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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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Mobile security and the ways to mitigate data risk in a BYOD environment

Author TonyScurich , 7/27/2016
Mobile devices are the mighty double-edged swords of today's workplace. On the one hand, they provide greater integration of information, on the other, they could be your business's one-way ticket to a catastrophic security breach. This week we had the amazing opportunity to speak with Anthony Kinney, Microsoft's Verizon Partner Manager, about mobile security and the ways to mitigate data risk in a BYOD environment. According to Kinney, the three main security risk areas associated with BYOD are:
  1. Data loss prevention, which has to do with securing the data on a device in the case of it being lost or stolen.
  2. Data in transit, which is most often protected by encrypting information to ensure that all communications between the device and backend infrastructure are secure.
  3. Data leakage, which is about keeping a user's work and personal information separate. In other words, "protecting users from themselves."
We asked Kinney what Microsoft is doing to make sure that moving to a pocket office doesn't mean introducing security risk. He discussed how our multilayered approach to security makes adopting a BYOD policy far less of a risk, with solutions like Secure boot technology, remote "wipe" capabilities, and automatic cloud storage (among other security solutions). What makes the greatest difference, however, are the actions a company takes to ensure that their data is secure. The way Kinney sees it, employees jailbreaking and rooting devices is one of the largest risk factors for companies who allow employees to BYOD. What those companies do is implement third-party services to "containerize the data," so it never actually goes onto the local device. According to Kinney, Windows Phone solves for this by protecting the data at the data center level before it even gets to the device. This means each document can have specific edit/view/share settings so that when it's accessed on a mobile device it can't be 'saved as' or forwarded to another cloud service, depending on what the settings permit. This way the phone fully understands the corporate policies on the document, helping IT to provide security—even at the file level. This level of device integration with your data allows your company to consider a BYOD or CYOD policy without the need for third-party security solutions—which themselves offer another point of potential failure and risk. By working with your existing desktop OS, email, and other systems, the native Windows Phone OS helps mitigate data loss risk for your pocket office by preventing it in the first place.

Will Insurance Cover Your High-Tech Car Key?

Author TonyScurich , 7/18/2016
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Metal car keys are going the way of the land line, as most drivers have graduated to a key fob or remote with a transponder that needs programming before use. If you own a high-tech luxury vehicle you might have a "smart key" - a remote control to plug into your dashboard or leave in your pocket.

Although these devices add convenience, they're pricey. You'll pay $200 to $400 to replace a smart key on a luxury car, plus $100 an hour for labor. If you lose all your keys, you might need to replace the locks, which could cost $1,000. Auto insurance will cover the cost of replacing smart keys (or metal keys) only if the loss comes from a peril covered under the policy. For example, if your keys are damaged when you collide with another car, Collision coverage would pay to replace them. Comprehensive coverage –which reimburses you for loss or damage to your vehicle from theft, vandalism, fire, hail, or flood - would include replacement of the keys, as part of the vehicle. If your car keys are stolen, Homeowners insurance should pay to replace them because theft is a "named peril" under the policy. Bear in mind that your Auto or Homeowners deductible will apply against the cost of replacement. Technology is well on the way to eliminating car keys. According to the AAA, smart phone apps that allow you to unlock and start your car are standard on many vehicles as of 2015. In the meantime, you can avoid paying the high cost of replacing smart keys by keeping spares in a safe place. To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with us.

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.  

Home, Sweet (Temporary) Home

Author TonyScurich , 3/18/2016
1If a disaster covered under your Homeowners insurance wrecks your home, you don't have to couch-surf until repairs are finished.

The standard Homeowners policy will pay for loss of use or Additional Living Expenses (ALE) - such as rental and hotel costs - while your dwelling remains uninhabitable

Check out these guidelines for using this valuable coverage:

  1. Know the amount of your ALE. The Homeowners policy caps additional expenses as a portion of the Dwelling coverage (usually 20%) and sets a time limit, such as 12 months. If you believe that you'll need more coverage, increase the amount before disaster strikes.
  2. Look for comparable digs. Staying in a hotel gets old rapidly, so you'll want to get settled quickly. However, don't decide too soon - you're entitled to stay in a place that's comparable in size and quality to your house.
  3. Count all your extra expenses. In addition to the cost of housing, don't overlook other expenditures - everything from restaurant meals while living in a hotel and fees for boarding pets to the expense of coin-operated laundry and extra mileage for driving further to work.
  4. Remember that the key word for ALE is "additional." The insurance company can deduct any money you save from living in temporary housing (such as the amount you would have spent on groceries from your reimbursement for restaurant meals while you're staying at the hotel).
  5. Keep your receipts. The insurance company will generally reimburse you for expenses as they're incurred, rather than paying a lump sum. Keep meticulous records of every expenditure, save all your receipts - and store them in a waterproof, zippered pouch.

For more information on your Additional Living Expenses coverage, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

 

Risk Management: A Department Of One

Author TonyScurich , 3/11/2016
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If you're "it" when it comes to risk management for your business, there's a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. How do you determine the best place to start, given limited time and money, to keep your workers safe and keep your company in compliance? Where should you focus? How do you make sure that you stay on top of everything?

There are several important steps you can take to have a world-class safety program, even without many people on your team:

  1. Determine the managerial perspective on risk management. This is the single most important thing to do because it will set the tone for your ability to drive the risk management initiatives of your company. Do everything you can to make this attitude proactive, rather than reactive.
  2. Analyze the current state of safety in the business. An initial SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) will prove invaluable for planning risk management.
  3. Review the mission statement and overall goals of the organization to help align the safety process. The results will determine the direction to go; whether it's compliance, the creation of a safety management system, or some combination of the two. To take the program to another level, take a careful look at how you need to integrate safety into the process.
  4. Understand the OSHA standards that apply to your business - and make sure that everyone in the organization is familiar with the basics of these regulations.
  5. Evaluate your safety plan from a business perspective. Develop a budget that measures your financial return on investment.

We're always ready to help - just give us a call.


Have Fun Without Letting An Office Celebration Become A Liability

Author TonyScurich , 2/17/2016
There’s nothing like a celebration to bring co-workers together and make them feel as though they’re one unified work family. Although a celebratory meal or party can bring cohesiveness, employers should be careful not to let celebratory events become a liability. Of course, the entire point is to allow attendees to relax, have fun, and interact on a more personal level. But, the double-edge comes from attendees mistaking a relaxed atmosphere as leeway to behave in an inappropriate manner or attendees becoming so relaxed that they behave in a way that they normally wouldn’t. Out-of-bounds behavior should be of particular concern if there’s alcohol involved in the workplace celebration.

In order to avoid lawsuits, there are several elements that employers should consider prior to any celebratory workplace event. Before the event, employers should make sure that they have informed the attendees of what will be considered improper behavior. It’s a good idea to remind and caution employees that even though the event is a party, it’s still a business event and that inappropriate touching, gifting, and off-color or offensive remarks are still considered inappropriate behaviors. Employers should be mindful that under Title VII, it only takes one inappropriate incident to bring about a timely and costly lawsuit. It might be helpful to have supervisors or managers go over the company policy with employees, especially the sexual harassment section. While going over the company policy, the supervisor or manager can also inform employees if there will be any exceptions to normal company policy made specifically for the party, such as attire varying from the normal dress code.

In the event that clients will be attending a workplace party, employers might have additional concerns that should be addressed beforehand. For example, what should an employee do if a client is making inappropriate advances or conversation? It’s usually pretty clear to employees how to handle such a situation during normal workplace hours, but sometimes employees are specifically told to make sure clients have fun at a party. This can create a recipe for legal disaster if not addressed properly. Make sure to set up a way for any employee that’s been given such an assignment to exit the situation if it becomes uncomfortable for them. This can be accomplished by setting up a room as a coffee bar or lounge and ushering clients that become unruly to the room to calm down or sober up. It’s also a good idea to have a buddy system in place for all employees handling clients. If a client becomes unruly or inappropriate he/she can be passed off to their designated buddy.

If alcohol is served, employers might consider having only a specific time frame for it. This can help to prevent party-goers from becoming intoxicated, belligerent, or driving home intoxicated. It’s also a good idea to have a transportation system, such as cabs or designated drivers, in place for party-goers that overdo it on alcohol.

Although inappropriate behavior directed toward an employee’s guest or family member might not be considered workplace harassment, it can cause a great deal of unnecessary workplace conflict. It should be made clear that inappropriate behavior toward any guest will have disciplinary actions.

One last concern is the first workday following the party. Everything that happened or didn’t happen will be discussed and scrutinized. Conversation and actions that might have been laughed at during the party or intended innocently might not always be so funny or acceptable by the next day. It’s important to encourage an open and honest dialogue about any gossip topics so that misconceptions and hard feelings can be prevented.


Eleven Steps To Safe Parking On The Job

Author TonyScurich , 2/1/2016
1When it comes to workplace safety, have you considered the company parking lot or garage? Your workers use it at least twice a day to stow and shelter their vehicles, but beyond that it's fairly invisible. A closer look reveals that predators might easily be lurking there. To minimize this threat, experts recommend ensuring that workers (as well as visitors) take these precautions:
  1. Stay alert for cruising vehicles, whose drivers can stop suddenly and jump out to rob or assault you.
  2. If you're using a parking lot, park near the building in a visible, lighted area.
  3. In a parking garage, park near the parking attendant (if there is one) or near a well-lit exit. Women should avoid using stairs and elevators, if possible.
  4. Use the main exit/entrance rather than a side or secluded one.
  5. Lock any valuables (including GPS, shopping, other bags, etc.) out of sight. If you're walking to your vehicle after hours, ask a co-worker or security officer to accompany you.
  6. If you have to walk alone, ask someone to watch from inside, if possible. Turn around frequently to make sure you're not being followed and pretend that you're waving to someone ahead to give the impression you're not alone.
  7. Don't talk on your cellphone or listen to music with ear pods -- predators are looking for victims who seem distracted or unaware.
  8. Have your car keys and personal alarm or whistle ready as you approach your vehicle.
  9. If someone nearby looks suspicious, keep walking and get to a safe place where you can call for help.
  10. Before you unlock the door, take a good look around, inside, and behind the vehicle.
  11. Once you enter the vehicle, lock all doors promptly and keep your windows up until you've exited the lot or garage.
Words to the wise.  

Mobile security and the ways to mitigate data risk in a BYOD environment

Author TonyScurich , 1/25/2016

Mobile devices are the mighty double-edged swords of today's workplace. On the one hand, they provide greater integration of information, on the other, they could be your business's one-way ticket to a catastrophic security breach. This week we had the amazing opportunity to speak with Anthony Kinney, Microsoft's Verizon Partner Manager, about mobile security and the ways to mitigate data risk in a BYOD environment.

According to Kinney, the three main security risk areas associated with BYOD are:

  1. Data loss prevention, which has to do with securing the data on a device in the case of it being lost or stolen.
  2. Data in transit, which is most often protected by encrypting information to ensure that all communications between the device and backend infrastructure are secure.
  3. Data leakage, which is about keeping a user's work and personal information separate. In other words, "protecting users from themselves."

We asked Kinney what Microsoft is doing to make sure that moving to a pocket office doesn't mean introducing security risk. He discussed how our multilayered approach to security makes adopting a BYOD policy far less of a risk, with solutions like Secure boot technology, remote "wipe" capabilities, and automatic cloud storage (among other security solutions).

What makes the greatest difference, however, are the actions a company takes to ensure that their data is secure. The way Kinney sees it, employees jailbreaking and rooting devices is one of the largest risk factors for companies who allow employees to BYOD. What those companies do is implement third-party services to "containerize the data," so it never actually goes onto the local device.

According to Kinney, Windows Phone solves for this by protecting the data at the data center level before it even gets to the device. This means each document can have specific edit/view/share settings so that when it's accessed on a mobile device it can't be 'saved as' or forwarded to another cloud service, depending on what the settings permit. This way the phone fully understands the corporate policies on the document, helping IT to provide security—even at the file level.

This level of device integration with your data allows your company to consider a BYOD or CYOD policy without the need for third-party security solutions—which themselves offer another point of potential failure and risk. By working with your existing desktop OS, email, and other systems, the native Windows Phone OS helps mitigate data loss risk for your pocket office by preventing it in the first place.


What to do when your vehicle breaks down

Author TonyScurich , 7/15/2015
 

Follow some of these steps if your vehicle breaks down, and take extra precaution if you are in a busy intersection or on a highway.

Getting out of the car at a busy intersection or on a highway to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends the following precautions when your car breaks down:

  1. Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on a busy highway. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out. If you have been involved in an accident, motion the other driver to pull up to a safe spot ahead.
  2. If you cannot drive the vehicle, it may be safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. Standing outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic, under most circumstances, is a bad idea.
  3. Carry flares or triangles to use to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle's location to give other drivers advance warning of your location can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights!
  4. In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair - even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim or wheel is minor compared to endangering your safety.

Source: Insurance Information Institute; http://www.iii.org/ The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts and deductibles are subject to availability and to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria. Not all features available in all areas.

Insurance is underwritten by The Travelers Indemnity Company and its property casualty affiliates, One Tower Square, Hartford, CT. For a complete list of personal insurance underwriting companies, click here.


What to Do if Your Identity is Stolen

Author TonyScurich , 7/10/2015

virtual-identityThe fastest-growing white-collar crime in the United States is identity fraud. ID fraud is when someone commits a crime or fraud in your name using your stolen personal information. No one, regardless of background or financial status, is immune to identity fraud and various cyber threats continue to grow with no sign of slowing down.

If your identity is stolen, it can affect your finances, credit history and reputation.

Take Action Immediately:

  • Flag your credit reports. Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Tell them you are an identity theft victim. Ask them to place a "fraud" alert in your file and confirm that they will contact the other two companies.
  • Get copies. Ask for a copy of the credit report. They are required to give you a free copy of your report if it is inaccurate because of fraud.
  • Consider requesting a credit freeze. You might want to place a credit freeze on your credit file, which means that potential creditors cannot get your credit report. This makes it less likely that a potential identity thief can open accounts in your name. First, contact your state’s Attorney General’s office, then contact each credit reporting company.
  • Contact creditors. Contact your creditors about any accounts that have been changed or opened fraudulently. Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department.
  • File a report. File a report with your local police. Get a copy of the police report, so you have proof of the crime.
  • Keep Records. Keep records of your conversations and all correspondence.
  • Get more information. For more information regarding identity theft, visit the following websites:Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (You can also call: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)) FTC Identity Theft Online Complaint Form www.fraud.org (You can also call: 1-800-876-7060)

You can also call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).