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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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Reporting Insurance Scams: It’s The Law!

Author TonyScurich , 10/5/2016
  As you go about your daily business, insurance fraud is probably one of the furthest things from your mind. However these all-too-common scams, everything from homeowners who report a non-existent burglary to collect on their policies to drivers who stage auto accidents and file injury claims – are criminal acts that you have a legal obligation to report. If you’re aware of, or suspect, a fraudulent act that involves insurance follow these steps:
    • Inform the insurance fraud bureau in your state either through its telephone “hot line” or online.
    • Contact the fraud department of the insurance company involved. Most companies have hotlines for this purpose. If a fraud hotline isn’t available, or if you’re uncomfortable using it, write the fraud department instead.
    • If the alleged fraud involves a medical issue – such as a claim for a non-existent condition – contact your state medical board or chiropractic board immediately in order to protect the complainant, as well as other possible victims.
    • If appropriate, notify other authorities, such as the police (if someone’s life might be in danger) or your local Social Security office (in case of suspected Social Security fraud).
    • Remember that, as a witness, you must report all the details involved: full names, dates, organization, company name, the amount of money involved, etc. Provide any documentation or other information you think might help with the investigation.
    • Be patient. Investigating complaints takes time; it might be months before the investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring the perpetrators into court.
A word to the wise. insurance scams costs billions of dollars a year, driving up premiums for everyone – including you.  

Protect Your Business When An Employee Leaves

Author TonyScurich , 9/19/2016
eMPLOYEE It's always difficult to terminate an employee - especially in this age of employment litigation and privacy concerns. Even if a worker leaves voluntarily, you need to make sure that he or she no longer has access to confidential information

The key to making sure that you've covered all bases of your bases is to follow a Departure Checklist:

  • When an employee leaves, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, notify all staff immediately to help reduce rumors, hurt feelings, and concerns. Keep the announcement positive.
  • Remove the employee from your facility soon as possible. Offering to have the person stay is nice, but might not always be helpful. If you decide to let the employee stay for the customary two weeks, assign him or her specific tasks to complete. Collect keys immediately and assign someone to work with the departing employee for the duration of their stay.
  • Once the decision has been made, restrict the employee's access to sensitive company information at once; be sure that this restriction includes any VPN or private access.
  • Have the employee review all items on which he or she is working and write a synopsis of what's needed to complete each item. Then review these items to create a specific workload transition plan, and assign them to other employees. The sooner you do this, the better.

The more you think through this process before a problem arises, the more effectively you'll be able to deal with it. We stand ready at any time to help you develop and implement an effective plan that can go a long way to help you protect your business from this risk.

 

Beware Of Negligent Supervision!

Author TonyScurich , 9/14/2016
Several courts have found yet another way for someone to sue contractors. This term refers to lawsuits against you for alleged failure to exercise proper control over your employers. For example, one of your employees might be accused of injuring others recklessly while driving a truck on company business. A "negligent supervision" suit would claim that you were negligent in hiring this worker because you either failed to discover or ignored the fact that she had a record of reckless driving. You also have an obligation to supervise your staff. Although you can't foresee every incident, a court will look at whether you took reasonable steps to identify and guard against potential wrongdoing by your employees: everything from unsafe behavior on the job site to sexual harassment. It's not only about whether a worker actually committed an offence - it's about what you did to prevent it. To head off liability for negligent supervision, we'd recommend that you:
  • Set and enforce clear guidelines for interviewing and hiring employees.
  • Provide training in conflict resolution and communication. Supervisors need to know when to report certain behaviors and which behaviors to look for, such as verbal abuse, failing to cooperate with supervisors or co-workers .and making inappropriate comments.
  • Conduct regular performance evaluations to address specific behavior or job performance changes.
  • Provide multiple avenues to receive allegations of misbehavior, and have unbiased managers investigate complaints so that no conflicts of interest exist. Investigate every incidents promptly and take decisive action.
We stand ready to review your company's exposure to negligent supervision claims - and how your Liability insurance coverage can help protect you. Just give us a call.

Saying 'I DO' To Wedding Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 7/22/2016
3

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.

How Can Workers Prove Chronic Pain: Case Studies to Learn From

Author TonyScurich , 6/15/2016
Unfortunately, you can't actually see chronic pain. You can talk to someone who physically looks fine, yet is claiming they can barely stand up. Since pain is felt differently by different people, medical professionals and laypeople alike have difficulty categorizing and defining the more severe injuries. This leads to confusion and sometimes outright fraud. Let's look at how pain is defined by using a specific case study. A Question of Proof How injured do you have to be to claim injury? Do you have to be constantly writhing in agony or is it only when you make specific motions? These are specific questions that get a bit touchy. Recently, a man who filed for compensation claimed that he needed a wheelchair but was then shown to be out of his home shopping without it (and seemingly without pain) through video surveillance. They also had him on camera performing a number of other activities as well. He was arrested with the possibility of up to five years in jail. Since the amount paid out due to his injury was more than a half million dollars, it's certainly brought about some attention in his area of Florida. The man was a deputy there, and was injured when bending to get his laptop from the trunk of his police cruiser in 2007. After that, he went through surgery and stated that he couldn't walk, drive or bend, which has then been shown to be false by videos. He states that he had always been consistent in reporting his pain to be inconsistent because no two days are alike. He says that while the video may show him driving and running errands, he can only do so in limited ways. He claims his whole life is a mess, with his job ripped out from under him and expenses piling up. It's now up for the courts to decide who has the better claim and what will happen. Employer Tips  No employer wants to follow their employee around constantly to check up on their progress and verify the truth in their claims. Also, it's difficult to accuse someone who's experienced severe injuries of trying to game the system. However, sometimes it's necessary with the case of chronic pain to be more involved. Medical professionals have been shown consistently to raise costs without cause in certain areas where they have direct financial incentives to do so as well. Through questions and visits, you can start to see the character of the person behind the claim as well as the treatment they're receiving. If you do suspect foul play on either side, then your insurance company will be more than happy to help. After all, they stand to lose out on fraudulent claims too.

Beware Of Techno-Jackers

Author TonyScurich , 4/22/2016
3You pull into the grocery store parking lot to pick up a few snacks, and park. As you head for the door, you push a button on your keyless remote to lock it. You don't hear that faint chirp, but you're in a hurry. Fifteen minutes later, you discover that your car is gone. Welcome to the world of 21st-century auto theft!

On the surface, things appear to be improving. Vehicle thefts fell 3.3% nationwide in 2011 (the most recent data) for the eighth straight year. However, auto theft still costs the nation an estimated $5.8 billion a year, thanks to streetwise thugs who feed chop shops and supply lucrative international black markets. These days, car thieves are becoming smarter, more tech-savvy, and harder than ever to stop. 

Anyone can go to a home-improvement store and buy a $20 device that jams the remote keyless entry transmitter on a vehicle. If you aren't paying attention, you walk away from your vehicle, press the button on the remote, and assume that it locks. However, a thief might be two cars over in the parking lot, punching a button to block the signal. The vehicle doesn't lock, and the thief can take your laptop, portable GPS, or whatever else is inside. With enough time, he can even steal the vehicle! 

To guard against jammers, pay attention to your surroundings and make sure your car doors do indeed lock when you press the button. Listen for the click or chirp, or look for the quick flash of lights that confirmations locking on most cars. If the vehicle doesn't lock, try again. However, if locking doesn't work on the second attempt - or if you see someone lurking nearby - move your car to a different spot.

An ounce of prevention..

Beware Of Bullies On The Job

Author TonyScurich , 2/8/2016
3Unfortunately, there are all too many bullies in the workplace -- and, all too often, their abusive behavior has led to violent, even fatal, employee rampages that have made the headlines. It makes sense for business owners and managers to deal with on-the-job bullying before it escalates into a potentially deadly situation. Recognizing a bully in the workplace can be difficult. These people often have "Jekyll and Hyde" personalities: They can be extremely charming, polite, and respectful in public. However, as a rule, bullies: 1) don't believe in following the rules of society; 2) crave negative attention; 3) try to put others down by manipulating and degrading them in front of their peers; 4) seek power; and 5) spread untrue rumors in the workplace, disrespect their victims, and refuse to listen to them. Because there are no federal or state laws against workplace bullying, it might be hard to fire a bully right away. However, there are ways to deal with this problem. Institute a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying. Your employee handbook and codes of conduct should set a clear definition of the consequences and punishment for bullying, with a specific list of actions for dealing with it. Enforce the policy. When it's time to discipline a bully, sit down with the accused person, their supervisor, and someone from your human resources department. If the bully offers to apologize and promises never to repeat the behavior, you might settle the matter by writing a letter of reprimand to be kept in their personnel file. You might also put the employee on probation, with close supervision by their supervisor, and let them know that any further bullying will result in termination. If you'd like advice on creating and implementing an anti-bullying policy for your workplace, just give us a call.

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.  

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).


How to Protect Your Personal Information Online

Author TonyScurich , 7/8/2015

Going online has become part of everyday life, whether it is for everyday activities such as shopping, sending email or paying bills, and managing your accounts. But data breaches, in all their forms, can potentially expose the personal information that we share online, putting consumers at risk of identity theft.

According to the 2014 Travelers Consumer Risk Index, 82 percent of Americans worry about loss of personal privacy, and 63 percent worry about identity theft.  Fortunately, there are steps that consumers can take, including not opening unsolicited emails and avoiding unsecure websites, to protect their personal information while online.

The following tips can help you learn how to help stay safe online:

Online Shopping

  • Research potential retailers to make sure they are reputable and have a secure network and website. Try to avoid buying from a site that does not have a secure socket layer (SSL) encryption installed. In order to do this, look for the 's' at the beginning of a URL – HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// – to help determine if a site is SSL secured.
  • Read the site's privacy policy to learn how the personal information you provide will be used.
  • Use only one credit card for online purchases. Be sure to read statements when received to check for fraudulent or unknown charges or activity.
  • If you receive an email regarding sales or discounts from a particular retailer, log on directly to the official website for the business. Avoid linking to it from an unsolicited email.

Emails and Attachments

  • Do not send personal information in email or instant messages. Emails are out of your control once sent, and can be easily intercepted.
  • Do not click on links you receive by email or encounter online that are suspicious or from unknown sources. Only accept and click if it:
    • Comes from someone you know.
    • Comes from someone you have received mail from before.
    • Is something you were expecting.
    • Does not look odd with unusual spellings or characters.
    • Passes your anti-virus program test.
  • Be cautious of emails you receive regarding your financial accounts. If you are not sure of the email's validity, contact your financial institution directly.

General Online Safety

  • Try to limit the personal information you put on the Internet. Social media sites can be good for networking, but identity thieves can use the information you share.
  • Remember to keep your Web browser up to date. This can help ensure the latest security features are installed.
  • Avoid storing personal information, account numbers and personal identification numbers on your computer.
  • Install firewall and anti-virus software. This can help protect you from exposure to malicious cyber attacks.
  • Choose strong passwords and keep them private.