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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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Are You Ready For A Car Crash?

Author TonyScurich , 11/2/2016
  safe-1142432_1920You know the drill after an auto crash, heart stopping panic, and then, especially if there’s major damage or a serious injury, exchanging names, addresses and insurance information with the other driver. Easy, right? However, if the other driver refuses to provide these particulars (or you’re so shaken that you forget to ask for them), you could end up in serious financial, or even legal, trouble. Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance Relations for CARSTAR warns, “[After an accident] sometimes drivers just don't do what they’re supposed to do." To make sure you’re prepared for such a mishap, follow these guidelines:
  • Remain at the scene. Although state laws differ, failure to exchange information or notify police can lead to a hit-and-run charge or loss of your license.
  • Keep a “cheat sheet” in your glove compartment about what to ask after an accident.
  • Use your cellphone to take a photo of the other vehicle, (preferably showing its license plate) as visual proof of the incident.
  • Write down details. As soon as you and your vehicle are out of traffic and harm's way, record the date and time, location, make and model of the cars and actions or statements by the other driver.
  • Ask any bystanders or eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.
In the meantime, review your auto policy to make sure that you carry: 1) collision coverage, which will pay for repairing your car and providing a replacement vehicle, if needed and 2) uninsured/underinsured motorists insurance (UM/UIM), which will cover damages for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our agency  

Construction Site Traffic Management Checklists: Safety Pays!

Author TonyScurich , 10/26/2016
  Accidents involving vehicles or mobile equipment (excavators, dumpers, etc.) on building sites kill more than a dozen workers a year and injure hundreds more. To help make sure that your workers and outsiders can move around your job sites safely,and keep your insurance premiums down, experts recommend using this checklist: Keep pedestrians and vehicles apart:
  • have separate entry and exit gateways for pedestrians and vehicles
  • provide safe pedestrian walkways that take a direct route where possible
  • make sure drivers with access to public roads can see both ways
  • don’t block walkways or vehicle routes
  • install barrier between roads and walks
Minimize vehicle movements:
  • provide offsite parking
  • control entry to the site
  • have storage areas so that delivery vehicles don’t have to cross the site
Control people on site:
  • recruit drivers and equipment operators carefully
  • make sure that drivers, operators, and those who direct traffic are trained
  • manage the activities of visiting drivers
Maximize visibility:
  • provide mirrors, CCTV cameras or reversing alarms
  • designate signalers to control maneuvers by drivers or equipment operators
  • install lighting for use after sunset or in bad weather
  • make sure that all pedestrians on the site wear high-visibility clothing
Provide safety signage and instructions:
  • ensure that all drivers and workers know and understand the routes and traffic rules on the site
  • use standard traffic signs where appropriate
  • provide safety instructions to all visitors in advance
For a comprehensive – and free– review of vehicle and mobile vehicle safety practices on your job sites, just give us a call. We’re here to help at any time.  

Follow The Signs To A Safer Workplace

Author TonyScurich , 10/24/2016
Workplace safety signs and tags play a key role in helping prevent accidents to workers and visitors alike. To make the most effective use of signs and tags in your facility that comply with OSHA regulation (29 CFR 1910.145), we’d recommend that you follow these guidelines:
  • Identify all hazards throughout the workplace. In addition to obvious dangers, include those that are out of the ordinary, unexpected, or not readily apparent.
  • Select or design signs and tags. Make sure they conform to OSHA requirements and are consistent in format.
  • Use proper wording. According to OSHA, "the wording of any sign should be easily read, concise, and contain sufficient information to be easily understood."
  • Position signs carefully. Signs should be placed so that they’re easy to see and read from a distance and draw maximum attention to hazards.
  • Identify safety and fire protection equipment clearly. This includes such items as eyewash stations and safety showers, as well as fire extinguishers and hoses.
  • Employ tags properly. OSHA requires that "tags shall be used as a means to prevent accidental injury or illness to employees who are exposed to hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions, equipment, or operations.”
  • Review your program whenever new hazards are introduced. If you just put up signs and tags and forget about them, your facility probably won’t be in compliance with the OSHA regulations. Check the program frequently to make sure that it’s still doing the job.
The workplace safety professionals at our agency would be happy to help you review your signage and tag policy. Give us a call at any time.

Stress And Work Performance: The EAP Solution

Author TonyScurich , 10/14/2016
Stress, called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, costs American businesses up to $300 billion a year, According to “Stressed at Work,” a recent research report by Benzinger, Dupont &Associates, stress impacts work performance in nearly half (49%) of employees surveyed. Difficulties in concentration, absenteeism, and poor work quality are leading the way. Differences by gender or age can be significant.. Personal problems cause females to be absent from work more often, but males tend to miss more days of work. The frequency of disciplinary action for stress-related acts by males was almost twice as high as for women; with the 56-65 year-old age group having the highest disciplinary rates The good news: More than nine in ten employees (94%) report improved work performance following participation in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The study recommends that companies work with their EAP in identifying and addressing the needs of workers, who are more vulnerable to stress, so they can prevent potential problems becoming serious. These programs and promotion campaigns should consider differences in gender and age. For example:
  • Managers need to pay attention to female absenteeism because it might reflect stress at home and/or at work.
  • To decrease male disciplinary actions, EAP support and wellness programs should focus on the specific needs of men in the workforce, and use promotional outreach methods that reflect male preferences for brevity (e-mail and text messages).
The more familiar you become with signs and symptoms of stress on the job, the more effective you’ll be in encouraging stressed employees to engage with EAP and workplace health programs: which means the healthier your workers are, the better your bottom line! To learn more, feel free to give us a call at any time.

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.  

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.

 

The EEOC Systemic Expedition

Author TonyScurich , 9/26/2016

In an issue of Corporate Counsel an article entitled It's a Systemic World Out There discusses the EEOC's pursuing large "systemic" cases. For example, in fiscal year 2011 they conducted 580 systemic investigations, filed 84 systemic lawsuits, and settled 35 systemic cases for total $9.6 million. Although your company might not be large enough to be on the EEOC's radar screen, I can tell you that attorneys are also suing small to midsized companies on a class basis. An employee walks into a lawyer's office because they didn't receive their final paycheck, and before you know it they're filing a class-action lawsuit against your company for missed overtime and meal periods. The article provided a few golden nuggets of advice:

  1. When responding to an EEOC inquiry, don't use the phrase "pursuant to our consistently applied policy." This only invites a broader request for information.
  2. Do not submit more information than is necessary.
  3. Conduct your own statistical analysis before submitting data.
  4. Do preventative analysis looking for adverse impacts in the hiring, promotion, or termination practices.
  5. Validate pre-employment tests.
  6. Conduct preventative compensation analysis periodically.
  7. Cover all internal analysis with attorney-client privilege. This might be impossible in smaller organizations, but you can certainly retain outside counsel to instruct you on how to conduct such analysis and report back to them.
  8. Listen to your employees. As I have always recommended, you should survey your employees, including use of the Employee Compliance Survey that can be found in HR That Works.
  9. Invigorate that underutilized internal complaint system. Again, go one step further and ask if there's a problem –don't wait for them to tell you there is one.
  10. Stay current with legal trends. This is one reason why HR That Works membership is so valuable.
  11. Walk the talk. Are you sensitive to the potential for your practices to cause adverse impacts? Frankly in my experience I can tell you that some business owners could care less about whether a practice causes an adverse impact. All they care about is getting the best employees they can, damn the EEOC. Of course, few companies appreciate a risk until they're hit with it.

Finally, the article points out how large corporations can gather the data requested by the EEOC easily because they have such large HRIS systems. However, most companies with less than 500 employees don't have this data readily available, and t collecting it can be an over-burdensome process. This is one reason to make sure that you hire an attorney any time you receive a communication from the EEOC or another regulatory agency.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Construction Safety: Myth And Reality

Author TonyScurich , 9/9/2016
construction-646465_1920 Unfortunately, a number of erroneous beliefs about worksite safety are widespread in the construction industry. Here are seven common safety myths - and why they don't pass the reality check:
  1. Safety programs ensure worker safety. In practice, this means that binders on a variety of topics (usually regurgitated OSHA standards) end up gathering dust on a back shelf.
  2. Safety is common sense. Taking risk is a very personal matter. Some people skydive, others bungee jump; some race automobiles, others rock climb.
  3. Incentive programs improve safety. Because these programs usually reward not having a recordable incident, they benefit workers been lucky enough to avoid accidents - not to mention a natural tendency not to report injuries.
  4. Progressive punishment ensures safety compliance. The best punishment can do is achieve temporary compliance. Effective policing must be continuous and consistent, with clear consequences.
  5. Firing noncomplying workers solves safety problems. This is like trying to cure a disease by treating its symptom. Instead, find the error that led to unacceptable behavior and change it.
  6. Safety training is a leading safety indicator. The sign-in sheet shows only who attended the meeting. For training to work, managers need to test what individual workers learned - or didn't learn.
  7. Inspections and audits will uncover most workplace hazards. Inspections provide snapshots of workplace conditions at a given time, rather than an accurate picture of ongoing operations or activities.
Every construction firm needs to evaluate its safety systems, practices, and procedures critically, challenge the status quo where needed - and take decisive action. Our agency's professionals would be happy to offer their advice at any time, free of charge.