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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 information - information

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  

Follow The Signs To A Safer Workplace

Author TonyScurich , 10/24/2016
Workplace safety signs and tags play a key role in helping prevent accidents to workers and visitors alike. To make the most effective use of signs and tags in your facility that comply with OSHA regulation (29 CFR 1910.145), we’d recommend that you follow these guidelines:
  • Identify all hazards throughout the workplace. In addition to obvious dangers, include those that are out of the ordinary, unexpected, or not readily apparent.
  • Select or design signs and tags. Make sure they conform to OSHA requirements and are consistent in format.
  • Use proper wording. According to OSHA, "the wording of any sign should be easily read, concise, and contain sufficient information to be easily understood."
  • Position signs carefully. Signs should be placed so that they’re easy to see and read from a distance and draw maximum attention to hazards.
  • Identify safety and fire protection equipment clearly. This includes such items as eyewash stations and safety showers, as well as fire extinguishers and hoses.
  • Employ tags properly. OSHA requires that "tags shall be used as a means to prevent accidental injury or illness to employees who are exposed to hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions, equipment, or operations.”
  • Review your program whenever new hazards are introduced. If you just put up signs and tags and forget about them, your facility probably won’t be in compliance with the OSHA regulations. Check the program frequently to make sure that it’s still doing the job.
The workplace safety professionals at our agency would be happy to help you review your signage and tag policy. Give us a call at any time.

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.  

The EEOC Systemic Expedition

Author TonyScurich , 9/26/2016

In an issue of Corporate Counsel an article entitled It's a Systemic World Out There discusses the EEOC's pursuing large "systemic" cases. For example, in fiscal year 2011 they conducted 580 systemic investigations, filed 84 systemic lawsuits, and settled 35 systemic cases for total $9.6 million. Although your company might not be large enough to be on the EEOC's radar screen, I can tell you that attorneys are also suing small to midsized companies on a class basis. An employee walks into a lawyer's office because they didn't receive their final paycheck, and before you know it they're filing a class-action lawsuit against your company for missed overtime and meal periods. The article provided a few golden nuggets of advice:

  1. When responding to an EEOC inquiry, don't use the phrase "pursuant to our consistently applied policy." This only invites a broader request for information.
  2. Do not submit more information than is necessary.
  3. Conduct your own statistical analysis before submitting data.
  4. Do preventative analysis looking for adverse impacts in the hiring, promotion, or termination practices.
  5. Validate pre-employment tests.
  6. Conduct preventative compensation analysis periodically.
  7. Cover all internal analysis with attorney-client privilege. This might be impossible in smaller organizations, but you can certainly retain outside counsel to instruct you on how to conduct such analysis and report back to them.
  8. Listen to your employees. As I have always recommended, you should survey your employees, including use of the Employee Compliance Survey that can be found in HR That Works.
  9. Invigorate that underutilized internal complaint system. Again, go one step further and ask if there's a problem –don't wait for them to tell you there is one.
  10. Stay current with legal trends. This is one reason why HR That Works membership is so valuable.
  11. Walk the talk. Are you sensitive to the potential for your practices to cause adverse impacts? Frankly in my experience I can tell you that some business owners could care less about whether a practice causes an adverse impact. All they care about is getting the best employees they can, damn the EEOC. Of course, few companies appreciate a risk until they're hit with it.

Finally, the article points out how large corporations can gather the data requested by the EEOC easily because they have such large HRIS systems. However, most companies with less than 500 employees don't have this data readily available, and t collecting it can be an over-burdensome process. This is one reason to make sure that you hire an attorney any time you receive a communication from the EEOC or another regulatory agency.

 

Triangulating Fraud

Author TonyScurich , 9/21/2016
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Most people who commit fraud at work are not career criminals - and are often trusted staff with no criminal history. According to criminologist Donald Cressey, there are three factors (the "Fraud Triangle") that lead an ordinary person to fraud: opportunity, pressure, and rationalization.

Take this example: a bartender who splashes a little more scotch into his friends' drinks when they come into the bar is succumbing to opportunity; his peers' expectations that he'll do this create pressure; while telling himself that "everybody does this - and we're too stingy on our pours, anyway" provides a rationalization.

How can you use this three-legged tool to detect and deter fraud?

You can't do much with about rationalizing fraudulent misbehavior because everyone does it without announcing their decision in advance.

You can't learn whether employees might be under financial pressure to commit fraud without investigating their personal finances - which is impractical and illegal. However, you might be able to minimize work-based pressures they face (for example, forbidding managers from ordering them to hit their goals at all costs).

Opportunity provides the most effective leg in the triangle to curb fraud by making it more difficult. Here's how:

  1. Segregate duties so that no one has sole control over accounting, reconciling, custody of assets, and approval of transactions.
  2. Make sure that transactions which are unusual or involve large amounts have strong managerial oversight and follow-up.

In other words, develop effective control systems so that any larcenous employee will need to be clever enough to avoid several pair of eyes while running a gauntlet of people who reconcile accounts and monitor budget.

If fraud does strike despite these precautions, make sure that you have the right insurance to protect you from loss. For more information, just give us a call.


Protect Your Business When An Employee Leaves

Author TonyScurich , 9/19/2016
eMPLOYEE It's always difficult to terminate an employee - especially in this age of employment litigation and privacy concerns. Even if a worker leaves voluntarily, you need to make sure that he or she no longer has access to confidential information

The key to making sure that you've covered all bases of your bases is to follow a Departure Checklist:

  • When an employee leaves, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, notify all staff immediately to help reduce rumors, hurt feelings, and concerns. Keep the announcement positive.
  • Remove the employee from your facility soon as possible. Offering to have the person stay is nice, but might not always be helpful. If you decide to let the employee stay for the customary two weeks, assign him or her specific tasks to complete. Collect keys immediately and assign someone to work with the departing employee for the duration of their stay.
  • Once the decision has been made, restrict the employee's access to sensitive company information at once; be sure that this restriction includes any VPN or private access.
  • Have the employee review all items on which he or she is working and write a synopsis of what's needed to complete each item. Then review these items to create a specific workload transition plan, and assign them to other employees. The sooner you do this, the better.

The more you think through this process before a problem arises, the more effectively you'll be able to deal with it. We stand ready at any time to help you develop and implement an effective plan that can go a long way to help you protect your business from this risk.

 

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.

NIOSH Offers Tips On Preventing Work-Related Highway Crashes

Author TonyScurich , 8/26/2016
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Employment-related accidents behind the wheel are the leading cause of death from traumatic injuries in the workplace, killing some 2,200 people a year and accounting for 22% of job-related fatalities. Deaths and injuries from these accidents increase costs and reduce productivity for employers - while bringing pain and suffering to family, friends, and coworkers.

Preventing work-related roadway crashes poses a significant risk management challenge. The roadway is a unique work environment. Compared with other work settings, employers have little ability to control conditions and exert direct supervision over their drivers. The volume of traffic and road construction continue to increase, while workers feel pressured to drive faster for longer periods, and often use mobile electronic devices that distract them behind the wheel.

To help reduce this risk, for both long-distance truck drivers and employees who occasionally use personal vehicles for company business, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that employers follow these precautions:

  • Require drivers and passengers to use seat belts.
  • Ensure that employees who drive on the job have valid licenses.
  • Incorporate road fatigue management in safety programs.
  • Provide fleet vehicles with top quality crash protection.
  • Make sure employees receive training to operate specialized vehicles.
  • Offer periodic vision screening and physicals for employees whose primary job is driving.
  • Avoid requiring workers to drive irregular or extended hours.
  • Prohibit cell phone use and other distracting activities such as eating, drinking, or adjusting non-critical vehicle controls while driving.
  • Set schedules that allow drivers to obey speed limits.
  • Follow state laws on graduated driver's licensing and child labor.

For more information about how to prevent work-related driving deaths and injuries, just give one of our Risk Management experts a call at any time.


The Malware Epidemic: Seven Ways To Fight Back

Author TonyScurich , 8/5/2016
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Recent headlines about electronic spies hacking into computer networks from the Pentagon to China reinforce the dangerous reality that a "malware" (software that accesses systems to steal sensitive financial and client information) is becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread.

According to a recent report from the NPD Group, the average U.S. household with a Web connection has 5.7 devices - desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smart phones -- which are highly vulnerable to malware attacks. The more workers who use these devices to access the Web sites of their employers, the greater the threat of cybercrime. To help protect the security of your company's data against intrusion from malware, experts recommend taking these precautions:
  1. Identify the business processes and data you need to protect and the risks associated with them.
  2. Limit access to sensitive data to authorized users. Provide them with strong passwords and don't allow any sharing.
  3. Make sure that employees use only secure wireless networks when connecting to your site.
  4. Provide users with strong authentication measures and anti-malware software.
  5. Know your users and their behavior. Compare details of incoming login connections with the information you have about the user. If you find anomalies, add such precautions such answering a security question.
  6. Look for corrupted devices. Authenticated users might acquire malware on their devices that puts your data at risk once they log in. For example, man-in-the-browser (MitB) attacks can hijack authenticated sessions.
  7. Secure high-value transactions. Identify these transactions and refuse to accept them from devices with suspicious configurations.
Our agency's specialists can work with you in developing and implementing a comprehensive anti-malware program for your company. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.  

What’s more secure; financial records locked in a filing cabinet or financial records stored in the cloud?

Author TonyScurich , 7/29/2016
Pop quiz time. What's more secure; financial records locked in a filing cabinet or financial records stored in the cloud? If you don't understand how cloud security works, you probably said the filing cabinet. It's time for a little mythbusting about how secure your paperless office could be. Last week, Cindy Bates posted on the Microsoft SMB Blog about the benefits of a completely paperless office. Like Delta Airlines, who recently switched to the paperless cockpit, it's possible for any office or organization to ditch the dead trees and move entirely into the digital space. One of the first questions decision makers ask when considering the paperless office is "how secure is this?" It's a fair question, so let's consider Delta's paperless cockpit example and overall data security. The problem with paper is that, well, it's paper. Paper gets lost, it burns, it can be misfiled and disappear. It's only as secure as its physical location. If that location is a locked filing cabinet (or a vault under Fort Knox), if someone really wanted to get to it, they could. A file in the cloud cannot burn, be stolen, accidentally left behind in a restroom, or any other number of things that could affect a hard copy of important information. For a recent example, take a look at the Internet Archive, whose scanning facility in San Francisco caught fire. Although no data was stored in their San Francisco office, if it had been, cloud redundancies would have prevented any loss. But what about a data center, such as what powers Windows Azure or Office 365? Let's start with physical security: data centers are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A team of ninjas could, in theory, break in, but they'd still have to know which of the thousand machines contained your exact data—so unless you've upset the cast of Ocean's 11, it's significantly less likely than an office fire that could destroy physical data. In addition, with Office 365, data transmitted across networks is encrypted—so if some agency (or other villain) happens to tap the wires, they still won't be able to read your files. While a move to a paperless office does not entirely guarantee data security—there are still those ninjas to think about—it is significantly more secure than leaving your information in paper form, where it could be destroyed or stolen with greater ease. It's just one more reason to go paperless.