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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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Workers Comp Prescription Narcotics Abuse: Fight Back!

Author TonyScurich , 9/2/2016
4 The use of narcotics in treating injured workers faces heavy scrutiny today - and for good reason. The latest National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI) Annual Issues Symposium found that:
  • The average cost of narcotics per Workers Comp claim rose from $39 in 2003 to $59 in 2011. This is a rate of 0.79 narcotic prescriptions per claim, up from 0.56 in 2003 - a 14% increase in eight years.
  • More than 5% percent of Comp claims that resulted in at least one prescription for if anymedication included five or more narcotics prescriptions.
To curb the prescribing of narcotics for your injured employees, start by choosing the right Workers Comp physician. In most states, businesses have the legal right to designate the physician that injured employees must use. To find a physician in your area who is board certified in Occupational Medicine, go to http://www.acoem.org/. If none is available, look for a doctor who takes patients on Workers Compensation. In many cases, urgent care clinics make great partners. Once you find a physician, talk to him or her about your business, discuss your return-to-work program and the types of transitional jobs you offer - and ask about their attitude toward prescribing narcotics. Even if state law prohibits you from requiring injured workers to see a specific physician, you can still suggest that they do so. For example, you might say, "Doctor Joan at Acme Urgent Care has treated many of your co-workers and they've gotten better quickly." Selecting a doctor who doesn't dispense drugs and only prescribes narcotics when they're are absolutely necessary can go far to help injured employees get back to work and be healthy and productive as swiftly as possible - while keeping your Workers Comp costs under control.

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.

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.

Will Insurance Cover Your High-Tech Car Key?

Author TonyScurich , 7/18/2016
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Metal car keys are going the way of the land line, as most drivers have graduated to a key fob or remote with a transponder that needs programming before use. If you own a high-tech luxury vehicle you might have a "smart key" - a remote control to plug into your dashboard or leave in your pocket.

Although these devices add convenience, they're pricey. You'll pay $200 to $400 to replace a smart key on a luxury car, plus $100 an hour for labor. If you lose all your keys, you might need to replace the locks, which could cost $1,000. Auto insurance will cover the cost of replacing smart keys (or metal keys) only if the loss comes from a peril covered under the policy. For example, if your keys are damaged when you collide with another car, Collision coverage would pay to replace them. Comprehensive coverage –which reimburses you for loss or damage to your vehicle from theft, vandalism, fire, hail, or flood - would include replacement of the keys, as part of the vehicle. If your car keys are stolen, Homeowners insurance should pay to replace them because theft is a "named peril" under the policy. Bear in mind that your Auto or Homeowners deductible will apply against the cost of replacement. Technology is well on the way to eliminating car keys. According to the AAA, smart phone apps that allow you to unlock and start your car are standard on many vehicles as of 2015. In the meantime, you can avoid paying the high cost of replacing smart keys by keeping spares in a safe place. To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Emergency Notification Systems: Be Prepared!

Author TonyScurich , 7/11/2016
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The disastrous Japanese earthquake/tsunami of March 2011 drowned thousands of people - but the toll would have been far higher without the nation's comprehensive warning system, which combined radio broadcasts, text messages, and sirens with firefighters' door-to-door calls.

Every business needs an effective emergency communications notification system that has low-tech and high tech elements. Here's an overview of the advantages and disadvantages that each type offers:

Low-tech systems can be effective, but have serious limitations. Although calling trees are valuable for mass communications, they're slow, subject to errors, and breakdowns. Sirens and alarms provide immediate warning and can alert everyone who's in a dangerous area; however, they can't provide much information and have a limited range. Intercom systems are reasonably fast and can communicate detailed information, but usually operate in only one building.

High-tech systems provide automated mass notification of detailed warnings rapidly and accurately to a wide range of devices, including phones (land line and cell) and computers (e-mail and instant messaging) through multiple communication networks. High-tech systems can also target messages to individual groups, such as first responders. However, they don't offer a panacea. For one thing, cell phones might be turned off. Although communication with cell phones is available by voice mail or text messaging, these systems are vulnerable to a general outage of communication networks. Their "call capacity" might be a serious limitation, especially for larger firms.

For most businesses, a warning system that blends low tech (alarms and sirens) with high tech (automated notification) can provide effective communication when an emergency strikes.

When choosing a system, you should also weigh such factors as cost and ease of use.

Our risk management experts would be happy to offer you their advice.

 

Equipment Breakdown Insurance: A 'Must Have' Coverage

Author TonyScurich , 6/6/2016

You're facing a deadline to complete work under a major contract - when a voltage spike surges through your electrical lines, burning out computers and telephone equipment. How would you pay for replacing or repairing the damaged equipment, taking the steps needed to get back in production, and replacing lost income?

In today's high-tech electronic world, more and more companies are buying Equipment Breakdown policies (formerly known as Boiler & Machinery insurance) to protect themselves against losses from a variety of mishaps that are sometimes unpredictable and often unavoidable: everything from mechanical failure or electrical short circuits to "arcing" (faulty wiring or motor burnout. The rapid growth of Internet marketing and "just in time" inventory make businesses more dependent than ever on computers - while critical data often exists only on the Internet or online databases that can't be accessed when equipment breaks down. Depending on their size and sophistication, some businesses include this coverage in their Property insurance, while other purchase it as an endorsement to the policy. A comprehensive Equipment Breakdown policy should include:
  • Reimbursement for the cost of repairing or replacing damaged equipment (Some policies also cover green construction, disposal and recycling methods)
  • Replacement of income lost from downtime ("Business Interruption" or "Service Interruption" coverage)
  • Assistance from your insurance carrier, ranging from maintenance guidelines and checklists and crisis planning templates to identifying sources for repairs, unusual parts, or replacement equipment that can be obtained quickly.
Our Business insurance experts would be happy to help you obtain a cost-effective Equipment policy that's tailored to your needs. Just give us a call.

Alternative Risk Financing: Not Just For The Big Guys

Author TonyScurich , 6/3/2016
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Unfortunately, many small businesses ignore business continuity planning - perhaps because this seems so simple that they just don't need to do it. Here are five basic (and cost-effective) steps you need to take before disaster strikes:

  1. Define who's in charge. Because you might be unavailable after a disaster - injured, ill, on vacation, etc. - designate an order of succession to avoid confusion and unclear responsibility during the recovery process.
  2. Avoid a communication breakdown. Normal communication infrastructure might be disabled after a disaster, so make sure you have alternatives for employees, customers, clients, key suppliers, and subcontractors. At a minimum, have phone numbers (landline and cellular), and e-mail addresses. Don't rely on outdated, unreliable methods such as phone communication trees. Use a voicemail system supported by a vendor with communication equipment offsite. Don't forget to consider backup power needs.
  3. Perform data backups. Be sure to make duplicate copies of data regularly, with one copy at a location that's easy and inexpensive to access.
  4. Have a Plan B. if your facility is destroyed or access is denied by civil authorities, can you conduct certain business operations from home or a local hotel? For example, what steps can you take to replace computers and retrieve data?
  5. Make sure you have enough insurance. In a worst-case disaster scenario (major fire, windstorm, civil disorder, etc.), you might well lose your business assets and face a period of downtime - zero cash flow. Insurance can keep you afloat until you're back on your feet.

We stand ready to help design a comprehensive, cost effective program that can make your business less risky.


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.

 


More Midsized Companies Offering Wellness Incentives

Author TonyScurich , 5/20/2016
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The number of mid-market employers giving Group Health plan members incentives to participate in wellness programs has more than doubled since 2010, says a recent report by Fidelity Management and Research L.L.C.

The study found that more than three in four midsize businesses (77%) - those with fewer than 5,000 employees - offered employees monetary rewards tied to wellness activities and health management outcomes in 2011, compared with fewer than two in five (38%) that provided cash incentives in 2010. Overall, nearly nine in ten employers surveyed (86%) gave some type of incentive for wellness activities and/or outcomes in 2011, up from with 63% a year earlier.

The average value of incentives offered to employees and their dependents has also increased substantially. For the 2013 plan year, the average employee incentive value will reach $521, up from $460 in 2011; while the average incentive value for dependents will grow to $465 this year, from $390 in 2011.

Despite the rapid increase in mid-market businesses offering incentives for wellness program participation, they're still less likely than larger employers to provide these rewards. The value of incentives also remains lower among midmarket employers than those given by larger businesses. Less than half of midsize firms (45%) offered inducements for healthy behavior worth $500 or more, compared with 50% of large employers and 68% of very large employers.

"As the cost of providing health care continues to increase, employers recognize one of the key ways to manage their company's costs is to give incentives to their workforce for leading a healthier lifestyle," says Adam Stavisky, Fidelity Senior Vice President/ Benefits Consulting.

If you'd like to implement, or a revise, an incentive program to help keep your workers stay more healthy - and, thus, more productive - just let us know. We're here to help!


Auto Insurance: Saving $$ In Your Golden Years

Author TonyScurich , 5/2/2016
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Your Auto insurance rates are based on a variety of factors such as your driving record, mileage, the car you drive and your age.

Rates are highest for drivers in their teens and early 20, tend to fall for those aged 30 to 60-something, and then start climbing again around age 70. Although drivers in this age range tend to drive less and are more mature, their vision and reflexes are declining. They're also more likely to be injured in an accident than their younger counterparts, and to suffer more severely because they're physically weaker. Also. They often drive smaller cars, which are more vulnerable to damage. Here are five ways that senior drivers can keep their Auto insurance rates affordable. :
  1. Update your mileage. You can get a discount of 5% to 10% if you no longer commute or drive long distances.
  2. Use a telematics device. A usage-based or pay-as-you-go Auto insurance program can reduce premiums by 5% to as much as 40%.
  3. Take a class. Most states require Auto insurers to offer "mature drivers" (who can be as young as 55) a discount of 5% to 15% for completing an accident-prevention course.
  4. Exclude a driver. In some states, you might be able to drop coverage on a driver who no longer gets behind the wheel.
  5. Make your car safer. Some insurance companies offer discounts for anti-theft devices, airbags and anti-lock brakes.
Bear in mind that drivers can use some of these methods at any age and save on Auto insurance by raising their deductible or reducing coverage. To make sure you get the protection you need at a cost you can afford, just give us a call.