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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  

Editor’s Column: Managing Is A Balancing Act

Author TonyScurich , 10/7/2016
I remember my wife and I going to a parenting class and learning the mantra, “firm, but fair.” It's okay to have clear rules in your household and enforce them; however, you want to do so in a fair manner. When we’re clear about the rules, we can be firm. . I'm sure you've shared my personal experience where parents or bosses have punished you for rules you never knew existed –until after you were punished for them!Often, the knowledge is so “commonsensical” to the parent or boss that they just assume the child or the employee know it also. Never mind that it took 20 years for that boss or parent to finally “get it” themselves. When we’re clear on the rules, there’s predictability. There’s integrity. There’s consistency. The rules don't change overnight based on emotions. When we’re out of balance on the side of clarity we’ll see people begin to fear us, rebel against us, and leave us – not a good outcome at home or work! When it comes to being fair, the first thing to remember is that life wasn't designed to be fair, either at work or at home. Life was designed to be a learning lesson. However, fairness has become the filter of today's workplace. Everyone wants to feel they're being treated fairly. ‘A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.’ Of course, what might seem fair to me could seem onerous to you. We treat people fairly when we follow the Golden Rule. By asking how we can serve and help others, practicing kindness and compassion despite any differences we may encounter along the way. We understand to separate the conduct from the person. Managers will continue to struggle with employees about work hours, compensation, communication, expectations, safety, insubordination, conflict, and more. Great managers, like great parents, strike the appropriate balance between firm and fair.

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: The 'Correction Conversation'

Author TonyScurich , 9/16/2016
Safety inspectors know what to look for - but they might need a refresher on holding the "correction conversation": explaining job hazards in such a way that your workers can see the potential danger, understand how it can hurt them, and suggest how to eliminate it. To have an effective Correction Conversation, we'd recommend that safety inspectors follow these guidelines:
  • Try to make it personal. "Kneeling on the floor for the day is going to turn your knees into jelly in a few years."
  • Tie the hazardous activity or condition to pain. "This night watchman dropped his flashlight, and when he bent down to pick it up, the rebar went right through his eye."
  • Make comparisons. These cable clamps might work, but the fist-grips kind are the ones that should be used. See - they look like two fists gripping."
  • Shift the blame. "I'm not sure who set this up, but because those cable clamps are upside down they won't hold much. Just flip them over and torque them again."
  • Connect the correction to something the workers can share. Pass along additional information. Keep it simple, and use graphics whenever possible, If the concern is not having an eyewash station near a concrete pour, send a photo of a what a worker's eye looks like after a concrete burn.
  • Share a story. "I can beat that!" This phrase continues conversation in bars across the world. Tell a workplace hazard anecdote that you've heard or witnessed - and then stop talking! Chances are another worker will share a similar story. One-upmanship is a skill we all enjoy, and helps keeps a good Correction Conversation alive.

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.

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.

Will Insurance Cover Your High-Tech Car Key?

Author TonyScurich , 7/18/2016
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Metal car keys are going the way of the land line, as most drivers have graduated to a key fob or remote with a transponder that needs programming before use. If you own a high-tech luxury vehicle you might have a "smart key" - a remote control to plug into your dashboard or leave in your pocket.

Although these devices add convenience, they're pricey. You'll pay $200 to $400 to replace a smart key on a luxury car, plus $100 an hour for labor. If you lose all your keys, you might need to replace the locks, which could cost $1,000. Auto insurance will cover the cost of replacing smart keys (or metal keys) only if the loss comes from a peril covered under the policy. For example, if your keys are damaged when you collide with another car, Collision coverage would pay to replace them. Comprehensive coverage –which reimburses you for loss or damage to your vehicle from theft, vandalism, fire, hail, or flood - would include replacement of the keys, as part of the vehicle. If your car keys are stolen, Homeowners insurance should pay to replace them because theft is a "named peril" under the policy. Bear in mind that your Auto or Homeowners deductible will apply against the cost of replacement. Technology is well on the way to eliminating car keys. According to the AAA, smart phone apps that allow you to unlock and start your car are standard on many vehicles as of 2015. In the meantime, you can avoid paying the high cost of replacing smart keys by keeping spares in a safe place. To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Lack Of Qualified Workers Raises Safety Concerns

Author TonyScurich , 6/24/2016
Layoffs during the recession have resulted in a shortage of qualified workers in specialized areas of construction - and the problem will probably get worse as the industry picks up during the recovery. In this environment, some contractors might be tempted to stretch their hiring standards to fill out a project roster, increasing the danger of losses from on-site injuries and defect claims, among other risks. The past two years have seen a sharp drop in the unemployment rate for former construction workers, but not a corresponding increase in construction industry growth. This means that these workers who have been unemployed are often finding other types of work, becoming full-time students, or have given up looking for a job in the building trades industry. Because each construction company works in a unique environment and culture, a worker from one firm going to another might not have the required expertise. What's more, construction is a profession that takes time to learn. Tight profit margins and financial problems can pressure smaller and midsize contractors into cutting corners by hiring inexperienced workers. This increases the risk of on-site accidents and injuries --and leads to poorer quality work that can easily result in costly and annoying defective construction claims (see the article "Construction Managers E&O Insurance: Nobody's Perfect! " In addition as the building industry comes out of the recession, OSHA has become far more aggressive and vigilant in monitoring worker safety. The bottom line: Avoid the temptation of hiring inexperienced workers as a way to save money, and you'll keep your risk of on-site accidents and injuries - not to mention your insurance premiums - under control. What's not to like?

Home Repairs: 'Like It Never Even Happened'

Author TonyScurich , 6/1/2016
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A pipe bursts and water ruins a corner of your Brazilian cherry wood floor. A windstorm tears off half of the vinyl shingles on one side of the house. A fire burns a couple of kitchen cupboards. Although your Homeowners policy will cover such partial losses, the extent to which the insurance company must go to make everything look just the way you'd like can be tricky.

Let's say that the new siding contrasts with the older, weathered shingles or that you can't find replacement kitchen cupboards that precisely match the originally. Your claim should put you back to pre-loss condition so the new part shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. For example, this might mean replacing the entire floor of a room even if only a portion needs repair, or repainting all four walls after damage to only one. In some states, if replaced items don't match in quality, color or size, the insurance company must make "reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas." Although other states don't have laws on matching, some Homeowners insurers have added similar "non-matching language" to their policies. Besides varying by state, insurer, and policy, the issue of patching versus full replacement can depends on insurance company adjusters. If you can't get make any headway with the adjuster on the repairs you want, consider going over his or her head to a supervisor, or file a complaint with the state insurance department. Another option is to hire a public insurance adjuster to work on your behalf through the claims process. These professionals usually charge about 10% of the final settlement.

Scurich 1/6 - Are you offering your employees the best benefits possible?

Author TonyScurich , 5/19/2016

Finding -- and keeping -- great employees is always the challenge of any business. While recruiting and training employees can be an expensive process, it is an investment in the growth and well-being of your company. In order to protect your investment, you need to make sure you are giving your employees the best benefits for their needs. 

Health Insurance

Whether you are required by the federal government to provide health insurance to your employees or not, you should offer them the choice. In addition, paying for a certain portion of that health insurance goes a long way toward retaining those high-quality employees you worked so hard to find and train. 

Retirement Plans

If you have a young workforce, you might not think that they are concerned about retirement. Even though young people thrive on adventure, it doesn't mean that they aren't planning for their retirement. Offering the option to pay into a retirement plan helps your employees plan for their future and makes them feel like you are invested in that with them. 

Other Benefits

While other benefits such as life insurance, disability insurance and vision and dental coverage might not be on the must-have list for all of your employees, it is still important to offer them these options. Providing a range of different benefits allows your employees to pick and choose those options that best fit their situation at that time. You will likely find that their choice of benefits changes as their life circumstances change. A 20 year old employee, for example, might not be interested in obtaining life insurance until he becomes a father years later.