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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 costs - costs

Vision And Dental Care Benefit You - And Your Employees

Author TonyScurich , 6/29/2016
Voluntary Vision and Dental insurance is becoming increasingly popular among mid-sized companies as a way to bolster their employee benefits programs. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, benefit providers have been adding Vision and Dental care, giving mid-market companies a variety of choices among competitively priced plans that can help attract and retain quality workers. "We continue to see that benefits like these are good for driving employee loyalty and job satisfaction," says Alan Hirschberg, vice president of dental and vision products for MetLife Inc. Sales of Voluntary benefits keep growing: a survey last by industry association LIMRA International, Inc. showed that Vision coverage increased 75% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2012, while Dental care rose 1%. To help curb costs, mid-sized businesses often ask employees to pick up at least 30% of premiums for these plans. Most workers are fine with this because the premiums are relatively inexpensive. In addition to supplementing Group Health insurance, Vision and Dental plans cover tests and procedures that can reduce employers' health care costs down the road. For example, eye and dental exams can be crucial in early detection and management of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. When it comes to Voluntary benefits, one size does not fit all. For instance, highly compensated employees might want a Dental plan that covers adult orthodontics, while lower-wage workers might prefer coverage for cleaning, fillings and other basic care. Companies can also offer multiple plans, allowing workers to select the premiums and coverage they prefer. We'd be happy to work with you in tailoring cost-effective, comprehensive voluntary Vision and Dental plans that can benefit your business - and your employees.

More Employees Using Benefits To Care For Children And Parents

Author TonyScurich , 6/20/2016
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An increasing number of employees in the "Sandwich Generation" are looking for benefits to help them manage the demands of caring for parents and children alike. A recent nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly half of respondents in their 40s and 50s have a living parent and are either raising a young child or supporting a grown one.

"There's an emerging recognition of the impact of caregiver stress on working parents' ability to be productive at home and at work," says David Lissy, CEO of Bright Horizons, a provider of dependent back-up care services. "Particularly as families wait longer to have children, there's more at stake in their careers and they're pulled in many directions, dealing with the realities of their aging parents."

On average, access to Bright Horizons allowed employees to work six days during the past six months - productive time that otherwise would have been lost - and nearly 70% of these workers used the service for adult care.

Care.com, another provider of backup care services for employees, saw a three-fold increase last year in the number of clients that added senior care planning. IRobot, Inc. chose Care.com as an employee benefit because "we value our employees and want to support them in managing the demands on their personal lives," says benefits analyst Cathy Blanchard. Since adding the service, iRobot has seen a 15% month-to -month increase in using the program, which has boosted productivity by reducing costs from care-related absences and distractions.

If you'd like to learn more about offering day care for adults and children as an employee benefit, 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.

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!


Alternative Risk Financing: Not Just For The Big Guys

Author TonyScurich , 5/16/2016
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Large corporations often use "alternative risk financing" - assuming some of their own risks, in addition to buying insurance - as a way to improve cash flow and lower their total costs. However, this technique can offer substantial benefits for medium-sized companies that face significant potential risks from one line of insurance, such as Workers Comp, General Liability, or Auto Liability.

Basic alternative risk financing methods include:

  • Guaranteed cost insurance - the company pays a premium based either on a rate, such as payroll or property values, or a flat amount.
  • Incurred loss retrospective rating plans ("retro) - use a standard premium adjusted after policy expiration based on loss experience.
  • Large-deductible plans - the organization assumes a substantial (often $50,000 to $250,000) per-accident or per-occurrence deductible.
  • Self-insurance - the firm retains its loss obligations and pays them as they become due.
  • Captive insurance - this variation on self-insurance pre-funds risks through an insurance subsidiary ("captive") usually owned by the parent company.

Because each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages, your choice should depend on the situation and needs of your business. For example, a guaranteed cost plan minimizes the upside risk, but won't help your cash flow; while a captive usually costs the least to finance, but can be expensive to administer.

Whichever alternative risk financing option you choose, make sure your accounting and human resources departments educate managers on their responsibilities in daily hands-on administration of the program. The more widespread their "buy-in," the stronger your bottom line.

We'd be happy to help you select and develop an alternative risk financing program that's tailored to your needs. Just give us a call.


Online Employee Education, Anyone?

Author TonyScurich , 5/9/2016

Non-traditional voluntary employee benefits are becoming increasingly popular with workers because they address their real-world lifestyles and financial needs. If you'd like to offer your workers a benefit that can help them invest in their future, advance their careers - and make them more productive - all without costing you a dime, consider online learning programs.

According to a recent nationwide study by Harris Interactive, more than half (53%) of workers and their spouses surveyed would be at least "somewhat likely" to use educational services for themselves or their families through an employee purchase program.

While higher education has become essential to get ahead in today's high-tech world, skyrocketing costs have made it increasingly difficult for workers to afford. More than nine in ten college students have taken out loans to earn their bachelors degree - and the value of student loan debt has topped $1 trillion ($300 billion more than credit card and auto loan debts combined)!

Many employers currently offer some form of tuition assistance for the continuing education of their workers. However, online learning can provide a more affordable and convenient alternative for your employees to fund their education and that of their family members (through tutoring programs and SAT/ACT preparation programs) while learning at their own speed. Workers would pay through convenient pain-free payroll deductions, providing a responsible way to budget, together with the opportunity to graduate free of debt. What's more, the program won't burden your employee benefits budget.

To learn more about how you can offer this creative benefit to your workers, just give us a call.


Don't Let Your Products Damage Your Bottom Line

Author TonyScurich , 5/4/2016
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Product Liability Insurance helps protect your company from damages for losses related to manufacturing or selling products or other goods.

These claims can, and do, put businesses out of business - just ask the officers of any asbestos manufacturer. Companies are vulnerable to three types of products claims
  1. Manufacturing or production flaws that create an unsafe defect in the product. For an example, just recall the recent claims against Chinese manufacturers for using dangerous chemicals in their products.
  2. Design defects that make the product inherently unsafe. (The series of lawsuits against Toyota vehicles for defective acceleration controls during the past two years comes to mind.)
  3. Inadequate warnings or instructions, such as failing to label a product properly or advise consumers about potential risks. A famous example is the McDonald's "hot coffee case."
Damages can include medical costs, compensatory damages, economic damages, and (in some instances) attorney fees and costs, as well as any punitive damages. Some sellers and retailers choose not to buy Product Liability Insurance because they don't actually "manufacture" anything. However, most states follow the "stream of commerce" model of liability, meaning that if your company sells a product, you can be held liable for damages to the end user. "Business Owners" and Commercial General Liability policies usually include some type of Product Liability Coverage (Sometimes known as Product/Completed Operations Insurance). Premiums are based upon the type of product and sales volume. If you try to reduce premiums by underreporting sales or insuring only a percentage of your sales, you'll probably face a hefty "underinsurance" penalty. Make sure to identify your products properly, too. For example; if you supply stepstools, you don't want them categorized as ladders, which have a higher premium because of their greater risk potential. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our Business Insurance professionals.

Data Thieves Target Smaller Businesses

Author TonyScurich , 4/29/2016

2When it comes to hackers stealing confidential client information, most people think of their primary targets as mega-corporations; banks, credit card providers, online retailers, and so forth. (American Express, MasterCard, and Sony come to mind.)

However, more than half of small and midsize businesses have experienced at least one data breach in the past year, according to a recent nationwide study by the Ponemon Institute. What's more, only 33% of surveyed companies suffering breaches notified affected individuals that their personal information was ever at risk - despite laws in 46 states that require such notification.

The primary causes of these breaches were employee or contractor error, lost or stolen laptops or smart phones, and procedural mistakes, according to the study commissioned by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co.

The survey also found that:

  • Nearly nine in 10 respondents (85%) shared their customer and employee records with third parties by providing billing, payroll, employee benefits, web-hosting, or other information technology services.
  • Seven in 10 respondents (70%) said that data breaches are more likely to occur if they outsourced data.
  • Despite this outsourcing exposure, more than three in five businesses surveyed (62%) did not require third parties to cover costs associated with a data breach in their contracts.

"Smaller companies are targeted by data thieves, but they often don't know how to respond when sensitive information they keep on customers and employees is lost or stolen," warns Hartford Steam Boiler Vice President Eric Cernak. "Failing to act in a timely and effective way can harm the reputation of businesses and even risk legal penalties in many states."

For professional advice on helping you minimize the growing financial and legal threats to your business from data breaches, please feel free to get in touch with our agency at any time.


Proactive Employee Health Progams Make Sense - And Dollars

Author TonyScurich , 4/27/2016
3 Basic health interventions can help your business lower short-term disability rates, while reducing your employees' time away from work. That's the bottom line of a nationwide study of 118,000 employees by CIGNA, a major health services company. CIGNA found that these measures, combined with predictive analytics, cut disability rates by 15% among employees at high risk of suffering disability within in the next 12 months. (The study defined "high risk" as a 10% or greater probability of becoming disabled during this period). "By identifying workers at high risk of future short-term disability and providing individualized intervention that includes coaching, incentives, and other outreach, our study shows that the onset of disability absence can be reduced measurably, benefiting employers and employees alike," says Dr. Robert N. Anfield, chief medical officer for CIGNA's Disability business. Future studies will deal with the impact of intervention on the length of short-term disability, return-to-work rates, and total medical costs. The company's Absence Prediction and Prevention program establishes an intervention, led by a nurse/health advocate, that provides:
  • Early identification of workers at high risk for future short-term disability.
  • Proactive outreach to these employees.
  • Clinical Assessment.
  • A range of disability absence prevention strategies.
By proactively identifying employees who might be having health problems before their condition worsens and they need to leave work, you can help workers stay healthy and potentially prevent or lessen the impact of injuries or illness - which translates into lower absenteeism, higher productivity, and a healthier bottom line. It makes sense to develop an absence prevention program that emphasizes preventive health safety training. As always, we stand ready to offer our advice.

Beware Of Techno-Jackers

Author TonyScurich , 4/22/2016
3You pull into the grocery store parking lot to pick up a few snacks, and park. As you head for the door, you push a button on your keyless remote to lock it. You don't hear that faint chirp, but you're in a hurry. Fifteen minutes later, you discover that your car is gone. Welcome to the world of 21st-century auto theft!

On the surface, things appear to be improving. Vehicle thefts fell 3.3% nationwide in 2011 (the most recent data) for the eighth straight year. However, auto theft still costs the nation an estimated $5.8 billion a year, thanks to streetwise thugs who feed chop shops and supply lucrative international black markets. These days, car thieves are becoming smarter, more tech-savvy, and harder than ever to stop. 

Anyone can go to a home-improvement store and buy a $20 device that jams the remote keyless entry transmitter on a vehicle. If you aren't paying attention, you walk away from your vehicle, press the button on the remote, and assume that it locks. However, a thief might be two cars over in the parking lot, punching a button to block the signal. The vehicle doesn't lock, and the thief can take your laptop, portable GPS, or whatever else is inside. With enough time, he can even steal the vehicle! 

To guard against jammers, pay attention to your surroundings and make sure your car doors do indeed lock when you press the button. Listen for the click or chirp, or look for the quick flash of lights that confirmations locking on most cars. If the vehicle doesn't lock, try again. However, if locking doesn't work on the second attempt - or if you see someone lurking nearby - move your car to a different spot.

An ounce of prevention..