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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 lawsuits - lawsuits

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.

 

Beware Of Negligent Supervision!

Author TonyScurich , 9/14/2016
Several courts have found yet another way for someone to sue contractors. This term refers to lawsuits against you for alleged failure to exercise proper control over your employers. For example, one of your employees might be accused of injuring others recklessly while driving a truck on company business. A "negligent supervision" suit would claim that you were negligent in hiring this worker because you either failed to discover or ignored the fact that she had a record of reckless driving. You also have an obligation to supervise your staff. Although you can't foresee every incident, a court will look at whether you took reasonable steps to identify and guard against potential wrongdoing by your employees: everything from unsafe behavior on the job site to sexual harassment. It's not only about whether a worker actually committed an offence - it's about what you did to prevent it. To head off liability for negligent supervision, we'd recommend that you:
  • Set and enforce clear guidelines for interviewing and hiring employees.
  • Provide training in conflict resolution and communication. Supervisors need to know when to report certain behaviors and which behaviors to look for, such as verbal abuse, failing to cooperate with supervisors or co-workers .and making inappropriate comments.
  • Conduct regular performance evaluations to address specific behavior or job performance changes.
  • Provide multiple avenues to receive allegations of misbehavior, and have unbiased managers investigate complaints so that no conflicts of interest exist. Investigate every incidents promptly and take decisive action.
We stand ready to review your company's exposure to negligent supervision claims - and how your Liability insurance coverage can help protect you. Just give us a call.

Is Your Cell Phone Policy Up To Date?

Author TonyScurich , 7/8/2016
1

If not, you have a problem. For the past several years, more and more states and cities have limited or banned driver use of cell phones. Warns the Web site DrivingLaws.org, "Although employer responsibility isn't specifically defined in the cell phone legislation, there have been an increasing number of lawsuits relating to employer responsibility regarding mobile cell-phone use [by] employees."

With motor vehicle accidents the leading cause of work-related injuries, using cell phones behind the wheel ups the ante for litigation in case of death, injury, or other third-party claims. What's more, drivers injured while phoning on company time will generally be eligible for Workers Compensation.

The first step is to create and implement a cell-phone use policy for employees driving company vehicles. Although this won't protect you completely from legal responsibility, it demonstrates your forethought and responsibility.

This plan should include guidelines for:

  • Training. Provide instruction manuals so employees know the features of their phones.
  • Safety. Remind employees not to dial or talk when driving conditions are hazardous, keep conversations short, tell the other person that the employee is calling while driving, and turn off phones whenever they pump gas or use jumper cables.
  • Making calls. Discourage cell-phone use behind the wheel and require drivers to pull over and stop when dialing.
  • Voice mail/caller ID. Make sure drivers' phones have these features so they can screen calls behind the wheel.
  • Accident/injury reports. Require employees to report any accidents or injuries resulting from cell-phone use while driving.
  • Discipline. Punish workers who violate these rules or local or state laws about using cell phones behind the wheel.

We'd be happy to help you develop a comprehensive policy for drivers' use of cell phones. Just give us a call.


The ABC'S Of Construction Liability Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 6/22/2016
No matter how large or small the job in the building trade is, it's always the best policy to carry insurance again liability for losses from injuries, accidents, or property damage during construction. Residential building contractors need a Liability policy to protect them from lawsuits from homeowners for construction-related losses, or from workers injured on the job. Make sure that your contract requires every sub to carry their own Liability insurance and exempt you from responsibility from damage they might produce during construction. The amount of coverage you need will depend on the size of the contract. As a rule of thumb, it's wise to have two or three times the size of the project budget. Commercial contractors usually carry millions in Liability insurance. Contractors with higher risk of damages (for example, roofers or contractors in highly specialized trades) often take out higher coverage. Your Liability policy will set coverage amounts (limits) for both each occurrence and overall (aggregate) values. Limits are also set for: 1) fire damage to property under construction; 2) medical expenses for injured workers on the jobsite who might not be covered under Workers Compensation; and 3) personal and advertising injury (claims that promotion or advertising caused a financial or personal loss to the owner of the home or building). While many contractors pay their Liability premiums up front, those with cash flow problems others prefer to finance them through an indemnity corporation with a down payment and monthly payments over six months to a year. As always, our insurance experts stand ready to help you find comprehensive Liability coverage at a rate you can afford. 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.  

Obese Workers Help Drive Up Comp Rates

Author TonyScurich , 2/3/2016
1 Industry experts expect a 13% average hike in Workers Compensation premiums in 2013, driven by a variety of reasons, from widespread fraud to the growth of lawsuits for work-related injuries. One factor in these increases: Higher medical expenses for treatment of obese workers for the "co-morbid" ailments (such as diabetes and heart attacks) that stem from their expanding waistlines. A 2007 Duke University Medical School study found that overweight workers file more Comp claims, have higher medical costs, and miss more workdays due to job-related injuries than do their non-obese counterparts. A recent nationwide study of insurers doing business in 40 states confirms this conclusion. The survey by NCCI Holdings, Inc. found that the length of Workers Comp indemnity benefits paid to the most severely obese workers is more than five times greaterthan that of non-obese workers who file comparable claims. When the study included the duration of permanent partial disability, the multiple climbed to more than six to one. This relationship between worker obesity and Workers Comp costs reinforces the need for employers to offer their workers weight management programs. In addition to keeping these costs under control, these plans will help to reduce absenteeism and increase workplace productivity -- not to mention help employees get, and remain, healthy. What's not to like? Our agency's Workers Comp professionals stand ready to help you develop and implement a weight reduction program for your employees. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

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.


Protecting Your Business: The CGL Solution

Author TonyScurich , 4/14/2014
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Commercial general liability insuranceIn today’s “litigation society,” you face lawsuits that could cripple your bottom line – or even put you out of business – based on anything from a fire on your premises to an allegation of libel by a competitor. Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance provides financial protection against damage or injury caused by something that your business did, or perhaps didn’t do. Your CGL policy covers a variety of exposures:
  • Premises and Operations Legal Liability pays for injuries or property damage on your premises, as well as those that occur outside your place of business.
  • Products and Completed Operations Legal Liability covers injury or property damage resulting from someone using your products, or real or alleged faults as a result of work your business has completed.
  • Fire Legal Liability pays for injuries and damage from fires for which your business is responsible or that started due to your negligence.
  • Personal and Advertising Injury protects your business against litigation alleging libel, slander, or invasion of privacy.
  • Host Liquor Legal Liability will pay for lawsuits from hosting a party or special event at which you serve alcohol and intoxicated people cause injuries or property damage.
  • Medical Payments covers bills when your customers, suppliers, or visitors suffer bodily injury on your premises, or resulting from your operations offsite.
To learn more about this essential coverage, just give us a call at Scurich Insurance Services today!