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Scurich Insurance Services has been serving the Monterey Bay Area since 1924. Our mission is to partner with our customers and provide them superior service and value. We are a member of United Valley Insurance Services, Inc., a cluster of over 70 California Independent Insurance agencies, which produced over $530,000,000 of annual premium last year. At Scurich Insurance Services we understand your business and our community. Our customers look to us for comprehensive solutions. We have established relationships with more than 40 of the nation’s leading insurance providers, which allows us to deliver multiple, competitively-priced options and a team of experts to guide you through the process. When you need to file a claim, change a policy or process a certificate you can depend on Scurich Insurance Services to respond quickly to your request. SERVICES In order to provide value added benefits to our customers that go beyond the insurance policy Scurich Insurance Services offers the following additional services: Safety Programs – English and Spanish OSHA Compliance Safety Policies – English and Spanish Online OSHA 300 Log Safety Posters and Payroll Stuffers - English and Spanish Certificates of Insurance – If received before 3:30pm done the same day Risk Management Consulting Brokerage Services Represent most major insurance companies to better market your account. Safety tapes/DVD’s BUSINESS LINES Commercial Commercial Packages Business Auto Workers Compensation Umbrella Bonds Directors & Officers Professional Liability Employment Practices Liability Personal Auto Home Umbrella Recreational Vehicles Boatss Life & Health Individual Medical Individual Life Group Medical Group Benefits

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4 Steps to Help Create a Culture of Safety

Author TonyScurich , 9/2/2015

Safety is more than a set of activities focused on accident prevention. It is a way of thinking about how you work, and it should be at the heart of any successful company. Weaving safety into your company's mission, policies and procedures is a great way to demonstrate its importance and ensure its effectiveness across your company.

It should be about a shared vision that is expressed by core values and behaviors, where everyone walks the talk. By addressing unsafe acts and conditions before they become accidents, you build your safety culture.

Four Steps to a Safety Culture

The following four steps can serve as a starting point in driving safety across your business.

1. Evaluate risks. To understand how to create a safer workplace, you must first understand the risks you face every day. Each task and associated risk should be properly evaluated, and safety-based changes should be considered.

Evaluate your risk

Analyze past incidents and near misses. Understand that past incidents can help you identify root causes and identify risks and exposures that threaten the safety of your employees and the success of your business. - Identify the risks before they result in loss. Review your work policies and procedures, buildings and equipment, employee work practices and behaviors and geographic location to determine if there are opportunities to prevent or mitigate loss. And hold people accountable to the practices.

2. Design a plan to keep safe. A good plan is the best place to start, but it is only the beginning. Once you have a plan, you must act to eliminate or minimize risk.

Design your attack

Get commitment. Your management team should be committed to a safety culture from the beginning. - Stay focused. Keep focused on the risks and exposures identified during your evaluation. - Prioritize your efforts. Focus on the risks that pose the greatest threat. You should consider frequency and severity of the loss potential, and/or the opportunity to prevent or mitigate risks. - Identify solutions and resources. Your solutions can vary from implementing engineering controls to creating administrative policies and procedures. These can help create positive changes in safety attitude, commitment and culture.

3. Implement your plan. Implementation entails communication of the plan and its details, training, regularly scheduled practice and drills, and ongoing review. A thorough plan will cover a number of potential risk areas, including buildings and equipment, the environment, employees, customers and vendors.

Implement your solution

Communicate and train - the real test of a safety program and culture is not what is written down on paper, but rather how well it actually works. How well your plan works is often dependent on what your employees know and what they do at the time of an incident.

4. Monitor, evaluate and improve your plan. As your business environment changes, so should your safety program. Regularly test your plan to determine if it fits the changing business environment and reflects changing accountabilities.

Measure your success

Monitor the plan and collect feedbackto determine the effectiveness of the plan. - Regularly compare your safety performance against the plan’s expectations. - Make adjustments when necessary. - Recognize success. Be sure to communicate and celebrate your safety successes.

At Scurich Insurance Services, our team of risk specialists visit more than one hundred properties every day, and are able to share lessons learned and insights for helping create a safety culture. Start building your safety culture today. Learn more about developing your safety management program.


How to Create a Safe Workplace with a Safety Management Program

Author TonyScurich , 8/24/2015

There are good reasons to take safety seriously. In 2012, there were, on average, 89 workplace fatalities a week.1 An estimated $1 billion is paid by employers in direct workers compensation costs every week.2

A safe work environment does not happen by accident. Management must be fully engaged in creating, planning, implementing, communicating and making sure safety programs work and are designed to fit the business. Most importantly, employees have to understand their role in making their workplace safer.

Eight Key Components of a Safety Management Program

Your safety management program should incorporate the following 8 key components:

  1. Demonstrate management involvement – Management must lead by example. A visible demonstration that you embrace a safety culture is imperative to its success. Provide the essential time, budget and resources to create and support a safety program.
  2. Communicate your safety plan clearly – Your safety plan must be published and available to all employees. Reminders and updates should be timely and effective. Allow employees to contribute their suggestions to making the workplace safer.
  3. Get everyone involved – A safety program is likely to be more effective when employees at all levels are involved. Standardized policies should outline responsibilities and accountability for all employees. Safety goals can become part of job descriptions and employee reviews. Safety committees can help ensure that safety practices are understood and reinforced throughout the company. Positive reinforcement of safe behaviors can be an effective way to help build the desired culture.
  4. Train your employees to work safely – Safety training should begin from the moment an employee is hired. Ongoing training is also essential to creating a safety culture.
  5. Review, revise, improve – A safety program should be dynamic, especially since most business environments continue to evolve.  An effective safety program should be flexible enough to adjust to changes. Regularly review, evaluate and identify risks that could affect safety, and make the changes necessary to keep your workplace safe.
  6. Create safety standards - Each department should set safety standards through a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) to make sure every task is done correctly and safely. Recognize good safety performance, and cite and correct unsafe practices.
  7. Investigate every incident and accident thoroughly – Properly trained staff with experience in investigation, analysis and evidence collection should conduct an accident analysis as soon as possible after an incident. Report the claim within 24 hours to help ensure prompt response and injury management.
  8. Manage every injury – Even with the best safety program, an employee injury can still occur. Planning helps you to react immediately when an employee is injured on the job. Learn about five strategies that can help you put employees on the road back to productivity.

While initiating a comprehensive program can seem like a major hurdle to safety, we can help businesses like yours take the necessary steps to begin creating a safety culture.

Get Manufacturing Resources that Can Help You Turn Risk into a Business Advantage >


How to Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

Author TonyScurich , 8/17/2015

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Many companies do not know exactly what intellectual property (IP) they may own, while others are uncertain how to protect and maximize these valuable assets. When someone infringes on your IP, it may dilute the ability of consumers to associate your company as the source of your goods and services.

To protect your company, it is important to first understand what is typically included as intellectual property. Generally, it involves a creation of the human mind, such as an invention, literary work or musical composition. The different areas of IP law include trademark (such as service mark, trade dress and trade name), as well as copyright, patent and trade secret.

Why it is Important to Register Your IP

While some intellectual property, such as a trademark or copyright, can be valid and protectable even if it is unregistered, registration offers important and key benefits. Registering a trademark or service mark with the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) serves as constructive notice to the public of your claim of ownership of the mark.

An owner who has successfully registered his mark with the USPTO also receives the following:

  • An incontestable right to use the mark under certain conditions.
  • A rebuttable presumption of the validity of the mark, the registrant’s ownership of the mark, and exclusive right to use the mark in commerce.
  • The ability to seek costs, attorney’s fees, and treble damages (or three times the actual amount of financial losses) in infringement lawsuits.
  • The destruction of the infringing articles.
  • The ability to litigate in federal court.

How to Register Your Trademark and Service Mark

You can file an electronic application to register your company’s intellectual property. The Lanham Act governs federal trademark registration and allows trademark and service mark owners to pay a fee (typically $325) and file an application and verified statement to the USPTO.

Applicants must state when they first used the mark in commerce and include a description of the goods that the mark is connected to, along with a drawing of the mark. In the verified statement, applicants must also state that they believe they are the owner of the mark, that the mark is used in commerce and that no other person has the right to use the mark.

How to Register Your Copyright

Copyright owners who register their work with the United States Copyright Office also receive significant benefit in any subsequent judicial proceeding. A certificate of copyright registration constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate. Copyright owners who register their works can also potentially receive statutory damages from an infringer.

Copyright owners can apply online to the United States Copyright Office to register a copyright. The application requires a $35 filing fee and the applicant to provide: name and address, title of the work, the year in which it was created and other preparation and identification information. [According to the USCO website, processing time for an e-filing is generally eight months.¹]

How to Register Your Patent

Patent applications are more complicated than trademark or copyright applications and are often filed by registered patent attorneys experienced in the patent drafting and filing process. A patent applicant must pay a fee (these fees range in amount) and produce an oath, a drawing of the invention and a “specification.” Applicants must state in the oath their country of citizenship and that they believe they are the first inventor of the process, machine, manufacture or improvement.

The specification must contain a written description of the invention and the manner and process of making and using it in a full and clear manner. The specification also must contain one or more “claims” that point out the specific subject matter that the applicants regard as their invention.

Using Written Agreements to Your Advantage

Using, adhering to and enforcing various written agreements can help your company protect and profit from its Intellectual Property (IP). No agreement can accomplish everything but here are some to consider for advancing your IP portfolio.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA): An NDA, or confidentiality agreement, can help keep proprietary or trade secret information private. Among other details, it should plainly state who owns the IP rights associated with the product or service, and who has the right to enforce those IP rights.

Non-Competition Agreements: A non-competition agreement can help lessen the risk that a vital employee will take critical information, such as processes, customer lists or formulas, to a competitor or a start-up company.

Employment Contracts: When an author, artist or designer is an independent contractor or creates work outside the scope of his or her employment, a carefully drafted contract can eliminate potential conflicts by clearly, and broadly, defining the person’s scope of employment and assigning all IP rights generated from his or her work to the employer or hirer.

Licensing Agreements: In a license, one entity grants another permission to use IP rights(s) within a defined time, market or territory. Typically complex, these agreements may contain provisions related to exclusivity, transferability, revocability and warranties.

Download the White Paper on How to Protect and Maximize Your Company's Intellectual Property > Get Technology Resources that Can Help You Turn Risk into a Business Advantage >

Emergency Action Plans for When the Unthinkable Happens

Author TonyScurich , 8/10/2015

No one expects the worst to happen, but sometimes it just does. Whether it is a complete power outage or a fire breaking out in your break room, preparing for the unexpected should be part of your overall safety program.

While prevention should always be your first priority, preparedness may reduce the severity of the event and help maintain your employees' safety.

Emergency Planning is Your Responsibility

Every company should have a published, well-communicated and practiced emergency preparedness and life safety plan.

The National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provide codes, regulations and guidance on emergency action and fire prevention plans, including minimum standards. OSHA, in fact, requires a written emergency action plan for workplaces with 10 or more employees. Employers with fewer than 10 employees must still have an emergency action plan, but they may communicate the plan orally to employees.

Of course, a plan is only as good as its effectiveness, when put into action. How would your plan fare in a real emergency? Do your employees know what to do? These are questions to ask before an emergency happens.

Communicating, training and drilling are all essential elements to include in your emergency action plan, and can help make the critical difference in life safety outcomes.

Effective Planning Can Save Lives

In the first critical minutes of an emergency, taking the right steps can help save lives. Planning ahead and maintaining a well-trained emergency team can help make the critical difference.

  • Appoint, organize and train designated staff with their emergency response duties and responsibilities.
  • Document and distribute emergency procedures, including how to notify the fire department, evacuate employees and provide accommodations for those with special assistance needs.
    • Publish instructions for the use of emergency equipment, such as the voice communication system, the alarm system or emergency power supply system.
    • Post procedures for confining, controlling and extinguishing fires.
    • Post procedures for assisting the fire department in accessing and locating the fire.
  • Communicate your evacuation plan to all employees, visitors, vendors and contractors.
  • Distribute the plan to emergency personnel who will be responsible for taking actions to maximize the safety of building occupants, including the fire department and designated emergency management and supervisory staff.
  • Post your evacuation/floor plan exit diagram in clearly visible locations. Assign locations away from the building or job site for employees to gather.
  • Practice drills on a regular basis. Monitor and evaluate drill performance to consider improvements.
    • Include full, partial and shelter-in-place evacuations, designed in cooperation with local authorities, to familiarize employees with procedures.
  • Develop a roll call system to account for all persons and notifications to the fire department of any missing person.

Travelers safety professionals see a broad spectrum of businesses and facilities and understand the plans used to ensure emergency preparedness. Every day, we share our insights with our customers to help keep their businesses, and most importantly, their people, safe.


Why your company needs a business continuity plan

Author TonyScurich , 8/7/2015

Business continuity planning is one of the most critical components of any recovery strategy.

Companies today face an unprecedented number of exposures.

The frequency and severity of weather-related events seem to be increasing. Reliance on a complex network of technology and supply chains is expanding. Both leave businesses susceptible to a variety of existing and emerging risks.

Managing these risks is key to the survival of any organization.

Why Business Continuity?

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MISCONCEPTION: "Our people will know what to do in an emergency."

REALITY: Even the best employees cannot be expected to know what to do when disaster strikes. Leaving each to respond in his or her own way only adds to the confusion of an event. Having a well-documented business continuity plan in advance, and training your employees to follow it, gets everyone on the same page — helping ensure an organized, safe and timely recovery.

Scurich Insurance Services, Watsonville, CA, Business Insurance

MISCONCEPTION: "We have insurance to cover our losses."

REALITY: Insurance alone is NOT a business continuity strategy. Proper coverage is a significant and important part of the plan. But it may not fully cover some of the peripheral damages from an event, like loss of customers, loss of market share, or setbacks in development or release of a new product. Consult with your insurance agent to understand what is and is not covered under your policy.

stop-watch-396862_1280

MISCONCEPTION: "We don't have the time to develop a business continuity plan."

REALITY: Time spent developing and maintaining a business continuity plan is an investment in your company. Your fixed costs will continue after an event whether or not you are open for business. The faster you can return your operations to normal, the more likely you will recover from the event successfully. With so much at stake, your company can't afford to NOT have a plan.

white-board-593300_1280

MISCONCEPTION:  "Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are the same."

REALITY: Business continuity is a proactive plan to avoid and mitigate risks associated with a disruption of operations. It details steps to be taken before, during and after an event to maintain the financial viability of an organization. 

Disaster recovery is a reactive plan for responding after an event. It deals with the safety and restoration of critical personnel, locations, and operational procedures after a disaster, and is a part of business continuity planning.

A business continuity plan is one of the best investments your company can make.

From Hurricane Sandy and 9/11 to the tornadoes in Oklahoma – companies that proactively consider how to respond to events are the first to get back to business, often at the expense of competitors.

A predefined business continuity plan, combined with the proper insurance coverage, maximizes the chance of a successful recovery by eliminating hasty decision-making under stressful conditions. It details how to get businesses back on track after a disruption – in the most thoughtful way possible.

Think your business can withstand a disaster? Think again.

Twenty-five percent of businesses do not reopen following a major event.1 It does not take a major catastrophe to shut down a business. In fact, seemingly minor disruptions compared to widespread natural disasters can often cause significant damage – power failures, broken water pipes, or loss of computer data.

A Travelers study found that 48 percent of small businesses are operating without any type of business continuity plan…Yet 95 percent indicated they felt they were prepared.

  • Is your business continuity plan predominately an insurance policy?
  • Is it predominately an emergency response or evacuation plan?
  • Is it predominately an IT or data recovery plan?
  • Is it something you developed that sits in a binder on a shelf?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, then your business continuity plan may be giving you a false sense of security.

Natural disasters are more common – and costly – than you may realize.

In 2012, nine of the top 10 most expensive world-wide natural disasters happened in the United States. With $77 billion in insured losses worldwide, 2012 was the third costliest year on record. The first was 2011, when $126 billion in insured losses were reported.2

Business continuity planning for a competitive advantage.

An alarming 48% of business owners surveyed by Travelers in 2012 said they have no plan in place. That means business continuity planning is more than smart business – it helps your company remain better positioned to recover from the business interruption, property damage, financial impact, and loss of life that a natural disaster or man-made event may cause.

The time for business continuity planning is now.

Planning for a disruption or catastrophic event should happen when business is going well, not when disaster strikes. Having a pre-defined, well-documented business continuity plan that clearly communicates how your business will respond during an event can help mitigate risk – and is one of the best investments your company can make.

1Source: Insurance Institute of Business & Home Safety; http://www.disastersafety.org/ 2Source: Insurance Journal; http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/03/27/286235.htm


When Is it Dangerously Hot to Work?

Author TonyScurich , 8/3/2015
High heat and construction work are simply not compatible. Yet, the work must get completed. Workers must wear protective clothing and gear which diminishes the body's capacity to shed heat. This fact combined with high heat creates specific exposures which require vigilant monitoring. Short-term exposures to heat and humidity:
  • Prevention: Drink plenty of water - a good test is the employee must urinate every three hours at a minimum, two hours is better. If they do not need to urinate, they are not getting adequate fluids. Wear breathable clothing such as cotton. Work in the shade or indoors as much as possible, take frequent water breaks in the shade.
  • Heat exhaustion: the stage prior to heat stroke when many symptoms from dehydration can be noticed. Any dizziness, nausea or vomiting, cramping, or sudden weakness requires immediate attention. Headaches, blurred vision or unusual fatigue can be signs of heat exhaustion. Rest the worker in the shade, loosen tight clothing and provide water. Observe the employee for several minutes. If they quit sweating or any symptom becomes worse, or they breathe rapidly or have a quick pulse, seek emergency medical help immediately.
  • Heat stroke: LIFE THREATENING. Add these to the heat exhaustion symptoms:
    • Hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, illogical behavior
    • High body temperature, red or pale skin, difficulty breathing
    • Unconsciousness or coma
Seek immediate professional help for these symptoms. Bacteria carrying insects love this weather. Lyme disease and West Nile Virus are not uncommon. Prevention includes spraying mosquito deterrent and checking for ticks. Long-term exposures include skin cancer. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Common sense goes a long way to prevent over-taxing workers. If a concrete pour is scheduled for an extremely hot day, postpone. You'll spare your employees heat related discomfort, and the odds of getting the concrete in before it sets is remote at best. Remember your machine operators too. Check on them throughout the day and carefully observe their performance. Any signs of erratic behavior needs to be addressed immediately. Even air conditioned cabins can create dehydrating condition in the hot sun. If you want your crew working Friday, you need to supply plenty of water and shaded rest breaks Monday through Thursday. The body can only take so much heat.

Top Five Dietary Changes That Reduce Heart Disease

Author TonyScurich , 7/29/2015

Every year, heart disease causes one out of four deaths, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reduce your risk when you make five dietary changes.

  1. Eat More FruitsFruits rich in vitamin C and fiber protect you from heart disease. So, eat more citrus fruits, which are loaded with vitamin-C, and fruits with fiber-rich skin, including apples, pears and peaches. Easily add more fruit to your daily menu when you:*Serve fruit salad as a side dish during every meal, *Display fruit on the counter where you'll see it every day and *Pack fruit in your lunch box.
  2. Stock up on VeggiesGreen, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and broccoli, protect you from heart disease. They're easy to add to your daily diet when you serve salad for dinner and toss green veggies into soups, eggs and rice.
  3. Pump up the Whole GrainWhen you consume 25 grams of whole grains each day, your risk for developing heart disease decreases by 15 percent. Pump up your whole grain intake with oatmeal, brown rice and rye.
  4. Reduce Fat IntakeSaturated fats are one of the leading causes of heart disease. Easily reduce the amount of fat you consume when you:*Switch to skim milk *Use olive oil instead of cream-based sauces and dressings and *Try butter alternatives.
  5. Eat Less MeatMeat, especially red meat, is often high in saturated fat, which causes high cholesterol and clogged arteries. For optimum heart health, go vegetarian because it may reverse existing cardiovascular disease. If you have to eat red meat, limit it to three ounces a day.
Reducing heart disease is possible when you eat a heart-healthy diet. Start by making these five dietary changes. Then, talk with your health insurance agent about additional ways you can reduce your heart disease risk and live a healthy lifestyle.  

Stay Safe While Exercising This Summer

Author TonyScurich , 7/24/2015

You might love the warm summer temperatures, but they can be dangerous when you are working out. If you are not careful, you could end up with dehydration or heatstroke. The following tips can help you keep up stay safe while you stay in good shape over the summer.

Exercise During the Cool Parts of the Day Avoid the intense heat of the noon-time sun when possible. Instead of going for a walk during your lunch break, exercise early in the morning when temperatures are lowest. Another option is to wait until the sun goes down and the temperature starts to drop in the evening. If you work out before dawn or after sunset, wear reflective clothing so that car drivers can see you more easily. If you exercise during the day, use sunscreen. Stay Hydrated You can quickly become dehydrated when you exercise. To prevent dehydration, men should drink 12 8-ounce cups and women should get 8 cups of water per day. You need extra water when the weather is windy or dry. Consume an additional 2 cups of water about an hour before your workout, and drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes while you are exercising. Weigh yourself before and after your workout, and drink an additional 16 ounces, or half-liter, of water for every pound that you lost during your workout. Symptoms of mild dehydration can include thirst, headaches, fatigue, muscle cramping and muscle weakness. Stop exercising and drink some water immediately if you notice these symptoms. Adjust Your Exercise Program Be flexible with your exercise program during the summer. Water activities, such as swimming laps or taking water aerobics classes, can give you an excellent aerobic workout while you stay cool compared to participating in activities such as running or cycling. You can also adjust your workout program while maintaining a high level of fitness by lowering the intensity of your exercise sessions on hot days. Finally, you can opt for indoors workouts instead of heading outdoors. You can follow an exercise DVD in your own air-conditioned home, or go to a health club with air conditioning. There, you can run on the treadmill, use the stationary bikes or elliptical machines, lift weights, and take group fitness classes without exposing yourself to the sun. With a bit of caution, you can have fun, stay fit, and stay safe this summer.  

You Need to "Call Before You Dig"

Author TonyScurich , 7/20/2015

Person digging in backyard

What is 811?

Are you a homeowner or contractor? Did you know that you are required to call the number ‘811’ before digging on any property so that you can be made aware of any underground lines (e.g. pipes, cables and associated utilities) buried in the area? Improper digging can lead to damage to underground lines that can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm diggers or excavators, and even incur potential fines and repair costs.

In case you did not know, 811 is the national "Call Before You Dig" phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission. This number was developed to eliminate the confusion of multiple "Call Before You Dig" numbers because it is easy to use, is the same for every state, and can help protect anyone who does dig from injury, expense and potential penalties.

What Happens After Calling 811?

All 811 calls are routed to a local One Call Center and the affected utilities. The utility will then send crews to the location to mark any underground lines for the homeowner or excavator for free.

Do Most People Call Before They Dig?

Believe it or not, in spite of all the potential danger and damage that can be caused, the answer is "no." According to a recent national survey, 45 percent of American homeowners who plan to dig this year said that they would not call 811 beforehand.*

More Information

For more information about the 811 call system, visit http://www.call811.com. To download the most current industry Best Practices in connection with preventing damage to underground facilities, go to http://commongroundalliance.com/.


Safe packing for travel

Author TonyScurich , 7/13/2015
Nine out of 10 Americans drive to their travel destination.¹ If you are among those planning to hit the road, remember: safe driving starts before you even leave the driveway. Securing luggage, maintaining vehicle balance and keeping clear lines of sight from the driver’s seat is key. Learn how to pack your vehicle for safer travels in these videos with Travelers specialist Chris Hayes — and make your road trip a memorable one, for all the right reasons. Watch "Drive Safe: How to Pack Safe"   Sources: ¹http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/subject_areas/national_household_travel_survey/long_distance.html Travelers