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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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Posts tagged with benefits - benefits

Check Out This Social Media Use Checklist

Author TonyScurich , 10/21/2016
  Social media rules! In recent studies, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr users sent tens of millions of messages every day– and new players keep entering the marketplace. Although these platforms provide significant benefits for businesses of all sizes, they also pose a variety of risks. Everything from employment, privacy and security, through intellectual property to media-related liability. Chances are your employees are using social media, either at home or work, in ways that could put your business at risk. To limit this exposure, experts recommend creating social media guidelines based on a five-point checklist:
  1. Assess both your company’s general social media activities and individual social media campaigns, weighing potential risks against benefits as accurately as possible.
  2. Designate specific individuals and departments to develop, execute, and monitor a comprehensive and proactive social media strategy – and make a senior executive responsible for implementing it in a timely fashion.
  3. Have the policy reviewed by the relevant departments (human resources, IT, communications, and legal) and by an outside law firm.
  4. Because employees pose the biggest risk to a company, although often unwittingly,,provide educational programs about the danger of damage to the company by using social media on the job or at home.
  5. Create a social media agreement for employees to review and sign as a condition of employment and part of their employment contract. Update the agreement annually, or as often as needed, to address changes in social media that might impact your risk in new ways.
Following this checklist will help position your business to reap the enormous benefits that participationin social media offers. As always, we’re here to help you– just give us a call!  

DOMA Ruling Complicates Benefits Administration

Author TonyScurich , 8/17/2016
1The Supreme Court decision (Windsor v. U.S.) legalizing more than 1,000 federal spousal benefits for same-sex couples will have a major impact on the administration of pensions and health plans for employers throughout the nation. For example, the high court's ruling overturning the benefits provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means that surviving same-sex spouses under a defined-benefits retirement plan will now be entitled to receive survivor annuity payments. The decision's expanded definition of "marriage" will require companies that offer self-funded health benefits for married spouses to extend this coverage to same-sex couples. The sheer number of benefits under DOMA, together with variations among laws and regulations on the state level - especially in the 38 states that don't recognize same-sex marriage - will make implementing the Windsor decision a challenge for businesses that offer spousal benefits to their workers. To deal with this changing situation, we'd recommend that you:
    1. Have your attorney(s) review the benefits that you're providing to employees' spouses for compliance with the new requirements; ask for guidance from federal and state regulators.
    2. Implement the administration of new same-sex benefits (for example, amending your payroll procedures to update the federal income tax treatment of qualified benefits programs for spouses) as soon as possible - certainly by the end of this calendar year or the plan year.
    3. Provide complete documentation of the revisions to your plans.
    4. Before you communicate these changes to your employees, do your homework and be prepared to answer their questions.
As Employee Benefits specialists, we can help guide you through this process - just give us a call. 

Vision And Dental Care Benefit You - And Your Employees

Author TonyScurich , 6/29/2016
Voluntary Vision and Dental insurance is becoming increasingly popular among mid-sized companies as a way to bolster their employee benefits programs. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, benefit providers have been adding Vision and Dental care, giving mid-market companies a variety of choices among competitively priced plans that can help attract and retain quality workers. "We continue to see that benefits like these are good for driving employee loyalty and job satisfaction," says Alan Hirschberg, vice president of dental and vision products for MetLife Inc. Sales of Voluntary benefits keep growing: a survey last by industry association LIMRA International, Inc. showed that Vision coverage increased 75% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2012, while Dental care rose 1%. To help curb costs, mid-sized businesses often ask employees to pick up at least 30% of premiums for these plans. Most workers are fine with this because the premiums are relatively inexpensive. In addition to supplementing Group Health insurance, Vision and Dental plans cover tests and procedures that can reduce employers' health care costs down the road. For example, eye and dental exams can be crucial in early detection and management of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. When it comes to Voluntary benefits, one size does not fit all. For instance, highly compensated employees might want a Dental plan that covers adult orthodontics, while lower-wage workers might prefer coverage for cleaning, fillings and other basic care. Companies can also offer multiple plans, allowing workers to select the premiums and coverage they prefer. We'd be happy to work with you in tailoring cost-effective, comprehensive voluntary Vision and Dental plans that can benefit your business - and your employees.

More Employees Using Benefits To Care For Children And Parents

Author TonyScurich , 6/20/2016
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An increasing number of employees in the "Sandwich Generation" are looking for benefits to help them manage the demands of caring for parents and children alike. A recent nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly half of respondents in their 40s and 50s have a living parent and are either raising a young child or supporting a grown one.

"There's an emerging recognition of the impact of caregiver stress on working parents' ability to be productive at home and at work," says David Lissy, CEO of Bright Horizons, a provider of dependent back-up care services. "Particularly as families wait longer to have children, there's more at stake in their careers and they're pulled in many directions, dealing with the realities of their aging parents."

On average, access to Bright Horizons allowed employees to work six days during the past six months - productive time that otherwise would have been lost - and nearly 70% of these workers used the service for adult care.

Care.com, another provider of backup care services for employees, saw a three-fold increase last year in the number of clients that added senior care planning. IRobot, Inc. chose Care.com as an employee benefit because "we value our employees and want to support them in managing the demands on their personal lives," says benefits analyst Cathy Blanchard. Since adding the service, iRobot has seen a 15% month-to -month increase in using the program, which has boosted productivity by reducing costs from care-related absences and distractions.

If you'd like to learn more about offering day care for adults and children as an employee benefit, just give us a call.

 

Scurich 1/6 - Are you offering your employees the best benefits possible?

Author TonyScurich , 5/19/2016

Finding -- and keeping -- great employees is always the challenge of any business. While recruiting and training employees can be an expensive process, it is an investment in the growth and well-being of your company. In order to protect your investment, you need to make sure you are giving your employees the best benefits for their needs. 

Health Insurance

Whether you are required by the federal government to provide health insurance to your employees or not, you should offer them the choice. In addition, paying for a certain portion of that health insurance goes a long way toward retaining those high-quality employees you worked so hard to find and train. 

Retirement Plans

If you have a young workforce, you might not think that they are concerned about retirement. Even though young people thrive on adventure, it doesn't mean that they aren't planning for their retirement. Offering the option to pay into a retirement plan helps your employees plan for their future and makes them feel like you are invested in that with them. 

Other Benefits

While other benefits such as life insurance, disability insurance and vision and dental coverage might not be on the must-have list for all of your employees, it is still important to offer them these options. Providing a range of different benefits allows your employees to pick and choose those options that best fit their situation at that time. You will likely find that their choice of benefits changes as their life circumstances change. A 20 year old employee, for example, might not be interested in obtaining life insurance until he becomes a father years later. 


Alternative Risk Financing: Not Just For The Big Guys

Author TonyScurich , 5/16/2016
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Large corporations often use "alternative risk financing" - assuming some of their own risks, in addition to buying insurance - as a way to improve cash flow and lower their total costs. However, this technique can offer substantial benefits for medium-sized companies that face significant potential risks from one line of insurance, such as Workers Comp, General Liability, or Auto Liability.

Basic alternative risk financing methods include:

  • Guaranteed cost insurance - the company pays a premium based either on a rate, such as payroll or property values, or a flat amount.
  • Incurred loss retrospective rating plans ("retro) - use a standard premium adjusted after policy expiration based on loss experience.
  • Large-deductible plans - the organization assumes a substantial (often $50,000 to $250,000) per-accident or per-occurrence deductible.
  • Self-insurance - the firm retains its loss obligations and pays them as they become due.
  • Captive insurance - this variation on self-insurance pre-funds risks through an insurance subsidiary ("captive") usually owned by the parent company.

Because each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages, your choice should depend on the situation and needs of your business. For example, a guaranteed cost plan minimizes the upside risk, but won't help your cash flow; while a captive usually costs the least to finance, but can be expensive to administer.

Whichever alternative risk financing option you choose, make sure your accounting and human resources departments educate managers on their responsibilities in daily hands-on administration of the program. The more widespread their "buy-in," the stronger your bottom line.

We'd be happy to help you select and develop an alternative risk financing program that's tailored to your needs. Just give us a call.


Voluntary Benefits: What's Not To Like?

Author TonyScurich , 5/6/2016
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A recent nationwide study found that more and more businesses and workers are benefiting from voluntary employee benefits programs. According to the Prudential Insurance Company State of Group Voluntary Benefits survey:

  • More than six in ten employees surveyed (63%) believe that voluntary benefits increase the value of their company's benefits program.
  • The percentage of employees who would like to receive more benefits grew to 34% from 24% a year ago.
  • One in three employees feels that losing their voluntary benefits would be disruptive and expensive.

"Employers and employees agree on the value of voluntary benefits," says Bob Patience Prudential Group Vice President, Voluntary Benefits Insurance. "Employers see an increase in employees' satisfaction with these programs, while employees appreciate their employers' endorsement of the products offered, and believe they get good value because of their employers' involvement and diligence."

Voluntary benefits offers workers a number of advantages, including the education and resources they need to make informed decisions based on their needs. Taking full advantage of these programs is a great way for employees to improve their "wellness" - both physical and financial. What's more, voluntary benefits offer workers the convenience of employer-based enrollment systems and "pain free" payroll deduction.

What employees saw as the primary advantage of voluntary benefits varied based on age, education, and gender. More than three in five workers (62%) over the age of 60 focused on the guaranteed coverage feature. More than half (56%) of college graduates preferred the wide range of available products. A slightly higher percentage (53%) of women than of men (45%) chose the convenience of payroll deductions.

Our agency's professionals would be happy to advise you on creating or updating, your Voluntary Benefits program - just give us a call.


Group Legal Plans: What's Not To Like?

Author TonyScurich , 4/18/2016
1More and more businesses are offering workers quality legal services as a voluntary employee benefit, according to a nationwide survey of more than 300 human resource and benefits professionals. The study, sponsored by MetLife, found that the top reasons for the popularity of these services were improved employee satisfaction (69%) higher retention and loyalty (44%), and the ability to compete with other companies' benefit programs (32%). A majority of survey respondents cited these benefits of Group Legal plans:
  • Helping employees achieve peace of mind when dealing with legal issues.
  • Reducing employees' levels of stress.
  • Lowering the cost of legal services.
  • Minimizing workplace time in dealing with personal issues.
  • Providing quality legal services (57%).
More than 90% of survey respondents found that legal plans are easier, or as easy, to administer than other voluntary benefits plans. These programs also have high persistency rates for both employers and employees. Says Bill Brooks, CEO of Hyatt Legal Plans, "This is a benefit that spans the generations and suits a diverse workforce because there's a broad range of situations where an attorney can help. Legal assistance at a cost of less than some attorneys may bill per hour can be an effective way to generate employee loyalty." There's a clear need for this coverage: According to the American Bar Association, 71% of people encounter a legal problem every year. Will preparation and estate planning are the most frequently offered services under Group Legal plans, followed by family matters, home purchases and sales, and credit problems, among others. If you'd like to add a comprehensive, cost-effective Group Legal plan to your voluntary Employee Benefits portfolio, please free to get in touch with the professionals at our agency. As always, we're here to help!

STUDY DIAGNOSES HEALTH OF WELLNESS PROGRAMS

Author TonyScurich , 3/30/2016

Although more than three in four businesses offer their employees wellness programs, fewer than half believe that these programs provide an effective return on investment (ROI). That's the bottom line on a recent nationwide survey by Business Insurance of more than 300 companies.

Check out these highlights from the study:

  • More than nine in ten respondents (93%) describe their programs as "extremely successful," "very successful," or "somewhat successful."
  • More than four in five (81%) measure the success of their programs primarily by employee participation rates, while more than two in three (68%) rely on feedback from employees.
  • The great majority (85% of public companies and 70% of privately held firms and nonprofits) offer employees money or other incentives linked to participation in their programs.
  • Nearly three in four (59%) see improving employee health as the main objective of their program.
  • Fewer than one in three (28%) focus on reducing health care costs.

Experts say that employers can improve their ROI (directly or indirectly) from wellness programs by shifting focus from broadly-based activities (on-site health screenings and immunizations, weight-loss and stop-smoking programs, etc.) to individual health care -- such as personal coaching, workplace safety evaluations, wellness newsletters, and classes on stress management and nutrition.

Companies can also boost their ROI by evaluating their programs at least once a year. The Business Insurance survey found that nearly one in three respondents (32%) failed to measure the participation rate or effectiveness of their programs on an annual basis.

If you'd like a comprehensive review of the benefits your employee wellness program provides, just get in touch with us.


Why Coinsurance Makes Sense

Author TonyScurich , 3/25/2016
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Insurance spreads the risk of loss among every policyholder and the insurance company.

The "coinsurance clause" in a Business Property policy reflects the fact that the coverage divides this risk by setting premiums based primarily on the value of the property. Those who insure their property for less than its actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost will have to pay the uninsured portion of any covered loss out of their own pocket -- in other words, "coinsuring" the risk -- which encourages policyholders to buy coverage for the full value of their property.

The coinsurance clause usually requires policyholders to insure their property for 80% of its ACV. For example, if the property of your business is worth $500,000, you would need to purchase a $400,000 policy. If a fire caused $300,000 worth of damage, the insurance company would pay $240,000 (80% of $300,000), leaving you to pick up the other $60,000. However, if you had purchased the full $500,000 in ACV coverage -- paying a higher premium -- the insurer would cover the entire $300,000 claim.

We'd be happy to discuss the benefits that the coinsurance clause offers. Feel free to give us a call.


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