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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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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.

Car Insurance Deal-Breakers: Non-Renewal And Cancellation

Author TonyScurich , 7/25/2016

aquaplaning-83008_1280If your Auto insurance company sees you as a deadbeat or high-risk or driver, it might cancel or non-renew your policy.

Because insurers take cancellation seriously they won't eliminate coverage for a traffic ticket or two. What's more, state regulators ban cancellations under most circumstances. However, a company can non-renew your insurance at the end of each policy period (six to 12 months) or cancel the policy during the first 30 to 60 days that it's in force. The main reason for midterm cancellation is nonpayment. State regulators set the requirements, such as a written notice of non-payment, together with a 10 to 30-day grace period to pay. Some states allow insurers to cancel coverage, usually for an activity - such as a DUI conviction that involves bodily injury or substantial damage - which indicates you're at high risk for an accident; or for misrepresenting your driving history (for example, not disclosing that your teenager was behind the wheel instead of you when an accident occurred). Some companies will backdate coverage to the cancellation date, while others will not cover you during the period when you haven't paid your premiums. If you can't bring your account up to date or the company cancels you for a reason other than non-payment, your policy probably won't be renewed - which means you'll have to look for insurance elsewhere, probably at a higher rate. Depending on the reason for cancellation, some companies might refuse to write your business. In this case, you can to turn to the state's assigned-risk pool, which offers bare bones coverage at higher rates. Your best move is to do everything possible to avoid cancellation or non-renewal. For example, if you can't afford to premium payments, consider reducing your coverage rather than take the risk or cancellation. For more information, just give us a call. We're here to help!  

Alternative Risk Financing: Not Just For The Big Guys

Author TonyScurich , 6/3/2016
1

Unfortunately, many small businesses ignore business continuity planning - perhaps because this seems so simple that they just don't need to do it. Here are five basic (and cost-effective) steps you need to take before disaster strikes:

  1. Define who's in charge. Because you might be unavailable after a disaster - injured, ill, on vacation, etc. - designate an order of succession to avoid confusion and unclear responsibility during the recovery process.
  2. Avoid a communication breakdown. Normal communication infrastructure might be disabled after a disaster, so make sure you have alternatives for employees, customers, clients, key suppliers, and subcontractors. At a minimum, have phone numbers (landline and cellular), and e-mail addresses. Don't rely on outdated, unreliable methods such as phone communication trees. Use a voicemail system supported by a vendor with communication equipment offsite. Don't forget to consider backup power needs.
  3. Perform data backups. Be sure to make duplicate copies of data regularly, with one copy at a location that's easy and inexpensive to access.
  4. Have a Plan B. if your facility is destroyed or access is denied by civil authorities, can you conduct certain business operations from home or a local hotel? For example, what steps can you take to replace computers and retrieve data?
  5. Make sure you have enough insurance. In a worst-case disaster scenario (major fire, windstorm, civil disorder, etc.), you might well lose your business assets and face a period of downtime - zero cash flow. Insurance can keep you afloat until you're back on your feet.

We stand ready to help design a comprehensive, cost effective program that can make your business less risky.


Proactive Employee Health Progams Make Sense - And Dollars

Author TonyScurich , 4/27/2016
3 Basic health interventions can help your business lower short-term disability rates, while reducing your employees' time away from work. That's the bottom line of a nationwide study of 118,000 employees by CIGNA, a major health services company. CIGNA found that these measures, combined with predictive analytics, cut disability rates by 15% among employees at high risk of suffering disability within in the next 12 months. (The study defined "high risk" as a 10% or greater probability of becoming disabled during this period). "By identifying workers at high risk of future short-term disability and providing individualized intervention that includes coaching, incentives, and other outreach, our study shows that the onset of disability absence can be reduced measurably, benefiting employers and employees alike," says Dr. Robert N. Anfield, chief medical officer for CIGNA's Disability business. Future studies will deal with the impact of intervention on the length of short-term disability, return-to-work rates, and total medical costs. The company's Absence Prediction and Prevention program establishes an intervention, led by a nurse/health advocate, that provides:
  • Early identification of workers at high risk for future short-term disability.
  • Proactive outreach to these employees.
  • Clinical Assessment.
  • A range of disability absence prevention strategies.
By proactively identifying employees who might be having health problems before their condition worsens and they need to leave work, you can help workers stay healthy and potentially prevent or lessen the impact of injuries or illness - which translates into lower absenteeism, higher productivity, and a healthier bottom line. It makes sense to develop an absence prevention program that emphasizes preventive health safety training. As always, we stand ready to offer our advice.

Side Job Doesn't Prevent FMLA Claim

Author TonyScurich , 3/9/2016
In the California case, Richie v. AutoNation, an employee out on CFRA (FMLA) was fired by his employer when he was found to have been working at a restaurant he owned during his leave period. The company's leave policy prohibited outside employment during leave. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that FMLA/CFRA (the California equivalent) has a process to follow in shortening FMLA leave if you believe that an employee no longer qualifies for it. You cannot create your own rule or process and, in a sense, do an end run around FMLA protections. The court ruled that because job reinstatement is mandatory, the only way to stop leave properly is by following the CFRA process and questioning the medical opinion of the employee's doctor.

This decision reminds us that ignorance of legal requirements is no excuse. In this case, the company argued that it had a good faith defense because it was not aware of this limitation on managing leave. The court essentially said "So what? It's a mandatory statutory obligation, which you can't avoid." As a different court stated, "A showing that an employee is unable to work in the employee's current job due to a serious health condition is enough to demonstrate incapacity. The fact that an employee is working for a second employer does not mean that he or she is not incapacitated from working in his or her current job."

Some additional notes:

  1. The decision reminds us that an employer's policy on secondary employment during FMLA leave must be the same as that for employees who are not on FMLA leave. Otherwise, the policy itself violates the law.
  2. Second, the court overturned an arbitration decision in this case which allowed the court's good faith defense. Although review of arbitration is very limited, the court will step in if the arbitrator misapplied the law.
  3. Finally, whether it's FMLA leave, ADA accommodation leave, use of PTO or sick pay, etc., if you doubt the veracity of any employee's story (i.e. they were playing soccer or lifting pianos this weekend), you must follow the proper procedures so that you don't find yourself trapped like AutoNation did in this case.

Tips for a vacation-ready home

Author TonyScurich , 6/22/2015

family-vacationA vacation is your time to relax and enjoy life.

Vacation is for fun and relaxation. Help save yourself some worry about what could be happening at home by protecting it from theft and damage while you are away. Here is a checklist we have developed to help you have a relaxing and peaceful vacation.

  • Make sure all electrical appliances are turned off.
  • Clean the refrigerator of all perishable foods, and take out the garbage.
  • Lock all windows and doors.
  • Arrange to have the newspaper and mail held until your return, or have them picked up by a trusted neighbor.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed (or snow shoveled) while you are away. Ask a neighbor to set out your trash on collection day and then retrieve empty cans and recycling bins the same day.
  • Let a trusted neighbor know you will be away and have them keep an eye on your home. It is a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
  • Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.
  • Set timers on interior lights.
  • Make sure to unplug televisions, computers and appliances susceptible to lightning and power surges.
  • Advise your alarm company and local police if you will be gone for an extended period.
  • Store jewelry and valuable items in a safe-deposit box.
  • Arrange for the care of pets.
  • Set the heating system to provide minimum heat of 55 degrees.


Flood Protection for Your Business

Author TonyScurich , 12/16/2014
Flooded BusinessSince 1984, Monterey County has participated in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This participation, as well as the continued compliance with federal regulations, allows county residents to purchase flood insurance. Even if your business is far from any form of water such as rivers or creeks, it could still be affected by the intricate system of drainage improvements and facilities that the county maintains in an effort to protect its residents and their properties. Federal Mandates If you wish to relocate your business to an area that lies within the 100 year floodplain as determined by Monterey County engineers, or build within that area, federal regulations mandate that you purchase flood insurance in order to take advantage of any federally backed financial assistance for doing so. Even if you are not planning to move your business and you are happily ensconced in your current location, purchasing flood insurance is a wise business decision. Weather Conditions Warranted Protection Businesses that are not located within the flood plain are still at risk for being damaged due to flooding. Weather occurrences such as El Nino, for example, can cause extreme amounts of water to be dumped in areas that are ill-equipped to deal with such an onslaught of weather. Weaken structural supports like building foundations, or even elements of the property itself such as hills, can allow water to breech the boundaries of your business and cause flooding. Industrial Accidents Pose a Concern Water main breaks are incidences that do not occur often but the results can be devastating if you have not prepared for the possibility prior to it occurring. Not only will you need to be concerned with paying for the costs of replacing your damaged inventory and property out of your own pocket, you might struggle with losing sales from your customers during this period of time. Flood insurance is a way to gain peace of mind that allows you to rest easier at night. Knowing that your business - and its assets - are protected in the event of an unexpected flood is a smart business move for the longevity of your company.    

Splitting up? Kids, custody and insurance

Author TonyScurich , 6/9/2014
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, DivorceDivorce is a fact of life. If you should find yourself needing to divvy up assets and liabilities during a divorce settlement, you'll have to consider insurance coverage for your kids. Determining how to deal with your teen's auto insurance can create problems because there's no set formula. The decision should be something that's negotiated between both parents. If Mom has sole custody, the teen driver should be on her policy. However, if Mom and Dad share custody, both should include the teen under their coverage. The premium you pay for your teen's auto insurance will depend on where you live. When setting rates, insurance companies look at the claims history in the locale where the car is garaged. Premiums vary from city to city, and even among ZIP codes in the same city. So, if you're moving from a rural to an urban area or from a low-crime neighborhood in a city to one where there are more vehicle thefts and auto burglaries, your premiums will increase. Homeowner insurance is linked to ownership of the property and who is listed on the mortgage. If the home is in both parents' names, coverage would also be under both names. In this case, you should have a written agreement dividing responsibly for mortgage and insurance payments. If you move from the family home into an apartment, you'll need renters insurance to cover your belongings, as well as your children's personal items and additional liability protection - even if you're still named on the homeowners policy. To receive expert advice from our agency's personal lines specialists during this difficult period, free of charge, please feel free to give us a call. Content provided by Transformer Marketing.