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Bugs Money

Don't take a big loss when a virus strikes.

You take vitamins, exercise and eat right-but you probably still catch an occasional cold or flu bug. Your computer isn't much different: There's no way to completely protect it. "Hundreds of viruses are generated every month," says David O'Neill, vice president of e-business solutions for Zurich North America in Baltimore. "Even if you update your virus definition files every day, something may get through." And if it does, you can also be held liable for passing the virus on.

The fact is, most insurance policies only cover damage to tangible property and exempt electronic data. "This drives the need for stand-alone products to fill the gaps," O'Neill says. While the specifics vary, such products typically cover costs arising from damage to or theft of data and software, loss of income because of a virus or denial-of-service attack, electronic publishing liability, liability if a virus or other malicious code causes the release of nonpublic personal information, damages you may suffer if one of your vendors has a problem, and even the public relations expenses of rebuilding your reputation after a loss.

E-business coverage can range from several thousand dollars to high six-figures or greater per year. O'Neill recommends finding out what your current policies include, then talking to your insurance agent about what your potential risks are and how best to cover them.



Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.

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This article was originally published in the April 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Bugs Money.

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