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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 property - property

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.

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.

Inland Marine Insurance: Don't Go Near The Water

Author TonyScurich , 6/10/2016
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Although you have insured the business property on your premises, this protection does not extend off site - unless you carry Inland Marine insurance.

This type of policy goes back as far as the 17th century when Lloyd's of London extended coverage on ship cargos beyond ocean voyages to their final destination "inland." Today, Inland Marine covers the property of a business when it's in transit - or stored at a location away from the premises - as well as the property of third parties that's held on the premises. Because this property is essentially "floating," these policies are also known as Floaters. Inland Marine coverage would apply in such scenarios as:
  • A truck carrying designer handbags for an upscale department store is hijacked at a rest stop.
  • A hailstorm damages bulldozers on a machinery dealer's lot.
  • A fire at a dry cleaners scorches customers' clothing.
  • A defective sprinkler system in a "big box" store warehouse soaks dozens of TVs.
You can buy Inland Marine insurance on either a "named peril" basis (which lists the specific risks covered) or as an "all risk" policy (which covers losses from all causes not specifically listed). This coverage can provide valuable protection for the mobile or moveable property of almost any business, large or small: everything from camera shops and computer manufacturers through building contractors and jewelry stores to museums/art galleries and trucking companies. As Business Insurance professionals, we can tailor a comprehensive Inland Marine policy to the needs of your company. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

Drip, Drip, Drip: Dealing With Water Damage

Author TonyScurich , 4/25/2016
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Of all Homeowners insurance losses, those from water damage are among the most common. Many people often don't consider the potential risks in their own homes until it's too late.

To minimize hazards that can cause water damage claims, we'd like to recommend these steps:

  • Check for leaks. Periodically inspect the area around the refrigerator, washer, dishwasher, water heater, sinks, and toilets for drips, puddles, and discolored, warped, or soft flooring.
  • Pay attention to your water bill. Monthly fluctuations could indicate a leak.
  • Periodically check your water pressure. Water losses often occur due to excessive water pressure. Buy a pressure gauge at your local hardware store, and hook it up to a hose bib. If it's above 65 psi, install a water pressure regulator.
  • Before you go on vacation, take precautions. If temperatures in your area could dip below freezing, make sure that any exposed pipes are insulated, turn off the water supply to individual fixtures, and turn your furnace to low so that the pipes will stay warm enough to avoid bursting.

If you need to file a claim, follow these guidelines:

  • Stop the source of the water by turning off the water main.
  • Call your insurance company immediately. Most companies have staff 24/7 to help you set appointments with contractors who can dry out your house. Your insurer will also send an adjuster to assess the damage.
  • Don't start any major repair efforts until the adjuster has been to your home!
  • Determine what was lost and document it. Even if things were ruined, don't throw them away. Keep pieces of the damaged floor or ceiling, along with any valuable personal property, such as electronics or furniture. At a minimum, take photos or video of the damage.

For more information, give us a call at any time.


Business Property Insurance: Replacement Cost Or Actual Cash Value?

Author TonyScurich , 4/8/2016
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Business Property insurance protects your building and property against loss or damage from theft, accident, and a variety of other causes. The policy will pay for replacing or repairing covered property or providing compensation for irreplaceable items.

If you don't own your building you'll still need to cover its contents: fixtures, furniture, office equipment, inventory and the supplies stored at your location or off-site.

The premium will depend on whether you choose to insure the replacement cost or actual cash value (ACV) of the property. Most Business Property coverage is written on a replacement-cost basis, which will reimburse you for replacing lost or stolen goods with new items at current market prices. This feature can help your business recover from the loss or theft quickly. (If you're leasing equipment, the leaseholder might require you to cover it at replacement value.) You'll need to revise your coverage when you acquire or dispose of property. Be sure to update replacement values over time; a computer worth $1,000 two years ago might cost half that today - on the other hand, the price of a desk might well increase.

Actual cash value coverage, which generally costs less, provides reimbursement for the depreciated value of covered property. If your business owns its own equipment, which you could replace easily with comparable goods at depreciated market value, the lower premium of an ACV policy might make it a more cost-effective choice.

As always, our agency's Business Insurance specialists stand ready to offer their advice on choosing the coverage that's best for you. Just give us a call.


Why Coinsurance Makes Sense

Author TonyScurich , 3/25/2016
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Insurance spreads the risk of loss among every policyholder and the insurance company.

The "coinsurance clause" in a Business Property policy reflects the fact that the coverage divides this risk by setting premiums based primarily on the value of the property. Those who insure their property for less than its actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost will have to pay the uninsured portion of any covered loss out of their own pocket -- in other words, "coinsuring" the risk -- which encourages policyholders to buy coverage for the full value of their property.

The coinsurance clause usually requires policyholders to insure their property for 80% of its ACV. For example, if the property of your business is worth $500,000, you would need to purchase a $400,000 policy. If a fire caused $300,000 worth of damage, the insurance company would pay $240,000 (80% of $300,000), leaving you to pick up the other $60,000. However, if you had purchased the full $500,000 in ACV coverage -- paying a higher premium -- the insurer would cover the entire $300,000 claim.

We'd be happy to discuss the benefits that the coinsurance clause offers. Feel free to give us a call.


Create a Business Continuity Plan in Four Steps

Author TonyScurich , 8/28/2015

There are many reasons why your company needs a business continuity plan. Having a strategy – before an event happens – helps to maximize the chance your business can recover while minimizing the loss of property, life and assets.

Developing your business continuity plan should be a thoughtful process resulting in a plan that can be beneficial to you if an event occurs.

Start by assembling a team of key decision-makers who will lead your continuity planning efforts. Senior management, team leaders and anyone with in-depth knowledge about business operations should be included.

4 steps to an effective business continuity plan

Four Steps to Developing an Effective Business Continuity Plan

  1. Identify threats or risks Understanding the risks that could leave employees, customers, vendors, property and operations vulnerable is fundamental. Threats can include, but are not limited to natural disasters, malicious attacks, power outages and system failures. Identify the risks most likely to occur based on historical, geographical, organizational and other factors. Then weigh the probability of each event against its potential impact to your business, as well as your readiness to respond.
  2. Conduct a business impact analysis Identify the people, places, providers, processes and programs critical to the survival of your business. What functions and resources, if interrupted or lost, could impact your ability to provide goods and services or meet regulatory requirements? Consider who and what is absolutely necessary to restore critical operations. Then prioritize the need to restore each item after the event. Plan to use limited resources wisely. Complementary functions can always be restored later.
  3. Adopt controls for prevention and mitigation Prevention and mitigation planning and activities are intended to help prevent an event (such as a fire or explosion from unsafe conditions) as well as to reduce the impact or severity of an event (such as relocating critical equipment to a higher elevation in flood-susceptible areas). Your prevention and mitigation plans should address, among other things, emergency response, public relations, resource management, and employee communications.
  4. Test, exercise and improve your plan routinely A business continuity plan is an evolving strategy that should adapt to your company’s ever-changing needs. Test and update it regularly – yearly at a minimum  or any time critical functions, facilities, suppliers or personnel change. Train employees to understand their role in executing the plan, too. Exercises can include discussions or hypothetical walk-throughs of scenarios to live drills or simulations. The key is to ensure the plan works as intended.

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

Author TonyScurich , 8/17/2015

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Many companies do not know exactly what intellectual property (IP) they may own, while others are uncertain how to protect and maximize these valuable assets. When someone infringes on your IP, it may dilute the ability of consumers to associate your company as the source of your goods and services.

To protect your company, it is important to first understand what is typically included as intellectual property. Generally, it involves a creation of the human mind, such as an invention, literary work or musical composition. The different areas of IP law include trademark (such as service mark, trade dress and trade name), as well as copyright, patent and trade secret.

Why it is Important to Register Your IP

While some intellectual property, such as a trademark or copyright, can be valid and protectable even if it is unregistered, registration offers important and key benefits. Registering a trademark or service mark with the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) serves as constructive notice to the public of your claim of ownership of the mark.

An owner who has successfully registered his mark with the USPTO also receives the following:

  • An incontestable right to use the mark under certain conditions.
  • A rebuttable presumption of the validity of the mark, the registrant’s ownership of the mark, and exclusive right to use the mark in commerce.
  • The ability to seek costs, attorney’s fees, and treble damages (or three times the actual amount of financial losses) in infringement lawsuits.
  • The destruction of the infringing articles.
  • The ability to litigate in federal court.

How to Register Your Trademark and Service Mark

You can file an electronic application to register your company’s intellectual property. The Lanham Act governs federal trademark registration and allows trademark and service mark owners to pay a fee (typically $325) and file an application and verified statement to the USPTO.

Applicants must state when they first used the mark in commerce and include a description of the goods that the mark is connected to, along with a drawing of the mark. In the verified statement, applicants must also state that they believe they are the owner of the mark, that the mark is used in commerce and that no other person has the right to use the mark.

How to Register Your Copyright

Copyright owners who register their work with the United States Copyright Office also receive significant benefit in any subsequent judicial proceeding. A certificate of copyright registration constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate. Copyright owners who register their works can also potentially receive statutory damages from an infringer.

Copyright owners can apply online to the United States Copyright Office to register a copyright. The application requires a $35 filing fee and the applicant to provide: name and address, title of the work, the year in which it was created and other preparation and identification information. [According to the USCO website, processing time for an e-filing is generally eight months.¹]

How to Register Your Patent

Patent applications are more complicated than trademark or copyright applications and are often filed by registered patent attorneys experienced in the patent drafting and filing process. A patent applicant must pay a fee (these fees range in amount) and produce an oath, a drawing of the invention and a “specification.” Applicants must state in the oath their country of citizenship and that they believe they are the first inventor of the process, machine, manufacture or improvement.

The specification must contain a written description of the invention and the manner and process of making and using it in a full and clear manner. The specification also must contain one or more “claims” that point out the specific subject matter that the applicants regard as their invention.

Using Written Agreements to Your Advantage

Using, adhering to and enforcing various written agreements can help your company protect and profit from its Intellectual Property (IP). No agreement can accomplish everything but here are some to consider for advancing your IP portfolio.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA): An NDA, or confidentiality agreement, can help keep proprietary or trade secret information private. Among other details, it should plainly state who owns the IP rights associated with the product or service, and who has the right to enforce those IP rights.

Non-Competition Agreements: A non-competition agreement can help lessen the risk that a vital employee will take critical information, such as processes, customer lists or formulas, to a competitor or a start-up company.

Employment Contracts: When an author, artist or designer is an independent contractor or creates work outside the scope of his or her employment, a carefully drafted contract can eliminate potential conflicts by clearly, and broadly, defining the person’s scope of employment and assigning all IP rights generated from his or her work to the employer or hirer.

Licensing Agreements: In a license, one entity grants another permission to use IP rights(s) within a defined time, market or territory. Typically complex, these agreements may contain provisions related to exclusivity, transferability, revocability and warranties.

Download the White Paper on How to Protect and Maximize Your Company's Intellectual Property > Get Technology Resources that Can Help You Turn Risk into a Business Advantage >

Property Insurance for Multiple Locations: what does a loss limit do for you.

Author TonyScurich , 8/5/2015
Loss limit policies insure property on an occurrence basis to a limit of the probable maximum loss rather than an actual total property value. If a manufacturer has ten locations in ten states each valued at three million dollars including contents, the probable maximum loss might be three million dollars. No one storm, earthquake, or fire will destroy any two in one occurrence. If all ten locations are within a mile of the east coastline, a hurricane might destroy several plants, for a probable maximum loss of, say for example, nine million dollars. In the first case, the policy limit might be four million, in the second, maybe ten rather than thirty million. This method of valuation provides insurance for very high value risks or when some portion of the risk is hard to reinsure. Reinsurance is a spread of risk system for all insurance companies. For very high value risks, sometimes it is not possible to reinsure the total value of property. Insurers and reinsurers each have a maximum limit per loss. Windstorm, flood and earthquake hazards can be difficult to insure. Insuring all locations with a single maximum loss is a way to get some insurance for all locations. Loss limit policies tend to be more expensive because total losses are theoretically many more times as likely. Co-insurance became popular with insurance companies because insureds only wanted to buy enough insurance for the probable maximum loss on a single property. Loss limit policies can be viewed as total protection without a coinsurance clause. The insurance underwriter goes into the process with eyes wide open about pricing each occurrence for ten potential first dollar losses or one catastrophic loss. The principles of spread of risk and actuarial loss prediction remain constant but apply differently. If you have a portfolio of properties spread geographically, with perhaps a few in hurricane or earthquake zones, review your loss limit options.

You Need to "Call Before You Dig"

Author TonyScurich , 7/20/2015

Person digging in backyard

What is 811?

Are you a homeowner or contractor? Did you know that you are required to call the number ‘811’ before digging on any property so that you can be made aware of any underground lines (e.g. pipes, cables and associated utilities) buried in the area? Improper digging can lead to damage to underground lines that can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm diggers or excavators, and even incur potential fines and repair costs.

In case you did not know, 811 is the national "Call Before You Dig" phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission. This number was developed to eliminate the confusion of multiple "Call Before You Dig" numbers because it is easy to use, is the same for every state, and can help protect anyone who does dig from injury, expense and potential penalties.

What Happens After Calling 811?

All 811 calls are routed to a local One Call Center and the affected utilities. The utility will then send crews to the location to mark any underground lines for the homeowner or excavator for free.

Do Most People Call Before They Dig?

Believe it or not, in spite of all the potential danger and damage that can be caused, the answer is "no." According to a recent national survey, 45 percent of American homeowners who plan to dig this year said that they would not call 811 beforehand.*

More Information

For more information about the 811 call system, visit http://www.call811.com. To download the most current industry Best Practices in connection with preventing damage to underground facilities, go to http://commongroundalliance.com/.