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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 system - system

EMPLOYEES AND E-MAIL: SECURITY VS. PRIVACY

Author TonyScurich , 8/1/2016
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How can you oversee your employees' use of company e-mails without violating their privacy?

According to a recent nationwide survey, more than 40% of businesses monitor their workers' e-mails. If you're one of these companies, a disgruntled employee might well sue you for invasion of privacy (the number of privacy lawsuits has skyrocketed by 3,000% during the past decade). The best way to protect yourself against this risk is to create a written policy warning employees that you might be monitoring their use of e-mail. Bear in mind that because your business owns the e-mail system - software, network access, and computers - you have the legal right to oversee workers for misusing it to violate company policy or break the law. The first step in implementing this policy is to have all employees sign a disclaimer that acknowledges the company's right to monitor their e-mail. You can do this when an employee is hired, at contract renewal, or at a company meeting - and don't forget to circulate any updates to the policy throughout the company. Apply e-mail monitoring as uniformly as possible, because singling out an individual without a clear reason to do so could leave you vulnerable to a discrimination lawsuit. Finally, be sure to have your attorney review the policy. A comprehensive e-mail policy can: 1) provide an effective defense against invasion of privacy litigation 2) educate your employees on the proper use of e-mail - which should go far to reduce potential problems from misusing the system. If you'd like to learn more about how to balance protecting the integrity of your company's e-mail system with your employees' right to privacy, please get in touch with us. As always, we're here to help.

That's Hot! Home Insurance Technology Trends

Author TonyScurich , 7/20/2016
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If you want to insure a mansion or a priceless art collection, don't be surprised if a certified thermographer shows up at your door, infrared camera in hand.

Thermal imaging cameras are among the latest high-tech tools Homeowners insurers are using to help stem losses before they become catastrophes, saving policyholders from heartbreak and companies millions in damage claims. One major insurance company is using thermal imaging cameras for its high-value homes, letting inspectors "see" hidden hot or cool spots. A hot reading might indicate a fire hazard from an electrical malfunction, while a cool reading could come from a leak. In one case, the camera detected a cool spot in a ceiling due to a leak caused by a faulty 37-cent clip in an upstairs ice maker. If the ceiling had collapsed, it would have caused $125,000 in damage. High-tech devices aren't limited to the high-end market. One insurer offers an online risk-assessment tool that its Homeowners clients can use to find the risks for flooding, wildfire and storm surge, based on their address. This company also provides its clients inexpensive alarms that can detect potential water leaks before they can cause extensive, and expensive, damage. Insurance companies are exploring new technologies. One insurer has patented a data recorder that can be installed in building to analyze potential causes of damage or destruction. Another company has filed a patent for a system that would use spectroscopy to identify chemical changes caused by wildfires and other natural disasters. If such a change were detected and confirmed, the company could speed up the claims process.

Emergency Notification Systems: Be Prepared!

Author TonyScurich , 7/11/2016
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The disastrous Japanese earthquake/tsunami of March 2011 drowned thousands of people - but the toll would have been far higher without the nation's comprehensive warning system, which combined radio broadcasts, text messages, and sirens with firefighters' door-to-door calls.

Every business needs an effective emergency communications notification system that has low-tech and high tech elements. Here's an overview of the advantages and disadvantages that each type offers:

Low-tech systems can be effective, but have serious limitations. Although calling trees are valuable for mass communications, they're slow, subject to errors, and breakdowns. Sirens and alarms provide immediate warning and can alert everyone who's in a dangerous area; however, they can't provide much information and have a limited range. Intercom systems are reasonably fast and can communicate detailed information, but usually operate in only one building.

High-tech systems provide automated mass notification of detailed warnings rapidly and accurately to a wide range of devices, including phones (land line and cell) and computers (e-mail and instant messaging) through multiple communication networks. High-tech systems can also target messages to individual groups, such as first responders. However, they don't offer a panacea. For one thing, cell phones might be turned off. Although communication with cell phones is available by voice mail or text messaging, these systems are vulnerable to a general outage of communication networks. Their "call capacity" might be a serious limitation, especially for larger firms.

For most businesses, a warning system that blends low tech (alarms and sirens) with high tech (automated notification) can provide effective communication when an emergency strikes.

When choosing a system, you should also weigh such factors as cost and ease of use.

Our risk management experts would be happy to offer you their advice.

 

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.

Risk Management: Keep Safety In The Forefront

Author TonyScurich , 5/13/2016
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Once employees have gone through safety training, make sure that they use what they've learned. When every worker knows and chooses the safe way on a daily basis, you'll have a workplace with less chance of accidents and injuries.

This four-step approach to job safety will pay dividends:

  1. Team up to solve problems and improve safety. Create employee teams in every department to gather information on potential hazards, analyze problems, develop and test solutions, and implement and monitor results. Being part of a team makes workers feel that they share responsibility, which keeps your safety message top of mind.
  2. Talk up safety every day. Update employees on information that affects their safety. Provide ongoing feedback, praising safe performance, correcting unsafe behavior, and pointing out areas for improvement. Make sure that communication flows both ways. Urge workers to offer suggestions, identify problems, and pose questions - for example, through a safety suggestion system.
  3. Encourage employees to become hazard detectives — and reporters. Make every worker responsible for finding hazards. Create an effective system for reporting problems, and respond promptly to correct hazards that employees identify. This is harder than it sounds because it means that management has to listen when workers discuss safety concerns.
  4. Create a "want-to" safety culture. Encourage your workers to do the safe thing, not because they have to, but because they want to avoid injuries. Remind them of how many safety-related decisions they make every day - and how one bad decision is all it takes to get hurt.

For professional advice on creating or updating your workplace safety program, just give us a call.


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/.


Help prevent common household fires

Author TonyScurich , 6/17/2015

fire-houseUsing our claim data, we have developed a list of the most common causes of fire-related losses as well as some things you can do to help prevent them.

Faulty Wiring and Outlets Are One of the Top Causes of House Fires.

  • Check the electrical cords throughout your home for signs of fraying, and replace all frayed wires.
  • Do not pinch or cover electrical cords with items such as rugs.
  • Be aware of the capacity of your home's electrical system. Do not overload your circuits. If you have questions about your home's electrical system, you may want to consult a licensed electrician.
  • Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips - both allow you to plug in multiple electronic devices, but only the surge protector will help protect these devices from a power spike. Use surge protectors to protect valuable electronic devices, such as computers and televisions.

Carelessness in the Kitchen May Also Lead to a House Fire.

  • Never leave your pots or pans unattended on your stove.
  • Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher readily available and know how to use it.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean. Built up food splatter or grease can later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
  • Read more tips to help prevent cooking fires, and what to do if one occurs.

Clothes Dryers are Another Common Source of House Fires.

  • If you are installing your own dryer vent, follow the directions in the manufacturer’s installation instructions, using the recommended duct material. If you are unsure about how to properly install the vent, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
  • Clean out the lint filter after each load.
  • Lint may also collect under and behind your dryer, so do not forget to clean these areas.

Alternative Heating Sources May Also Create a Fire Hazard.

  • Avoid using an older space heater, as it may not have adequate safety features compared to newer units. When purchasing a new space heater, ensure it is UL Listed and pay attention to the safety features.
  • Do not place a space heater near furniture, curtains or other objects that could easily catch fire.
  • If you plan to install an alternative heating system, such as a wood or pellet stove, follow the instructions. If you are unsure about how to properly install the system, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Before installing a wood or pellet stove, check to ensure it complies with the laws of your state and municipality.

Dirty Chimneys Also Pose a Fire Hazard.

  • Have your chimney inspected annually by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep. Have a professional clean and repair the chimney as needed, especially before the cold months, when you will be using it frequently.
  • Use seasoned wood only. Never burn green or damp wood.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or trees in your fireplace - these can all spark chimney fires.

Call before you dig

Author TonyScurich , 5/13/2015

"811" number makes it easy to Call Before You Dig.

Call Before You DigOne Number for All States

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, remember and it is the same for every state.

Why Call 811?

It is important to call 811 before digging so that professional excavators and do-it-yourself homeowners are aware of any underground lines buried in the area. This information can help protect people who dig from injury, expense and penalties. Damages to underground lines can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm diggers and cost diggers fine and repair costs. Hopefully this number will increase awareness and create a positive behavioral change.

What Happens After Calling 811?

Similar to the current "Call Before You Dig" numbers, all 811 calls will be 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 free.

Do Most People Call Before They Dig?

Believe it or not, the answer is "no." According to a recent national survey, roughly half of all Americans are "active diggers," yet only one-third have called to get their utility lines marked.

How Is 811 Being Promoted?

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is an organization created in 2000 to prevent damage to underground infrastructure, reduce service disruptions, save lives and improve safety practices industry-wide. The national 811 number provides a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to focus national attention on the importance of calling before digging. CGA is working with its members, sponsors and national launch partners to increase awareness about calling 811 before digging.

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/.

†Source Common Ground Alliance, 2010 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Annual Report(pdf)

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.


Flood Protection for Your Business

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

Tips to lower your homeowner's insurance premiums

Author TonyScurich , 5/21/2014
Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Homeowners InsuranceThere are several steps you can take to ensure you are getting the best Homeowners insurance rates possible for the coverage you need:
  • Before purchasing a home, it is wise to learn about its insurance loss history. If there have been past losses, be sure to inspect the home closely to determine if proper repairs were made. The CLUE and A-PLUS databases enable insurers to check the claim history of the property as well as that of the homeowner.
  • Raising your deductible is a great way to reduce your premiums. Higher deductibles on your Homeowners insurance could produce savings of 25% or more.
  • Consider upgrades to your home. Do you need to modernize your heating, plumbing, and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage? Are there upgrades you could make that would reduce the risk of damage in windstorms and other natural disasters? You might be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof, or buying stronger roofing materials. Older homes can be retrofitted to make them more capable of withstanding earthquakes. If you do make home improvements, be sure to make your insurer aware of the changes.
  • Improve your home security. You typically can get premium discounts of at least 5% for installing a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies will cut your premium by as much as 15% or 20% if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that signals the police, fire department, and other monitoring stations. These systems are not inexpensive and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost, and how much you would save on premiums.
  • Buy your Home and Auto policies from the same insurer. Some companies that sell Homeowners, Auto and Liability coverage will take 5% to 15% off your premium if combine policies with them.
  • Maintain a good credit rating. Most insurers use credit-based insurance scores to determine Homeowners and Auto coverage premiums. All else being equal, a person with a good credit score will pay much less for insurance than someone with a lower score.
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