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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 contractor - contractor

THE ABC’S OF HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENTS

Author TonyScurich , 10/31/2016
Bookmark and Share Because construction projects are complex operations involving a number of subcontractors under your supervision, onsite accidents or injuries resulting from their work can easily lead to litigation against you. To protect yourself against claims, losses, and expenses if disputes arise during the project, make sure that all subcontractors sign a “Hold Harmless Agreement” clause. The terms of these clauses will vary from state to state. In some cases, this clause will protect the contractor from claims by corporations or companies that did not sign the agreement. There are three types of hold harmlessagreements: Under the Broad Form, the subcontractor assumes all liability for accidents due to negligence of the general contractor, and combined negligence between the two parties. Because of its sweeping terms, this form is relatively rare – and some states prohibit it. With the Intermediate Form the subcontractor takes on all liability for accidents and negligence, but will not be held accountable for the general contractor's actions. It doesn’t matter whether the incident was the subcontractor’s fault. If both parties were negligent, the subcontractor assumes liability all for its acts or omissions. Intermediate form agreements are relatively common. A Limited Form agreement makes the subcontractor liable only for the proportional part of its responsibility for a mishap. Other parties – such as subcontractors – will be held liable under their hold harmlessagreement(s) for their corresponding part of the accident or negligence. The type of agreement that’s best suited for your needs will vary depending on the nature of the project and state laws. As always, we stand ready to offer you our professional advice.

Pollution Liability: The CPL Solution

Author TonyScurich , 8/15/2016
Air, water, and soil pollution pose a serious financial threat for contractors. One small misstep can require thousands - or even millions - to clean up. Consider these scenarios:
  • Remodeling a school kicks up dust.
  • Using construction materials generates fumes that pollute the air.
  • Hitting an underground storage tank leads to the release of liquid pollutants.
  • Spraying to remove a bees' nest from a work area releases insecticides.
  • Tying into a sewer line improperly causes sewage to back up.
Your Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) policy provides severely limited protection against these types of pollution claims. Not to worry! Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) insurance can protect you. (These policies are sometimes written together with Contractors Professional Liability coverage - see the previous article). CPL covers Bodily Injury and Property Damage - whether by settlement or verdict - as well as the expenses of investigating, defending, or settling claims. Most policies also cover the costs of removing or neutralizing pollutants and restoring the damaged property. CPL policies usually include a "hammer clause" that works like this: if the contractor chooses to fight a claim, rather than settle it, the insurance company's liability for damages and claims expenses is limited to what it would have had to pay if the contractor had approved the settlement. As you can imagine, most contractors choose to settle when their insurer recommends this approach. As with Contractors Professional Liability coverage, CPL policies are usually written on a case-by-case basis, with the size of the policy depending on your situation (for example coverage might be worldwide or limited to the U.S). Our agency would be happy to work with you, and the quality insurance companies we represent, to tailor a program suited for your needs. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

Demand For Contractors Professional Liability Rises

Author TonyScurich , 8/12/2016
New approaches to building projects, as well as new techniques, are leading to increased demand for Professional Liability insurance for contractors. A few years ago, people would shake their heads at the idea of this coverage, asking how contractors could be held liable for professional risk when they don't provide professional services. However, there has been a blurring of the once-sharp lines between contractors and architects and designers, as more and more contractors are being drawn into the design process. Under the traditional "design-bid-build" method, a project would be designed, bids put out, and the project built. However, the spread of the "design-build" concept - which decreases the amount of time, and the cost, of the project involved - has meant that medium sized and large contractors often take the design responsibilities in-house, and even subcontract them to design firms. These contractors' biggest exposure is for claims filed against them for project delays and cost overruns. However, traditional General Liability insurance offers coverage only for Bodily Injury and Property Damage, and does not cover financial or economic losses. Contractors Professional Liability insurance fills this gap. Because these policies are relatively recent, only a limited number of insurance companies offer them. These companies haven't paid enough claims for underwriters to establish the underwriting history and set standard rates - which means that policies are usually negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The amount of insurance can be up to $50 million; if a contractor needs more capacity, coverage can be added through excess layers. If your firm is (or might be) taking on project design responsibilities, a comprehensive Contractors Professional Liability policy can help protect your pocketbook - and provide peace of mind. To learn more, just give us a call.

Six Steps To Protect Contingent Workers - And Your Business

Author TonyScurich , 7/15/2016
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"Contingent workers" {part-time, temporary, or contract employees) face a high risk of occupational injuries and illness. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, reasons include the tendency to outsource more hazardous jobs, worker lack of experience and familiarity with operations in a new workplace, inadequate protective equipment, and limited access to such preventive measures as medical screening programs.

Even though the safety of contract workers is the legal responsibility of the contractor, the OSHA General Duty Clause makes you responsible for protecting everyone in your workplace. To meet this obligation, and bolster workplace safety compliance, we'd recommend these guidelines:

  1. Make sure that the contractor agrees to comply with OSHA requirements. If the contractor doesn't follow safety rules, force compliance or stop work for breach of contract.
  2. Set safety compliance ground rules up front.
  3. Share accountability for safety compliance with the contractor. Although you might not be legally responsible for an accident caused by a contract employee, it's still your problem.
  4. Offer assistance. Explain hazardous conditions or processes during project orientation and stress any rules and restrictions, such as hot-work permit requirements, lockout/tagout, and confined spaces situations and needs.
  5. Document communications with contractors. Have them sign an agreement for resolving specific safety problems or for conducting inspections.
  6. Read the OSHA Multi-Employer Citation Policy compliance directive (CPL 02-00-124), which applies to contractors on your work site.

Finally, the fact that most contingent workers will only be in your workplace for a short time adds to the urgency of getting them up to speed on company safety policies ASAP.

For more information on keeping contingent workers safe in your workplace, please feel free to get in touch with us.


Wrap Up Your Construction Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 4/20/2016
Wrap-up or "Wrap" Construction insurance can provide a highly effective tool to reduce costs and avoid headaches in insuring large, complex projects and the workers building them. Wrap policies usually offer superior coverage, higher policy limits and greater contract certainty than traditional Commercial General Liability, Workers Compensation, and (often) Builders Risk insurance written for individual subcontractors and types of risk. What's more, Wrap coverage can minimize potential cross-litigation on construction projects. Although they've been available for decades, these policies have become widespread in recent years, due to the skyrocketing costs of raw materials, financing, and litigation. There are two types of Wrap coverage; owner-controlled insurance policies (OCIP), and contractor-controlled insurance policies (CCIP). Either variety allows the owner to spread the risk among different parties, while providing a seamless insurance safety net for every company and individual involved - which can translate into profit, based on loss experienced over the life of the policy. Because of their extensive coverage, Wrap policies are usually more expensive than other types of Construction insurance for the owner or primary contractor, who will pass on the extra cost among the general contractors and sub-contractors on the project. This is a small price to pay considering the peace of mind that comes from having all coverages and insured parties protected under a single policy. Because of their complexity, insurance companies often tailor Wrap policies for each project, writing them on a customized ("manuscript") basis. Our agency's professionals would be happy to work with you and your insurer in creating coverage that's comprehensive and cost-effective. That's what we're here for.

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.

Six Non-Insurance Methods Construction Businesses Can Use To Deal With Risk

Author TonyScurich , 2/29/2016
There will always be a risk that something will go awry during construction projects. When something does go wrong, the result is usually costly time delays and mild to devastating additional material, labor, and damage costs. As far as risk goes, most construction business owners view insurance as their first line of defense. Not that insurance isn’t an appropriate risk prevention tool, but it’s not always economically feasible or efficient to try and cover each and every possible risk with insurance. There are actually many risks that can be dealt with thorough the concepts of risk transfer, risk sharing, risk retention, risk control, risk prevention, and risk avoidance. Let’s look at some key points about each: 1. Transfer of RiskThere are parties, aside from your own insurance, to which you might transfer the risk. The two most common risk transfers are through being named as an insured person on an alternative insurance contract, and through express indemnification clauses. When you’re named on another party’s insurance, their coverage extends to you. If you’re a general contractor, for example, then you might require the electrical contractor to name you on their liability policy. As long as the other party’s insurance covers the loss, your portion of any loss would be paid by the other party’s insurance policy. The second common method of transferring risk is through an express indemnification clause in a contract. This is also referred to as a hold harmless clause. There are three varying degrees of risk transfer. The type one indemnity clause, also called a broad form, states that the indemnitor (party that will be responsible for the loss) will hold the indemnitee (party that will be protected) harmless regardless of whether the loss was caused by the indemnitee. A type three clause, also called comparative fault, holds the indemnitor responsible for only the loss that they caused. The most common type of indemnification clause is the type two, also called the intermediate form. The indemnitor assumes all the risk unless the sole cause of the loss is fully attributable to the indemnitee. An example of a type two clause would be a general contractor agreeing to hold an owner harmless (regardless of whether the loss was partly caused by the owner) if the loss was caused in part or entirely by the contractor. 2. Risk Sharing. There are often opportunities to share the risk with the other parties involved with the construction project. The contract should have a clause that stipulates each of the involved parties would be liable for those losses caused by his/her actions or inaction. 3. Risk Retention. Whether they want to or not, all construction businesses are going to retain some of the more minor risks. It’s simply not monetarily feasible to cover every single risk with insurance. These minor retained risks, such as errors that cause a couple of days of redoing work, are funded from the operating budget. Insurance deductibles are another way that risk is retained. Just be sure that whatever risk is retained has a value and can be funded should a loss actually occur. 4. Risk Avoidance. Although risks are often tempting, such as a supplier offering a cheaper material, most risks are best avoided. If you suspect that the cheaper material could be defective, then it simply makes better sense for you to put the longevity and reputation of your business first and avoid the risk. 5. Risk Prevention. Risk prevention is a very broad topic with many elements, but the premise of the concept is taking action to avoid negative events from occurring in the first place. It’s usually very simple carelessness that causes accidents. So, risk prevention may include simple things like keeping passages free of debris and idle tools secure. Risk prevention should be an ongoing training program for employees, supervisors, and managers. 6. Risk Control. Like risk prevention, risk control is a very broad topic with many elements, but the premise of the concept is reducing the amount of loss incurred during a negative event. A good example would be posting emergency response phone numbers so that immediate help can be called during an accident. Risk control should also be an ongoing training program for employees, supervisors, and managers.  

Audit? What Audit?

Author TonyScurich , 2/24/2016
1Whenever you're asked to bid on a job, you're usually required to certify that the price is firm and that there won't be any unexpected expenses and cost overruns once the project is underway. Because this is standard practice in the industry, it's understandable that some contractors are surprised that their insurance costs don't operate the same way -- especially when the contractor has asked agents for "bids" on the insurance package. Neither Workers Compensation nor General Liability, two of the key coverages in Construction insurance, usually set fixed premiums. Because payrolls and/or revenues the contractor pays or earns during the policy period determine the premiums, and there's no way to know these costs in advance, the premiums will also be estimates. Once actual payrolls and revenues are known (usually after an insurance company audit after the end of the policy period), the company will set the final premium based on these figures. The contractor -- you -- will then receive either a refund (if your insured losses were lower than expected) or a bill for the additional premium due (when these losses are higher than expected). Although it's never pleasant to owe more money after a policy has expired, keep two things in mind: First, if the insurer were able to predict the final results accurately, it would have charged this amount in advance. Second, an additional premium due after an audit shows that you had a better year than expected -- and that's always good news! If you have any questions about how your insurance works or how premiums are calculated, just give us a call. We're here to help.

Keep Your Bond Surety In The Know

Author TonyScurich , 1/22/2016
1Although business management and performance are the major factors that will determine which contractors survive the downturn in construction, the size of the contractor also comes into play. As a rule, project owners are more likely to continue with larger developments because of their greater value, higher investment, and longer lead time. Smaller projects are easier to cancel, which makes smaller and midsize contractors (with work backlogs between $5 million and $100 million) more vulnerable to cancellation.

If you're experiencing losses on a project, your first step should be to deal with overhead, liquidity, problems, and ongoing business concern. It's also essential to communicate any problems to your insurance agent and surety company immediately! Because the surety has a strong financial interest in preventing you from default on your bond, it will leverage its relationship with the bond underwriter to help you work through these difficulties and reach a mutually acceptable solution that will keep you on the job.

However, a contractor withholding critical information about a problem situation from a surety would lead to a far different result. Concern about the contractor's deteriorating financial condition - which makes it a riskier bonding candidate - might make the surety restrict its future capacity, leading it to make the contractor either bid on only smaller projects that pose less risk to the underwriter or postpone bidding on all projects until the business can clean up its balance sheet.

If you have any questions about working with your surety, please feel free to get in touch with the Bond professionals at our agency


Need Tips For OCIPS?

Author TonyScurich , 1/13/2016

2For years, Owner-Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIPs) were only found on large, single-site projects. Every day, more contractors are being required to work under these types of arrangements, either on smaller projects or "rolling" OCIPs that cover multiple projects. This requires contractors to identify and deal with the variety of complex issues that these programs raise.

Don't go it alone. Our Construction Insurance professionals stand ready to help. If you'd like to do some research on your own, the Insurance Risk Management Institute (IRMI) provides a wealth of solid safety guidelines that are updated frequently. Originally created as a resource for contractor risk management information, IRMI publishes one of the best and most extensive libraries of insurance expertise in the nation and is widely used by insurance agents and risk managers in all types of businesses.

"A Contractor's Guide to OCIPs," available on the Construction Business Owner Web site, offers valuable guidelines on the benefits and risks of these programs, together with tips on making the most from them, and dealing with such issues as loss costs, separating Construction Insurance costs from bids, and estimating labor expenses.

Check out the guide. Then give us a call on how to apply its principles to your business. When it comes to your protection, don't let "owner controlled" mean "out of control.


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