessness or laziness. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility for your online security. Be smart and educate yourself on new hacking trends. Read more

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