Cyber Liability…It’s Not Just for Big Business!

Amy Schott

Amy Schott

Post written by Amy Schott, Account Manager for Stockman Insurance in Missoula

Cyber liability may be one of the newer products on the insurance market, but it’s one that we at Stockman Insurance strongly encourage business owners not to overlook.

The aftermath of a cyber attack can be detrimental to a business if you’re not properly covered.

This type of policy protects your business against data losses caused by cyber-attacks, viruses, and other threats.

Cyber liability, in general, is the risk posed by conducting business over the Internet, over other networks or using electronic storage technology.

Insurance can be purchased and “risk-based” security strategies can be used to mitigate against both the first and third party risks caused by cyber liability.

Do you think your business is too small or couldn’t possibly be exposed to a cyber liability exposure? Think again.

No matter how large or small your business is, if you’re keeping ANY sort of personally identifiable information regarding your customers or employees, your business could be at risk.

According to the 2017 Cyber Claims Study done by NetDiligence, “companies with less than $50M in revenue were the most impacted, accounting for 47% of the claims”.

The same 2017 NetDiligence study found that “the average total breach cost was $349,000”. That size of loss could break most small businesses.

It’s the goal of Stockman Insurance to make sure you have the proper coverage in place to avoid a massive setback of that size or worse…a business ending loss.

Like all other lines of insurance coverage, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Depending on who you’re storing the information for (yourself, your clients or both) will help determine which type of policy is the best fit to protect you and your business.

Not all policies are equal, but Stockman Insurance agents are determined to find you the most effective and affordable cyber liability solution. Whether your business is big or small, cyber liability is your defense against a cyber attack!

Insurance Disclosure

Renee Halseth 600

New Medicare Cards Will Help Protect Your Identity, But Have Spawned Several New Scams

Renee Halseth

Renee Halseth

Post written by Renee Halseth, Fraud/Security Officer, Deposit Compliance Officer

New Medicare cards have officially started rolling out as of April 2018.

Although it will take a year to get all the cards rolled out to every state, many are in agreement that taking the Social Security number off the cards and providing members with new Medicare identity numbers will help safeguard individuals from identity theft.

The only issue with this critical step in protecting identities is that scammers are now figuring out ways to take advantage of this new card switch.

Con artists are taking to the phones and calling individuals who currently have Medicare and individuals that recently have qualified for Medicare this year. These phonies impersonate representatives from Medicare, Social Security and even supplemental insurance agencies.

The callers can be extremely aggressive, calling again and again, at all times of the day, in an effort to wear their victims down. Scammers will do anything to gain their targets trust and sound legitimate. Sometimes the caller will have some personal information about the individual, such as his or her name, address, or even part of their Social Security number in an attempt to sound genuine.

There are numerous methods that these fraudsters will try in order to con you into giving them money or personal information. Some callers claim there is a processing fee you need to pay before you can receive your new card in the mail.

Other imposters will falsely claim they need to “verify” a Social Security number or other personal information before the new card can be issued to you. In some cases, victims have been told they are due a refund on transactions with their old card and need to provide bank account information to process this alleged reimbursement.

Additionally, in another fraudulent ploy, a caller might try to push their victim into purchasing Medicare’s prescription drug coverage (known as Plan D). They will often claim this must be bought or the Medicare customer could lose coverage altogether. Do not fall for this intimidation tactic. Plan D is voluntary and has no impact on your health plan.

Knowledge is prevention with these scams. Learning as much as you can about the new card rollout can help save you or a loved ones finances and identity. Here is what you need to know about the new card rollout:

  • Medicare will mail the card, at NO cost, to the address on file with the Social Security Administration. (update your address by visiting your online Social Security account at SSA.gov/myaccount, or call 800-772-1213)
  • Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.
  • If a relative gets their new card before you, don’t worry. The cards are being dispersed at different times throughout the states from April 2018 to April 2019. So it’s very likely that your card could arrive at a different time from someone else’s. (Montana’s expected rollout is after June 2018).
  • When you get a new card be sure to shred or cut up your old card. Making sure that your Social Security number is indecipherable.
  • If you have a separate Medicare Advantage card, keep it because you will still need it.

As these new Medicare cards start being mailed out, be watchful of these possible Medicare scams. To keep your family members, and you safe here are a few tips to remember:

  • Do not pay for your new card. The new cards are completely free. If you receive a call saying you need to pay for your card, it is a scam.
  • Don’t give personal information to get your card. If anyone claiming to be from Medicare or any other agency is asking for your Social Security number, personal details, or banking information, that is a scam. Simply hang up. Medicare will never ask you to give personal information to get your new number and card.
  • Guard your card. When you do receive your card, safeguard it like any other important document. While removing the Social Security number will cut down on many types of identity theft, you will still want to protect your new card as thieves could still use it to get medical services.

In summary be on the alert for these new Medicare scams, and warn the people in your life that could be affected. Always be cautious and suspicious of phone calls asking or demanding money or your personal information. As the saying goes it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you could end up being conned out of your money or identity.

Bank Disclosures

100 Years of Community Banking

Tonya Breding

Tonya Breding

Post written by Tonya Breding, Customer Service Rep/eBiz Cash Management Specialist – Conrad

If only a time machine could give us a glimpse of Conrad, Montana in March 1918.

Amidst a country torn by war, imagine the hustle and bustle of a growing community, marked by the excitement of a new bank. Farmers State Bank received its charter and opened for business on Saturday, March 9th, 1918.

Farmers State Bank was family oriented and strived to be the center of the community. It provided stability and growth for its citizens.

Although its capital and deposits totaled only $117,576.96, no one could have predicted how successful it would become! By its 50th anniversary in 1968, the bank had grown to over $12.5 million in assets.

Over the next 50 years, as the Conrad community grew, so did the bank. Anniversaries, name changes and even a sale to Stockman Bank would be in store for this little hometown bank.

Conrad_Group_Photo_2018Today, Stockman Bank continues to serve Conrad as a bank built on family and community values, guided by the following principles set in those early days of 1918 by cashier J F Kumpf, who later became Vice President of the bank.

  1. Responsible Banking
  2. Capable Management
  3. Courtesy
  4. Increasing Helpfulness

Every employee and member of the Conrad community was encouraged to take on increased efficiency—to cooperate in every practical project in making this a better community to live—to cause every individual entering its doors to feel a cordial atmosphere—to encourage every ambitious person of integrity to further financial advancement—TO HELP.

These original principles still hold true today, as they match the principles and values set by Stockman Bank’s founding family and are included in a letter on our website by CEO Bill Coffee.

  1. Reliable, dedicated people here to meet your needs.
  2. Local decisions from people who live and work in your community.
  3. Products and services that fit the way you live and work.
  4. Strength and expertise in all areas of financial services.
  5. Deep Montana Roots.

Stockman Bank has grown to be the 20th largest agriculture lender in the nation and Montana’s largest privately-held, family-owned bank with 34 locations and assets of $3.4 billion. As Stockman continues to grow, our commitment to Conrad and the communities we serve has not wavered.

Thank you for being a part of the Stockman family. We invite you to join us in celebrating 100 years of community banking in Conrad! We’re proud to serve the people and businesses of Conrad and look forward to serving you for many more years to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank Disclosures

Volatility: Rolling with the Tide

David Morgenroth

David Morgenroth

Post written by David Morgenroth, Stockman Wealth Management Advisor in Missoula

It seems like yesterday everything was smooth sailing in the stock market. On January 26, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its 11th record close of 2018 – that’s 11 out of a total of 18 trading days.

On the same day, the S&P 500 Index (of the best large U.S. companies) hit its 14th record close of the year. And this was an extension of a virtually uninterrupted move up throughout 2017.

Then things changed:

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

OK, so the stock market hasn’t quite morphed into a horror movie, but things sure are choppy (no ax required; pun intended).

But what is volatility, exactly? Merriam-Webster defines stock market volatility as “a tendency to change quickly and unpredictably.”[1] For most people, that would be a good way to describe the stock market in general. But the market is a bit like life – easy going for a while (like most of last year), followed by pockets of turbulence (like now).

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out why the market moves and media outlets like CNBC are happy to supply reasons and pontifications, not to mention forecasts. There are a lot of things in the larger world that carry the potential to affect markets, such as changes in the economy, interest rates, major legislation, or on a micro level the fortunes of an individual company. But the market has its own narrative, and for events to have an impact, the market has to digest the news and figure out how it fits into the narrative.

When I use the term “market,” I mean market participants, including everyone from mom-and-pop investors to big financial institutions. That’s a pretty sizeable range of players, encompassing all levels of skill, knowledge, and experience. And not everyone comes to the market with the same intention – well, most want to make money, of course, but some are hedging risks they have elsewhere, and some are just gambling (with no risk management whatsoever). In the end, everyone brings their own story to the market.

And that’s where the market story or narrative comes in. The market is a conglomeration of all of our emotions, beliefs, and behaviors, and together we create a collective narrative that dictates not only the direction of the market but how the market will react to the news.

President Trump’s election offers an excellent case study. On election night in November of 2016, when it began to look like Trump would win, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock futures plummeted to minus- 900 points at one stage. The election surprise caught the market flat footed, but by the next morning the market had latched onto the positives of the President-elect, and the bull market reignited. The market proceeded to ignore Trump’s tough trade talk for over a year until the administration established tariffs recently on a multitude of products, including $50 billion of Chinese products. The market took notice.

Ultimately, the market lives on an old adage: Things don’t matter until they matter. In a long bull market like we have experienced, a lot of bad news is ignored (such as the North Korean nuclear threat) and buoyant sentiment allows the rising tide to lift many if not all boats. Value investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett famously said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” The tide just might be going out now, so look out!

Managing risk is the key to avoid being caught skinny dipping. This is where we at Stockman Wealth Management come in. We are here to help you define your personal financial goals and create a long-term plan to achieve those goals. Remember: It is our collective human emotional volatility that creates volatility in markets, and the fact that money is involved just intensifies that volatility. We as advisors can help you stay focused on your plan by allowing you to take a step back, objectively review your situation, and relax knowing that you are on track to achieve your goals.

[1] www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volatility

Building a Better Future for your Child

TannaBy: Tanna Yerger, Digital Media Coordinator for Stockman Bank and former Stockman Wealth Management employee

The financial planning process at Stockman Wealth Management is designed to address questions regarding planning for your future retirement, tax situations, estate issues, insurance coverage and even debt analysis.

One of the most frequently asked questions during the planning process is “how can I give my child their best chance at a successful future?” College or further education is essential to many families.

In fact, it is almost crucial to get a degree or certification in order to level the playing field for many career paths. In a 2017 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployment rate for young adults with high school as their highest level of education was set at 5.3%.

This compared to 3.8% for those with some college education and 2.5% with at least a Bachelor’s degree speaks volumes about the importance of higher education beyond high school. With that said, college is expensive. Many students require assistance in some form or another. Saving for college does not feel like a pressing issue until high school graduation starts to become tangible.

There are several different paths that can be taken to alleviate the stress of saving for the future of your children. Financial planning helps to choose the right one for you.

Then, the sooner you begin saving, the less anxiety you will feel when graduation day finally arrives. Read on to discover the various college savings avenues to consider when determining your overall financial roadmap.

UTMA Account

One college savings option is called a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, or UTMA account. An UTMA is a type of custodial account that is used solely for the benefit of the child that has been named beneficiary. This means that anything contributed to the account is considered an irrevocable gift to the child, and withdrawals from the account must be made for their benefit. Once your child has reached the age of 21 the custodianship ceases and the child becomes the sole owner of the account.

One of the major benefits to an UTMA is that the proceeds of the account do not necessarily have to be used for higher education. Withdrawing from an UTMA account is relatively flexible. The only stipulation is that the proceeds be used for the benefit of the beneficiary. For example, the funds can be used to satisfy basic livings costs or purchasing a home. Funds can also be used for something less practical such as going on a trip or attending a concert.

UTMA accounts have a unique tax treatment that was substantially modified under the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  We strongly recommend seeking the advice of a tax professional to ascertain the tax ramifications of your unique situation.

This type of account allows flexible investment options. The funds in an UTMA account can be invested in anything, including CDs, bonds, stocks, or mutual funds. An UTMA account is a flexible way to save for higher education.

529 College Savings Plan

Another college savings plan to take into consideration is a 529 College Savings Plan. This plan is designed in a way that can provide a tax advantage while saving for higher education. A 529 plan works similar to an IRA or 401K plan.

The account owner selects a specific 529 plan, dependent upon the state, and is given a prescribed list to choose how funds of the account are to be invested. Investment options are limited to a list of mutual funds provided.

Because the proceeds of a 529 plan are intended to be used for college, it is important to be prepared for the possibility that the beneficiary may not have an interest in attending college. For this reason there is an option to transfer the 529 plan to certain relatives of the existing beneficiary.

The 529 plan allows the owner to have full control of the account regardless of the age of the beneficiary. This means that the owner (typically a parent or guardian) determines when the withdrawals are made. 529 plans also have federal tax benefits. Although you are not able to deduct the contributions on your federal income taxes, the investment will grow tax-deferred.

Any distributions used to pay for college expenses are federally tax-free. The 529 plan also allows you to deduct up to $3,000 a year per tax payer on your Montana State Income taxes. This means that if two parents each contribute $3,000 to their child’s plan they are able to take a total deduction of $6,000 for their household.

On the other hand, if a single parent contributes $6,000 to their child’s fund they are only able to take a $3,000 deduction. A 529 College Savings Plan can be a tax efficient way to prepare for college.

high school graduates Coverdell Education Savings Account

Coverdell Education Savings accounts are also an option for saving for a child’s educational future. This plan limits the total contribution per year to $2,000. Similar to the 529 plan, Coverdell contributions are not federally tax deductible.

The contributions do, however, continue to grow tax free until distribution. The Coverdell account proceeds must be used for the beneficiary’s education. Expenses can include tuition and necessary supplies.

A Coverdell account is the only option that can be used for private school tuition prior to college. One major stipulation for a Coverdell plan is annual household income.

If the parents of the beneficiary have an annual income above the designated threshold, they will not be eligible for this program.

Due to contribution limits, this is a longer-term option for college savings and is less frequently used than the UTMA or 529 options.

How to Choose?

College savings plans that fit properly into a financial plan are available in several forms as described in this article. The difficult part is determining which plan is right for your circumstances and gives your child the greatest level of support.

This is why the comprehensive financial planning services provided by Stockman Wealth Management create a complete view of your current financial situation as well as a roadmap to reach all future financial goals in a coordinated fashion.

One commonality exists among all the college savings plans, the sooner a plan is in place, the quicker money can begin to grow into a financial safety net for your child’s education.

Contact Stockman Wealth Management today to determine if a comprehensive financial plan to coordinate solutions to the many challenges of planning for education, retirement, taxable investments, taxes, estate issues, and even insurance will help you stay on the road to your brightest financial future.