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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 case - case

Reporting Insurance Scams: It’s The Law!

Author TonyScurich , 10/5/2016
  As you go about your daily business, insurance fraud is probably one of the furthest things from your mind. However these all-too-common scams, everything from homeowners who report a non-existent burglary to collect on their policies to drivers who stage auto accidents and file injury claims – are criminal acts that you have a legal obligation to report. If you’re aware of, or suspect, a fraudulent act that involves insurance follow these steps:
    • Inform the insurance fraud bureau in your state either through its telephone “hot line” or online.
    • Contact the fraud department of the insurance company involved. Most companies have hotlines for this purpose. If a fraud hotline isn’t available, or if you’re uncomfortable using it, write the fraud department instead.
    • If the alleged fraud involves a medical issue – such as a claim for a non-existent condition – contact your state medical board or chiropractic board immediately in order to protect the complainant, as well as other possible victims.
    • If appropriate, notify other authorities, such as the police (if someone’s life might be in danger) or your local Social Security office (in case of suspected Social Security fraud).
    • Remember that, as a witness, you must report all the details involved: full names, dates, organization, company name, the amount of money involved, etc. Provide any documentation or other information you think might help with the investigation.
    • Be patient. Investigating complaints takes time; it might be months before the investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring the perpetrators into court.
A word to the wise. insurance scams costs billions of dollars a year, driving up premiums for everyone – including you.  

Car Insurance Deal-Breakers: Non-Renewal And Cancellation

Author TonyScurich , 7/25/2016

aquaplaning-83008_1280If your Auto insurance company sees you as a deadbeat or high-risk or driver, it might cancel or non-renew your policy.

Because insurers take cancellation seriously they won't eliminate coverage for a traffic ticket or two. What's more, state regulators ban cancellations under most circumstances. However, a company can non-renew your insurance at the end of each policy period (six to 12 months) or cancel the policy during the first 30 to 60 days that it's in force. The main reason for midterm cancellation is nonpayment. State regulators set the requirements, such as a written notice of non-payment, together with a 10 to 30-day grace period to pay. Some states allow insurers to cancel coverage, usually for an activity - such as a DUI conviction that involves bodily injury or substantial damage - which indicates you're at high risk for an accident; or for misrepresenting your driving history (for example, not disclosing that your teenager was behind the wheel instead of you when an accident occurred). Some companies will backdate coverage to the cancellation date, while others will not cover you during the period when you haven't paid your premiums. If you can't bring your account up to date or the company cancels you for a reason other than non-payment, your policy probably won't be renewed - which means you'll have to look for insurance elsewhere, probably at a higher rate. Depending on the reason for cancellation, some companies might refuse to write your business. In this case, you can to turn to the state's assigned-risk pool, which offers bare bones coverage at higher rates. Your best move is to do everything possible to avoid cancellation or non-renewal. For example, if you can't afford to premium payments, consider reducing your coverage rather than take the risk or cancellation. For more information, just give us a call. We're here to help!  

Saying 'I DO' To Wedding Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 7/22/2016
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As the average cost of getting hitched keeps rising (to $27,000 in 2012), more and more couples are using Wedding Insurance to protect their investment against mishap - and help ensure peace of mind on this special day.

Wedding policies will reimburse you for losses due to:
  • Weather: The cost of rescheduling if the event has to be postponed because of rain or other bad weather.
  • Illness or injury to the bridal party. The expenses of postponing the wedding if essential people (such as the maid of honor or best man) can't be there.
  • A missing celebrant. Some of the costs if your minister, justice of the peace, rabbi, or other celebrant doesn't show up.
  • Missing vendors. Some, or all, of the expense (including rescheduling) if the caterer, florist, photographer, or other key vendor is missing in action.
  • Damage to the venue. Your losses if fire, electrical or mechanical outage, or going out of business makes the wedding or reception site unusable, forcing you to reschedule. (This coverage might not apply if the sites already carry insurance).
You can also buy coverage "riders" for a variety of other risks, ranging from a military service call-up to the bride or groom and damage to a wedding gown or tuxedo, to stolen or damaged gifts, and cancellation of your honeymoon due to illness, bad weather, or other mishap. If you're holding the ceremony in your home, you might also want Liability insurance in case a guest gets hurt or injures someone. Premiums can range from $100 to $1,000 (if you buy Liability coverage and host an open bar). We'd be happy to tailor a Wedding policy to meet your needs, and budget. Just give us a call.

That's Hot! Home Insurance Technology Trends

Author TonyScurich , 7/20/2016
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If you want to insure a mansion or a priceless art collection, don't be surprised if a certified thermographer shows up at your door, infrared camera in hand.

Thermal imaging cameras are among the latest high-tech tools Homeowners insurers are using to help stem losses before they become catastrophes, saving policyholders from heartbreak and companies millions in damage claims. One major insurance company is using thermal imaging cameras for its high-value homes, letting inspectors "see" hidden hot or cool spots. A hot reading might indicate a fire hazard from an electrical malfunction, while a cool reading could come from a leak. In one case, the camera detected a cool spot in a ceiling due to a leak caused by a faulty 37-cent clip in an upstairs ice maker. If the ceiling had collapsed, it would have caused $125,000 in damage. High-tech devices aren't limited to the high-end market. One insurer offers an online risk-assessment tool that its Homeowners clients can use to find the risks for flooding, wildfire and storm surge, based on their address. This company also provides its clients inexpensive alarms that can detect potential water leaks before they can cause extensive, and expensive, damage. Insurance companies are exploring new technologies. One insurer has patented a data recorder that can be installed in building to analyze potential causes of damage or destruction. Another company has filed a patent for a system that would use spectroscopy to identify chemical changes caused by wildfires and other natural disasters. If such a change were detected and confirmed, the company could speed up the claims process.

Is Your Cell Phone Policy Up To Date?

Author TonyScurich , 7/8/2016
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If not, you have a problem. For the past several years, more and more states and cities have limited or banned driver use of cell phones. Warns the Web site DrivingLaws.org, "Although employer responsibility isn't specifically defined in the cell phone legislation, there have been an increasing number of lawsuits relating to employer responsibility regarding mobile cell-phone use [by] employees."

With motor vehicle accidents the leading cause of work-related injuries, using cell phones behind the wheel ups the ante for litigation in case of death, injury, or other third-party claims. What's more, drivers injured while phoning on company time will generally be eligible for Workers Compensation.

The first step is to create and implement a cell-phone use policy for employees driving company vehicles. Although this won't protect you completely from legal responsibility, it demonstrates your forethought and responsibility.

This plan should include guidelines for:

  • Training. Provide instruction manuals so employees know the features of their phones.
  • Safety. Remind employees not to dial or talk when driving conditions are hazardous, keep conversations short, tell the other person that the employee is calling while driving, and turn off phones whenever they pump gas or use jumper cables.
  • Making calls. Discourage cell-phone use behind the wheel and require drivers to pull over and stop when dialing.
  • Voice mail/caller ID. Make sure drivers' phones have these features so they can screen calls behind the wheel.
  • Accident/injury reports. Require employees to report any accidents or injuries resulting from cell-phone use while driving.
  • Discipline. Punish workers who violate these rules or local or state laws about using cell phones behind the wheel.

We'd be happy to help you develop a comprehensive policy for drivers' use of cell phones. Just give us a call.


How Can Workers Prove Chronic Pain: Case Studies to Learn From

Author TonyScurich , 6/15/2016
Unfortunately, you can't actually see chronic pain. You can talk to someone who physically looks fine, yet is claiming they can barely stand up. Since pain is felt differently by different people, medical professionals and laypeople alike have difficulty categorizing and defining the more severe injuries. This leads to confusion and sometimes outright fraud. Let's look at how pain is defined by using a specific case study. A Question of Proof How injured do you have to be to claim injury? Do you have to be constantly writhing in agony or is it only when you make specific motions? These are specific questions that get a bit touchy. Recently, a man who filed for compensation claimed that he needed a wheelchair but was then shown to be out of his home shopping without it (and seemingly without pain) through video surveillance. They also had him on camera performing a number of other activities as well. He was arrested with the possibility of up to five years in jail. Since the amount paid out due to his injury was more than a half million dollars, it's certainly brought about some attention in his area of Florida. The man was a deputy there, and was injured when bending to get his laptop from the trunk of his police cruiser in 2007. After that, he went through surgery and stated that he couldn't walk, drive or bend, which has then been shown to be false by videos. He states that he had always been consistent in reporting his pain to be inconsistent because no two days are alike. He says that while the video may show him driving and running errands, he can only do so in limited ways. He claims his whole life is a mess, with his job ripped out from under him and expenses piling up. It's now up for the courts to decide who has the better claim and what will happen. Employer Tips  No employer wants to follow their employee around constantly to check up on their progress and verify the truth in their claims. Also, it's difficult to accuse someone who's experienced severe injuries of trying to game the system. However, sometimes it's necessary with the case of chronic pain to be more involved. Medical professionals have been shown consistently to raise costs without cause in certain areas where they have direct financial incentives to do so as well. Through questions and visits, you can start to see the character of the person behind the claim as well as the treatment they're receiving. If you do suspect foul play on either side, then your insurance company will be more than happy to help. After all, they stand to lose out on fraudulent claims too.

Side Job Doesn't Prevent FMLA Claim

Author TonyScurich , 3/9/2016
In the California case, Richie v. AutoNation, an employee out on CFRA (FMLA) was fired by his employer when he was found to have been working at a restaurant he owned during his leave period. The company's leave policy prohibited outside employment during leave. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that FMLA/CFRA (the California equivalent) has a process to follow in shortening FMLA leave if you believe that an employee no longer qualifies for it. You cannot create your own rule or process and, in a sense, do an end run around FMLA protections. The court ruled that because job reinstatement is mandatory, the only way to stop leave properly is by following the CFRA process and questioning the medical opinion of the employee's doctor.

This decision reminds us that ignorance of legal requirements is no excuse. In this case, the company argued that it had a good faith defense because it was not aware of this limitation on managing leave. The court essentially said "So what? It's a mandatory statutory obligation, which you can't avoid." As a different court stated, "A showing that an employee is unable to work in the employee's current job due to a serious health condition is enough to demonstrate incapacity. The fact that an employee is working for a second employer does not mean that he or she is not incapacitated from working in his or her current job."

Some additional notes:

  1. The decision reminds us that an employer's policy on secondary employment during FMLA leave must be the same as that for employees who are not on FMLA leave. Otherwise, the policy itself violates the law.
  2. Second, the court overturned an arbitration decision in this case which allowed the court's good faith defense. Although review of arbitration is very limited, the court will step in if the arbitrator misapplied the law.
  3. Finally, whether it's FMLA leave, ADA accommodation leave, use of PTO or sick pay, etc., if you doubt the veracity of any employee's story (i.e. they were playing soccer or lifting pianos this weekend), you must follow the proper procedures so that you don't find yourself trapped like AutoNation did in this case.

Do Additional Insureds Belong On Your Umbrella?

Author TonyScurich , 3/2/2016
3 It's a regular occurrence for contractors: You receive a request from another party (an owner, general contractor, lien holder, other contractor, or a government entity) to add them as an additional insured on your insurance policies. Whether that's a good idea is up to you -- but the party often makes it clear that if you want to do business you'll need to add them as an additional insured. However, it's not necessarily a good idea to add this entity to all of your policies. For example, your Excess Liability coverages -- such as those under Umbrella insurance -- were probably bought specifically for your own protection in case of catastrophic loss. If an additional insured, who might be well within their rights, is added to your policies with protection up to your basic coverage limits, will they also be allowed to "piggyback" up to the full amount of your coverage? We'd advise you not to set up any procedure that makes all of your coverage limits available automatically to any additional insured. Add them to the specific coverages and amounts that they request, but go no further. If in doubt, consult with your attorney about contractual requirements and possible gaps between what the entity is requesting in being added to your coverage and what your coverage will actually provide. Once you're certain what you're being asked to do, and have decided that it's in your best interest to meet this request, there's one more action to take before adding the additional party to your coverages. Contact us to determine if your current coverage already meets the needed conditions, or what modifications (if any) might be required to do so. Remember: Although we want to help you meet your needs, our focus always remains on protecting you, even if against unreasonable demands from other entities. We're here to help.

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/.


Smart steps that could save your vacation

Author TonyScurich , 6/22/2015

Vacations are for reducing stress, not adding to it. Before you hit the road, here are a few simple precautions to help you choose – and share – your adventures safely.

#1: Make copies of your ID and passport Photocopy your license or passport in case either is lost or stolen. Bring a copy and store it separately from your original, and leave another with a friend or relative. The U.S. Government also offers the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad. It allows you to enroll your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and can assist you in case of an emergency, such as if you lose your passport or if it is stolen while you are abroad.

#2: Streamline your wallet

Lost wallets are the leading cause of identity theft. Only carry the card(s) you plan to use on your trip. Leave your checkbook and the rest of your cards at home. If you decide to bring more than one credit card, consider stashing the extra, along with account information and customer service numbers for the cards you have with you, in a hotel safe or other secure location, in case you lose your original.

#3: Check out guides before you book

Look into online reviews before you book that zip-lining, parasailing, or river rafting trip. Seeing what others have to say about the company can help you choose a safe and well-run adventure.

#4: Travel like a local

Know your surroundings and plan your route in advance. Be aware of how the locals talk and dress, and consider whether certain actions will make you stand out as a tourist.

#5: Check the weather

Take steps to protect yourself from lightning, hail, thunderstorms and tornadoes by monitoring the local weather and packing the appropriate gear on your outdoor adventures. Keep tabs on the weather at home to make sure your property is protected.

#6: Avoid oversharing online

Posting photos or checking in on social media sites advertises your absence from home. Real-time updates can be tempting, but wait until you return safely home before sharing your adventures.


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