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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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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.

Workers Comp Prescription Narcotics Abuse: Fight Back!

Author TonyScurich , 9/2/2016
4 The use of narcotics in treating injured workers faces heavy scrutiny today - and for good reason. The latest National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI) Annual Issues Symposium found that:
  • The average cost of narcotics per Workers Comp claim rose from $39 in 2003 to $59 in 2011. This is a rate of 0.79 narcotic prescriptions per claim, up from 0.56 in 2003 - a 14% increase in eight years.
  • More than 5% percent of Comp claims that resulted in at least one prescription for if anymedication included five or more narcotics prescriptions.
To curb the prescribing of narcotics for your injured employees, start by choosing the right Workers Comp physician. In most states, businesses have the legal right to designate the physician that injured employees must use. To find a physician in your area who is board certified in Occupational Medicine, go to http://www.acoem.org/. If none is available, look for a doctor who takes patients on Workers Compensation. In many cases, urgent care clinics make great partners. Once you find a physician, talk to him or her about your business, discuss your return-to-work program and the types of transitional jobs you offer - and ask about their attitude toward prescribing narcotics. Even if state law prohibits you from requiring injured workers to see a specific physician, you can still suggest that they do so. For example, you might say, "Doctor Joan at Acme Urgent Care has treated many of your co-workers and they've gotten better quickly." Selecting a doctor who doesn't dispense drugs and only prescribes narcotics when they're are absolutely necessary can go far to help injured employees get back to work and be healthy and productive as swiftly as possible - while keeping your Workers Comp costs under control.

Fungi Can Be Dangerous To Your Workers' Health

Author TonyScurich , 8/22/2016
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Studies have shown that most Americans spend more than 90% of their time indoors - an environment that's significantly more contaminated than the outdoors. Maintaining a pollutant-free indoor environment can help raise productivity, reduce potential legal liability for building owners and managers, and improve the health of workers.

Fungi, a biological contaminant that flourishes in moist environments, can trigger a wide variety of health problems and complaints. The best way to curb fungal growth is to monitor and avoid water leaks, moisture migration through masonry walls, and condensation. (For example, high humidity levels might be due to running a chilled water air conditioning system at too high a temperature).

To help manage the moisture and water infiltration that breeds fungi, experts recommend following these rules of thumb:

  1. If the fungal growth is on a hard surface, scrape it off as soon as possible.
  2. If the fungus is growing on a porous surface - such as plasterboard, carpet, or ceilings --have it removed carefully to prevent the uncontrolled release of fungal spores. (Removing or disturbing materials contaminated by fungi can increase airborne fungal levels by a factor of 10).
  3. Dispose of fungal-contaminated materials under controlled conditions to prevent contamination of clean areas and protect building occupants and the area from elevated exposures.
  4. Dry any porous materials where water infiltration has occurred within 24 hours.

Increasing concern by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state health departments about exposure to fungal spores reinforces the need for keeping the spread of fungi under control.

We'd be happy to offer our advice on helping keep your building fungus-free - and its occupants healthy.


Don't Let Drivers Use Their Cell Phones!

Author TonyScurich , 8/3/2016
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A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 69% of U.S. drivers talked on their cell phones - and 31% read or sent text messages or e-mails while driving. "The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive," warns CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

Using cell phones to text behind the wheel can increase the danger of fatal crashes by six to 23 times, and drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to become involved in crashes serious enough to injure themselves. You probably have rules about employees talking on their phones and texting while driving - but are they following them? According to Jim Evans, president of human resources consulting firm JK Evans & Associates, some bosses turn a blind eye to cell phone use behind the wheel, while others don't want to cut into their employees' productivity. His advice to employers: "Dust off the old cell phone policy or unwritten practices and revisit whether employee safety and employer liability is at risk." To minimize this danger, your company should require employees who drive on the job to:
  • Turn off personal phones or switch them to silent mode before entering a company vehicle.
  • Pull over to a safe area if they need to make a cell phone call or send or answer a text message.
  • Ask a helper or another passenger to make a return call.
  • Contact supervisors or dispatchers when the vehicle is parked.
  • Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, reading, and any other activities that distract them behind the wheel.
  • Tell people who call them while driving that they'll call back after reaching their destination.
  • Not send or answer text messages, surf the Web, or read e-mails.
 

Builders Risk Insurance: A Must-Have

Author TonyScurich , 8/1/2016

Your last newsletter discussed the benefits of Building Ordinance insurance. If you're planning to build on your property or adding to an existing structure, a related policy - Builders Risk - can protect you from losses during construction, helping make sure that you finish the project.

The amount of coverage should reflect the total value of the completed structure (including the costs of material and labor, but not the value of the land). In most cases, the construction budget will be the best source for calculating this amount. The policy is usually written for a period three months, six months, or 12 months. If needed, the term can be extended once. Builders Risk covers damage to the insured structure(s) from a wide variety of causes, ranging from natural disasters (wind, lightning, hail, and lightning) through accidental events (fire, explosion, or vehicle accidents) to human activities (such as theft and vandalism). Coverage usually also includes:
  • Fire department service charges for saving or protecting property from a covered cause of loss.
  • Removal of debris from property damaged by a covered loss.
  • Losses from the backup of sewer and drains.
Most policies exclude losses from earthquake, flooding employee theft, mechanical breakdown, contract penalties, war, government action, or faulty design and workmanship. You might be able to add coverage for some of these exclusions - such as earthquakes and flooding - if the building is in an area that's prone to one or both of these natural disasters. Bear in mind that this policy does not provide Liability coverage for accidents or injuries on your property. We'd be happy to tailor a comprehensive Builders Risk product that fits your needs - and budget. Just give us a call.

4th of july Tips

Author TonyScurich , 7/1/2016

fourth-of-july-1

4th of July fireworks, parades and cookouts are an excuse for you to relax with family and friends. As you plan your celebration this year, take several steps to ensure safety for everyone involved in celebrating the United States' birthday.

Use Fireworks Safely Public fireworks displays are the safest way to enjoy the beautiful colors and terrific booms of this July 4th tradition, especially when you maintain a distance of at least 500 feet between you and the show. Firework displays at home can be fun though too. If you go that route, take these precautions.

  • Follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Never allow children to play with the fireworks.
  • Stock a fire extinguisher or water supply nearby.
  • Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
  • Remove flammable materials from the area.
  • Never point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles or structures.
  • Properly dispose of duds rather than trying to relight them.

Take Precautions While Grilling

Burgers, hot dogs, fruit and pizza taste delicious when they're grilled. Grab your favorite side dishes and follow a few precautions that ensure you and your guests grill safely.

  • Always supervise the grill when it's in use.
  • Never grill indoors or in a fully enclosed area such as a garage or tent.
  • Use lighter fluid sparingly and never after the coals are ignited.
  • Keep children and pets away from the hot grill.
  • Remove flammable objects, including trees, from near the grill.
  • Use long-handled tools to handle food.

Stay Safe on the Beach

Swimming is a fun summer activity, and it's good exercise. At the beach, lake, public pool or backyard pool, stay safe with these tips.

  • Swim only in designated areas.
  • Obey the lifeguard and all posted signs.
  • Swim sober.
  • Get out of the water during a storm or if you hear thunder or see lightening.
  • Require children to wear life jackets.
  • Don't dive into shallow water.

Wear Sun Bathing Protection

Picnics are part of many July 4th celebrations. You should also take these protective measures.

  • Wear sunscreen that's at least 15 SPF.
  • Remember to apply sunscreen to your ears, hair part and the tops of your feet.
  • Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV rays are strongest.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours or more frequently if you're sweating.
  • Drink plenty of water even if you're not thirsty.
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves if you have to be in direct sunlight.
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke, including hot, red skin, shallow breathing and rapid, weak pulse.

Your July 4th celebration will be safe when you take these steps. For more advice, talk to your health insurance agent. He or she stands ready to help you have the best birthday party ever.


Drip, Drip, Drip: Dealing With Water Damage

Author TonyScurich , 4/25/2016
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Of all Homeowners insurance losses, those from water damage are among the most common. Many people often don't consider the potential risks in their own homes until it's too late.

To minimize hazards that can cause water damage claims, we'd like to recommend these steps:

  • Check for leaks. Periodically inspect the area around the refrigerator, washer, dishwasher, water heater, sinks, and toilets for drips, puddles, and discolored, warped, or soft flooring.
  • Pay attention to your water bill. Monthly fluctuations could indicate a leak.
  • Periodically check your water pressure. Water losses often occur due to excessive water pressure. Buy a pressure gauge at your local hardware store, and hook it up to a hose bib. If it's above 65 psi, install a water pressure regulator.
  • Before you go on vacation, take precautions. If temperatures in your area could dip below freezing, make sure that any exposed pipes are insulated, turn off the water supply to individual fixtures, and turn your furnace to low so that the pipes will stay warm enough to avoid bursting.

If you need to file a claim, follow these guidelines:

  • Stop the source of the water by turning off the water main.
  • Call your insurance company immediately. Most companies have staff 24/7 to help you set appointments with contractors who can dry out your house. Your insurer will also send an adjuster to assess the damage.
  • Don't start any major repair efforts until the adjuster has been to your home!
  • Determine what was lost and document it. Even if things were ruined, don't throw them away. Keep pieces of the damaged floor or ceiling, along with any valuable personal property, such as electronics or furniture. At a minimum, take photos or video of the damage.

For more information, give us a call at any time.


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/.


When wildfire spreads, preparation is key

Author TonyScurich , 6/8/2015

Get tips on how to prepare for wildfire.

Wildfire preparation

Wildfires can pose particular dangers because they often begin unnoticed and can spread quickly, threatening both lives and property in their paths. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you can help keep yourself, your family and your property safe by taking steps to reduce your risks.

Well before a wildfire threatens

  • Keep your home well maintained by regularly cleaning your gutters and trimming tree limbs that may be too close to your home. Be sure your smoke alarms are working, fire extinguishers are operational and a home escape ladder is accessible if you need to evacuate quickly from an upper floor.
  • Landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind, using fire-resistant shrubs and trees.
  • Maintain a defensible space zone between structures and natural growth that is free of brush, trees and grasses to help keep a wildfire from getting too close to your property. If you live on a hill, extend that zone on the downhill side, since fire can race uphill quickly.
  • Prepare a survival kit, map out an evacuation plan and create a home inventory of all your belongings. Visit our preparedness timeline to learn more about disaster planning.
  • If you are remodeling your home, think about including fire-resistant materials such as non-combustible roofing and siding and fire-rated glass or fire shutters for windows.

When a wildfire approaches

  • Stay tuned to local news about wildfires in the area, and follow evacuation instructions given by local officials.
  • Review emergency plans with your family. Be sure to designate a meeting place and a check-in telephone number if you are separated during evacuation. Also make certain that everyone has emergency numbers stored in their phones.
  • If you have time, close windows, doors and blinds and shut off utilities. Open the fireplace damper and close fireplace screens.
  • Have your car ready to leave at a moment’s notice and keep the keys handy. Roll up the windows to keep smoke out.

What to do during a wildfire

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Wear protective clothing, such as a long- sleeved cotton or wool shirt and pants, and take a wet cotton towel or handkerchief to protect your face.
  • Take your survival kit and choose a route away from fire and smoke. Follow your evacuation plan and be sure everyone knows where to go and what to do.

How to respond after a wildfire

  • Check with fire officials before attempting to re-enter your home. Use caution when entering since fires can re-ignite quickly, even after dying down.
  • Discard any food or medication that came in contact with smoke or fire.

At Travelers, we understand that a wildfire can be a frightening and dangerous event. We hope our expertise and insight will help you protect your family and property no matter what comes your way. For more wildfire safety tips, visit the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety® website.


Ways to help prevent home theft

Author TonyScurich , 6/3/2015

Scurich Insurance Services, Watsonville, CA, Homeowners InsuranceBurglars will not find your home an "easy mark" if they are forced to work in the light, if they have to take a lot of time breaking in, or if they cannot break in without making a lot of noise.

Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.

Most insurance companies provide 2 percent to 15 percent discounts for devices that make a home safer—dead-bolt locks, window grates, bars and smoke/fire/burglar alarms.

However, when improving the security of your home, do not exchange security for personal safety. Do not make your home such a fortress that you are unable to escape in case of a fire or other emergency.

Check your Home for Weaknesses and Correct Them

  • Take the time to "case" your house or apartment, just as a burglar would. Where is the easiest entry? How can you make it more burglar-resistant?
  • Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows, and think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard. High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy, but can also be an asset to a burglar. Consider trading a little extra privacy for a bit of added security.
  • Force any would-be burglar to confront a real enemy—light. Exterior lights and motion detectors, mounted out of easy reach, can reduce the darkness a burglar finds comforting.
  • Simple security devices—nails, screws, padlocks, door and window locks, grates, bars and bolts—can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home.
  • Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective ones also ring at an outside service.

Are any of your valuables—paintings, a silver collection or a computer—easy to see from outside the house? Rearranging your furnishings might be advisable if it makes your home less inviting to criminals.

Simple Security Steps

Doors

Make sure you have strong doors. Outside doors should be metal or solid hardwood, and at least 1 3/4 inches thick. Frames must be made of equally strong material, and each door must fit its frame securely. Even the most efficient lock, if it is placed in a weak door, will not keep out a determined burglar.

A peephole or a wide-angle viewer in the door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain.

Sliding glass doors present a special problem because they are easy to open, but if you have these doors, you can find special locks for them. A broomstick in the door channel can also help, but cannot be depended on.

Locks

Deadbolt locks are best. They usually are locked with a key from the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. The cylinder (where the key is inserted) should be pick-resistant. Ask your hardware dealer for a reputable brand or buy your locks from a locksmith.

Windows

Key locks are available for all types of windows. Double-hung windows can be secured simply by "pinning" the upper and lower frames together with a nail, which can be removed from the inside.

For windows at street level or on fire escapes, consider installing metal accordion gates.

Home Security Habits

  • Establish a routine to make certain that doors and windows are locked and alarm systems are turned on.
  • Avoid giving information to unidentified telephone callers and announcing your personal plans in want ads or public notices (such as giving your address when advertising items for sale).
  • Notify the police if you see suspicious strangers in your area.
  • Do not carry house keys on a key ring bearing your home address or leave house keys with your car in a commercial parking lot or with an attendant.
  • Do not hide your keys in "secret" places outside your home—burglars usually know where to look.

Vacation Tips

  • Leave blinds open in their usual position.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office.
  • Lower the sound of your telephone ringer and answering machine so they cannot be heard outside.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Ask a friend to pick-up "throw-away" newspapers and circulars.
  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times. Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
  • Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what's happening in your area. Working closely with them is a good way to prevent crime.

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