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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 liability - liability

THE ABC’S OF HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENTS

Author TonyScurich , 10/31/2016
Bookmark and Share Because construction projects are complex operations involving a number of subcontractors under your supervision, onsite accidents or injuries resulting from their work can easily lead to litigation against you. To protect yourself against claims, losses, and expenses if disputes arise during the project, make sure that all subcontractors sign a “Hold Harmless Agreement” clause. The terms of these clauses will vary from state to state. In some cases, this clause will protect the contractor from claims by corporations or companies that did not sign the agreement. There are three types of hold harmlessagreements: Under the Broad Form, the subcontractor assumes all liability for accidents due to negligence of the general contractor, and combined negligence between the two parties. Because of its sweeping terms, this form is relatively rare – and some states prohibit it. With the Intermediate Form the subcontractor takes on all liability for accidents and negligence, but will not be held accountable for the general contractor's actions. It doesn’t matter whether the incident was the subcontractor’s fault. If both parties were negligent, the subcontractor assumes liability all for its acts or omissions. Intermediate form agreements are relatively common. A Limited Form agreement makes the subcontractor liable only for the proportional part of its responsibility for a mishap. Other parties – such as subcontractors – will be held liable under their hold harmlessagreement(s) for their corresponding part of the accident or negligence. The type of agreement that’s best suited for your needs will vary depending on the nature of the project and state laws. As always, we stand ready to offer you our professional advice.

Pollution Liability: The CPL Solution

Author TonyScurich , 8/15/2016
Air, water, and soil pollution pose a serious financial threat for contractors. One small misstep can require thousands - or even millions - to clean up. Consider these scenarios:
  • Remodeling a school kicks up dust.
  • Using construction materials generates fumes that pollute the air.
  • Hitting an underground storage tank leads to the release of liquid pollutants.
  • Spraying to remove a bees' nest from a work area releases insecticides.
  • Tying into a sewer line improperly causes sewage to back up.
Your Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) policy provides severely limited protection against these types of pollution claims. Not to worry! Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) insurance can protect you. (These policies are sometimes written together with Contractors Professional Liability coverage - see the previous article). CPL covers Bodily Injury and Property Damage - whether by settlement or verdict - as well as the expenses of investigating, defending, or settling claims. Most policies also cover the costs of removing or neutralizing pollutants and restoring the damaged property. CPL policies usually include a "hammer clause" that works like this: if the contractor chooses to fight a claim, rather than settle it, the insurance company's liability for damages and claims expenses is limited to what it would have had to pay if the contractor had approved the settlement. As you can imagine, most contractors choose to settle when their insurer recommends this approach. As with Contractors Professional Liability coverage, CPL policies are usually written on a case-by-case basis, with the size of the policy depending on your situation (for example coverage might be worldwide or limited to the U.S). Our agency would be happy to work with you, and the quality insurance companies we represent, to tailor a program suited for your needs. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

Don't Let Your Products Damage Your Bottom Line

Author TonyScurich , 5/4/2016
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Product Liability Insurance helps protect your company from damages for losses related to manufacturing or selling products or other goods.

These claims can, and do, put businesses out of business - just ask the officers of any asbestos manufacturer. Companies are vulnerable to three types of products claims
  1. Manufacturing or production flaws that create an unsafe defect in the product. For an example, just recall the recent claims against Chinese manufacturers for using dangerous chemicals in their products.
  2. Design defects that make the product inherently unsafe. (The series of lawsuits against Toyota vehicles for defective acceleration controls during the past two years comes to mind.)
  3. Inadequate warnings or instructions, such as failing to label a product properly or advise consumers about potential risks. A famous example is the McDonald's "hot coffee case."
Damages can include medical costs, compensatory damages, economic damages, and (in some instances) attorney fees and costs, as well as any punitive damages. Some sellers and retailers choose not to buy Product Liability Insurance because they don't actually "manufacture" anything. However, most states follow the "stream of commerce" model of liability, meaning that if your company sells a product, you can be held liable for damages to the end user. "Business Owners" and Commercial General Liability policies usually include some type of Product Liability Coverage (Sometimes known as Product/Completed Operations Insurance). Premiums are based upon the type of product and sales volume. If you try to reduce premiums by underreporting sales or insuring only a percentage of your sales, you'll probably face a hefty "underinsurance" penalty. Make sure to identify your products properly, too. For example; if you supply stepstools, you don't want them categorized as ladders, which have a higher premium because of their greater risk potential. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our Business Insurance professionals.

Auto Liability Insurance: How Much Is Enough?

Author TonyScurich , 3/7/2016
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Have you ever wondered about the three numbers that are part of your Auto Liability insurance, usually written in this form: XX/YY/ZZ?

The first number refers to the maximum amount of Bodily Injury Liability (BI) for an individual injured in an auto accident; the second is BI per coverage per accident; while the third covers Property Damage Liability (PD) per vehicle. For example a policy with 30/60/15 Liability coverage would pay up to $30,000 in BI per individual, $60,000 worth of BI per vehicle, and $15,000 in PD per vehicle.

Every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of Liability coverage under their Auto policy. Limits by state vary from 10/20/10 in Florida to 80/100/25 in Maine. These numbers have remained fairly stable for a number of years.

However, because a car accident can cost far more than the Liability minimums that most states require, people usually carry more coverage. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you have at least $100,000 of BI protection per person and $300,000 per accident (known as 100/300).

If you hold the minimum coverage required by your state and you're involved in an accident in another state that requires higher minimum coverage, the chances are that your policy limits will increase automatically to meet the other state's minimum requirements.

We'd be happy to make sure that this feature applies under your Auto insurance - and to discuss the most cost-effective ways of protect yourself and your family from liability for accidents behind the wheel (such as increasing your Liability coverage or choosing higher deductibles).

For a complimentary review of your policy, just give us a call.


Social Media As A Hiring Tool - Employer Beware!

Author TonyScurich , 1/8/2016

4The spread of social media has revolutionized not only the way we connect with friends and family, but also how we conduct business. However, this asset can quickly turn into a liability if misused - for example, in recruiting your company's most valuable asset - its employees.

Many employers begin the hiring process by using social-media outlets to screen applicants. LinkedIn and Facebook can provide a wealth of information about applicants' education, their friends, and their personal behavior. Some companies reject candidates based on the content of their social-media pages. This might include anything from inappropriate photos or comments, discriminatory or slanderous statements, and references to alcohol and substance abuse, to sharing confidential information about their previous employers(s), displaying poor communication skills, or exaggerating their qualifications.

Although all of these indicators raise red flags, you could be risking a costly and annoying discrimination lawsuit if you access social-media sites which contain protected class information that's not privileged in the normal hiring process.

To minimize this risk, it makes sense to:

  1. When hiring, use outside third parties such as background-verification companies and/or recruiters who document content from social-media sites in selecting candidates
  2. Develop and enforce a comprehensive social-media usage policy.
  3. Purchase an Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy

For more information, please feel free to get in touch with our agency


Rental Equipment Insurance, Anyone?

Author TonyScurich , 1/6/2016

2The growth rate of the rental equipment industry in the U.S. is skyrocketing by 24% a year, as more and more companies use the tax and other financial advantages of renting over purchasing. Renting also allows businesses to get the exact machine they need when they need it at a low cost, rather than spending a lot more to buy a device that would spend most of the time gathering dust.

On the downside, if using a piece of equipment that you have rented causes damage or results in legal liability, you could be out thousands of dollars - unless you carry Rental Equipment insurance.

This policy often costs less than similar coverage offered under your Business Owners Policy or standard Commercial Property insurance. Rental Equipment insurance gives you what you need, when you need it: you can match the length of coverage to the term of the rental, rather than that of your Property policy, allowing you to save money. In most cases, it also offers lower (or zero deductibles) than standard policies.

The policy includes both Property coverage that protects the equipment from damage and Liability insurance to protect the renter from legal claims based on the use of the equipment. It also streamlines the process of providing the Certificate of Insurance that rental companies usually require before releasing their machines.

To learn more about how Rental Equipment coverage can help you protect your business - and save money - just get in touch with the insurance professionals at our agency.


Mobile Devices Pose Data Breach Threats

Author TonyScurich , 1/4/2016
2The widespread use of smartphones and tablets in the workplace is exposing more and more businesses to liability for sensitive data being compromised if these devices are lost, stolen, or hacked. How can your company protect itself against this threat - and how much authority do you have over an employee's personal device if it's also used for work-related activities?

What's more, because these gizmos are small and portable, it's easy to misplace them. (The federal Transportation Safety Administration recently leased a warehouse just to store those misplaced or left behind at airports.)

Another emerging risk linked to these devices is a "bring your own" policy that many companies have adopted as a way to save costs by having employees spend their own money on smartphones and tablets that are constantly evolving and updated. This approach raises questions about separating company data from personal information on the device. For example, when an employee leaves, does a business have the authority to wipe the information from his or her smartphone? According to some authorities, if an employee connects a personal device to a company network, the company has inherited responsibility for the data stored on it.

To deal with this risk, you need to provide every employee who uses these devices with training, updated annually, on how to respond in case of loss or theft. To minimize potential liability for lawsuits by customers and clients, make sure that the individual responsible for the mishap informs management immediately. The compromised information might include everything from sensitive data (financial or medical) contacts, photos, call history, personal notes - you name it.

You can also use insurance to protect yourself against losses from data breaches. A policy will provide Liability coverage that deals with legal costs and third-party expertise (such as forensics firms to analyze a breach and call centers to provide information and public relations. Coverage might also include services such as access to tools to estimate costs, a checklist for your planned response to a data breach, and access to experts who can answer questions and review your company's policies and procedures.

For more information, feel free to give us a call.


2015 Business Risk Index Summary

Author TonyScurich , 8/26/2015

Cyber and workforce risks rising concern for U.S. businesses.

American business leaders worry about the same major risks as they did in 2014, however rising levels of concern over cyber risks and the ability to attract and retain talent have shifted the ranks in some subtle and no-so-subtle ways.

Top Risk Concerns chart

1. Medical Cost Inflation - Medical cost inflation still leads the list of top perceived risks despite a nearly 10 percentage point drop in general concern from 67% in 2014 to 60% in 2015.

2. Cyber Risks - Making the greatest leap from fifth in 2014 to second this year, concern over cyber risk has grown considerably, particularly among large businesses. In fact, 9 out of all 10 industries surveyed report cyber risks and data breaches among their top 5 concerns.

3. Increasing Employee Benefit Costs - Closely related to concerns over medical cost inflation, worry over increasing employee benefit costs, has also fallen, from 62% to 56% since last year.

4. Legal Liability - Although general concern over legal liability has decreased only 2% since last year, its ranking has dropped to fourth from third in 2014.

5. Attracting & Retaining Talent - U.S. businesses are increasingly worried about the challenge of finding and retaining skilled labor, with a 3% increase since last year resulting in a jump from last to fifth on the list of top risk concerns.

6. Regulatory Compliance - Nearly unchanged since last year, among the 51% of all businesses concerned about complying with laws and regulations, 29% worry a great deal.

7. Broad Economic Uncertainty - U.S. business owners showed a slight reprieve from worry over the economy, with concern about broad economic uncertainty down in level (by 6%) and ranking (by 4 places) since 2014.

Many U.S. Businesses Still Feel Unprepared for Top Risks

While the ranking of top concerns may have slightly shifted, the gaps between how much U.S. businesses worry verses how prepared they feel to manage these risks remains large. In fact, the top risk concerns are often among the 3 to 5 risks businesses feel the least prepared to handle. Furthermore, only 50% of companies report having a written business continuity plan.

Global and Political Conflict, Extreme Weather Emerging Concerns

While not quite making the cut of top risks, concern over geopolitical conflict has risen significantly among U.S. business leaders. One-third surveyed (32%) worry about global and political conflicts, while one-quarter believe political unrest is of greater concern today than it was five to 10 years ago.

More than half of all business surveyed (52%) believe the frequency of severe weather events has increased over the past few years. More importantly, one-third believe these increases in extreme weather also increase the threat of damage to company property and equipment.


Insuring Your Watercraft in California: What You Need to Know

Author TonyScurich , 4/20/2015
boatsOne of the best things about living in California is the gorgeous climate. It makes getting out and enjoying the outdoors an everyday occurrence. Considering how much water is available to residents in the state, combining your outdoor adventures with a boat, jet ski or wave runner brings a whole new level of fun to your life. Before you make arrangements to put your watercraft to good use, though, you need to make sure that you are covered in the event of an accident.

California Watercraft Laws

Each person who is on board a watercraft must be wearing a life jacket that has been approved by the Coast Guard. The approved types are Types I, II, III and V. Operating a personal watercraft such as a jet ski is prohibited between sunset and sunrise even if the craft is outfitted with the correct navigational lights. Only individuals that are aged 16 and older can operate a boat that is more than 15 horsepower unsupervised. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 can do so under the direct supervision of a person who is over the age of 18. There are also specific stipulations against negligent and unsafe behavior while operating a watercraft.

Insuring Your Watercraft

It is safe to assume that you need specialized insurance for your watercraft before you take it out to play. Rather than simply purchasing a cookie cutter insurance plan, however, work closely with your insurance agent to craft a customized insurance package that meets your unique needs. In most cases, this insurance plan will include liability in case you accidentally damage someone else's property or cause injury to another person. Collusion and comprehensive insurance is also a standard addition and protects your own boat and other watercraft in the event that it is damaged.

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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