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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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Business Continuity Planning: A Three-Step Approach

Author TonyScurich , 10/19/2016
Every business is vulnerable to disruptions. Most companies have taken steps to mitigate the impact of major hazards. However many businesses have neglected smaller, more probable perils, ranging from inadequate fire protection and offsite data backup, through the death or disability of key personnel, to over-reliance on a limited number of vendors. While you can transfer many risks that could disrupt your business to insurance companies (through such coverages as Business Interruption and Extra Expense policies), this probably won’t be enough to ensure that the company will survive or continue its long-term growth and profitability. To prevent and/or reduce the impact of such a mishap, it makes sense to implement Business Continuity Planning (BCP). This process involves three key steps:
  • Pre-disruption planning. Assess the “risk and threat environment” of your business and take steps to reduce these hazards and weaknesses.
  • Disruption response. The extent and nature of losses will depend on the effectiveness of the emergency plans that you implement during the incident to provide a methodical, rational, and coordinated approach to dealing with the disruptions.
  • Post-disruption recovery. While the first two steps can reduce or mitigate risk, the recovery process focuses on rebuilding and restoration. Although many businesses depend heavily on central and distributed computer resources, a comprehensive BCP involves a wide variety of crucial activities that need to continue with minimal interruption.
Your BCP should not be a one-time project that involves creating a plan and then moving on to “business as usual” – but a long-term commitment to design, develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive, company-wide strategy to keep your business running effectively.. We’d be happy to review the risks facing your business and tailor a Business Continuation Plan to your needs.

Avoid Sticker Shock For Your Teenage Driver

Author TonyScurich , 10/3/2016
Adding a teenager to your auto policy can raise your rate by more than 40%. The good news: you and your teen can reduce these hikes significantly in a variety of ways:
  1. Get good grades. Most insurance companies offer high school or college students with a B average or better a discount of up to 10%.
  2. Live away from home. Students at college or living at least 100 miles from their parents without a car can usually get a 5%-10% discount.
  3. Take an additional driving class. Although most insurance companies don’t give a discount for mandatory drivers’ed instruction, some companies will reduce premiums by 5% for teens who go to follow-up classes.
  4. Sign a parent-teen driving contract. Your insurer might offer up to a 5% discount if your teen agrees to follow such rules as not driving at night or with friends in the car.
  5. Raise your deductible. However, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay this deductible if your teen driver damages the car. If you repair every ding, you could spend a lot more than you'll save on premiums with a higher deductible.
  6. Reduce or drop some coverage. If you have an older car, you might not need Comprehensive or Collision insurance. Be wary of lowering Liability limits. In most cases, it makes sense to keep Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays medical expenses of anyone injured in an auto accident.
  7. Choose a safe vehicle. The higher the safety rating of your car, the lower your premiums – and the safer your teenager will be behind the wheel.
We’d be happy to help you minimize the sticker shock of adding a teen driver. Just give us a call.

That's Hot! Home Insurance Technology Trends

Author TonyScurich , 7/20/2016
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If you want to insure a mansion or a priceless art collection, don't be surprised if a certified thermographer shows up at your door, infrared camera in hand.

Thermal imaging cameras are among the latest high-tech tools Homeowners insurers are using to help stem losses before they become catastrophes, saving policyholders from heartbreak and companies millions in damage claims. One major insurance company is using thermal imaging cameras for its high-value homes, letting inspectors "see" hidden hot or cool spots. A hot reading might indicate a fire hazard from an electrical malfunction, while a cool reading could come from a leak. In one case, the camera detected a cool spot in a ceiling due to a leak caused by a faulty 37-cent clip in an upstairs ice maker. If the ceiling had collapsed, it would have caused $125,000 in damage. High-tech devices aren't limited to the high-end market. One insurer offers an online risk-assessment tool that its Homeowners clients can use to find the risks for flooding, wildfire and storm surge, based on their address. This company also provides its clients inexpensive alarms that can detect potential water leaks before they can cause extensive, and expensive, damage. Insurance companies are exploring new technologies. One insurer has patented a data recorder that can be installed in building to analyze potential causes of damage or destruction. Another company has filed a patent for a system that would use spectroscopy to identify chemical changes caused by wildfires and other natural disasters. If such a change were detected and confirmed, the company could speed up the claims process.

Opioid Abuse: Employer, Beware!

Author TonyScurich , 5/27/2016
1 Misuse of powerful prescription painkillers, whether intentional or accidental, is a rapidly growing threat to employers throughout the nation. Opioid overdoses caused more than 16,000 deaths in 2010, the latest year for which data is available; and about 12 million people use prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons. In addition to the human tragedy, opioid addiction creates a significant financial problem for both businesses - in terms of lost productivity - and their insurance companies. Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs Health insurers more than $70 billion a year; while narcotics prescriptions account for one-fourth of Workers Comp prescription drug expenses (costs that ultimately come out of employers' pockets). Government plays a significant role in dealing with this problem. The federal Department of Health and Human Services regulates Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through the Division of Pharmacologic Therapies. On the state level, for example, California has followed the lead of Washington State by devising treatment guidelines to curb over-prescription and abuse of opioids. These measures include limiting opioid prescriptions to six weeks after surgery or injury and using non-opioid painkillers as a preliminary pain management measure in non-acute cases. However, these regulatory or legislative efforts can only go so far. No employer can afford to ignore the issue of opioid abuse among its workers - and your Workers Compensation manager is well-positioned to intervene in these cases by implementing a risk management plan that:
  • ensures that patients are treated early and effectively;
  • monitors and manages opioid prescriptions;
  • uses predictive modeling to tag potentially severe claims;
  • requires physician peer reviews for opioid prescriptions;
  • uses drug testing and screening workers prescribed with drugs;
  • provides post-addiction help; and
  • phases workers back into their jobs
We stand ready to offer our advice at any time.

Wrap Up Your Construction Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 4/20/2016
Wrap-up or "Wrap" Construction insurance can provide a highly effective tool to reduce costs and avoid headaches in insuring large, complex projects and the workers building them. Wrap policies usually offer superior coverage, higher policy limits and greater contract certainty than traditional Commercial General Liability, Workers Compensation, and (often) Builders Risk insurance written for individual subcontractors and types of risk. What's more, Wrap coverage can minimize potential cross-litigation on construction projects. Although they've been available for decades, these policies have become widespread in recent years, due to the skyrocketing costs of raw materials, financing, and litigation. There are two types of Wrap coverage; owner-controlled insurance policies (OCIP), and contractor-controlled insurance policies (CCIP). Either variety allows the owner to spread the risk among different parties, while providing a seamless insurance safety net for every company and individual involved - which can translate into profit, based on loss experienced over the life of the policy. Because of their extensive coverage, Wrap policies are usually more expensive than other types of Construction insurance for the owner or primary contractor, who will pass on the extra cost among the general contractors and sub-contractors on the project. This is a small price to pay considering the peace of mind that comes from having all coverages and insured parties protected under a single policy. Because of their complexity, insurance companies often tailor Wrap policies for each project, writing them on a customized ("manuscript") basis. Our agency's professionals would be happy to work with you and your insurer in creating coverage that's comprehensive and cost-effective. That's what we're here for.

10 Costly Return-To-Work Mistakes

Author TonyScurich , 4/15/2016
4 By decreasing work time lost from to job-related injuries and illnesses, Return-to-Work (RTW) programs can reduce your insurance costs (Workers Compensation, Disability, and Medical insurance), strengthen workplace morale, boost productivity - and help protect you against ADAAA litigation. Here are ten common mistakes by businesses when using RTW:
  1. Failure to manage the higher number of employees covered by the ADAAA. An expanded definition of disability has increased the number of employees under the ADA to the point that some attorneys advise against fighting disability claims.
  2. Insisting on employee release to "full duty" before returning to work. This raises Workers Comp costs and the possibility of the employee not returning to work when medically possible.
  3. Ignoring co-morbidities. Health issues that complicate or delay an employee's recovery (such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension) can increase Comp claims.
  4. Failure to commit the necessary budget or resources. The costs of absences and non-compliance with government rules is usually far higher than that of implementing an RTW.
  5. Reluctance to set transitional assignments because employees "might get reinjured." It's even riskier to have them stay at home and develop a "disability attitude" that extends the absence and boosts costs.
  6. Failure to distinguish "light duty" from "transitional work." The ADAAA permits employers to reserve less physically demanding or "light-duty" jobs for those with work-related disabilities - and these jobs should be distinct from transitional tasks.
  7. Relying on physicians to guide the RTW process. Although physicians are medical experts, they're not familiar with workplace policies, job demands, and the availability of transitional work.
  8. Failure to understand overlapping and conflicting laws. The clashing requirements of insurance companies and state and local governments can be a nightmare.
  9. Inability to focus on the goal. An Integrated Benefits Institute study ranked a focus on the employee's job as the major success factor in successful RTW programs.
  10. Believing that Workers Comp settlements resolve other liabilities. One size does not fit all.
 

That’s Not Me!

Author TonyScurich , 12/16/2015

"But he that filches from me my good name/Robs me of that which not enriches him/And makes me poor indeed." - Shakespeare, Othello, act iii. Sc. 3.

Identity theft is a huge problem in the United States. Did you know that identity thieves stole approximately $21 Billion from victims in 2012? This equates to one incident of fraud every three seconds. That’s scary. In every minute, 20 acts of fraud occur. When you keep adding up the numbers it looks horrific. Most victims don’t know until it’s too late that they have become a victim of identity theft. If you are one of the victims of identity theft, we have listed a few things for you to do:

  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) whether online or by phone, 877-438-4338.
  • If necessary, send mail certified and request a return receipt.
  • Contact your bank and let them know of the fraud.
  • Contact all of your credit card companies and credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) and inform them of the situation.
  • Contact your insurance companies and make them aware of the theft.
  • Keep a detailed filing system. Keep all your originals, only send copies of originals to requestors.
  • Follow all deadlines. Keep a timeline of when you spoke to a person and set up a follow up date.

Following the above guidelines will help minimize any future thefts. We hope that you never have to use this list.


Property Insurance for Multiple Locations: what does a loss limit do for you.

Author TonyScurich , 8/5/2015
Loss limit policies insure property on an occurrence basis to a limit of the probable maximum loss rather than an actual total property value. If a manufacturer has ten locations in ten states each valued at three million dollars including contents, the probable maximum loss might be three million dollars. No one storm, earthquake, or fire will destroy any two in one occurrence. If all ten locations are within a mile of the east coastline, a hurricane might destroy several plants, for a probable maximum loss of, say for example, nine million dollars. In the first case, the policy limit might be four million, in the second, maybe ten rather than thirty million. This method of valuation provides insurance for very high value risks or when some portion of the risk is hard to reinsure. Reinsurance is a spread of risk system for all insurance companies. For very high value risks, sometimes it is not possible to reinsure the total value of property. Insurers and reinsurers each have a maximum limit per loss. Windstorm, flood and earthquake hazards can be difficult to insure. Insuring all locations with a single maximum loss is a way to get some insurance for all locations. Loss limit policies tend to be more expensive because total losses are theoretically many more times as likely. Co-insurance became popular with insurance companies because insureds only wanted to buy enough insurance for the probable maximum loss on a single property. Loss limit policies can be viewed as total protection without a coinsurance clause. The insurance underwriter goes into the process with eyes wide open about pricing each occurrence for ten potential first dollar losses or one catastrophic loss. The principles of spread of risk and actuarial loss prediction remain constant but apply differently. If you have a portfolio of properties spread geographically, with perhaps a few in hurricane or earthquake zones, review your loss limit options.

Ways to help prevent home theft

Author TonyScurich , 6/3/2015

Scurich Insurance Services, Watsonville, CA, Homeowners InsuranceBurglars will not find your home an "easy mark" if they are forced to work in the light, if they have to take a lot of time breaking in, or if they cannot break in without making a lot of noise.

Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.

Most insurance companies provide 2 percent to 15 percent discounts for devices that make a home safer—dead-bolt locks, window grates, bars and smoke/fire/burglar alarms.

However, when improving the security of your home, do not exchange security for personal safety. Do not make your home such a fortress that you are unable to escape in case of a fire or other emergency.

Check your Home for Weaknesses and Correct Them

  • Take the time to "case" your house or apartment, just as a burglar would. Where is the easiest entry? How can you make it more burglar-resistant?
  • Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows, and think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard. High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy, but can also be an asset to a burglar. Consider trading a little extra privacy for a bit of added security.
  • Force any would-be burglar to confront a real enemy—light. Exterior lights and motion detectors, mounted out of easy reach, can reduce the darkness a burglar finds comforting.
  • Simple security devices—nails, screws, padlocks, door and window locks, grates, bars and bolts—can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home.
  • Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective ones also ring at an outside service.

Are any of your valuables—paintings, a silver collection or a computer—easy to see from outside the house? Rearranging your furnishings might be advisable if it makes your home less inviting to criminals.

Simple Security Steps

Doors

Make sure you have strong doors. Outside doors should be metal or solid hardwood, and at least 1 3/4 inches thick. Frames must be made of equally strong material, and each door must fit its frame securely. Even the most efficient lock, if it is placed in a weak door, will not keep out a determined burglar.

A peephole or a wide-angle viewer in the door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain.

Sliding glass doors present a special problem because they are easy to open, but if you have these doors, you can find special locks for them. A broomstick in the door channel can also help, but cannot be depended on.

Locks

Deadbolt locks are best. They usually are locked with a key from the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. The cylinder (where the key is inserted) should be pick-resistant. Ask your hardware dealer for a reputable brand or buy your locks from a locksmith.

Windows

Key locks are available for all types of windows. Double-hung windows can be secured simply by "pinning" the upper and lower frames together with a nail, which can be removed from the inside.

For windows at street level or on fire escapes, consider installing metal accordion gates.

Home Security Habits

  • Establish a routine to make certain that doors and windows are locked and alarm systems are turned on.
  • Avoid giving information to unidentified telephone callers and announcing your personal plans in want ads or public notices (such as giving your address when advertising items for sale).
  • Notify the police if you see suspicious strangers in your area.
  • Do not carry house keys on a key ring bearing your home address or leave house keys with your car in a commercial parking lot or with an attendant.
  • Do not hide your keys in "secret" places outside your home—burglars usually know where to look.

Vacation Tips

  • Leave blinds open in their usual position.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office.
  • Lower the sound of your telephone ringer and answering machine so they cannot be heard outside.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Ask a friend to pick-up "throw-away" newspapers and circulars.
  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times. Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
  • Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what's happening in your area. Working closely with them is a good way to prevent crime.

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