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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 rate - rate

Reclassifying Obesity Could Raise Comp Premiums

Author TonyScurich , 10/12/2016
Injured workers who gain weight due to inactivity or as a side effect of medication will probably receive higher workers comp benefits, thanks to the American Medical Association’s recent reclassification of obesity as a disease. That’s the conclusion of a recent six-year study of claims by the California Workers' Compensation Institute. According to the report, although this reclassification doesn’t have legal standing, the AMA’s positions often have a strong influence on lawmakers, regulators, and health care providers. Immediately after the decision, senators and congressmen introduced bipartisan bills requiring Medicare to cover more obesity treatment costs, including prescription drugs and intensive behavioral weight-loss counseling, which will give health care providers a financial incentive to use these remedies. Judging from the results of the California study, this means that businesses can expect to pay more for workers comp. The report found that the costs of comp claims that listed obesity as a “comorbidity,” or additional cause, were far greater than for claims without them. Medical benefits for comorbidity cases cost 81% more than for other cases, while indemnity payments averaged nearly 65% higher. More two in three claimants with obesity comorbidity received permanent disability, nearly five times the rate for the non-obese. Finally, the use of narcotic painkillers was significantly higher among overweight claimants. Obesity might even become a primary comp diagnosis for jobs such as long-haul trucking or office work that require employees to remain seated for extended periods. The bottom line: look for the management and financial changes stemming from the reclassification of obesity as a medical condition to create new challenges and incentives for health care professionals, businesses, and workers compensation insurance companies. We’ll stay on top of these changes to help make sure that your company has the coverage you need at a competitive rate.  

Avoid Sticker Shock For Your Teenage Driver

Author TonyScurich , 10/3/2016
Adding a teenager to your auto policy can raise your rate by more than 40%. The good news: you and your teen can reduce these hikes significantly in a variety of ways:
  1. Get good grades. Most insurance companies offer high school or college students with a B average or better a discount of up to 10%.
  2. Live away from home. Students at college or living at least 100 miles from their parents without a car can usually get a 5%-10% discount.
  3. Take an additional driving class. Although most insurance companies don’t give a discount for mandatory drivers’ed instruction, some companies will reduce premiums by 5% for teens who go to follow-up classes.
  4. Sign a parent-teen driving contract. Your insurer might offer up to a 5% discount if your teen agrees to follow such rules as not driving at night or with friends in the car.
  5. Raise your deductible. However, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay this deductible if your teen driver damages the car. If you repair every ding, you could spend a lot more than you'll save on premiums with a higher deductible.
  6. Reduce or drop some coverage. If you have an older car, you might not need Comprehensive or Collision insurance. Be wary of lowering Liability limits. In most cases, it makes sense to keep Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays medical expenses of anyone injured in an auto accident.
  7. Choose a safe vehicle. The higher the safety rating of your car, the lower your premiums – and the safer your teenager will be behind the wheel.
We’d be happy to help you minimize the sticker shock of adding a teen driver. Just give us a call.

EDITOR'S COLUMN: Dealing with Speed

Author TonyScurich , 9/28/2016

Don Phin

I listened to an outstanding NYC Radiolab podcast on the subject of speed. To begin with, Radiolab is one of my favorite podcasts. The subjects are always interesting, but this was one of those episodes that causes you to really do some deep thinking. Many years ago. the great thinker Buckminister Fuller coined the phrase "accelerated acceleration." In a sense, things happen faster at an ever faster rate: Speed feeding on itself.

The podcast discussed relative aspects of speed; for example, how it affects stock trading. No longer are stocks traded on the floor, but through ten thousand servers, all connected to a motherboard on Wall Street. Trades are made in microseconds. This technology-driven speed has ended the career of many old school traders. While we might bemoan the good old days, this change has lowered the cost of trading for you and me.

The whole concept of speed is reengineering the workforce dramatically. Pretty soon, there will be an algorithm or program that solves just about every puzzle -- the Watson computer being an excellent example. Our best and brightest will continue to create those tools and figure out how to put them to good use. Technology has driven the middleman out of stock trading, just as in many aspects of business and much of the retail sector

How is this affecting your company? Where will the speed of transactions have an impact on your career? Who will get squeezed out next? What new jobs will be created?

Speed is directly related to time. All of us feel the stress of this speed on how we manage our time. I describe it as running 75 mph. Many think they can outdo the other guy if they run 80 mph. Years ago this was termed the rat race – and as Lilly Tomlin reminded us, "even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat." Nothing less than a fundamental reexamination of how we do our work will be required to survive the speed of change.

I highly encourage you to listen to this podcast: http://www.radiolab.org/2013/feb/05/. The last part of it is amazing and will blow your mind. It certainly made me want to learn more about the latest discovery that is shared. I won't spoil it by telling you what it's about. I had to listen to it three times for it to fully sink in. I'd be curious to know what you think after listening to this podcast.

PS...If you haven't yet done so, get thee to the Time Management Training Module on HR That Works. In order to manage the rate of speed better we have to better manage our time.

 

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.

 

Workers Comp Prescription Narcotics Abuse: Fight Back!

Author TonyScurich , 9/2/2016
4 The use of narcotics in treating injured workers faces heavy scrutiny today - and for good reason. The latest National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI) Annual Issues Symposium found that:
  • The average cost of narcotics per Workers Comp claim rose from $39 in 2003 to $59 in 2011. This is a rate of 0.79 narcotic prescriptions per claim, up from 0.56 in 2003 - a 14% increase in eight years.
  • More than 5% percent of Comp claims that resulted in at least one prescription for if anymedication included five or more narcotics prescriptions.
To curb the prescribing of narcotics for your injured employees, start by choosing the right Workers Comp physician. In most states, businesses have the legal right to designate the physician that injured employees must use. To find a physician in your area who is board certified in Occupational Medicine, go to http://www.acoem.org/. If none is available, look for a doctor who takes patients on Workers Compensation. In many cases, urgent care clinics make great partners. Once you find a physician, talk to him or her about your business, discuss your return-to-work program and the types of transitional jobs you offer - and ask about their attitude toward prescribing narcotics. Even if state law prohibits you from requiring injured workers to see a specific physician, you can still suggest that they do so. For example, you might say, "Doctor Joan at Acme Urgent Care has treated many of your co-workers and they've gotten better quickly." Selecting a doctor who doesn't dispense drugs and only prescribes narcotics when they're are absolutely necessary can go far to help injured employees get back to work and be healthy and productive as swiftly as possible - while keeping your Workers Comp costs under control.

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!  

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.

Alternative Risk Financing: Not Just For The Big Guys

Author TonyScurich , 5/16/2016
1

Large corporations often use "alternative risk financing" - assuming some of their own risks, in addition to buying insurance - as a way to improve cash flow and lower their total costs. However, this technique can offer substantial benefits for medium-sized companies that face significant potential risks from one line of insurance, such as Workers Comp, General Liability, or Auto Liability.

Basic alternative risk financing methods include:

  • Guaranteed cost insurance - the company pays a premium based either on a rate, such as payroll or property values, or a flat amount.
  • Incurred loss retrospective rating plans ("retro) - use a standard premium adjusted after policy expiration based on loss experience.
  • Large-deductible plans - the organization assumes a substantial (often $50,000 to $250,000) per-accident or per-occurrence deductible.
  • Self-insurance - the firm retains its loss obligations and pays them as they become due.
  • Captive insurance - this variation on self-insurance pre-funds risks through an insurance subsidiary ("captive") usually owned by the parent company.

Because each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages, your choice should depend on the situation and needs of your business. For example, a guaranteed cost plan minimizes the upside risk, but won't help your cash flow; while a captive usually costs the least to finance, but can be expensive to administer.

Whichever alternative risk financing option you choose, make sure your accounting and human resources departments educate managers on their responsibilities in daily hands-on administration of the program. The more widespread their "buy-in," the stronger your bottom line.

We'd be happy to help you select and develop an alternative risk financing program that's tailored to your needs. Just give us a call.


Review Class Codes and Descriptions: technology changes operations

Author TonyScurich , 7/31/2015

Technology associated with construction has dramatically changed operations. Carefully check the class codes and their descriptions to assure proper premiums. Years ago, 5606 - contractor supervisors - served to describe on site personnel who actively performed construction activities while managing the site. The rate was equivalent to site carpenters. That code has evolved into the computer carrying, service providing construction managers and executives who document the construction process. The rate is closer to outside sales representatives now. Even excavation and site work is being dramatically changed by GPS technology. Now computers design a cut and fill pattern with efficiency. Labor is more involved in checking the geotechnical and environmental properties of the soils rather than the actual movement of them. As production technology improves, new sub-codes develop to reflect the decrease in risk. Painting, carpentry, electrician and other trades now use a selection of eight or ten separate codes to describe exact activities. More components are built in shops and brought to the site. This process can change the class code of the installers and the builders. The trend is towards more computer driven operations. Less labor, more specialists. As this trend continues, class codes will be added, deleted and the descriptions changed. There are currently over seven hundred class codes. Some are antiquated with new meanings - like a ship chandler is now a hardware store. It pays to become familiar with the classifications. If your business has been active for many years, the "governing code" may be incorrect. The governing code is the catch-all for your business which best describes the overall operation, more obvious in manufacturing. Corrugated box manufacturing has been reorganized into several class codes. Technology has separated the manufacture of cardboard and corrugated cardboard into laminating processes, cutting and folding processes, and fully integrated operations. Read your relevant class codes and think about which one reflects your operations. Or ask your agent to do it for you.

Workers' Compensation Audits: why it pays to manage overtime and independent contractors

Author TonyScurich , 3/20/2015

Workers' compensation requires an end of the policy year audit to assure proper premium is charged. This process protects both the insured and insurers. Think through this process to make it easier, and cost saving. First, choose a policy year that creates an easy audit. The calendar year works for many companies. You already must report payrolls to the US government, the paperwork is essentially done. Calendar quarters work for the same reason. If you prefer to use your corporate tax year, go ahead. If you complete quarterly profit and loss, you can use a financial quarter. But choose an annual period which already has an audit trail. Keep payroll records separate for each workers' compensation classification. Normally, this record keeping is straightforward. The same people specialize in certain tasks: clerical, sales, labor, or drivers. Some operations can be more complex. If labor crosses from one specialty to another, perhaps a carpenter helps pour a concrete slab, that payroll should be split on an hourly rate. The higher rate applies otherwise. Demand any subcontractor, for example a hood cleaning crew for a restaurant, provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI). Technically, insurance companies can charge for the payroll portion of any contracted work in the absence of a COI. If you use to a non-covered contractor, keep those records to properly assign a discount for premium. Lastly, keep records to isolate overtime pay. Overtime payroll receives a discount for premium purposes. Make audits easier. Choose a convenient policy period. Keep records for independent contractors with COIs, and payments to those without. Isolate overtime pay. Segregate individual payroll by classification if that individual works in multiple job descriptions. Your premium will be more accurate with a minimal additional management effort. And, the default position is always to increase payroll, and therefore, premium.