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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 people - people

Editor’s Column: Managing Is A Balancing Act

Author TonyScurich , 10/7/2016
I remember my wife and I going to a parenting class and learning the mantra, “firm, but fair.” It's okay to have clear rules in your household and enforce them; however, you want to do so in a fair manner. When we’re clear about the rules, we can be firm. . I'm sure you've shared my personal experience where parents or bosses have punished you for rules you never knew existed –until after you were punished for them!Often, the knowledge is so “commonsensical” to the parent or boss that they just assume the child or the employee know it also. Never mind that it took 20 years for that boss or parent to finally “get it” themselves. When we’re clear on the rules, there’s predictability. There’s integrity. There’s consistency. The rules don't change overnight based on emotions. When we’re out of balance on the side of clarity we’ll see people begin to fear us, rebel against us, and leave us – not a good outcome at home or work! When it comes to being fair, the first thing to remember is that life wasn't designed to be fair, either at work or at home. Life was designed to be a learning lesson. However, fairness has become the filter of today's workplace. Everyone wants to feel they're being treated fairly. ‘A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.’ Of course, what might seem fair to me could seem onerous to you. We treat people fairly when we follow the Golden Rule. By asking how we can serve and help others, practicing kindness and compassion despite any differences we may encounter along the way. We understand to separate the conduct from the person. Managers will continue to struggle with employees about work hours, compensation, communication, expectations, safety, insubordination, conflict, and more. Great managers, like great parents, strike the appropriate balance between firm and fair.

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.


OSHA Offers Teen Workers Online Safety Tools

Author TonyScurich , 8/24/2016
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If you have teenagers, you're well aware that they're all too prone to take risks. Four in five U.S. teen (80%) have part-time jobs. Of these, more than half (52%) are in the retail sector, which includes restaurants and fast food establishments.

To help keep themselves safe on the job - and thus reduce their employers' risk-management exposure - teenagers who work in restaurants and agriculture can use interactive web-based training tools provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

According to OSHA, educating and training young people about safety in the workplace can help prevent injuries today and lead to a healthy workforce in the future. These resources provide practical information to protect young workers from hazards in industries where many of them are likely to work during high school and college.

The Teen Worker Safety in Restaurants eTool highlights the most common hazards in these workplaces and offers safety and health suggestions, safety posters, and electronic links to educate young workers about job safety. Areas of focus include serving, clean-up, drive-thru, cooking, food preparation, delivery, and worker rights and child labor laws.

The Youth in Agriculture eTool presents case studies that describe common hazards and offers safety solutions for teenage workers in such areas as farm equipment operations, confined spaces, and prevention of c injuries g from falls, electrocutions, and chemical exposures.

The OSHA Teen Workers page offers educational resources such as fact sheets on workplace rights and responsibilities, hazards on the job, ways to prevent injuries, work hours, job restrictions, etc.

Letting teenage workers know about these resources can benefit them - and their employers. What's not to like?


EDITOR'S COLUMN: THE HR ALCHEMIST

Author TonyScurich , 8/19/2016

Don Phin

In one of my favorite new age books, The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho discusses four obstacles to realizing the journey towards our Personal Legend:

  1. The first obstacle is resignation to failure. We're told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. In many cases, we're the ones telling ourselves this - and we believe it!
  2. The second obstacle is misunderstood love. Says Coelho, "We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream." In a sense, we're afraid to change because the people around us might not love us as much if we do. For example, they might view us as a threat, mirror our own inadequacies, or break away from the norm or culture. Coelho encourages us to accept that love is a stimulus; that the people who truly love us want the best for us: to be worthy of the miracle of life.
  3. The third obstacle is the fear of failure. According to Coelho, "We warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we might not understand how." In my personal experience, when we follow our passions we get what we ask for - just not when or how we expect it. There is no journey without roadblocks, setbacks, and challenges. This is what strengthens us. Our character is no different than our muscles: You use it or you lose it.
  4. Finally, there's the obstacle of self-sabotage. As Oscar Wilde said: "Each man kills the thing he loves." According to Coelho, the mere possibility of getting what we want fills our souls with guilt. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be so fortunate when there are so many people in pain? Do I somehow think that I'm now better than other people because of my success?' The ancient Greek term was hubris. When we become too full of ourselves and our accomplishments, the end is near. That's why the journey is never about arriving, but traveling forever. Says Coelho, "I've known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reach their goal - when it was only a step away." I know many of those people too.

When you think about your career, where have these obstacles shown up? Where do you have personal doubts about your ability to accomplish your Personal Legend? Who or what is attempting to hold you back from meeting these goals - or is this a story of your own making? Are you willing to accept that the journey toward success is guaranteed to come with more suffering than for those who are willing to simply be comfortable? Finally, are you willing to find joy in your success without the need to sabotage it?

Here are some Coelho quotes from The Alchemist:

  • "If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."
  • "There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth."
  • "To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation."
  • "The only reason why each day feels the same as the next is because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."
  • "I'm an adventurer, looking for treasure."
  • "Making a decision is only the beginning of things. When you make a decision, you're really diving into a strong current that will carry you to places you had never dreamed of when you first made the decision."
  • "When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream"
  • "Every search begins with good beginner's luck. Every search ends with the victors being tested severely."
  • "When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others about them, you are seldom believed."
  • "When something evolves, so does everything around it as well."
  • "When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too."
  • "The world's greatest lie is that we lose control of our own lives and must let them be controlled by fate."
  • "Be worthy of the miracle of life."

Demand For Contractors Professional Liability Rises

Author TonyScurich , 8/12/2016
New approaches to building projects, as well as new techniques, are leading to increased demand for Professional Liability insurance for contractors. A few years ago, people would shake their heads at the idea of this coverage, asking how contractors could be held liable for professional risk when they don't provide professional services. However, there has been a blurring of the once-sharp lines between contractors and architects and designers, as more and more contractors are being drawn into the design process. Under the traditional "design-bid-build" method, a project would be designed, bids put out, and the project built. However, the spread of the "design-build" concept - which decreases the amount of time, and the cost, of the project involved - has meant that medium sized and large contractors often take the design responsibilities in-house, and even subcontract them to design firms. These contractors' biggest exposure is for claims filed against them for project delays and cost overruns. However, traditional General Liability insurance offers coverage only for Bodily Injury and Property Damage, and does not cover financial or economic losses. Contractors Professional Liability insurance fills this gap. Because these policies are relatively recent, only a limited number of insurance companies offer them. These companies haven't paid enough claims for underwriters to establish the underwriting history and set standard rates - which means that policies are usually negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The amount of insurance can be up to $50 million; if a contractor needs more capacity, coverage can be added through excess layers. If your firm is (or might be) taking on project design responsibilities, a comprehensive Contractors Professional Liability policy can help protect your pocketbook - and provide peace of mind. To learn more, just give us a call.

Don't Let Drivers Use Their Cell Phones!

Author TonyScurich , 8/3/2016
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A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 69% of U.S. drivers talked on their cell phones - and 31% read or sent text messages or e-mails while driving. "The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive," warns CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

Using cell phones to text behind the wheel can increase the danger of fatal crashes by six to 23 times, and drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to become involved in crashes serious enough to injure themselves. You probably have rules about employees talking on their phones and texting while driving - but are they following them? According to Jim Evans, president of human resources consulting firm JK Evans & Associates, some bosses turn a blind eye to cell phone use behind the wheel, while others don't want to cut into their employees' productivity. His advice to employers: "Dust off the old cell phone policy or unwritten practices and revisit whether employee safety and employer liability is at risk." To minimize this danger, your company should require employees who drive on the job to:
  • Turn off personal phones or switch them to silent mode before entering a company vehicle.
  • Pull over to a safe area if they need to make a cell phone call or send or answer a text message.
  • Ask a helper or another passenger to make a return call.
  • Contact supervisors or dispatchers when the vehicle is parked.
  • Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, reading, and any other activities that distract them behind the wheel.
  • Tell people who call them while driving that they'll call back after reaching their destination.
  • Not send or answer text messages, surf the Web, or read e-mails.
 

Saying 'I DO' To Wedding Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 7/22/2016
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As the average cost of getting hitched keeps rising (to $27,000 in 2012), more and more couples are using Wedding Insurance to protect their investment against mishap - and help ensure peace of mind on this special day.

Wedding policies will reimburse you for losses due to:
  • Weather: The cost of rescheduling if the event has to be postponed because of rain or other bad weather.
  • Illness or injury to the bridal party. The expenses of postponing the wedding if essential people (such as the maid of honor or best man) can't be there.
  • A missing celebrant. Some of the costs if your minister, justice of the peace, rabbi, or other celebrant doesn't show up.
  • Missing vendors. Some, or all, of the expense (including rescheduling) if the caterer, florist, photographer, or other key vendor is missing in action.
  • Damage to the venue. Your losses if fire, electrical or mechanical outage, or going out of business makes the wedding or reception site unusable, forcing you to reschedule. (This coverage might not apply if the sites already carry insurance).
You can also buy coverage "riders" for a variety of other risks, ranging from a military service call-up to the bride or groom and damage to a wedding gown or tuxedo, to stolen or damaged gifts, and cancellation of your honeymoon due to illness, bad weather, or other mishap. If you're holding the ceremony in your home, you might also want Liability insurance in case a guest gets hurt or injures someone. Premiums can range from $100 to $1,000 (if you buy Liability coverage and host an open bar). We'd be happy to tailor a Wedding policy to meet your needs, and budget. Just give us a call.

Scurich 1/6 - Are you offering your employees the best benefits possible?

Author TonyScurich , 5/19/2016

Finding -- and keeping -- great employees is always the challenge of any business. While recruiting and training employees can be an expensive process, it is an investment in the growth and well-being of your company. In order to protect your investment, you need to make sure you are giving your employees the best benefits for their needs. 

Health Insurance

Whether you are required by the federal government to provide health insurance to your employees or not, you should offer them the choice. In addition, paying for a certain portion of that health insurance goes a long way toward retaining those high-quality employees you worked so hard to find and train. 

Retirement Plans

If you have a young workforce, you might not think that they are concerned about retirement. Even though young people thrive on adventure, it doesn't mean that they aren't planning for their retirement. Offering the option to pay into a retirement plan helps your employees plan for their future and makes them feel like you are invested in that with them. 

Other Benefits

While other benefits such as life insurance, disability insurance and vision and dental coverage might not be on the must-have list for all of your employees, it is still important to offer them these options. Providing a range of different benefits allows your employees to pick and choose those options that best fit their situation at that time. You will likely find that their choice of benefits changes as their life circumstances change. A 20 year old employee, for example, might not be interested in obtaining life insurance until he becomes a father years later. 


Use Social Media As A Risk Management Tool

Author TonyScurich , 5/11/2016
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Given the dramatic impact of social media on the speed and delivery of news and information, it makes sense to make this fast-growing technology part of your risk management program.

More and more reputational crises — such as the recent stranding of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship — are born on social networking platforms and can grow exponentially if mishandled. Consider how Apple Inc. responded to consumer displeasure with the iPhone 4 shortly after its 2010 introduction. Negative comments about the product spread quickly over social media channels, but were largely ignored by Apple executives until mainstream news outlets began reporting on its flaws.

Failing to actively engage social media users in conversations about crisis or business practice of your company means losing an invaluable opportunity to protect your reputation. Otherwise, you risk having other people tell your story.

Social media participation gives you a way to enhance this reputation through regular interaction with customers, business partners and the public. Using this tool to develop relationships and help people, rather than just sell products and services, can create some valuable allies.

Encouraging your employees to participate in social media offers a great way to use them as advocates for your company. A 2012 poll of more than 1,000 registered voters by Hill+Knowlton Strategies found that a corporation's employees are the second-most trusted source of information about its business practices, second only to friends and family members.

 

Data Thieves Target Smaller Businesses

Author TonyScurich , 4/29/2016

2When it comes to hackers stealing confidential client information, most people think of their primary targets as mega-corporations; banks, credit card providers, online retailers, and so forth. (American Express, MasterCard, and Sony come to mind.)

However, more than half of small and midsize businesses have experienced at least one data breach in the past year, according to a recent nationwide study by the Ponemon Institute. What's more, only 33% of surveyed companies suffering breaches notified affected individuals that their personal information was ever at risk - despite laws in 46 states that require such notification.

The primary causes of these breaches were employee or contractor error, lost or stolen laptops or smart phones, and procedural mistakes, according to the study commissioned by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co.

The survey also found that:

  • Nearly nine in 10 respondents (85%) shared their customer and employee records with third parties by providing billing, payroll, employee benefits, web-hosting, or other information technology services.
  • Seven in 10 respondents (70%) said that data breaches are more likely to occur if they outsourced data.
  • Despite this outsourcing exposure, more than three in five businesses surveyed (62%) did not require third parties to cover costs associated with a data breach in their contracts.

"Smaller companies are targeted by data thieves, but they often don't know how to respond when sensitive information they keep on customers and employees is lost or stolen," warns Hartford Steam Boiler Vice President Eric Cernak. "Failing to act in a timely and effective way can harm the reputation of businesses and even risk legal penalties in many states."

For professional advice on helping you minimize the growing financial and legal threats to your business from data breaches, please feel free to get in touch with our agency at any time.