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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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THE ABC’S OF HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENTS

Author TonyScurich , 10/31/2016
Bookmark and Share Because construction projects are complex operations involving a number of subcontractors under your supervision, onsite accidents or injuries resulting from their work can easily lead to litigation against you. To protect yourself against claims, losses, and expenses if disputes arise during the project, make sure that all subcontractors sign a “Hold Harmless Agreement” clause. The terms of these clauses will vary from state to state. In some cases, this clause will protect the contractor from claims by corporations or companies that did not sign the agreement. There are three types of hold harmlessagreements: Under the Broad Form, the subcontractor assumes all liability for accidents due to negligence of the general contractor, and combined negligence between the two parties. Because of its sweeping terms, this form is relatively rare – and some states prohibit it. With the Intermediate Form the subcontractor takes on all liability for accidents and negligence, but will not be held accountable for the general contractor's actions. It doesn’t matter whether the incident was the subcontractor’s fault. If both parties were negligent, the subcontractor assumes liability all for its acts or omissions. Intermediate form agreements are relatively common. A Limited Form agreement makes the subcontractor liable only for the proportional part of its responsibility for a mishap. Other parties – such as subcontractors – will be held liable under their hold harmlessagreement(s) for their corresponding part of the accident or negligence. The type of agreement that’s best suited for your needs will vary depending on the nature of the project and state laws. As always, we stand ready to offer you our professional advice.

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.  

Avoid Sticker Shock For Your Teenage Driver

Author TonyScurich , 10/3/2016
Adding a teenager to your auto policy can raise your rate by more than 40%. The good news: you and your teen can reduce these hikes significantly in a variety of ways:
  1. Get good grades. Most insurance companies offer high school or college students with a B average or better a discount of up to 10%.
  2. Live away from home. Students at college or living at least 100 miles from their parents without a car can usually get a 5%-10% discount.
  3. Take an additional driving class. Although most insurance companies don’t give a discount for mandatory drivers’ed instruction, some companies will reduce premiums by 5% for teens who go to follow-up classes.
  4. Sign a parent-teen driving contract. Your insurer might offer up to a 5% discount if your teen agrees to follow such rules as not driving at night or with friends in the car.
  5. Raise your deductible. However, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay this deductible if your teen driver damages the car. If you repair every ding, you could spend a lot more than you'll save on premiums with a higher deductible.
  6. Reduce or drop some coverage. If you have an older car, you might not need Comprehensive or Collision insurance. Be wary of lowering Liability limits. In most cases, it makes sense to keep Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays medical expenses of anyone injured in an auto accident.
  7. Choose a safe vehicle. The higher the safety rating of your car, the lower your premiums – and the safer your teenager will be behind the wheel.
We’d be happy to help you minimize the sticker shock of adding a teen driver. Just give us a call.

Don't Let Drivers Use Their Cell Phones!

Author TonyScurich , 8/3/2016
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A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 69% of U.S. drivers talked on their cell phones - and 31% read or sent text messages or e-mails while driving. "The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive," warns CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

Using cell phones to text behind the wheel can increase the danger of fatal crashes by six to 23 times, and drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to become involved in crashes serious enough to injure themselves. You probably have rules about employees talking on their phones and texting while driving - but are they following them? According to Jim Evans, president of human resources consulting firm JK Evans & Associates, some bosses turn a blind eye to cell phone use behind the wheel, while others don't want to cut into their employees' productivity. His advice to employers: "Dust off the old cell phone policy or unwritten practices and revisit whether employee safety and employer liability is at risk." To minimize this danger, your company should require employees who drive on the job to:
  • Turn off personal phones or switch them to silent mode before entering a company vehicle.
  • Pull over to a safe area if they need to make a cell phone call or send or answer a text message.
  • Ask a helper or another passenger to make a return call.
  • Contact supervisors or dispatchers when the vehicle is parked.
  • Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, reading, and any other activities that distract them behind the wheel.
  • Tell people who call them while driving that they'll call back after reaching their destination.
  • Not send or answer text messages, surf the Web, or read e-mails.
 

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.

Happy 4th of July

Author TonyScurich , 7/4/2016

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We are the land of the free, we are the home of the brave. Let's pay tribute to our brave American Heroes on this special day and forever.

Happy Independence Day!


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?

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.


Happy Presidents Day

Author TonyScurich , 2/15/2016
Presidents, South Dakota, LandmarkDid you know: Jefferson founded the university in 1819 on land that once belonged to eventual President James Monroe. Jefferson is the only president to have ever founded an institution of higher learning. After finishing his undergraduate degree in 2 years, James Madison stayed at the university for an additional year, making him the Ivy League institution's first graduate student. and Polk, probably aware that many other politicians desired to run for the office, made an explicit campaign promise that if he was elected president, he would leave after 4 years, a promise that he kept.

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