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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 contractors - contractors

Beware Of Negligent Supervision!

Author TonyScurich , 9/14/2016
Several courts have found yet another way for someone to sue contractors. This term refers to lawsuits against you for alleged failure to exercise proper control over your employers. For example, one of your employees might be accused of injuring others recklessly while driving a truck on company business. A "negligent supervision" suit would claim that you were negligent in hiring this worker because you either failed to discover or ignored the fact that she had a record of reckless driving. You also have an obligation to supervise your staff. Although you can't foresee every incident, a court will look at whether you took reasonable steps to identify and guard against potential wrongdoing by your employees: everything from unsafe behavior on the job site to sexual harassment. It's not only about whether a worker actually committed an offence - it's about what you did to prevent it. To head off liability for negligent supervision, we'd recommend that you:
  • Set and enforce clear guidelines for interviewing and hiring employees.
  • Provide training in conflict resolution and communication. Supervisors need to know when to report certain behaviors and which behaviors to look for, such as verbal abuse, failing to cooperate with supervisors or co-workers .and making inappropriate comments.
  • Conduct regular performance evaluations to address specific behavior or job performance changes.
  • Provide multiple avenues to receive allegations of misbehavior, and have unbiased managers investigate complaints so that no conflicts of interest exist. Investigate every incidents promptly and take decisive action.
We stand ready to review your company's exposure to negligent supervision claims - and how your Liability insurance coverage can help protect you. Just give us a call.

Underground Construction Risks: The 811 Solution

Author TonyScurich , 9/12/2016
Across the nation, utility lines, tunnels, and structures run under our feet, Each year, excavators strike approximately 700,000 of these underground lines, often triggering potentially fatal accident (from steam, gas, propane, or electricity). A single strike might easily cost a contractor hundreds of thousands, or millions, if the accident leads to an interruption of service that shuts down a factory, hospital, telecommunication lines– even a missile silo. In most cases, insurance will not cover these losses. To deal with this threat, the Common Ground Alliance coordinates 811 --Call before You Dig, a nationwide phone and online system that contractors can use to notify local utilities so they can "mark out" their facilities before excavation of anything from to a sewer to a subway. These markouts are required under state law. When you use the call 811.com system, bear in mind that:
  1. It doesn't matter where you are - downtown, in the middle of a suburban street, or building a private home.
  2. Call even if you're confident that you know where something is buried (for example, if you installed the line); many contractors dig up lines that have just put in.
  3. Instead of marking the area with wooden stakes - which are all too easy to drive through gas lines - use white paint or "feathers;" even the most shallow excavation can be hazardous.
Remember, failing to contact 811.com before every excavation violates the law - and leaves you wide open to huge liability losses. Don't take a chance your odds of losing in the Underground Damage Casino! To learn more, just get in touch with the Construction Insurance Specialists at our agency.

Planning And Evaluation: The Keys To Effective Fire Drills

Author TonyScurich , 8/31/2016
3 If you held your last fire or emergency evacuation drill more than six months ago, it's time to think about staging another. Careful planning and evaluation can help you get the most out of these exercises, enhancing your employee's chances of a safe evacuation. Bear in mind that unannounced drills give you an idea of how workers might actually react in an emergency situation. On the other hand, announcing drills offer them the opportunity to prepare for and practice specific skill sets they would need. Before a fire emergency arises, workers need to know:
  • How to activate the appropriate alarm system(s).
  • How and when to contact the fire department.
  • What to do before they evacuate—such as shutting down equipment.
  • Their role in the evacuation. For example, they might need to assist disabled co-workers, help contractors or visitors on the premises, bring essential items such as visitor logs that can be used to verify that everyone is out of the building, provide first aid for injured co-workers, or act to prevent or minimize hazardous chemical releases.
  • How to evacuate their work area by at least two routes.
  • The locations of stairwells (workers should not use elevators to evacuate).
  • Places to avoid - such as hazardous materials storage areas.
  • Assembly points outside the building.
After the drill, evaluate the exercise to determine which problems need addressing. Ask such questions as:

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.


Lack Of Qualified Workers Raises Safety Concerns

Author TonyScurich , 6/24/2016
Layoffs during the recession have resulted in a shortage of qualified workers in specialized areas of construction - and the problem will probably get worse as the industry picks up during the recovery. In this environment, some contractors might be tempted to stretch their hiring standards to fill out a project roster, increasing the danger of losses from on-site injuries and defect claims, among other risks. The past two years have seen a sharp drop in the unemployment rate for former construction workers, but not a corresponding increase in construction industry growth. This means that these workers who have been unemployed are often finding other types of work, becoming full-time students, or have given up looking for a job in the building trades industry. Because each construction company works in a unique environment and culture, a worker from one firm going to another might not have the required expertise. What's more, construction is a profession that takes time to learn. Tight profit margins and financial problems can pressure smaller and midsize contractors into cutting corners by hiring inexperienced workers. This increases the risk of on-site accidents and injuries --and leads to poorer quality work that can easily result in costly and annoying defective construction claims (see the article "Construction Managers E&O Insurance: Nobody's Perfect! " In addition as the building industry comes out of the recession, OSHA has become far more aggressive and vigilant in monitoring worker safety. The bottom line: Avoid the temptation of hiring inexperienced workers as a way to save money, and you'll keep your risk of on-site accidents and injuries - not to mention your insurance premiums - under control. What's not to like?

The ABC'S Of Construction Liability Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 6/22/2016
No matter how large or small the job in the building trade is, it's always the best policy to carry insurance again liability for losses from injuries, accidents, or property damage during construction. Residential building contractors need a Liability policy to protect them from lawsuits from homeowners for construction-related losses, or from workers injured on the job. Make sure that your contract requires every sub to carry their own Liability insurance and exempt you from responsibility from damage they might produce during construction. The amount of coverage you need will depend on the size of the contract. As a rule of thumb, it's wise to have two or three times the size of the project budget. Commercial contractors usually carry millions in Liability insurance. Contractors with higher risk of damages (for example, roofers or contractors in highly specialized trades) often take out higher coverage. Your Liability policy will set coverage amounts (limits) for both each occurrence and overall (aggregate) values. Limits are also set for: 1) fire damage to property under construction; 2) medical expenses for injured workers on the jobsite who might not be covered under Workers Compensation; and 3) personal and advertising injury (claims that promotion or advertising caused a financial or personal loss to the owner of the home or building). While many contractors pay their Liability premiums up front, those with cash flow problems others prefer to finance them through an indemnity corporation with a down payment and monthly payments over six months to a year. As always, our insurance experts stand ready to help you find comprehensive Liability coverage at a rate you can afford. Feel free to get in touch with us 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.


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.