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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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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.

A Networked Hiring Approach

Author TonyScurich , 10/10/2016
Your business needs an employee referral system that rewards and encourages employee referrals properly. The feature story for Inc. Magazine Database, is to discusses how social media is replacing job boards as the primary outlet for sourcing candidates. According to the Aberdeen Group, 50% of companies with high retention rates decreased their investment in job boards last year. The most popular site use by recruiters is LinkedIn. The most popular tool used by job seekers to find work is Facebook. Interestingly, JobVite stated that employee retention rates skyrocket when they’re referred by other employees. After three years, 47% of referrals were still around, compared to only 14% of job board applicants, (not sure what happened here). Interestingly, JobVite stated that employee retention rates skyrocket when they’re referred by other employees. After three years, 47% of referrals were still around, compared to only 14% of job board applicants were. As mentioned on this previously, have an employee referral system that properly rewards and encourages employee referrals.  

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.  

Underground Construction Risks: The 811 Solution

Author TonyScurich , 9/12/2016
Across the nation, utility lines, tunnels, and structures run under our feet, Each year, excavators strike approximately 700,000 of these underground lines, often triggering potentially fatal accident (from steam, gas, propane, or electricity). A single strike might easily cost a contractor hundreds of thousands, or millions, if the accident leads to an interruption of service that shuts down a factory, hospital, telecommunication lines– even a missile silo. In most cases, insurance will not cover these losses. To deal with this threat, the Common Ground Alliance coordinates 811 --Call before You Dig, a nationwide phone and online system that contractors can use to notify local utilities so they can "mark out" their facilities before excavation of anything from to a sewer to a subway. These markouts are required under state law. When you use the call 811.com system, bear in mind that:
  1. It doesn't matter where you are - downtown, in the middle of a suburban street, or building a private home.
  2. Call even if you're confident that you know where something is buried (for example, if you installed the line); many contractors dig up lines that have just put in.
  3. Instead of marking the area with wooden stakes - which are all too easy to drive through gas lines - use white paint or "feathers;" even the most shallow excavation can be hazardous.
Remember, failing to contact 811.com before every excavation violates the law - and leaves you wide open to huge liability losses. Don't take a chance your odds of losing in the Underground Damage Casino! To learn more, just get in touch with the Construction Insurance Specialists at our agency.

What’s more secure; financial records locked in a filing cabinet or financial records stored in the cloud?

Author TonyScurich , 7/29/2016
Pop quiz time. What's more secure; financial records locked in a filing cabinet or financial records stored in the cloud? If you don't understand how cloud security works, you probably said the filing cabinet. It's time for a little mythbusting about how secure your paperless office could be. Last week, Cindy Bates posted on the Microsoft SMB Blog about the benefits of a completely paperless office. Like Delta Airlines, who recently switched to the paperless cockpit, it's possible for any office or organization to ditch the dead trees and move entirely into the digital space. One of the first questions decision makers ask when considering the paperless office is "how secure is this?" It's a fair question, so let's consider Delta's paperless cockpit example and overall data security. The problem with paper is that, well, it's paper. Paper gets lost, it burns, it can be misfiled and disappear. It's only as secure as its physical location. If that location is a locked filing cabinet (or a vault under Fort Knox), if someone really wanted to get to it, they could. A file in the cloud cannot burn, be stolen, accidentally left behind in a restroom, or any other number of things that could affect a hard copy of important information. For a recent example, take a look at the Internet Archive, whose scanning facility in San Francisco caught fire. Although no data was stored in their San Francisco office, if it had been, cloud redundancies would have prevented any loss. But what about a data center, such as what powers Windows Azure or Office 365? Let's start with physical security: data centers are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A team of ninjas could, in theory, break in, but they'd still have to know which of the thousand machines contained your exact data—so unless you've upset the cast of Ocean's 11, it's significantly less likely than an office fire that could destroy physical data. In addition, with Office 365, data transmitted across networks is encrypted—so if some agency (or other villain) happens to tap the wires, they still won't be able to read your files. While a move to a paperless office does not entirely guarantee data security—there are still those ninjas to think about—it is significantly more secure than leaving your information in paper form, where it could be destroyed or stolen with greater ease. It's just one more reason to go paperless.  

The ABC'S Of Construction Liability Insurance

Author TonyScurich , 6/22/2016
No matter how large or small the job in the building trade is, it's always the best policy to carry insurance again liability for losses from injuries, accidents, or property damage during construction. Residential building contractors need a Liability policy to protect them from lawsuits from homeowners for construction-related losses, or from workers injured on the job. Make sure that your contract requires every sub to carry their own Liability insurance and exempt you from responsibility from damage they might produce during construction. The amount of coverage you need will depend on the size of the contract. As a rule of thumb, it's wise to have two or three times the size of the project budget. Commercial contractors usually carry millions in Liability insurance. Contractors with higher risk of damages (for example, roofers or contractors in highly specialized trades) often take out higher coverage. Your Liability policy will set coverage amounts (limits) for both each occurrence and overall (aggregate) values. Limits are also set for: 1) fire damage to property under construction; 2) medical expenses for injured workers on the jobsite who might not be covered under Workers Compensation; and 3) personal and advertising injury (claims that promotion or advertising caused a financial or personal loss to the owner of the home or building). While many contractors pay their Liability premiums up front, those with cash flow problems others prefer to finance them through an indemnity corporation with a down payment and monthly payments over six months to a year. As always, our insurance experts stand ready to help you find comprehensive Liability coverage at a rate you can afford. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

More Employees Using Benefits To Care For Children And Parents

Author TonyScurich , 6/20/2016
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An increasing number of employees in the "Sandwich Generation" are looking for benefits to help them manage the demands of caring for parents and children alike. A recent nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly half of respondents in their 40s and 50s have a living parent and are either raising a young child or supporting a grown one.

"There's an emerging recognition of the impact of caregiver stress on working parents' ability to be productive at home and at work," says David Lissy, CEO of Bright Horizons, a provider of dependent back-up care services. "Particularly as families wait longer to have children, there's more at stake in their careers and they're pulled in many directions, dealing with the realities of their aging parents."

On average, access to Bright Horizons allowed employees to work six days during the past six months - productive time that otherwise would have been lost - and nearly 70% of these workers used the service for adult care.

Care.com, another provider of backup care services for employees, saw a three-fold increase last year in the number of clients that added senior care planning. IRobot, Inc. chose Care.com as an employee benefit because "we value our employees and want to support them in managing the demands on their personal lives," says benefits analyst Cathy Blanchard. Since adding the service, iRobot has seen a 15% month-to -month increase in using the program, which has boosted productivity by reducing costs from care-related absences and distractions.

If you'd like to learn more about offering day care for adults and children as an employee benefit, just give us a call.

 

Opioid Abuse: Employer, Beware!

Author TonyScurich , 5/27/2016
1 Misuse of powerful prescription painkillers, whether intentional or accidental, is a rapidly growing threat to employers throughout the nation. Opioid overdoses caused more than 16,000 deaths in 2010, the latest year for which data is available; and about 12 million people use prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons. In addition to the human tragedy, opioid addiction creates a significant financial problem for both businesses - in terms of lost productivity - and their insurance companies. Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs Health insurers more than $70 billion a year; while narcotics prescriptions account for one-fourth of Workers Comp prescription drug expenses (costs that ultimately come out of employers' pockets). Government plays a significant role in dealing with this problem. The federal Department of Health and Human Services regulates Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through the Division of Pharmacologic Therapies. On the state level, for example, California has followed the lead of Washington State by devising treatment guidelines to curb over-prescription and abuse of opioids. These measures include limiting opioid prescriptions to six weeks after surgery or injury and using non-opioid painkillers as a preliminary pain management measure in non-acute cases. However, these regulatory or legislative efforts can only go so far. No employer can afford to ignore the issue of opioid abuse among its workers - and your Workers Compensation manager is well-positioned to intervene in these cases by implementing a risk management plan that:
  • ensures that patients are treated early and effectively;
  • monitors and manages opioid prescriptions;
  • uses predictive modeling to tag potentially severe claims;
  • requires physician peer reviews for opioid prescriptions;
  • uses drug testing and screening workers prescribed with drugs;
  • provides post-addiction help; and
  • phases workers back into their jobs
We stand ready to offer our advice at any time.

New Compensation Rating Formula Lowers Premiums For Most Businesses

Author TonyScurich , 5/25/2016
1 A revision to the formula for calculating Workers Compensation rates is saving premium dollars for companies in a large number of states since the first of this year. The change involves the experience modification ("mod"), the premium credit or debit that businesses receive for their claims experience. The mod compares your claim experience to that of other firms in your industry; if your experience is good, you'll get a premium credit if not, you'll receive a debit. What has changed is the "split point" between the primary and excess portions of a claim. This value is important because the primary portion of each claim has a far larger impact on predicting an employer's mod than does the excess portion. For the past two decades, the split point has been $5,000. However, inflation has both eroded the primary/excess split point and hurt its predictive power; the mod doesn't give enough credit to good experience and doesn't penalize poor experience enough. The change raises the split point to $10,000 in 2013, $13,500 in 2014, and an estimated $17,000 in 2015. In 26 of the 38 states that have approved the new formula, a survey of more than 75,000 businesses by the National Council on Compensation Insurance found that 62% of them will see their rates fall by 5% or less this year. Another 11% will enjoy decreases of 5% to 10%, while rates will stay unchanged for 4.5%. Fewer than one in four (22.5%) - mostly larger businesses - would see a rate increase. Our Workers Comp specialists would be happy to discuss the revised experience mod formula with you - and make sure that you enjoy the cost savings that it can provide. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

Commercial Auto Insurance 101

Author TonyScurich , 5/23/2016

Nearly six million traffic accidents occur in the U.S. every year - more than 16,000 a day (or one every 10 seconds). If your company owns, operates, or uses motor vehicles - or if you have employees who use their cars for business purposes - you need Commercial Auto Insurance to provide financial protection against losses from mishaps that occur behind the wheel. This valuable policy provides these coverages:
  • Bodily Injury Liability pays the cost of bodily injury to others from accidents for which you are responsible. If you're sued, it also pays your defense and court costs.
  • Property Damage Liability picks up the tab for property damage to others for which you are responsible, as well as defense and court expenses.
  • Personal Injury/Medical Payments usually covers medical and funeral expenses for bodily injury from an accident that involves an insured vehicle.
  • Collision pays for a covered vehicle that is damaged by a collision with another vehicle or object.
  • Comprehensive Coverage pays for a covered auto that is stolen or that is damaged by causes other than collision or reckless driving.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists covers injuries and, in some cases, property damage, when you're involved in an accident with another person who either doesn't have Auto Insurance or carry enough coverage.

Before you purchase or renew your Commercial Auto Insurance ask yourself these questions: 1) how much Liability Coverage you should buy, and 2) how large of a deductible should you choose?

We'd be happy to help you choose the most cost effective policy for your needs. Just give us a call.