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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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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.

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.


Beware Of Techno-Jackers

Author TonyScurich , 4/22/2016
3You pull into the grocery store parking lot to pick up a few snacks, and park. As you head for the door, you push a button on your keyless remote to lock it. You don't hear that faint chirp, but you're in a hurry. Fifteen minutes later, you discover that your car is gone. Welcome to the world of 21st-century auto theft!

On the surface, things appear to be improving. Vehicle thefts fell 3.3% nationwide in 2011 (the most recent data) for the eighth straight year. However, auto theft still costs the nation an estimated $5.8 billion a year, thanks to streetwise thugs who feed chop shops and supply lucrative international black markets. These days, car thieves are becoming smarter, more tech-savvy, and harder than ever to stop. 

Anyone can go to a home-improvement store and buy a $20 device that jams the remote keyless entry transmitter on a vehicle. If you aren't paying attention, you walk away from your vehicle, press the button on the remote, and assume that it locks. However, a thief might be two cars over in the parking lot, punching a button to block the signal. The vehicle doesn't lock, and the thief can take your laptop, portable GPS, or whatever else is inside. With enough time, he can even steal the vehicle! 

To guard against jammers, pay attention to your surroundings and make sure your car doors do indeed lock when you press the button. Listen for the click or chirp, or look for the quick flash of lights that confirmations locking on most cars. If the vehicle doesn't lock, try again. However, if locking doesn't work on the second attempt - or if you see someone lurking nearby - move your car to a different spot.

An ounce of prevention..

Safety Training: Once Is Never Enough

Author TonyScurich , 2/19/2016
1Employees who don't learn the safe way to work are accidents waiting to happen -- and that means that workplace safety training should play an integral role in your company's risk management program.

Repetition is essential to this process. Make sure that your trainers repeat essential work safety concepts, information, and terms several times. Look at it this way: At any moment during a training session, some trainees probably aren't going to be paying full attention -- and if they don't hear something, they're not going to do it when they get back on the job. What's more, many people might need to hear, see, or experience things at least twice before they understand.

Repetition is also important when it comes to practical applications of safety information. Employees need the opportunity to practice what they've learned until it's locked into their heads and their performance is flawless. So when a safety procedure involves a practical act, be sure that the trainers give a demonstration, repeat it a few times until everybody catches on, and provide feedback while trainees practice.

You'll also need repetition to make sure that workers don't forget what they're supposed to have learned. Training industry leader Bob Pike says that people can remember 90% of what they've learned one hour after training, 50% after a day, 25% after two days, and only 10% 30 days later. According to Pike, full retention of subject matter requires no fewer than six repetitions! That means plenty of follow-up and refresher training -- especially for more complex material. Other experts recommend spacing safety reinforcement training so that employees can practice new procedures and skills or use new information on the job supported by coaching before they go back to the classroom for review and additional training.


Beware Of Bullies On The Job

Author TonyScurich , 2/8/2016
3Unfortunately, there are all too many bullies in the workplace -- and, all too often, their abusive behavior has led to violent, even fatal, employee rampages that have made the headlines. It makes sense for business owners and managers to deal with on-the-job bullying before it escalates into a potentially deadly situation. Recognizing a bully in the workplace can be difficult. These people often have "Jekyll and Hyde" personalities: They can be extremely charming, polite, and respectful in public. However, as a rule, bullies: 1) don't believe in following the rules of society; 2) crave negative attention; 3) try to put others down by manipulating and degrading them in front of their peers; 4) seek power; and 5) spread untrue rumors in the workplace, disrespect their victims, and refuse to listen to them. Because there are no federal or state laws against workplace bullying, it might be hard to fire a bully right away. However, there are ways to deal with this problem. Institute a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying. Your employee handbook and codes of conduct should set a clear definition of the consequences and punishment for bullying, with a specific list of actions for dealing with it. Enforce the policy. When it's time to discipline a bully, sit down with the accused person, their supervisor, and someone from your human resources department. If the bully offers to apologize and promises never to repeat the behavior, you might settle the matter by writing a letter of reprimand to be kept in their personnel file. You might also put the employee on probation, with close supervision by their supervisor, and let them know that any further bullying will result in termination. If you'd like advice on creating and implementing an anti-bullying policy for your workplace, just give us a call.

You've Been Hacked! Spread The Word

Author TonyScurich , 12/28/2015

No matter how prepared you are – or believe you are – you can still suffer a cyber-security breach. What you do next can have a profound impact on the reputation of the business, customer loyalty, employee morale, and, ultimately, your bottom line.

An effective communication strategy should follow these guidelines:

  1. Notify key regulatory and legal authorities as soon as possible, unless this might impede a criminal investigation. Even if notification isn’t required by law, it’s an important courtesy.
  2. Make sure that staff roles and responsibilities for communicating the breach are outlined and understood clearly.
  3. Tailor the notification process to the audience – high-value customers, senior employees, or individuals who might particularly vulnerable (such as the elderly, the disabled, and minors) and to the nature of the breach; handle the theft of confidential client information differently than stealing employees' Social Security numbers.
  4. Have legal counsel review the method and content of all communications.
  5. Prepare for media inquiries to deliver a clear message for parties affected directly or indirectly. Be sure that your spokesperson is qualified and trained to deal with the media.
  6. Provide ways for victims of the breach to ask additional questions and/or learn how to minimize potential harm.
  7. Test the plan: If you had to execute it, how well did it work, and how did you update it? Many businesses have discovered holes in their response plans after failing to consider the impact of a cyber security breach on daily operations, or underestimating the attention the event drew.

To learn more about spreading the word after a data breach, please get in touch with us.


Help prevent common household fires

Author TonyScurich , 6/17/2015

fire-houseUsing our claim data, we have developed a list of the most common causes of fire-related losses as well as some things you can do to help prevent them.

Faulty Wiring and Outlets Are One of the Top Causes of House Fires.

  • Check the electrical cords throughout your home for signs of fraying, and replace all frayed wires.
  • Do not pinch or cover electrical cords with items such as rugs.
  • Be aware of the capacity of your home's electrical system. Do not overload your circuits. If you have questions about your home's electrical system, you may want to consult a licensed electrician.
  • Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips - both allow you to plug in multiple electronic devices, but only the surge protector will help protect these devices from a power spike. Use surge protectors to protect valuable electronic devices, such as computers and televisions.

Carelessness in the Kitchen May Also Lead to a House Fire.

  • Never leave your pots or pans unattended on your stove.
  • Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher readily available and know how to use it.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean. Built up food splatter or grease can later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
  • Read more tips to help prevent cooking fires, and what to do if one occurs.

Clothes Dryers are Another Common Source of House Fires.

  • If you are installing your own dryer vent, follow the directions in the manufacturer’s installation instructions, using the recommended duct material. If you are unsure about how to properly install the vent, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
  • Clean out the lint filter after each load.
  • Lint may also collect under and behind your dryer, so do not forget to clean these areas.

Alternative Heating Sources May Also Create a Fire Hazard.

  • Avoid using an older space heater, as it may not have adequate safety features compared to newer units. When purchasing a new space heater, ensure it is UL Listed and pay attention to the safety features.
  • Do not place a space heater near furniture, curtains or other objects that could easily catch fire.
  • If you plan to install an alternative heating system, such as a wood or pellet stove, follow the instructions. If you are unsure about how to properly install the system, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Before installing a wood or pellet stove, check to ensure it complies with the laws of your state and municipality.

Dirty Chimneys Also Pose a Fire Hazard.

  • Have your chimney inspected annually by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep. Have a professional clean and repair the chimney as needed, especially before the cold months, when you will be using it frequently.
  • Use seasoned wood only. Never burn green or damp wood.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or trees in your fireplace - these can all spark chimney fires.

Ways to help you stay safe in a work zone

Author TonyScurich , 6/1/2015
Be careful driving through work zones

Roadwork can be frustrating, but it is a necessary fact of life.  When you have to be somewhere and traffic builds because of roadwork, it can be easy to become impatient – which can be dangerous in a work zone.  Did you know work zones are a major cause of auto accidents? During 2012, these accidents resulted in 609 fatalities and about 32,000 injuries.¹ Here are some tips that can help you and others stay safe when there is roadwork ahead:

  • Be prepared for the unexpected. Things can change quickly in work zones. Slowed or stopped traffic, a traffic lane closure, or equipment and workers on the roadway are all possible.
  • Slow down. More than one-third of fatal accidents in work zones are caused by speeding.² Obey the posted speed limit, even if you do not see any work currently in progress. 
  • Keep a safe following distance. Rear-end collisions account for 30 percent of work zone accidents.³ Keep a safe distance between you and other cars and construction workers and equipment to help avoid accidents.
  • Obey road crew flaggers and road signs. Flaggers and warning signs are there to help all drivers move safely through the work zone.
  • Stay alert and focused. Your full attention should be on the road. Multitasking while driving is never recommended, especially through a work zone. 
  • Keep up with traffic. Do not slow down to watch the roadwork.
  • Plan ahead. Before hitting the road, check a traffic report for delays. Be sure to plan enough time to help you reach your destination on time.
  • Be patient. While roadwork can be an inconvenience, remember that the crews are working to improve roads and make everyone’s drive safer.

Safety Training: Reinforcement Pays

Author TonyScurich , 4/27/2015

If workers don't use what they've learned in safety training sessions, they've wasted their time – and their employer's money. In many cases, the reason is a lack of reinforcement when they get back on the job. The first step in avoiding this problem is to meet with participants beforehand to agree on mutual expectations and objectives for the session. Depending on the type of training, this discussion can take place up to four weeks before the program begins. Don't wait until the day before the meeting. After the session, simply asking trainees how they liked the program is not enough – even though that's where reinforcement often stops. Instead, meet with workers individually and as a group for follow-up to help determine whether the training met everyone's expectations, the work environment is supportive of the concept(s) taught, and the participants know how to implement what they learned on the job. To reinforce the effectiveness of training, job safety experts recommend these guidelines:
  1. Be sure that the trainer(s) have a solid understanding of the participants' jobs and make the content relevant and practical.
  2. Link the training to your company's goals and objectives so that workers understand the importance and the relevance of the information.
  3. Minimize interference from the job during the session so that trainees can give their full attention to the content.
  4. Allow for reflection and application throughout the training, giving participants a chance to think about how to use this knowledge and skills back on the job.
  5. Provide opportunities for practice and feedback to reinforce the training.
We're always ready to advise you on implementing an effective follow-up program on your job safety programs.

Private Crop Insurers Win As Taxpayers Lose in New Farm Program, Say Critics

Author TonyScurich , 3/19/2014
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Farm InsuranceU.S. farmers last week finalized their crop insurance plans for spring planting with critics of the government-subsidized program saying insurers are set up for a bonanza after passage of the new five-year farm bill last month.
Farmers who sign up for crop insurance by March 15 won’t, in fact, enjoy the enhanced subsidies of the new federal law, which go into effect with the 2015 crop year. But grain farmers in 2014 will still see up to two-thirds of their insurance premiums paid for by the government. Private insurance companies will also still benefit from the government as their “reinsurer,” an arrangement critics say limits their losses while boosting underwriting gains. With the new farm bill, the government’s largesse gets even bigger next year. “I think taxpayers lost on that farm bill for sure. There was lots of money that could have been saved to reduce the deficit, but they chose not to,” said Bruce Babcock, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University who has studied crop insurance for more than a decade. “The industry lobbies heavily,” Babcock told Reuters. “It’s just rub my back, I’ll rub yours.” A new farm bill was held up for more than a year by wrangling over cuts in food stamps and subsidized programs for the poor. Backers also touted cuts in direct payments to farmers estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) at $40 billion over 10 years. But 80 percent of those savings—some $33 billion, according to CBO data—reappear in the new farm bill as “enhanced” crop insurance, reformers say. “The crop insurance program survived essentially unscathed in this farm bill,” said Craig Cox of the Environmental Working Group, which sees U.S. farm policies as wasteful to taxpayers. “This was the first farm bill where there was a lot of attention paid to trying to reform the crop insurance program. None of those reforms made it into the final bill.” Crop insurers, on the other hand, praised the new law. “For the taxpayer, it eliminated direct payments and reduced some of the price support policies of the past in favor of expanding crop insurance, which is purchased by farmers on an individual basis,” David Graves, president of the American Crop Insurance Association, said in a written response to questions. “For crop insurance companies, the farm bill underscored the fact that crop insurance is the top risk management tool for America’s farmers and ranchers.” Read the entire article here.
Content provided by:  http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/03/17/323445.htm

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