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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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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.

 

EDITOR'S COLUMN: THE HR ALCHEMIST

Author TonyScurich , 8/19/2016

Don Phin

In one of my favorite new age books, The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho discusses four obstacles to realizing the journey towards our Personal Legend:

  1. The first obstacle is resignation to failure. We're told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. In many cases, we're the ones telling ourselves this - and we believe it!
  2. The second obstacle is misunderstood love. Says Coelho, "We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream." In a sense, we're afraid to change because the people around us might not love us as much if we do. For example, they might view us as a threat, mirror our own inadequacies, or break away from the norm or culture. Coelho encourages us to accept that love is a stimulus; that the people who truly love us want the best for us: to be worthy of the miracle of life.
  3. The third obstacle is the fear of failure. According to Coelho, "We warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we might not understand how." In my personal experience, when we follow our passions we get what we ask for - just not when or how we expect it. There is no journey without roadblocks, setbacks, and challenges. This is what strengthens us. Our character is no different than our muscles: You use it or you lose it.
  4. Finally, there's the obstacle of self-sabotage. As Oscar Wilde said: "Each man kills the thing he loves." According to Coelho, the mere possibility of getting what we want fills our souls with guilt. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be so fortunate when there are so many people in pain? Do I somehow think that I'm now better than other people because of my success?' The ancient Greek term was hubris. When we become too full of ourselves and our accomplishments, the end is near. That's why the journey is never about arriving, but traveling forever. Says Coelho, "I've known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reach their goal - when it was only a step away." I know many of those people too.

When you think about your career, where have these obstacles shown up? Where do you have personal doubts about your ability to accomplish your Personal Legend? Who or what is attempting to hold you back from meeting these goals - or is this a story of your own making? Are you willing to accept that the journey toward success is guaranteed to come with more suffering than for those who are willing to simply be comfortable? Finally, are you willing to find joy in your success without the need to sabotage it?

Here are some Coelho quotes from The Alchemist:

  • "If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."
  • "There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth."
  • "To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation."
  • "The only reason why each day feels the same as the next is because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."
  • "I'm an adventurer, looking for treasure."
  • "Making a decision is only the beginning of things. When you make a decision, you're really diving into a strong current that will carry you to places you had never dreamed of when you first made the decision."
  • "When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream"
  • "Every search begins with good beginner's luck. Every search ends with the victors being tested severely."
  • "When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others about them, you are seldom believed."
  • "When something evolves, so does everything around it as well."
  • "When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too."
  • "The world's greatest lie is that we lose control of our own lives and must let them be controlled by fate."
  • "Be worthy of the miracle of life."

Drip, Drip, Drip: Dealing With Water Damage

Author TonyScurich , 4/25/2016
3

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.


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..

Attracting And Maintaining Top Talent

Author TonyScurich , 3/14/2016

teamworkI recently responded to the LinkedIn question "How can a company attract and maintain top talent?" in this way:

"Although you'll get many responses about technique and strategy, in my experience that's just the beginning of the answer. There's a significant emotional aspect to the question. In the words of the Buddha, "What comes to you comes from you." So that's what I'll focus on in this answer; the emotional blockages that stop things from coming to you. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Are you really willing to do what it takes to attract and keep great talent?
    • Are you willing to hire somebody better than you? Or even better than their manager?
    • Does driving towards excellence scare you? Are you prepared to hire the top 10%?
    • Would you fit in this category?
    • Is there such a thing as an "overqualified" applicant?
    • Are you open to hiring and managing different types of people? Can you hire without baggage?
    • Do you make a conscious effort to show people you care - or is this just your self-talk?
    • Do you allow employees to make a difference? To stretch? To find the good in their work?
    • Do you let go of poor performers, thus making room for more good ones?
    • Does leadership give a hoot about people, or simply growing their bottom-line?
    • Is this a fun place to work or is the attitude that fun and work don't mix?

Most importantly, think about your own experience. Why would you work somewhere or stay there? "


Audit? What Audit?

Author TonyScurich , 2/24/2016
1Whenever you're asked to bid on a job, you're usually required to certify that the price is firm and that there won't be any unexpected expenses and cost overruns once the project is underway. Because this is standard practice in the industry, it's understandable that some contractors are surprised that their insurance costs don't operate the same way -- especially when the contractor has asked agents for "bids" on the insurance package. Neither Workers Compensation nor General Liability, two of the key coverages in Construction insurance, usually set fixed premiums. Because payrolls and/or revenues the contractor pays or earns during the policy period determine the premiums, and there's no way to know these costs in advance, the premiums will also be estimates. Once actual payrolls and revenues are known (usually after an insurance company audit after the end of the policy period), the company will set the final premium based on these figures. The contractor -- you -- will then receive either a refund (if your insured losses were lower than expected) or a bill for the additional premium due (when these losses are higher than expected). Although it's never pleasant to owe more money after a policy has expired, keep two things in mind: First, if the insurer were able to predict the final results accurately, it would have charged this amount in advance. Second, an additional premium due after an audit shows that you had a better year than expected -- and that's always good news! If you have any questions about how your insurance works or how premiums are calculated, just give us a call. We're here to help.

Cybersecurity Tips from a Professional Hacker

Author TonyScurich , 1/27/2016
Bookmark and Share "Cybersecurity is definitely no longer a server room issue," says David Finn, Executive Director at the Microsoft Cybercrime Center. "It's a boardroom issue." He notes that on average, it takes 243 days before an organization even knows that it was penetrated by a cybercriminal. Today, when one in five businesses are the target of a security breach, bad things are inevitably going to happen. That's why looking at your organization from "the bad guy's perspective," says Tiffany Rad, is crucial. Rad is rated one of Bloomberg's top "white hat" hackers (computer specialists who break into protected networks to test security and advise organizations on improvements). One of the most difficult things in Rad's industry is protecting against insider threats. But she notes there are products entering the market that have "an algorithm to check for abnormal patterns, when it looks like someone's going to sites perhaps that they shouldn't be during working hours or they're on different hours than normal." In terms of external threats, there's a lot of attention on protecting businesses as they move to the cloud. Ken Biery Jr., Verizon's Managing Principal of Governance, Risk and Compliance, explains that it's important to provide physical and logical security. Rad agrees, noting that in addition to firewalls and antivirus software, protection against malware is critical as more and more hackers look to steal intellectual property to give themselves or your organization's competitors a heads-up on what your organization is planning. You're "only as safe and secure as your weakest link," says Finn, admitting that when you rely on the cloud, "you trust that an organization is going to invest enormously in your security." But, as Biery sees it, "the good thing about a lot of the cloud providers that are out there is their default security, and the security they built into their environments are often better—especially for small and medium businesses—better than what they could do themselves." Biery also points out that companies need to stay in control with the advent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). With mobile device management, "you can take and keep your sensitive information in an encrypted container on that employee's phone. So it kind of exists as its own virtual machine in that environment," he says, explaining that you can delete access and the encrypted container without affecting personal data such as photos. The bottom line, agree the experts, is that companies of all sizes need to amp up protection. Even if you think your business information isn't of interest to others, Rad assures us that there will always be hackers that find your digital footprint interesting and will do something with it—if only because they can. Let us know how you keep your own business safe on Facebook and Twitter.

That’s Not Me!

Author TonyScurich , 12/16/2015

"But he that filches from me my good name/Robs me of that which not enriches him/And makes me poor indeed." - Shakespeare, Othello, act iii. Sc. 3.

Identity theft is a huge problem in the United States. Did you know that identity thieves stole approximately $21 Billion from victims in 2012? This equates to one incident of fraud every three seconds. That’s scary. In every minute, 20 acts of fraud occur. When you keep adding up the numbers it looks horrific. Most victims don’t know until it’s too late that they have become a victim of identity theft. If you are one of the victims of identity theft, we have listed a few things for you to do:

  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) whether online or by phone, 877-438-4338.
  • If necessary, send mail certified and request a return receipt.
  • Contact your bank and let them know of the fraud.
  • Contact all of your credit card companies and credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) and inform them of the situation.
  • Contact your insurance companies and make them aware of the theft.
  • Keep a detailed filing system. Keep all your originals, only send copies of originals to requestors.
  • Follow all deadlines. Keep a timeline of when you spoke to a person and set up a follow up date.

Following the above guidelines will help minimize any future thefts. We hope that you never have to use this list.


Insuring Your Watercraft in California: What You Need to Know

Author TonyScurich , 4/20/2015
boatsOne of the best things about living in California is the gorgeous climate. It makes getting out and enjoying the outdoors an everyday occurrence. Considering how much water is available to residents in the state, combining your outdoor adventures with a boat, jet ski or wave runner brings a whole new level of fun to your life. Before you make arrangements to put your watercraft to good use, though, you need to make sure that you are covered in the event of an accident.

California Watercraft Laws

Each person who is on board a watercraft must be wearing a life jacket that has been approved by the Coast Guard. The approved types are Types I, II, III and V. Operating a personal watercraft such as a jet ski is prohibited between sunset and sunrise even if the craft is outfitted with the correct navigational lights. Only individuals that are aged 16 and older can operate a boat that is more than 15 horsepower unsupervised. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 can do so under the direct supervision of a person who is over the age of 18. There are also specific stipulations against negligent and unsafe behavior while operating a watercraft.

Insuring Your Watercraft

It is safe to assume that you need specialized insurance for your watercraft before you take it out to play. Rather than simply purchasing a cookie cutter insurance plan, however, work closely with your insurance agent to craft a customized insurance package that meets your unique needs. In most cases, this insurance plan will include liability in case you accidentally damage someone else's property or cause injury to another person. Collusion and comprehensive insurance is also a standard addition and protects your own boat and other watercraft in the event that it is damaged.

Specialty Item Coverage: What items are not covered under homeowners insurance

Author TonyScurich , 2/5/2015
When you purchase homeowners insurance, you probably think that all the items in your home and on your property are afforded the same type of coverage. While this is true of most things that can be classified as everyday items, some of your other possessions might not fall into that category. In some cases, they might be insured but not enough to allow you to fully recoup your loss. In other cases, though, your items might not be covered at all. Vehicles of All Types Antique vehicles and other vehicles that you drive only occasionally might be covered under certain conditions on your homeowners insurance. Without specialty insurance, though, you will not recover their replacement value. ATVs, motorcycles and other recreation vehicles also need their own specialty insurance so that you can recover all of the money that they are worth. Flood Insurance Another item that people assume is covered under their homeowners insurance is flooding. In nearly all cases, though, flooding is not typically covered unless you have this particular specialty item as part of your regular coverage. Collectibles If you collect stamps, fine art or another collection of value, you might think that these items are covered under your homeowners insurance. Without specialty item coverage, however, that specifically denotes which items are being covered, you could find out too late that they are not. For collections that have a significant value, you will likely need to have them appraised by someone trained in the field to be sure that you purchased enough insurance to replace their value. Talk to your insurance agent to determine if you own an item or collection that needs specialty insurance. Doing so could save you a great deal of heartbreak in the event of a loss.

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