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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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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.  

Five Steps To Stay In Business After A Disaster

Author TonyScurich , 9/23/2016
Storage Fire In Watsonville, CA Three out of five firms that suffer a major disaster go out of business or are sold. Preparing your business to survive a disastrous event involves a multi-step process: assessment, planning, implementation, testing, and documentation.
  1. Assessment: Brainstorm and list all potential losses. Then rate them on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the most disastrous and 1 having the least impact on the business.
  2. Planning: Formulate a comprehensive, detailed action plan, using both in-house and outside sources. The plan should include both steps to prevent the loss and remedies to take if the loss occurs. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Implementation: Act on the plan. Determine what steps you must take to now insure a positive outcome if disaster strikes; Who will be accountable for taking these steps when and to whom will they report?
  4. Testing: For example, if you're planning to deal with a computer crash, data recovery is essential. Test back-up media regularly to ensure that they will be available when needed. All too many businesses lose data due to malware or mechanical breakdown only to find that their backup is either corrupted or unavailable when needed.
  5. Documentation: Put the details of the plan (who, what, when, and where) in writing. Keep one copy in the office, another on the computer, a third off premises - and make sure that every manager knows these locations. Finally, review and update the plan every six months.

Although nothing is foolproof, implementing these five steps can go far to prevent a disastrous loss, or at least, mitigate its impact.

To learn more about developing a disaster plan for your business, feel free to give us a call at any time.

 

Planning And Evaluation: The Keys To Effective Fire Drills

Author TonyScurich , 8/31/2016
3 If you held your last fire or emergency evacuation drill more than six months ago, it's time to think about staging another. Careful planning and evaluation can help you get the most out of these exercises, enhancing your employee's chances of a safe evacuation. Bear in mind that unannounced drills give you an idea of how workers might actually react in an emergency situation. On the other hand, announcing drills offer them the opportunity to prepare for and practice specific skill sets they would need. Before a fire emergency arises, workers need to know:
  • How to activate the appropriate alarm system(s).
  • How and when to contact the fire department.
  • What to do before they evacuate—such as shutting down equipment.
  • Their role in the evacuation. For example, they might need to assist disabled co-workers, help contractors or visitors on the premises, bring essential items such as visitor logs that can be used to verify that everyone is out of the building, provide first aid for injured co-workers, or act to prevent or minimize hazardous chemical releases.
  • How to evacuate their work area by at least two routes.
  • The locations of stairwells (workers should not use elevators to evacuate).
  • Places to avoid - such as hazardous materials storage areas.
  • Assembly points outside the building.
After the drill, evaluate the exercise to determine which problems need addressing. Ask such questions as:

Builders Risk Insurance: A Must-Have

Author TonyScurich , 8/1/2016

Your last newsletter discussed the benefits of Building Ordinance insurance. If you're planning to build on your property or adding to an existing structure, a related policy - Builders Risk - can protect you from losses during construction, helping make sure that you finish the project.

The amount of coverage should reflect the total value of the completed structure (including the costs of material and labor, but not the value of the land). In most cases, the construction budget will be the best source for calculating this amount. The policy is usually written for a period three months, six months, or 12 months. If needed, the term can be extended once. Builders Risk covers damage to the insured structure(s) from a wide variety of causes, ranging from natural disasters (wind, lightning, hail, and lightning) through accidental events (fire, explosion, or vehicle accidents) to human activities (such as theft and vandalism). Coverage usually also includes:
  • Fire department service charges for saving or protecting property from a covered cause of loss.
  • Removal of debris from property damaged by a covered loss.
  • Losses from the backup of sewer and drains.
Most policies exclude losses from earthquake, flooding employee theft, mechanical breakdown, contract penalties, war, government action, or faulty design and workmanship. You might be able to add coverage for some of these exclusions - such as earthquakes and flooding - if the building is in an area that's prone to one or both of these natural disasters. Bear in mind that this policy does not provide Liability coverage for accidents or injuries on your property. We'd be happy to tailor a comprehensive Builders Risk product that fits your needs - and budget. 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.

More Employees Using Benefits To Care For Children And Parents

Author TonyScurich , 6/20/2016
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An increasing number of employees in the "Sandwich Generation" are looking for benefits to help them manage the demands of caring for parents and children alike. A recent nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly half of respondents in their 40s and 50s have a living parent and are either raising a young child or supporting a grown one.

"There's an emerging recognition of the impact of caregiver stress on working parents' ability to be productive at home and at work," says David Lissy, CEO of Bright Horizons, a provider of dependent back-up care services. "Particularly as families wait longer to have children, there's more at stake in their careers and they're pulled in many directions, dealing with the realities of their aging parents."

On average, access to Bright Horizons allowed employees to work six days during the past six months - productive time that otherwise would have been lost - and nearly 70% of these workers used the service for adult care.

Care.com, another provider of backup care services for employees, saw a three-fold increase last year in the number of clients that added senior care planning. IRobot, Inc. chose Care.com as an employee benefit because "we value our employees and want to support them in managing the demands on their personal lives," says benefits analyst Cathy Blanchard. Since adding the service, iRobot has seen a 15% month-to -month increase in using the program, which has boosted productivity by reducing costs from care-related absences and distractions.

If you'd like to learn more about offering day care for adults and children as an employee benefit, just give us a call.

 

Does Smoking Increase My Life Insurance Premiums?

Author TonyScurich , 5/1/2015

Are you confident that your loved ones would have financial security if you were to die today? If not, consider purchasing life insurance. It pays a death benefit to your loved ones when you die, and it provides peace of mind and financial security to your survivors. Smoking, however, can limit your ability to afford life insurance.

Life Insurance is Based on Risk

Insurance companies offer a variety of policies, but they reserve the right to adjust rates based on risk factors. If you smoke or engage in other behavior that's considered high-risk or unhealthy, expect to pay more for coverage.

Why is Smoking a Risk?

Whether you've smoked for years or recently picked up the habit, life insurance companies see you as high-risk. They base their perspective on two factors.

  1. Smoking increases potentially fatal health issues like cancer, heart disease, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.
  2. Smoking is the leading cause of premature death in the U.S. How Much More do Smokers Pay?

Every policy is different, but on average, smokers can expect to pay around 15 percent more for life insurance. So, if a non-smoker with a similar demographic and health pays $50 per month, a smoker could pay as much as $57.50.

Is There an Affordable Solution?

Before you give up on finding affordable life insurance, shop around. Your insurance agent can assist you in finding the most affordable life insurance premium.

Additionally, remember that insurance companies factor in how long you've smoked and how much you smoke. While their preferred rates may not go into effect until you've been nicotine-free for 12 or more months, you can start maintaining a smoke-free lifestyle now by enrolling in a smoking cessation program.

You may also find affordable premium rates if you bundle your life insurance with other policies like health, home and auto.

Talk to your insurance agent today. Find the most affordable life insurance policy for you, and give your loved ones financial peace of mind.


4 Spring Cleaning Tips That Protect Your House

Author TonyScurich , 3/13/2015
spring cleaningSpring cleaning does more than remove dirt and grime left over from winter. It also protects your house and reduces maintenance costs. So, try four spring cleaning tips this season as you cleanse your home. 

1. Wash walls, windows and baseboards.

Often overlooked during weekly cleaning, the walls, windows and baseboards of your home harbor plenty of dirt and dust. Wash them at least once a year to ensure they look nice and to protect their finish. 

*Move the furniture away from the walls, and wipe down the walls with a slightly damp cloth or magic eraser. 
*The baseboards are also easy to wash off with a damp cloth. A toothbrush reaches into all the crevices. 
*Use vinegar on the windows instead of glass cleaner to cut through accumulated dirt and prevent streaks. 

2. Scrub the carpet.

Accumulated dirt, pet dander and odors can quickly ruin your carpets. Instead of merely running the vacuum each week, deep clean the carpets at least once a year. You can easily rent a carpet cleaner and do the job yourself or hire a professional cleaner as you prolong the life of your floors. 

3. Care for furniture.

Modern or antique, your furniture will last longer when it's free from dirt. Take time this spring to wipe off each piece from top to bottom. Use a soft cloth on wood to prevent scratches, and remember to spot treat dirty upholstery, flip the cushions and repair any tears or holes in the fabric.

4. Reduce clutter.

In addition to attracting pests and rodents, clutter reduces your ability to exit your home in an emergency. Commit to tossing or donating clutter like piles of books, excess furniture or anything you haven't used in six months. Your home will thank you.

With these four spring cleaning tips, you're able to reduce maintenance costs over time. So, look forward to protecting your home this season.

Disability Insurance: Differences Between Short & Long Term Policies

Author TonyScurich , 3/2/2015
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Insurance ServicesYou know you should probably get disability insurance at some point. After all, you never know when an accident or illness will make it difficult for you to work. With both short and long term policies available, however, the choices can be confusing. Knowing the differences between these polices will help you sort out which one is better for you. The Long and Short of It  Short term disability is insurance that kicks in once you have exhausted the sick days available from your employer. Though policies vary, short term disability typically last about six months. While you might see payments that are nearly the same as your usual salary early on, they are often reduced to a percentage of that amount within a few weeks. Long term disability is designed for those catastrophic events that have the potential to mark the end of your paycheck-earning days. In many cases, long term disability begins when short term policies end. While some plans last only five to ten years, a more viable long term disability insurance policy lasts at least until you are 65 years of age. You Need Both for Complete Coverage  Given the overview outlined above, it is easy to see the place for both types of insurance in your life. Short term disability insurance is the ideal way to ensure coverage if you come down with pneumonia that sends you out of work for two weeks when you have already used up nearly all your sick days. Long term disability insurance is vital if that bout of pneumonia turns out to be a more serious illness that requires extensive care that could result in you being out of work on a permanent basis. Protect your assets and your family by ensuring that you have the necessary insurance coverage should you find yourself unable to work.

Personal Cybercrime Risks

Author TonyScurich , 2/5/2015
Breaches in some worldwide retailers could have you wondering if your personal information is safe. After all, those huge conglomerates that have been targeted recently, such as Zappos and Target, have millions of dollars at stake so why would a cyber-criminal want to target a single person? The answer might surprise you. Valuable Personal Information Identity theft is a big business in this day and age of inter-connectivity. Whether a cyber crook is a small-time player and simply looking to have a good time with your credit card or they are part of a larger ring that sells the information they obtain, personally identifiable information such as your birth date, current and former addresses and social security number are all valuable to them. With just a few bits of information, these criminals can easily steal your identity, making your life a nightmare for many months or even years. Email Addresses Sell Even if a cyber-criminal is not able to get enough information to assume your identity, they can still steal your email address and sell it. Email addresses are valuable to legitimate businesses and criminals alike. They can easily be sold for a nominal amount that quickly adds up for those crooks who are adept at breaching security parameters. Fraudulent Credit Card Activity If you are like many people, you assume that retailers that have an online presence are safe to share your credit card information. While huge businesses such as Target have invested millions of dollars into their cyber security systems, it is still possible for them to be infiltrated. You should always see a lock in the address bar of any website that you are inputting sensitive information. Even with this assurance, though, you need to keep a close eye on your credit card statements each month.    

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