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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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Posts in category Business Protection - Business Protection

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.

Business Continuity Planning: A Three-Step Approach

Author TonyScurich , 10/19/2016
Every business is vulnerable to disruptions. Most companies have taken steps to mitigate the impact of major hazards. However many businesses have neglected smaller, more probable perils, ranging from inadequate fire protection and offsite data backup, through the death or disability of key personnel, to over-reliance on a limited number of vendors. While you can transfer many risks that could disrupt your business to insurance companies (through such coverages as Business Interruption and Extra Expense policies), this probably won’t be enough to ensure that the company will survive or continue its long-term growth and profitability. To prevent and/or reduce the impact of such a mishap, it makes sense to implement Business Continuity Planning (BCP). This process involves three key steps:
  • Pre-disruption planning. Assess the “risk and threat environment” of your business and take steps to reduce these hazards and weaknesses.
  • Disruption response. The extent and nature of losses will depend on the effectiveness of the emergency plans that you implement during the incident to provide a methodical, rational, and coordinated approach to dealing with the disruptions.
  • Post-disruption recovery. While the first two steps can reduce or mitigate risk, the recovery process focuses on rebuilding and restoration. Although many businesses depend heavily on central and distributed computer resources, a comprehensive BCP involves a wide variety of crucial activities that need to continue with minimal interruption.
Your BCP should not be a one-time project that involves creating a plan and then moving on to “business as usual” – but a long-term commitment to design, develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive, company-wide strategy to keep your business running effectively.. We’d be happy to review the risks facing your business and tailor a Business Continuation Plan to your needs.

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.

 

Triangulating Fraud

Author TonyScurich , 9/21/2016
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Most people who commit fraud at work are not career criminals - and are often trusted staff with no criminal history. According to criminologist Donald Cressey, there are three factors (the "Fraud Triangle") that lead an ordinary person to fraud: opportunity, pressure, and rationalization.

Take this example: a bartender who splashes a little more scotch into his friends' drinks when they come into the bar is succumbing to opportunity; his peers' expectations that he'll do this create pressure; while telling himself that "everybody does this - and we're too stingy on our pours, anyway" provides a rationalization.

How can you use this three-legged tool to detect and deter fraud?

You can't do much with about rationalizing fraudulent misbehavior because everyone does it without announcing their decision in advance.

You can't learn whether employees might be under financial pressure to commit fraud without investigating their personal finances - which is impractical and illegal. However, you might be able to minimize work-based pressures they face (for example, forbidding managers from ordering them to hit their goals at all costs).

Opportunity provides the most effective leg in the triangle to curb fraud by making it more difficult. Here's how:

  1. Segregate duties so that no one has sole control over accounting, reconciling, custody of assets, and approval of transactions.
  2. Make sure that transactions which are unusual or involve large amounts have strong managerial oversight and follow-up.

In other words, develop effective control systems so that any larcenous employee will need to be clever enough to avoid several pair of eyes while running a gauntlet of people who reconcile accounts and monitor budget.

If fraud does strike despite these precautions, make sure that you have the right insurance to protect you from loss. For more information, just give us a call.


How Well Do You Know Your Insurance?

Author TonyScurich , 9/7/2016

With so many demands on their time, many business owners find it difficult to learn enough about their insurance programs.

You've probably found yourself asking questions such as:

  1. Do I have the right coverages to protect my business from financial loss?
  2. Do I have any exposures to loss that aren't covered and should be?
  3. Exactly what am I buying?
  4. Am I getting the best value for my premium dollar?

As insurance professionals, we help you answer these questions because we:

  • Offer policies providing protection against a wide variety of risks that can threaten your business - everything from Accounts Receivable and Business Interruption through Employment Practices Liability and Glass Insurance to Theft coverage and Workers Compensation.
  • Recommend an insurance company (from among the quality carriers that we represent) that will provide quality protection.
  • Make it a point to learn how your business works so that we can pinpoint potential sources of loss.
  • Design a program that minimizes the impact of these losses (incidentally, we don't always recommend insurance).
  • Provide comprehensive protect that's tailored to your needs - and your pocketbook.
  • Work with you to make sure that your coverage stays updated as your business grows.

In short, we take over one phase of your business for you, and work with you to accomplish your first goal - protecting your profits.

To help us help you make sure that your business insurance makes business sense, please feel free to get in touch with our agency's professional at any time.

We're here to serve.


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."

The Malware Epidemic: Seven Ways To Fight Back

Author TonyScurich , 8/5/2016
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Recent headlines about electronic spies hacking into computer networks from the Pentagon to China reinforce the dangerous reality that a "malware" (software that accesses systems to steal sensitive financial and client information) is becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread.

According to a recent report from the NPD Group, the average U.S. household with a Web connection has 5.7 devices - desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smart phones -- which are highly vulnerable to malware attacks. The more workers who use these devices to access the Web sites of their employers, the greater the threat of cybercrime. To help protect the security of your company's data against intrusion from malware, experts recommend taking these precautions:
  1. Identify the business processes and data you need to protect and the risks associated with them.
  2. Limit access to sensitive data to authorized users. Provide them with strong passwords and don't allow any sharing.
  3. Make sure that employees use only secure wireless networks when connecting to your site.
  4. Provide users with strong authentication measures and anti-malware software.
  5. Know your users and their behavior. Compare details of incoming login connections with the information you have about the user. If you find anomalies, add such precautions such answering a security question.
  6. Look for corrupted devices. Authenticated users might acquire malware on their devices that puts your data at risk once they log in. For example, man-in-the-browser (MitB) attacks can hijack authenticated sessions.
  7. Secure high-value transactions. Identify these transactions and refuse to accept them from devices with suspicious configurations.
Our agency's specialists can work with you in developing and implementing a comprehensive anti-malware program for your company. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.  

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.
 

Builders Risk Insurance: A Must-Have

Author TonyScurich , 8/1/2016

Your last newsletter discussed the benefits of Building Ordinance insurance. If you're planning to build on your property or adding to an existing structure, a related policy - Builders Risk - can protect you from losses during construction, helping make sure that you finish the project.

The amount of coverage should reflect the total value of the completed structure (including the costs of material and labor, but not the value of the land). In most cases, the construction budget will be the best source for calculating this amount. The policy is usually written for a period three months, six months, or 12 months. If needed, the term can be extended once. Builders Risk covers damage to the insured structure(s) from a wide variety of causes, ranging from natural disasters (wind, lightning, hail, and lightning) through accidental events (fire, explosion, or vehicle accidents) to human activities (such as theft and vandalism). Coverage usually also includes:
  • Fire department service charges for saving or protecting property from a covered cause of loss.
  • Removal of debris from property damaged by a covered loss.
  • Losses from the backup of sewer and drains.
Most policies exclude losses from earthquake, flooding employee theft, mechanical breakdown, contract penalties, war, government action, or faulty design and workmanship. You might be able to add coverage for some of these exclusions - such as earthquakes and flooding - if the building is in an area that's prone to one or both of these natural disasters. Bear in mind that this policy does not provide Liability coverage for accidents or injuries on your property. We'd be happy to tailor a comprehensive Builders Risk product that fits your needs - and budget. Just give us a call.

How Can Workers Prove Chronic Pain: Case Studies to Learn From

Author TonyScurich , 6/15/2016
Unfortunately, you can't actually see chronic pain. You can talk to someone who physically looks fine, yet is claiming they can barely stand up. Since pain is felt differently by different people, medical professionals and laypeople alike have difficulty categorizing and defining the more severe injuries. This leads to confusion and sometimes outright fraud. Let's look at how pain is defined by using a specific case study. A Question of Proof How injured do you have to be to claim injury? Do you have to be constantly writhing in agony or is it only when you make specific motions? These are specific questions that get a bit touchy. Recently, a man who filed for compensation claimed that he needed a wheelchair but was then shown to be out of his home shopping without it (and seemingly without pain) through video surveillance. They also had him on camera performing a number of other activities as well. He was arrested with the possibility of up to five years in jail. Since the amount paid out due to his injury was more than a half million dollars, it's certainly brought about some attention in his area of Florida. The man was a deputy there, and was injured when bending to get his laptop from the trunk of his police cruiser in 2007. After that, he went through surgery and stated that he couldn't walk, drive or bend, which has then been shown to be false by videos. He states that he had always been consistent in reporting his pain to be inconsistent because no two days are alike. He says that while the video may show him driving and running errands, he can only do so in limited ways. He claims his whole life is a mess, with his job ripped out from under him and expenses piling up. It's now up for the courts to decide who has the better claim and what will happen. Employer Tips  No employer wants to follow their employee around constantly to check up on their progress and verify the truth in their claims. Also, it's difficult to accuse someone who's experienced severe injuries of trying to game the system. However, sometimes it's necessary with the case of chronic pain to be more involved. Medical professionals have been shown consistently to raise costs without cause in certain areas where they have direct financial incentives to do so as well. Through questions and visits, you can start to see the character of the person behind the claim as well as the treatment they're receiving. If you do suspect foul play on either side, then your insurance company will be more than happy to help. After all, they stand to lose out on fraudulent claims too.