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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 damages - damages

Are You Ready For A Car Crash?

Author TonyScurich , 11/2/2016
  safe-1142432_1920You know the drill after an auto crash, heart stopping panic, and then, especially if there’s major damage or a serious injury, exchanging names, addresses and insurance information with the other driver. Easy, right? However, if the other driver refuses to provide these particulars (or you’re so shaken that you forget to ask for them), you could end up in serious financial, or even legal, trouble. Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance Relations for CARSTAR warns, “[After an accident] sometimes drivers just don't do what they’re supposed to do." To make sure you’re prepared for such a mishap, follow these guidelines:
  • Remain at the scene. Although state laws differ, failure to exchange information or notify police can lead to a hit-and-run charge or loss of your license.
  • Keep a “cheat sheet” in your glove compartment about what to ask after an accident.
  • Use your cellphone to take a photo of the other vehicle, (preferably showing its license plate) as visual proof of the incident.
  • Write down details. As soon as you and your vehicle are out of traffic and harm's way, record the date and time, location, make and model of the cars and actions or statements by the other driver.
  • Ask any bystanders or eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.
In the meantime, review your auto policy to make sure that you carry: 1) collision coverage, which will pay for repairing your car and providing a replacement vehicle, if needed and 2) uninsured/underinsured motorists insurance (UM/UIM), which will cover damages for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our agency  

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.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance: Four Key Questions

Author TonyScurich , 6/8/2016
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You need Employment Practices Liability insurance (EPLI) to protect you from lawsuits filed (justly or unjustly) by anyone who you employ, have employed, or even considered employing.

Before you buy this essential coverage, be sure to ask these questions:
  1. Who is insured? This should include the company as an entity, along with officers, directors, and every type of employee (full-time, part-time, temp, leased, loaned and seasonal). The importance of this becomes clear if you're ever sued for a sexist slur made by temporary receptionist to a job applicant.
  2. What claims does the policy cover? You want coverage for every eventuality: monetary damages, all types of legal proceeding from criminal to regulatory, settlements, judgments, lost pay, defense fees and punitive damages.
  3. How does the policy define "wrongful employment practices" beyond the obvious (sexual harassment and racial discrimination)? Make sure that you have coverage for violations of federal, state, local and common law on employment discrimination;, deprivation of career opportunities; defamation; retaliation, negligent job evaluation, and failure to have an acceptable written employment policy.
  4. What does the policy exclude? EPLI should include wrongful practices that might have taken place before you bought coverage - so you don't have to worry about a suit by that disgruntled vice president you fired three years ago for pilfering paperclips.
A word to the wise: use EPLI as a last line of defense. Risk management for your business should include diversity and sensitivity training. The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers a wealth of free training resources, guides, compliance information, and links to free training throughout the nation. As always, we stand ready to offer you our professional advice, free of charge.  

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.

Protecting A Business From Sexual Harassment Lawsuits With EPLI Coverage And Prevention Steps

Author TonyScurich , 4/4/2016
By now, employers should all realize and understand that sexual harassment is illegal. However, what employers might not be aware of is that the U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings in June of 1998 that expanded what is termed sexual harassment; expanded the responsibility that employers have to provide a work environment that's non-hostile; and did away with harassed employees having to prove that their company holds some responsibility or that their career suffered from lack of promotion, firing, demotion, or such. Employers are now directly responsible for employee behavior, thereby giving harassed employees more recourse in bringing about legal actions against employers. Work-related harassment and discrimination cases have been climbing steadily since the Civil Rights Act of 1991 allowed for trial by jury, compensatory damages, and punitive damages in legal cases involving discrimination. In fact, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the amount of annual employment harassment and discrimination cases being filed grew by more than 13% between 1997 and 2009.

Any employer that's ever been involved in a sexual harassment suit can attest that the cost to settle or defend a sexual harassment lawsuit can be jaw dropping. The average award for damages in these types of lawsuits is around $650,000, and that isn't even including the secondary cost from workplace disruption, bad publicity, and those involved in the suit being absent from work.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment? The first step in protection is understanding what is defined as sexual harassment. State and federal law prohibits behavior that involves an employee in authority basing professional expectations or decisions regarding a subordinate employee being willing or unwilling to exchange sexual acts. The following are examples of such behavior:

  • Altering expectations of job performance when a subordinate repeatedly refuses advances for a date or sexual encounter.
  • A superior demanding sexual acts in order for a subordinate to receive a raise or promotion.
  • Disciplinary action, including termination, of a subordinate that refuses sexual advances or ends an existing romantic relationship.
However, sexual harassment doesn't always involve a subordinate/authority figure relationship. An offender can be anyone from a coworker to a customer or business vendor. The offender can be male or female, as can the victim. Furthermore, the victim doesn't even need to be the employee actually harassed. Anyone that's affected by the harassing or offensive behavior can be termed a victim; for example, an employee that overhears two other employees discussing a taboo subject. The two employees directly involved might not be offended, but if the overhearing employee is offended, then it can constitute sexual harassment.

Verbal, visual, physical, or written behavior that causes another employee to view the work environment as hostile, are unwanted, or focus on the sexuality or gender of another person may constitute as sexual harassment. Specific examples of such would be teasing, suggestive objects or pictures being displayed, and repetitively requesting sexual acts or dates verbally or in writing.

Protection with Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). After knowing what constitutes sexual harassment, businesses can further financially protect themselves with Employment Practices Liability insurance (EPLI). This is an insurance to protect employers when an employee makes the claim that their legal rights have been violated. Although policies vary, EPLI generally doesn't cover criminal or civil penalties and punitive damages. EPLI does generally cover settlements, judgments, and incurred legal costs arising from an array of incidences - wrongful termination, employment contract breaches, employment and promotion failures, wrongful disciplinary actions, wrongful emotional distress infliction, negligent employee evaluations, employee benefit plan mismanagement, discrimination, and sexual harassment.

Coverage is specific. So, before purchasing a policy, decide who should be covered. For example, should full and part-time employees, contracted persons, supervisors, department heads, subsidiaries, company divisions, and so forth be covered or not? One other note about EPLI is that it's mandatory for employers to report incidents within a reasonable amount of time. Some policies might feature an ERP (extended reporting period) or prior acts. The length, cost, and availability vary by carrier.

Purchasing EPLI has been challenging for small companies in the past. However, the 2004 rate increases have somewhat plateaued. Some rates have even decreased. Keep in mind that EPLI cost is figured based on the business type, employee numbers, and past lawsuits associated with the business.

Prevention of Harassment Lawsuits. Prevention is the cornerstone in decreasing the risk of a sexual harassment lawsuit. Prevention steps include the following key elements:

  • If the business has EPLI, any incident should be reported immediately.
  • Create, communicate, and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for workplace sexual harassment.
  • Have an effective harassment complaint process in place and take immediate, consistent, and appropriate action when a complaint is made.
  • Thoroughly document all complaints and the following investigation and actions.
 

WORKERS COMP: MYTHS AND REALITY

Author TonyScurich , 9/22/2014

If you believe you don’t need Workers Compensation insurance, here’s a reality check:myth

Myth. I only have a few employees, or mostly part-time employees.

Reality: Workers Comp makes sense no matter how many employees you have. It helps cover medical expenses and lost wages for employees with job-related injuries and protects against lawsuits from injured workers if you’re found negligent. What’s more, some customers and clients may require you to carry it.

Myth: My employees won’t sue me.

Reality: Never say never. Injured workers might well sue to pay medical bills that could run into millions – not to mention pain and suffering or punitive damages. Workers Comp provides legal defenses that can slash your liability.

Myth: Workers Comp is too expensive. If one of my employees is injured, I’ll just pay out-of-pocket.

Reality: Weigh the cost of coverage against potential losses from an injury, especially if the employee sues. The longer a worker is off the job, the more it costs to cover lost wages and productivity. Severe injuries can take weeks or months to heal– or even lead to permanent impairment.

Myth: I provide a safe workplace. My employees won’t get injured.

Reality: Mistakes happen even in the “safest” workplace. Many companies post signs proclaiming the number of days without an injury on the job, but rarely do they read “365 days” Even the most minor mishaps can cause major damages.

Myth: Medical costs in the Workers Comp system are too high.

According to the National Council of Compensation Insurance, the medical cost inflation rate for Comp has been similar to that for Group Health insurance during the past several years. Legislation and regulations have led to the expansion of cost-containment programs.

To make sure you have this essential protection, at an affordable cost, just give us a call.


Summer Party Liability Concerns

Author TonyScurich , 6/2/2014
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Homeowners insuranceSummer is right around the corner, and with it comes a parade of graduations, barbecues, holidays and other gatherings with family and friends. Although summer parties are a source of excitement for most people, these get-togethers can also raise the risk of expensive liability claims.  Whether you are throwing a birthday party or hosting a Father's Day picnic at your home, you never know when an accident could occur. As more people enter your home, the risk of someone sustaining an injury on your property increases dramatically. For example, if you are operating a grill during a summer barbecue, your guests could be burnt accidentally. Likewise, if you own a pool, guests could injure themselves diving in, or they could slip and fall on the wet ground next to the pool. If someone sustains an injury on your property, they may file a lawsuit against you in order to recover medical expenses and/or lost wages related to the injury. If you don't have enough homeowners insurance coverage to pay the damages awarded to the individual in court, you will be forced to come up with the money on your own, which can lead to serious financial problems. In some cases, a large liability settlement could even require you to file bankruptcy or sell your home and other valuable assets in order to pay the amount you owe. If you are planning to host any parties this summer, review your homeowners insurance policy before you send out the invitations to ensure that you have the proper amount of liability coverage. If you discover that your coverage is lacking, consider investing in additional coverage to protect yourself against loss. If you aren't sure whether your policy provides sufficient coverage, consult our office for guidance.

Jet’s Mystery Disappearance Leaves Riddles Over Who Is Liable

Author TonyScurich , 3/26/2014
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Malaysia Flight MH 370(Bloomberg) -- As the final hours of Malaysian Air Flight 370 remain wrapped in mystery, the question of who bears full liability for the jet’s disappearance is also unresolved.
This much is clear: Families of the 227 passengers aboard the flight that vanished on March 8 can recover some compensation from Malaysian Airline System Bhd even if the plane isn’t found. The airline is liable under international treaty for as much as $175,000 per passenger, and possibly more. For survivors to capture significantly greater damages, wreckage would probably have to be located and a narrative of the plane’s demise assembled. Several scenarios have been offered for the flight’s disappearance, including hijacking, intentional downing or an on-board fire. Evidence of any of these could open avenues for family members to sue. “The disappearance of Flight 370 remains a mystery. The legal claims against Malaysia Airlines -- those are not a mystery,” said Robert Hedrick, a pilot and air-disaster lawyer in Seattle. “If the wreckage is located, the evidence may establish liability of other parties.” The Montreal Convention of 1999, an international treaty that covers air travel, requires carriers to pay damages for each passenger killed or injured in an accident, even if its cause is unknown. By those rules, the airline’s liability could stand at more than $40 million. Read the entire article here. Content provided by:  http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2014/03/24/jets-mystery-disappearance-leaves-riddles-over-who?eNL=5330756f150ba0af70068ede&utm_source=PC360NewsFlash&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=PC360_eNLs&t=es-specialty&_LID=160558015

Why you need to review your commercial insurance

Author TonyScurich , 12/30/2013
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Business InsuranceCommercial insurance is a must-have for every business.  Some businesses have specialty needs for additional commercial insurance that are not covered under the standard policy. Maybe you have had some changes in your business.  You have recently purchased delivery vehicles, you have expanded your business and purchased more property.  There are any number of possible changes that have occurred to your business that would require an analysis of your commercial insurance policies. Your cash flow has changed You have two forms of payment for your insurance, a regular monthly payment and a deductible that you will need to cover for damages and/or injuries before your provider will start to cover anymore.  The monthly payment you can factor into your standard business finances.  You will need to be diligent in planning for the unknown. The more cash you have readily available, you should think about increasing your deductible.  Higher deductibles will decrease your monthly premiums, and you will be able to save money.  Make sure the deductible will be affordable, just in case. Lower your deductible so that you can pay as needed if you are short on cash.  Contact our office so that we can shop around for the best deal possible and discuss bundling options. Congratulations!  Your business is thriving! Your business has increased since the last time you sat down with your agent.  You’ve hired more people, added a delivery service and more!  That means that your insurance will need to change also. Start with your workers compensation and disability insurance policies. Make sure that your employees are covered, and your policies are up to date. You’ve added a fleet!  You will need to get your vehicles insured under a commercial auto policy. You are remodeling or moving Commercial property insurance comprises an important part of your overall insurance needs.  If you are expanding or moving, you will need to contact our office to do a review of your new /improved digs and the policies.  Please remember that any changes you make, will affect your coverage and costs. Content provided by Transformer Marketing.