Archive for December, 2010

WikiLeaks exposes further Internet business risks

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Recent attacks on commercial websites by supporters of WikiLeaks’ chief, Julian Assange, demonstrate a new level of complexity and risk on the internet. Large companies like MasterCard and PayPal as well as small companies are equally exposed to Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks that can shut down a website for its other customers. These attacks can come from internet crowds or mysterious governmental or government-sponsored entities.

DDOS attacks can lead to lost sales both during a shutdown and after. Customers may not come back quickly to a site that was not able to service their needs. Insurance coverage for these interruptions of business are not perfect but they are improving. Major insurers for this coverage include Chartis, Chubb and various underwriters at Lloyds of London.

About the Author

Phil Edmundson is the Chairman and CEO of William Gallagher Associates (WGA), insurance brokers and consultants for businesses with over 30 years in the insurance industry. He manages strategy, talent acquisition and development, and management / acquisitions at WGA.

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William Gallagher Associates is a leading provider of insurance brokerage, risk management and employee benefits services to firms with complex risks and dynamic needs, within industries that include technology, life sciences, financial risks, health care, renewable energy & clean technology, and environmental services. WGA has offices in Boston, MA; New York, NY; Hartford, CT; Princeton, NJ; Columbia, MD; and Atlanta, GA.

International study raises questions about U.S. Health Care Reform

In a recent study, the Commonwealth Fund looked at access to care, out-of-pocket costs, and plan administration in 11 countries. In comparison to other developed nations, the U.S. fell short in all three areas, particularly where costs were concerned.

According to the study, 35% of Americans incurred at least $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses within the last year.  In addition, 20% had trouble paying their medical bills, and 33% avoided care altogether because it was too expensive. Read more…

Federal Judge Rules The Affordable Care Act’s “Individual Mandate” is Unconstitutional

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

A federal judge in VA declared “the individual mandate” unconstitutional yesterday. “The Individual Mandate” is a component of the Health Reform bill that requires each American citizen to carry health insurance by 2014. The passage of the landmark Health Reform Bill earlier this year has resulted in close to 20 lawsuits around the country. This recent ruling by the Honorable Henry Hudson, however, is especially noteworthy as it is the first by a federal judge. The lawsuit was supported by a VA state law that was passed in anticipation of the health reform bill that made it unlawful to require its citizens to purchase health insurance. The US government’s position is that virtually every citizen is in the health care system. Even if they do not have health insurance coverage currently, they eventually need medical care at which point they become part of the health care system. Both sides acknowledge that this will likely end up in front of the Supreme Court prior to the year 2014 when the individual coverage component will become effective.

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WikiLeaks scandal recharges debate over EMR and protecting healthcare secrets

December 13, 2010 1 comment

The issue of data security has become a hot topic in nearly every media and news outlet with the international embarrassment and diplomacy crisis brought on by WikiLeaks. As the media advocate for open secrets, the concerns over privacy and electronic data security have again become a high priority.  Nowhere is this generating more interest and concern than within the healthcare field.

“The embarrassing leak of a quarter-million State Department documents by WikiLeaks has recharged the debate over electronic medical records, raising concern that the government may not be capable of safeguarding Americans’ most intimate healthcare secrets when their records go digital,” was reported on Fox News last week. Read more…

Taking inventory – organizing and protecting what you own

Year-end seems like an an opportune time to offer some thoughts on how to catalogue and inventory items that are valuable to you. Given the potential increase during the Holidays to what you own, perhaps 2011 maybe a good year to get a handle on all your valuable belongings. Why? Knowing exactly what you own, the value and where it is allows you to make better decision when it comes to security, insurance, and gifting.

For those of you who might enjoy self-managing this process there are a number of very good software programs that help catalogue & inventory your holdings. Benefits of this method is having first hand knowledge of your inventory, cost savings, a flexible timeline. WGA’s recommended product in this area is called Collectivity, more information can be found at their website:

The other option is using a full-service operation which provides turn-key programs for cataloguing, inventory management, appraisals, and art advisory services such as restorations & conservation. Two firms in this field are – Asset Archives, Inc. (recommended by Chubb) and Collector Services (recommended by Chartis).

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Costs and larger trials among the factors driving the globalization of clinical trials

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Although significant drug and medical device R&D activity remains within the United States, representing close to 50% of total worldwide expenditures over the last 10-15 years, a clear trend toward globalization has emerged. Many would argue that cost is the primary factor driving this development, however, research suggests that other key factors are contributing as well. Some of these factors include an overall increase in R&D activity, lower enrollment rates in developed countries, and larger trials. It is currently estimated that 50% of all pivotal clinical studies contain data from foreign trials.

We see many drug and medical device companies go overseas to supplement or use as a substitute for U.S. based studies, what surprising is that Western Europe is no longer the only destination. Read more…

When a safe harbor isn’t safe enough

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

In many data security circles, the word “encryption” will bring a glow of peaceful serenity. Encrypting data is one of the best ways to protect it from prying eyes and is recommended by almost all experts and required by many laws and regulations. But it is not always enough. A recent incident illustrates how human error can foil even the best data security methods.

Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care in Illinois had duly encrypted its laptops in accordance with everyone’s best practices recommendations and many jurisdictions’ legal requirements. The laptop at issue contained personal medical and financial information about nearly 1,000 patients. Encryption was activated whenever the computer was shut off or its top closed, and two passwords were required for access to the confidential data. So far, so good. Read more…