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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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Avoid Sticker Shock For Your Teenage Driver

Author TonyScurich , 10/3/2016
Adding a teenager to your auto policy can raise your rate by more than 40%. The good news: you and your teen can reduce these hikes significantly in a variety of ways:
  1. Get good grades. Most insurance companies offer high school or college students with a B average or better a discount of up to 10%.
  2. Live away from home. Students at college or living at least 100 miles from their parents without a car can usually get a 5%-10% discount.
  3. Take an additional driving class. Although most insurance companies don’t give a discount for mandatory drivers’ed instruction, some companies will reduce premiums by 5% for teens who go to follow-up classes.
  4. Sign a parent-teen driving contract. Your insurer might offer up to a 5% discount if your teen agrees to follow such rules as not driving at night or with friends in the car.
  5. Raise your deductible. However, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay this deductible if your teen driver damages the car. If you repair every ding, you could spend a lot more than you'll save on premiums with a higher deductible.
  6. Reduce or drop some coverage. If you have an older car, you might not need Comprehensive or Collision insurance. Be wary of lowering Liability limits. In most cases, it makes sense to keep Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays medical expenses of anyone injured in an auto accident.
  7. Choose a safe vehicle. The higher the safety rating of your car, the lower your premiums – and the safer your teenager will be behind the wheel.
We’d be happy to help you minimize the sticker shock of adding a teen driver. Just give us a call.

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.

 

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.

Opioid Abuse: Employer, Beware!

Author TonyScurich , 5/27/2016
1 Misuse of powerful prescription painkillers, whether intentional or accidental, is a rapidly growing threat to employers throughout the nation. Opioid overdoses caused more than 16,000 deaths in 2010, the latest year for which data is available; and about 12 million people use prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons. In addition to the human tragedy, opioid addiction creates a significant financial problem for both businesses - in terms of lost productivity - and their insurance companies. Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs Health insurers more than $70 billion a year; while narcotics prescriptions account for one-fourth of Workers Comp prescription drug expenses (costs that ultimately come out of employers' pockets). Government plays a significant role in dealing with this problem. The federal Department of Health and Human Services regulates Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through the Division of Pharmacologic Therapies. On the state level, for example, California has followed the lead of Washington State by devising treatment guidelines to curb over-prescription and abuse of opioids. These measures include limiting opioid prescriptions to six weeks after surgery or injury and using non-opioid painkillers as a preliminary pain management measure in non-acute cases. However, these regulatory or legislative efforts can only go so far. No employer can afford to ignore the issue of opioid abuse among its workers - and your Workers Compensation manager is well-positioned to intervene in these cases by implementing a risk management plan that:
  • ensures that patients are treated early and effectively;
  • monitors and manages opioid prescriptions;
  • uses predictive modeling to tag potentially severe claims;
  • requires physician peer reviews for opioid prescriptions;
  • uses drug testing and screening workers prescribed with drugs;
  • provides post-addiction help; and
  • phases workers back into their jobs
We stand ready to offer our advice at any time.

Commercial Auto Insurance 101

Author TonyScurich , 5/23/2016

Nearly six million traffic accidents occur in the U.S. every year - more than 16,000 a day (or one every 10 seconds). If your company owns, operates, or uses motor vehicles - or if you have employees who use their cars for business purposes - you need Commercial Auto Insurance to provide financial protection against losses from mishaps that occur behind the wheel. This valuable policy provides these coverages:
  • Bodily Injury Liability pays the cost of bodily injury to others from accidents for which you are responsible. If you're sued, it also pays your defense and court costs.
  • Property Damage Liability picks up the tab for property damage to others for which you are responsible, as well as defense and court expenses.
  • Personal Injury/Medical Payments usually covers medical and funeral expenses for bodily injury from an accident that involves an insured vehicle.
  • Collision pays for a covered vehicle that is damaged by a collision with another vehicle or object.
  • Comprehensive Coverage pays for a covered auto that is stolen or that is damaged by causes other than collision or reckless driving.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists covers injuries and, in some cases, property damage, when you're involved in an accident with another person who either doesn't have Auto Insurance or carry enough coverage.

Before you purchase or renew your Commercial Auto Insurance ask yourself these questions: 1) how much Liability Coverage you should buy, and 2) how large of a deductible should you choose?

We'd be happy to help you choose the most cost effective policy for your needs. Just give us a call.

 


EMERGENCIES: When To Go And When To Stay

Author TonyScurich , 2/22/2016
Grass Fire, Firefighter, Smoke, Preventive BurningWhen an emergency (anything from an explosion to workplace violence) strikes your business, taking the wrong action can result in confusion, damage, injury -- or even death. That's why it's vital to have a comprehensive plan for dealing with different types of mishaps.

For example, in the event of a tornado, you'd want to have your workers sheltered in a safe place inside your facility. On the other hand, in a fire, you want them to be able to flee the building quickly and safely. The type of building might be a factor in your decision. Most modern factories and office buildings have steel frames, which means they might be more sound structurally than small business premises. However, a major earthquake or explosion will affect nearly every type of structure; some buildings will collapse, while others will be left with weakened roofs, walls, or floors.

Consider both emergency situations that would require evacuation and those that would indicate the need to stay put, and plan accordingly. For example, what would happen if a part of your facility caught fire? Suppose there were severe flooding in your immediate area? How would you respond to a chemical spill? What would you do if an ex-employee with a gun was threatening your workers?

Certain natural disasters, such as windstorms or large-scale chemical or biological releases outside your facility call for "sheltering-in-place" (selecting an interior room or rooms, normally with no or few windows, and taking refuge there). In many cases, local authorities will issue advice to shelter-in-place via TV or radio. Designate a safe haven, or havens, inside your building for employees until the danger has passed. Hold shelter-in-place drills, as well as evacuation drills.

If any employees need to stay behind in an emergency so that they can shut down certain equipment or perform other duties, your action plan should set out detailed procedures for them. Make sure that these workers are able to recognize when to abandon the operation or task and evacuate before their exit path is blocked.

To learn more about designing and implementing an emergency action plan for your business, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time. We're here to help you protect your business from risk.


Rental Equipment Insurance, Anyone?

Author TonyScurich , 1/6/2016

2The growth rate of the rental equipment industry in the U.S. is skyrocketing by 24% a year, as more and more companies use the tax and other financial advantages of renting over purchasing. Renting also allows businesses to get the exact machine they need when they need it at a low cost, rather than spending a lot more to buy a device that would spend most of the time gathering dust.

On the downside, if using a piece of equipment that you have rented causes damage or results in legal liability, you could be out thousands of dollars - unless you carry Rental Equipment insurance.

This policy often costs less than similar coverage offered under your Business Owners Policy or standard Commercial Property insurance. Rental Equipment insurance gives you what you need, when you need it: you can match the length of coverage to the term of the rental, rather than that of your Property policy, allowing you to save money. In most cases, it also offers lower (or zero deductibles) than standard policies.

The policy includes both Property coverage that protects the equipment from damage and Liability insurance to protect the renter from legal claims based on the use of the equipment. It also streamlines the process of providing the Certificate of Insurance that rental companies usually require before releasing their machines.

To learn more about how Rental Equipment coverage can help you protect your business - and save money - just get in touch with the insurance professionals at our agency.


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.

Insuring Your Watercraft in California: What You Need to Know

Author TonyScurich , 4/20/2015
boatsOne of the best things about living in California is the gorgeous climate. It makes getting out and enjoying the outdoors an everyday occurrence. Considering how much water is available to residents in the state, combining your outdoor adventures with a boat, jet ski or wave runner brings a whole new level of fun to your life. Before you make arrangements to put your watercraft to good use, though, you need to make sure that you are covered in the event of an accident.

California Watercraft Laws

Each person who is on board a watercraft must be wearing a life jacket that has been approved by the Coast Guard. The approved types are Types I, II, III and V. Operating a personal watercraft such as a jet ski is prohibited between sunset and sunrise even if the craft is outfitted with the correct navigational lights. Only individuals that are aged 16 and older can operate a boat that is more than 15 horsepower unsupervised. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 can do so under the direct supervision of a person who is over the age of 18. There are also specific stipulations against negligent and unsafe behavior while operating a watercraft.

Insuring Your Watercraft

It is safe to assume that you need specialized insurance for your watercraft before you take it out to play. Rather than simply purchasing a cookie cutter insurance plan, however, work closely with your insurance agent to craft a customized insurance package that meets your unique needs. In most cases, this insurance plan will include liability in case you accidentally damage someone else's property or cause injury to another person. Collusion and comprehensive insurance is also a standard addition and protects your own boat and other watercraft in the event that it is damaged.

Possible discounts for your California teen driver

Author TonyScurich , 4/8/2015
Kid drivingAs parents, sometimes we never want our kids to grow up. It is no secret that adding a teen driver to your California auto insurance is a costly choice. In some cases, you might see your insurance premium double almost overnight when you add your teen. There is good reason for this jump in price as the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) notes that car crashes are the top cause of death for people ages 15 to 19. There are ways you can save money though.

Take a Safe Driving Course

With accident rates disproportionately higher for teen drivers than for other segment of the population, more education can help tip the balance. Taking a safe driving course can give your teen valuable skills while teaching them to be a more defensive driver. Many insurance companies provide discounts for the successful completion of such a course.

Purchase an Older Car

While every teen wants a brand new sports car as their first set of wheels, the insurance on such a vehicle will be quite high -- especially when combined with the hit your premium will take for having your teen on your insurance plan in the first place. Consider getting your freshly-minted teen driver an older set of wheels. While new cars tend to have safety features that many older cars lack, buying a used car that is a few years old can provide you with a good compromise.

Be a Good Student

Many insurance companies want to reward teens that are also good students. While the criteria can vary depending on the insurance company, if your student is on the honor roll or dean's list, is in the top 20 percent of standardized tests or maintains a B average or above, they could be eligible for a significant discount on their insurance.

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