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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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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.

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.


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.


Are You Ready For A Crisis Today?

Author TonyScurich , 2/26/2016
2 Hurricane Sandy, tornadoes, flood -- all of these disasters affected construction firms during the past year. Some companies took direct hits, while others suffered from massive service demands, and shortages of help and supplies. Although your business might never face such massive "destruction and distress," other events --everything from IT failure to vandalism -- could trigger a crisis. Whether it's a catastrophe or a stressful disruption, the best way to prepare for any potential disaster is to develop a catastrophe plan in advance. This plan should allow your staff to mobilize the right resources quickly in the right order so you can get up and running with as many contingencies as possible accounted for in advance. How do you go about developing a plan? What's the process? Who should you include? How often should you review and update it? An effective plan should involve a "business resumption team" with managers from these areas:
  • Information technology
  • Communications, both internal and external
  • Moves and relocations
  • Services and logistics
  • Salvage and security
  • Customer service
Before a crisis erupts, the team will determine what activities to follow, assign responsibilities for these tasks, and provide the resources and information needed. When compiled and organized, these activities, responsibilities, resources, and information make up the disaster plan. Don't wait for a crisis to uncover the gaps in your preparations. Get started now on creating and/or updating your plan. Feel free to give us a call so we can offer our advice and recommendations. Insurance might not solve all your crisis planning problems, but it can provide a solid foundation.

Eleven Steps To Safe Parking On The Job

Author TonyScurich , 2/1/2016
1When it comes to workplace safety, have you considered the company parking lot or garage? Your workers use it at least twice a day to stow and shelter their vehicles, but beyond that it's fairly invisible. A closer look reveals that predators might easily be lurking there. To minimize this threat, experts recommend ensuring that workers (as well as visitors) take these precautions:
  1. Stay alert for cruising vehicles, whose drivers can stop suddenly and jump out to rob or assault you.
  2. If you're using a parking lot, park near the building in a visible, lighted area.
  3. In a parking garage, park near the parking attendant (if there is one) or near a well-lit exit. Women should avoid using stairs and elevators, if possible.
  4. Use the main exit/entrance rather than a side or secluded one.
  5. Lock any valuables (including GPS, shopping, other bags, etc.) out of sight. If you're walking to your vehicle after hours, ask a co-worker or security officer to accompany you.
  6. If you have to walk alone, ask someone to watch from inside, if possible. Turn around frequently to make sure you're not being followed and pretend that you're waving to someone ahead to give the impression you're not alone.
  7. Don't talk on your cellphone or listen to music with ear pods -- predators are looking for victims who seem distracted or unaware.
  8. Have your car keys and personal alarm or whistle ready as you approach your vehicle.
  9. If someone nearby looks suspicious, keep walking and get to a safe place where you can call for help.
  10. Before you unlock the door, take a good look around, inside, and behind the vehicle.
  11. Once you enter the vehicle, lock all doors promptly and keep your windows up until you've exited the lot or garage.
Words to the wise.  

Crisis Planning - Don't Wait

Author TonyScurich , 1/15/2016

3Natural disasters can do significant damage to construction firms. Some suffer direct hits, while others endure massive service demands and shortages of help and supplies.

Although you might escape massive destruction and distress, what other events might cause your company to suffer a crisis? IT failure? Burglary or vandalism? Professional liability? Fire? Loss of market?

Whether disaster strikes as a catastrophic or stressful disruption, the best way to prepare for them is crisis management. Now is the time to develop a plan that will allow you and your staff to mobilize the right resources in the right order quickly to get you up and running as smoothly as possible.

How do you develop such a plan? What's the process? Who should you include? How often should you review and update it?

We can help by providing risk management advice and recommendations, together with materials and resources tailored to your needs and exposures. Although insurance might not solve all your post-crisis problems, it can certainly provide a solid foundation for your planning should the worst happen.

Don't wait for a crisis to uncover the gaps in your current preparations. Start now.


Need Tips For OCIPS?

Author TonyScurich , 1/13/2016

2For years, Owner-Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIPs) were only found on large, single-site projects. Every day, more contractors are being required to work under these types of arrangements, either on smaller projects or "rolling" OCIPs that cover multiple projects. This requires contractors to identify and deal with the variety of complex issues that these programs raise.

Don't go it alone. Our Construction Insurance professionals stand ready to help. If you'd like to do some research on your own, the Insurance Risk Management Institute (IRMI) provides a wealth of solid safety guidelines that are updated frequently. Originally created as a resource for contractor risk management information, IRMI publishes one of the best and most extensive libraries of insurance expertise in the nation and is widely used by insurance agents and risk managers in all types of businesses.

"A Contractor's Guide to OCIPs," available on the Construction Business Owner Web site, offers valuable guidelines on the benefits and risks of these programs, together with tips on making the most from them, and dealing with such issues as loss costs, separating Construction Insurance costs from bids, and estimating labor expenses.

Check out the guide. Then give us a call on how to apply its principles to your business. When it comes to your protection, don't let "owner controlled" mean "out of control.


The Ten Commandments Of Workplace Safety

Author TonyScurich , 12/30/2015

Following these principles of leadership will help you and your employees focus on job safety:

  1. Don’t walk by. It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent any potentially unsafe acts and conditions they witness from turning into accidents.
  2. STOP! Encourage employees to stop working whenever they feel unsafe, no matter what reason they give.
  3. Focus on a safe working environment. If you expect your workers to work safely, make their workplace as safe as possible.
  4. Don’t blame the worker first. Unsafe ways of working, accidents, incidents, and ill health aren’t necessarily the worker’s fault. The problem often comes from less obvious causes, such as decisions by management.
  5. Use your workforce for ideas. Employees often have a more accurate idea than you or your managers about which safety and health practices will work, because they deal with these issues every day.
  6. Be patient. Don’t expect quick wins. Improvements will emerge over time, but only if you stick with them.
  7. Explain your decisions. Just telling workers that something is wrong or a safety risk isn’t enough. If they’re to act on the information you provide, they need to know why and how to avoid harm.
  8. Lead by example. Your behavior sends powerful signals. If you carry out your job in a safe way, your workers are more likely to do the same. If you don’t, they won’t imitate you.
  9. Focus on co-operation. Treat your subcontractors in the same way as employees by encouraging them to communicate with each other.
  10. Don’t neglect occupational health. If you look after the health, as well as the safety, of your workers today, you’re less likely to create problems for them or your business tomorrow.

Sound advice!


Winter Driving Tips

Author TonyScurich , 12/14/2015
aquaplaning-83008_1280Any travel during winter months is risky. Storms come out of nowhere, roads become icy quickly and inexperienced drivers take unwise risks. Be prepared to stay safe on the road thanks to eight winter driving tips. 1. Check the forecast. In less than a minute, you can find out if you'll be driving in fog, snow or ice. You can also discover which roads are blocked and if you need to find an alternative route to your destination. 2. Slow down. In snowy conditions, cut your speed in half to ensure you have adequate stopping distance. Don't go so slow, though, that you lose momentum on grades. 3. Know skid recovery. Braking on slippery roads can cause your vehicle to slide instead of stop. If this happens, you need to know how to recover. Stay off the brake and steer your vehicle the way you want it to go. 4. Stay smooth at the controls. Pounding on the brake, shifting hard and even clenching the steering wheel make winter driving harder than it has to be. Instead, use smooth motions and relax as you drive. 5. Check your tires. Proper tire inflation and tread improve your vehicle's traction and ability to stay on the wet or icy roads. Check the inflation of your snow tires frequently since cold weather decreases tire pressure, and make sure the tread is at least 1/8-inch. Carry snow chains, too, if necessary. 6. Know your vehicle. Every car and truck handles differently. Before heading out in winter weather, make sure you know how your vehicle handles. Know where the windshield wipers, defrost button and four-ways are, too. 7. Pack survival supplies. If you're stranded or in an accident, you need a few supplies. Definitely store a snow shovel, sand or litter and lock de-icer in your vehicle. Consider packing a portable power source, flashlight, waterproof matches, tow rope, first aid kit, energy bars and blanket also. If you do get stranded, wait for help to arrive. 8. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you drowsy and reduce alertness. Drink water before you head out and carry a bottle or two with you so that you can stay alert. Winter driving can be dangerous, but follow these eight tips to stay safe. Remember to check in with your auto insurance agent, too. Update your policy as you prepare for whatever winter throws at you on the road.

Insurance and Your Recreational Vehicle in California

Author TonyScurich , 4/16/2015
RVTaking your fun off road ratchets up the fun quotient considerably. There is nothing quite like the thrill of hitting the rugged trails and backwoods roads in your ATV or dirt bike. Keep the fun flowing all year round by making sure that you have the right insurance before you head out on your favorite recreational vehicle.

Don't Make Insurance Assumptions

The last thing you want to do is assume that your current insurance will cover any mishaps that might occur involving your ATV or dirt bike. The reality is that this is not likely to be the case. In nearly all instances, your homeowners' insurance and auto insurance will not cover any damages incurred by or to your off road recreational vehicles. For example, if you wreck your ATV on your own property, it is not likely that your homeowners insurance will pay for it.

Taking Your Recreational Vehicles out in Public

California is blessed with a gorgeous climate and many different types of terrain. Taking your dirt bike or ATV to one of the many recreational areas that exists within the state adds variety to your hobby time while also giving you much needed space to test your speed and agility. Before you make plans to do so, though, you need to make sure that you have the necessary insurance as required by California.

Specialized Insurance for Specialized Equipment

Speaking with your insurance company about your ATVs and dirt bikes can help them craft a unique insurance plan for you. This plan will provide you with the liability, collusion and comprehensive insurance that covers any issue that might arise while you are enjoying your hobby.

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