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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 danger - danger

Check Out This Social Media Use Checklist

Author TonyScurich , 10/21/2016
  Social media rules! In recent studies, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr users sent tens of millions of messages every day– and new players keep entering the marketplace. Although these platforms provide significant benefits for businesses of all sizes, they also pose a variety of risks. Everything from employment, privacy and security, through intellectual property to media-related liability. Chances are your employees are using social media, either at home or work, in ways that could put your business at risk. To limit this exposure, experts recommend creating social media guidelines based on a five-point checklist:
  1. Assess both your company’s general social media activities and individual social media campaigns, weighing potential risks against benefits as accurately as possible.
  2. Designate specific individuals and departments to develop, execute, and monitor a comprehensive and proactive social media strategy – and make a senior executive responsible for implementing it in a timely fashion.
  3. Have the policy reviewed by the relevant departments (human resources, IT, communications, and legal) and by an outside law firm.
  4. Because employees pose the biggest risk to a company, although often unwittingly,,provide educational programs about the danger of damage to the company by using social media on the job or at home.
  5. Create a social media agreement for employees to review and sign as a condition of employment and part of their employment contract. Update the agreement annually, or as often as needed, to address changes in social media that might impact your risk in new ways.
Following this checklist will help position your business to reap the enormous benefits that participationin social media offers. As always, we’re here to help you– just give us a call!  

Reporting Insurance Scams: It’s The Law!

Author TonyScurich , 10/5/2016
  As you go about your daily business, insurance fraud is probably one of the furthest things from your mind. However these all-too-common scams, everything from homeowners who report a non-existent burglary to collect on their policies to drivers who stage auto accidents and file injury claims – are criminal acts that you have a legal obligation to report. If you’re aware of, or suspect, a fraudulent act that involves insurance follow these steps:
    • Inform the insurance fraud bureau in your state either through its telephone “hot line” or online.
    • Contact the fraud department of the insurance company involved. Most companies have hotlines for this purpose. If a fraud hotline isn’t available, or if you’re uncomfortable using it, write the fraud department instead.
    • If the alleged fraud involves a medical issue – such as a claim for a non-existent condition – contact your state medical board or chiropractic board immediately in order to protect the complainant, as well as other possible victims.
    • If appropriate, notify other authorities, such as the police (if someone’s life might be in danger) or your local Social Security office (in case of suspected Social Security fraud).
    • Remember that, as a witness, you must report all the details involved: full names, dates, organization, company name, the amount of money involved, etc. Provide any documentation or other information you think might help with the investigation.
    • Be patient. Investigating complaints takes time; it might be months before the investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring the perpetrators into court.
A word to the wise. insurance scams costs billions of dollars a year, driving up premiums for everyone – including you.  

Construction Safety: The 'Correction Conversation'

Author TonyScurich , 9/16/2016
Safety inspectors know what to look for - but they might need a refresher on holding the "correction conversation": explaining job hazards in such a way that your workers can see the potential danger, understand how it can hurt them, and suggest how to eliminate it. To have an effective Correction Conversation, we'd recommend that safety inspectors follow these guidelines:
  • Try to make it personal. "Kneeling on the floor for the day is going to turn your knees into jelly in a few years."
  • Tie the hazardous activity or condition to pain. "This night watchman dropped his flashlight, and when he bent down to pick it up, the rebar went right through his eye."
  • Make comparisons. These cable clamps might work, but the fist-grips kind are the ones that should be used. See - they look like two fists gripping."
  • Shift the blame. "I'm not sure who set this up, but because those cable clamps are upside down they won't hold much. Just flip them over and torque them again."
  • Connect the correction to something the workers can share. Pass along additional information. Keep it simple, and use graphics whenever possible, If the concern is not having an eyewash station near a concrete pour, send a photo of a what a worker's eye looks like after a concrete burn.
  • Share a story. "I can beat that!" This phrase continues conversation in bars across the world. Tell a workplace hazard anecdote that you've heard or witnessed - and then stop talking! Chances are another worker will share a similar story. One-upmanship is a skill we all enjoy, and helps keeps a good Correction Conversation alive.

Don't Let Drivers Use Their Cell Phones!

Author TonyScurich , 8/3/2016
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A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 69% of U.S. drivers talked on their cell phones - and 31% read or sent text messages or e-mails while driving. "The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive," warns CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

Using cell phones to text behind the wheel can increase the danger of fatal crashes by six to 23 times, and drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to become involved in crashes serious enough to injure themselves. You probably have rules about employees talking on their phones and texting while driving - but are they following them? According to Jim Evans, president of human resources consulting firm JK Evans & Associates, some bosses turn a blind eye to cell phone use behind the wheel, while others don't want to cut into their employees' productivity. His advice to employers: "Dust off the old cell phone policy or unwritten practices and revisit whether employee safety and employer liability is at risk." To minimize this danger, your company should require employees who drive on the job to:
  • Turn off personal phones or switch them to silent mode before entering a company vehicle.
  • Pull over to a safe area if they need to make a cell phone call or send or answer a text message.
  • Ask a helper or another passenger to make a return call.
  • Contact supervisors or dispatchers when the vehicle is parked.
  • Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, reading, and any other activities that distract them behind the wheel.
  • Tell people who call them while driving that they'll call back after reaching their destination.
  • Not send or answer text messages, surf the Web, or read e-mails.
 

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?

Curbing Corporate Identity Theft: A Three-Step Approach

Author TonyScurich , 3/21/2016
2In the controversial Citizens United case, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have rights similar to those of an individual. It follows that they have identities and are vulnerable to identity theft.

Although insurance offers one way to manage this risk, it might well be a long time before a company discovers the theft -- at which point, it would be too late. To avoid or minimize the danger of having your corporate identity stolen, we'd recommend a three-step approach:

  1. Storing sensitive information. Sensitive files and information (credit card numbers, medical data, Social Security numbers, etc.) might be stored on computers, external drives, filing cabinets, or mobile devices. It's wise to consolidate and secure this data either physically behind lock and key or by using electronic network security measures. Be sure to train employees on handling, storing, and disposing of this type of information properly.
  2. Your business documentation. Identity thieves might use highly sophisticated or surprisingly elementary and low-tech techniques for delving into a company's records and misappropriating them. These might include intercepting paper mail, stealing trash, or physically taking documents. To safeguard this information, determine what records you need to run the business, inventory them, and use electronic statements to limit the amount of mail containing company information. Never share financial details or documents through e-mail!
  3. Credit reports. Check your company's credit reports regularly for unusual charges or bills.

The Federal Trade Commission (http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus69-protecting-personal-information-guide-business) provides a variety of resources you can use to help protect your corporate identity and confidential customer information against identity thieves.

Our agency's professionals would be happy to offer their help -- just give us a call.

 

EMERGENCIES: When To Go And When To Stay

Author TonyScurich , 2/22/2016
Grass Fire, Firefighter, Smoke, Preventive BurningWhen an emergency (anything from an explosion to workplace violence) strikes your business, taking the wrong action can result in confusion, damage, injury -- or even death. That's why it's vital to have a comprehensive plan for dealing with different types of mishaps.

For example, in the event of a tornado, you'd want to have your workers sheltered in a safe place inside your facility. On the other hand, in a fire, you want them to be able to flee the building quickly and safely. The type of building might be a factor in your decision. Most modern factories and office buildings have steel frames, which means they might be more sound structurally than small business premises. However, a major earthquake or explosion will affect nearly every type of structure; some buildings will collapse, while others will be left with weakened roofs, walls, or floors.

Consider both emergency situations that would require evacuation and those that would indicate the need to stay put, and plan accordingly. For example, what would happen if a part of your facility caught fire? Suppose there were severe flooding in your immediate area? How would you respond to a chemical spill? What would you do if an ex-employee with a gun was threatening your workers?

Certain natural disasters, such as windstorms or large-scale chemical or biological releases outside your facility call for "sheltering-in-place" (selecting an interior room or rooms, normally with no or few windows, and taking refuge there). In many cases, local authorities will issue advice to shelter-in-place via TV or radio. Designate a safe haven, or havens, inside your building for employees until the danger has passed. Hold shelter-in-place drills, as well as evacuation drills.

If any employees need to stay behind in an emergency so that they can shut down certain equipment or perform other duties, your action plan should set out detailed procedures for them. Make sure that these workers are able to recognize when to abandon the operation or task and evacuate before their exit path is blocked.

To learn more about designing and implementing an emergency action plan for your business, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time. We're here to help you protect your business from risk.


You Need to "Call Before You Dig"

Author TonyScurich , 7/20/2015

Person digging in backyard

What is 811?

Are you a homeowner or contractor? Did you know that you are required to call the number ‘811’ before digging on any property so that you can be made aware of any underground lines (e.g. pipes, cables and associated utilities) buried in the area? Improper digging can lead to damage to underground lines that can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm diggers or excavators, and even incur potential fines and repair costs.

In case you did not know, 811 is the national "Call Before You Dig" phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission. This number was developed to eliminate the confusion of multiple "Call Before You Dig" numbers because it is easy to use, is the same for every state, and can help protect anyone who does dig from injury, expense and potential penalties.

What Happens After Calling 811?

All 811 calls are routed to a local One Call Center and the affected utilities. The utility will then send crews to the location to mark any underground lines for the homeowner or excavator for free.

Do Most People Call Before They Dig?

Believe it or not, in spite of all the potential danger and damage that can be caused, the answer is "no." According to a recent national survey, 45 percent of American homeowners who plan to dig this year said that they would not call 811 beforehand.*

More Information

For more information about the 811 call system, visit http://www.call811.com. To download the most current industry Best Practices in connection with preventing damage to underground facilities, go to http://commongroundalliance.com/.


Tree maintenance can minimize property damage

Author TonyScurich , 5/15/2015

The trees in your yard can enhance your property, provide shade and offer abundant environmental benefits. However, trees can also pose a safety hazard to your family and your home if they are not properly inspected and maintained.

Trees can present a particularly significant danger during a storm. Wind, lightning, snow and ice can all transform a tranquil row of trees into an imminent threat to your property. Proper tree maintenance involves more than pruning and trimming overgrown branches. These are some of the key steps you can take to protect your trees and prevent them from becoming a safety hazard.

The trees in your yard can enhance your property, provide shade and offer abundant environmental benefits. However, trees can also pose a safety hazard to your family and your home if they are not properly inspected and maintained. Trees can present a particularly significant danger during a storm. Wind, lightning, snow and ice can all transform a tranquil row of trees into an imminent threat to your property. Proper tree maintenance involves more than pruning and trimming overgrown branches. These are some of the key steps you can take to protect your trees and prevent them from becoming a safety hazard.
Steps to Take Before a Storm
  • Remove any dead trees on your property.
  • Enhance the health of trees through timely watering, proper fertilization and protection from soil compaction. Healthy trees will be able to better adapt to changes in the environment, remain firm in the wind and react more effectively to damage.
  • Regularly prune dead or broken limbs to help trees maintain their structural integrity. In addition, thin excess branches every three to five years. For more information, visit arborday.org.
  • Remove or treat pest problems as soon as you spot them to minimize potential damage to trees. Be careful not to over-treat tree hollows, and do not remove decayed wood from hollows unless it falls away in your hands. Cleaning hollows can cause additional internal damage to trees. If possible, cover the opening to hollows.
Six Signs to Monitor When performing maintenance on the trees in your yard, please make safety a priority. If you are unable to safely prune or remove trees and limbs, contact a professional tree-care service or arborist to help you do so. It may be a good idea to consult with a professional if the trees in your yard already display any of the following characteristics:
  • Cracks in the trunk or major limbs
  • Signs of hollowing and decay
  • Mushrooms growing from the bark
  • Significant leaning to one side
  • Limbs in contact with power lines
  • Branches hanging over your house
    • Although the branches may not be touching your house under normal conditions, high winds can cause trees and branches to bend or break.

Sources: Travelers, Clatterbuck, Wayne. "Storm-Damaged Residential Trees: Assessment, Care and Prevention." Extension.Tennessee.edu. The University of Tennessee; Coder, Kim. "Storm Damaged Trees: Prevention & Treatments." Warnell.Forestry.UGA.edu. The University of Georgia.


Grilling safely

Author TonyScurich , 5/11/2015

shish-kebabMany Americans fire up the grill when the weather is warm, especially during summer holidays and family get-togethers. This adds up to more than three billion barbecues a year. But serious accidents can occur without proper precautions.

Here are some important tips to help you keep danger away when you are enjoying food and fun:

Choose a safe location for your grill. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one-quarter (27%) of home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio and 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch.* Keep grills on a level surface more than 10 feet away from the house, garage, deck rails or other structures. Keep away from children, pets, landscaping and overhanging branches. Grills should not be used on a balcony or under an overhang.

Grill outside only! Never use a grill in a garage, vehicle, tent or other enclosed space, even if ventilated, due to risk of harmful carbon monoxide buildup.

Keep gas grills and supplies safe. Always store gas grills – and propane tanks – outside and away from your house. Turn off valves if the odor of gas is detected or when not in use. Check at least annually for leaks in the connections.

Use the right fuel the right way. While starting and maintaining the flame in a charcoal grill can be challenging, avoid shortcuts. Only use starter fluids intended for these grills. Never use gasoline or too much starter fluid. If the fire is too low, rekindle with dry kindling and more charcoal if needed. Avoid adding liquid fuel because it can cause a flash fire. Do not leave grill unattended.

Do not forget post-grilling safety. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. If using a charcoal grill, dispose of coals by soaking them in water to let them cool completely and placing them in a closed metal container away from your home, garage or deck. Be aware that grills themselves remain hot long after extinguished.


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