keyboard_backspaceBack to main blog page

Scurich Insurance Services - Blog

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

Search Results

Posts tagged with agency - agency

Are You Ready For A Car Crash?

Author TonyScurich , 11/2/2016
  safe-1142432_1920You know the drill after an auto crash, heart stopping panic, and then, especially if there’s major damage or a serious injury, exchanging names, addresses and insurance information with the other driver. Easy, right? However, if the other driver refuses to provide these particulars (or you’re so shaken that you forget to ask for them), you could end up in serious financial, or even legal, trouble. Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance Relations for CARSTAR warns, “[After an accident] sometimes drivers just don't do what they’re supposed to do." To make sure you’re prepared for such a mishap, follow these guidelines:
  • Remain at the scene. Although state laws differ, failure to exchange information or notify police can lead to a hit-and-run charge or loss of your license.
  • Keep a “cheat sheet” in your glove compartment about what to ask after an accident.
  • Use your cellphone to take a photo of the other vehicle, (preferably showing its license plate) as visual proof of the incident.
  • Write down details. As soon as you and your vehicle are out of traffic and harm's way, record the date and time, location, make and model of the cars and actions or statements by the other driver.
  • Ask any bystanders or eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.
In the meantime, review your auto policy to make sure that you carry: 1) collision coverage, which will pay for repairing your car and providing a replacement vehicle, if needed and 2) uninsured/underinsured motorists insurance (UM/UIM), which will cover damages for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our agency  

Follow The Signs To A Safer Workplace

Author TonyScurich , 10/24/2016
Workplace safety signs and tags play a key role in helping prevent accidents to workers and visitors alike. To make the most effective use of signs and tags in your facility that comply with OSHA regulation (29 CFR 1910.145), we’d recommend that you follow these guidelines:
  • Identify all hazards throughout the workplace. In addition to obvious dangers, include those that are out of the ordinary, unexpected, or not readily apparent.
  • Select or design signs and tags. Make sure they conform to OSHA requirements and are consistent in format.
  • Use proper wording. According to OSHA, "the wording of any sign should be easily read, concise, and contain sufficient information to be easily understood."
  • Position signs carefully. Signs should be placed so that they’re easy to see and read from a distance and draw maximum attention to hazards.
  • Identify safety and fire protection equipment clearly. This includes such items as eyewash stations and safety showers, as well as fire extinguishers and hoses.
  • Employ tags properly. OSHA requires that "tags shall be used as a means to prevent accidental injury or illness to employees who are exposed to hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions, equipment, or operations.”
  • Review your program whenever new hazards are introduced. If you just put up signs and tags and forget about them, your facility probably won’t be in compliance with the OSHA regulations. Check the program frequently to make sure that it’s still doing the job.
The workplace safety professionals at our agency would be happy to help you review your signage and tag policy. Give us a call at any time.

Floods, Cars, And Auto Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 9/30/2016
1

Floods happen - and nearly half of all deaths related to them involve vehicles, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The best advice for drivers during periods of heavy rain or flooding is to stay off the road. If that's not possible and you see signs of high water or stranded vehicles, pull over or take a different route ("Turn around, don't drown").

However, an unexpected flash flood can easily catch you unawares. If this happens, safety experts recommend taking these precautions to prevent an accident or a water-damaged car:

  • Never drive beneath an underpass during a heavy rainstorm because they're prone to flooding.
  • Be wary of water levels. According to FEMA it takes only one foot of water to float a car, or even an SUV, sweeping it off a bridge or down a road.
  • If your vehicle gets caught in a flood and stalls, or you lose control, get out before the car is carried downstream.
  • If you can't escape and your vehicle is going under, don't panic. Once the car is submerged, open the doors, hold your breath, and climb out.

The good news: If your car is involved in a flood-related accident, Auto insurance can make sure that you don't get swept away financially. Comprehensive coverage will pay for any type of damage to your car up to its actual cash value caused by natural events, such as flooding. If you hydroplane during a storm and flip your car or hit another vehicle or tree, Collision insurance will pay to repair it or cover the actual cash value of the car.

To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with our agency.

 

The EEOC Systemic Expedition

Author TonyScurich , 9/26/2016

In an issue of Corporate Counsel an article entitled It's a Systemic World Out There discusses the EEOC's pursuing large "systemic" cases. For example, in fiscal year 2011 they conducted 580 systemic investigations, filed 84 systemic lawsuits, and settled 35 systemic cases for total $9.6 million. Although your company might not be large enough to be on the EEOC's radar screen, I can tell you that attorneys are also suing small to midsized companies on a class basis. An employee walks into a lawyer's office because they didn't receive their final paycheck, and before you know it they're filing a class-action lawsuit against your company for missed overtime and meal periods. The article provided a few golden nuggets of advice:

  1. When responding to an EEOC inquiry, don't use the phrase "pursuant to our consistently applied policy." This only invites a broader request for information.
  2. Do not submit more information than is necessary.
  3. Conduct your own statistical analysis before submitting data.
  4. Do preventative analysis looking for adverse impacts in the hiring, promotion, or termination practices.
  5. Validate pre-employment tests.
  6. Conduct preventative compensation analysis periodically.
  7. Cover all internal analysis with attorney-client privilege. This might be impossible in smaller organizations, but you can certainly retain outside counsel to instruct you on how to conduct such analysis and report back to them.
  8. Listen to your employees. As I have always recommended, you should survey your employees, including use of the Employee Compliance Survey that can be found in HR That Works.
  9. Invigorate that underutilized internal complaint system. Again, go one step further and ask if there's a problem –don't wait for them to tell you there is one.
  10. Stay current with legal trends. This is one reason why HR That Works membership is so valuable.
  11. Walk the talk. Are you sensitive to the potential for your practices to cause adverse impacts? Frankly in my experience I can tell you that some business owners could care less about whether a practice causes an adverse impact. All they care about is getting the best employees they can, damn the EEOC. Of course, few companies appreciate a risk until they're hit with it.

Finally, the article points out how large corporations can gather the data requested by the EEOC easily because they have such large HRIS systems. However, most companies with less than 500 employees don't have this data readily available, and t collecting it can be an over-burdensome process. This is one reason to make sure that you hire an attorney any time you receive a communication from the EEOC or another regulatory agency.

 

Underground Construction Risks: The 811 Solution

Author TonyScurich , 9/12/2016
Across the nation, utility lines, tunnels, and structures run under our feet, Each year, excavators strike approximately 700,000 of these underground lines, often triggering potentially fatal accident (from steam, gas, propane, or electricity). A single strike might easily cost a contractor hundreds of thousands, or millions, if the accident leads to an interruption of service that shuts down a factory, hospital, telecommunication lines– even a missile silo. In most cases, insurance will not cover these losses. To deal with this threat, the Common Ground Alliance coordinates 811 --Call before You Dig, a nationwide phone and online system that contractors can use to notify local utilities so they can "mark out" their facilities before excavation of anything from to a sewer to a subway. These markouts are required under state law. When you use the call 811.com system, bear in mind that:
  1. It doesn't matter where you are - downtown, in the middle of a suburban street, or building a private home.
  2. Call even if you're confident that you know where something is buried (for example, if you installed the line); many contractors dig up lines that have just put in.
  3. Instead of marking the area with wooden stakes - which are all too easy to drive through gas lines - use white paint or "feathers;" even the most shallow excavation can be hazardous.
Remember, failing to contact 811.com before every excavation violates the law - and leaves you wide open to huge liability losses. Don't take a chance your odds of losing in the Underground Damage Casino! To learn more, just get in touch with the Construction Insurance Specialists at our agency.

Construction Safety: Myth And Reality

Author TonyScurich , 9/9/2016
construction-646465_1920 Unfortunately, a number of erroneous beliefs about worksite safety are widespread in the construction industry. Here are seven common safety myths - and why they don't pass the reality check:
  1. Safety programs ensure worker safety. In practice, this means that binders on a variety of topics (usually regurgitated OSHA standards) end up gathering dust on a back shelf.
  2. Safety is common sense. Taking risk is a very personal matter. Some people skydive, others bungee jump; some race automobiles, others rock climb.
  3. Incentive programs improve safety. Because these programs usually reward not having a recordable incident, they benefit workers been lucky enough to avoid accidents - not to mention a natural tendency not to report injuries.
  4. Progressive punishment ensures safety compliance. The best punishment can do is achieve temporary compliance. Effective policing must be continuous and consistent, with clear consequences.
  5. Firing noncomplying workers solves safety problems. This is like trying to cure a disease by treating its symptom. Instead, find the error that led to unacceptable behavior and change it.
  6. Safety training is a leading safety indicator. The sign-in sheet shows only who attended the meeting. For training to work, managers need to test what individual workers learned - or didn't learn.
  7. Inspections and audits will uncover most workplace hazards. Inspections provide snapshots of workplace conditions at a given time, rather than an accurate picture of ongoing operations or activities.
Every construction firm needs to evaluate its safety systems, practices, and procedures critically, challenge the status quo where needed - and take decisive action. Our agency's professionals would be happy to offer their advice at any time, free of charge.

How Well Do You Know Your Insurance?

Author TonyScurich , 9/7/2016

With so many demands on their time, many business owners find it difficult to learn enough about their insurance programs.

You've probably found yourself asking questions such as:

  1. Do I have the right coverages to protect my business from financial loss?
  2. Do I have any exposures to loss that aren't covered and should be?
  3. Exactly what am I buying?
  4. Am I getting the best value for my premium dollar?

As insurance professionals, we help you answer these questions because we:

  • Offer policies providing protection against a wide variety of risks that can threaten your business - everything from Accounts Receivable and Business Interruption through Employment Practices Liability and Glass Insurance to Theft coverage and Workers Compensation.
  • Recommend an insurance company (from among the quality carriers that we represent) that will provide quality protection.
  • Make it a point to learn how your business works so that we can pinpoint potential sources of loss.
  • Design a program that minimizes the impact of these losses (incidentally, we don't always recommend insurance).
  • Provide comprehensive protect that's tailored to your needs - and your pocketbook.
  • Work with you to make sure that your coverage stays updated as your business grows.

In short, we take over one phase of your business for you, and work with you to accomplish your first goal - protecting your profits.

To help us help you make sure that your business insurance makes business sense, please feel free to get in touch with our agency's professional at any time.

We're here to serve.


Use Near Misses To Create A Safer Workplace

Author TonyScurich , 8/29/2016
1 A study commissioned by the British government found that for every lost-time injury of more than three days, there were 189 non-injury cases. No business can afford to ignore these near misses, which provide invaluable opportunities to identify and correct safety hazards on the job before they lead to accidents or injuries. However, according to an article in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) journal, employees often resist reporting these close calls for such reasons as fear of management retaliation, peer pressure, concern about a safety record, complicated reporting forms and lack of feedback. To encourage employee reporting of near misses in the workplace, experts recommend these guidelines:
  1. Provide your employees with safety training.
  2. Develop strategies to measure how reporting near misses improves safety performance.
  3. Recognize and reward employees for proactive safety engagement.
  4. Have your safety committee oversee the reporting process.
  5. Provide incident investigations training for all managers that includes mentoring help for new staff members.
  6. Investigate everything! The time you spend investigating near misses will yield long-term rewards by eliminating the time, expense, and hassle of dealing with major (possibly fatal) injuries or property loss - not to mention the impact on productivity and workplace morale.
  7. Conduct comprehensive follow-up on corrective action plans. Ask who, what, and by when - and make sure that these changes are made.
  8. Report on all investigations. Making sure that every employee hears about every near miss will encourage reporting of future incidents, as workers realize that speaking out will help them do their work more safely.
Our agency's specialists would be happy to provide their advice on encouraging your employees to help keep their workplace safe. Just give us a call.

Pollution Liability: The CPL Solution

Author TonyScurich , 8/15/2016
Air, water, and soil pollution pose a serious financial threat for contractors. One small misstep can require thousands - or even millions - to clean up. Consider these scenarios:
  • Remodeling a school kicks up dust.
  • Using construction materials generates fumes that pollute the air.
  • Hitting an underground storage tank leads to the release of liquid pollutants.
  • Spraying to remove a bees' nest from a work area releases insecticides.
  • Tying into a sewer line improperly causes sewage to back up.
Your Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) policy provides severely limited protection against these types of pollution claims. Not to worry! Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) insurance can protect you. (These policies are sometimes written together with Contractors Professional Liability coverage - see the previous article). CPL covers Bodily Injury and Property Damage - whether by settlement or verdict - as well as the expenses of investigating, defending, or settling claims. Most policies also cover the costs of removing or neutralizing pollutants and restoring the damaged property. CPL policies usually include a "hammer clause" that works like this: if the contractor chooses to fight a claim, rather than settle it, the insurance company's liability for damages and claims expenses is limited to what it would have had to pay if the contractor had approved the settlement. As you can imagine, most contractors choose to settle when their insurer recommends this approach. As with Contractors Professional Liability coverage, CPL policies are usually written on a case-by-case basis, with the size of the policy depending on your situation (for example coverage might be worldwide or limited to the U.S). Our agency would be happy to work with you, and the quality insurance companies we represent, to tailor a program suited for your needs. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

The Malware Epidemic: Seven Ways To Fight Back

Author TonyScurich , 8/5/2016
2

Recent headlines about electronic spies hacking into computer networks from the Pentagon to China reinforce the dangerous reality that a "malware" (software that accesses systems to steal sensitive financial and client information) is becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread.

According to a recent report from the NPD Group, the average U.S. household with a Web connection has 5.7 devices - desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smart phones -- which are highly vulnerable to malware attacks. The more workers who use these devices to access the Web sites of their employers, the greater the threat of cybercrime. To help protect the security of your company's data against intrusion from malware, experts recommend taking these precautions:
  1. Identify the business processes and data you need to protect and the risks associated with them.
  2. Limit access to sensitive data to authorized users. Provide them with strong passwords and don't allow any sharing.
  3. Make sure that employees use only secure wireless networks when connecting to your site.
  4. Provide users with strong authentication measures and anti-malware software.
  5. Know your users and their behavior. Compare details of incoming login connections with the information you have about the user. If you find anomalies, add such precautions such answering a security question.
  6. Look for corrupted devices. Authenticated users might acquire malware on their devices that puts your data at risk once they log in. For example, man-in-the-browser (MitB) attacks can hijack authenticated sessions.
  7. Secure high-value transactions. Identify these transactions and refuse to accept them from devices with suspicious configurations.
Our agency's specialists can work with you in developing and implementing a comprehensive anti-malware program for your company. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.