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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 Commercial Insurance - Commercial Insurance

Employment Practices Liability Insurance: Four Key Questions

Author TonyScurich , 6/8/2016
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You need Employment Practices Liability insurance (EPLI) to protect you from lawsuits filed (justly or unjustly) by anyone who you employ, have employed, or even considered employing.

Before you buy this essential coverage, be sure to ask these questions:
  1. Who is insured? This should include the company as an entity, along with officers, directors, and every type of employee (full-time, part-time, temp, leased, loaned and seasonal). The importance of this becomes clear if you're ever sued for a sexist slur made by temporary receptionist to a job applicant.
  2. What claims does the policy cover? You want coverage for every eventuality: monetary damages, all types of legal proceeding from criminal to regulatory, settlements, judgments, lost pay, defense fees and punitive damages.
  3. How does the policy define "wrongful employment practices" beyond the obvious (sexual harassment and racial discrimination)? Make sure that you have coverage for violations of federal, state, local and common law on employment discrimination;, deprivation of career opportunities; defamation; retaliation, negligent job evaluation, and failure to have an acceptable written employment policy.
  4. What does the policy exclude? EPLI should include wrongful practices that might have taken place before you bought coverage - so you don't have to worry about a suit by that disgruntled vice president you fired three years ago for pilfering paperclips.
A word to the wise: use EPLI as a last line of defense. Risk management for your business should include diversity and sensitivity training. The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers a wealth of free training resources, guides, compliance information, and links to free training throughout the nation. As always, we stand ready to offer you our professional advice, free of charge.  

Equipment Breakdown Insurance: A 'Must Have' Coverage

Author TonyScurich , 6/6/2016

You're facing a deadline to complete work under a major contract - when a voltage spike surges through your electrical lines, burning out computers and telephone equipment. How would you pay for replacing or repairing the damaged equipment, taking the steps needed to get back in production, and replacing lost income?

In today's high-tech electronic world, more and more companies are buying Equipment Breakdown policies (formerly known as Boiler & Machinery insurance) to protect themselves against losses from a variety of mishaps that are sometimes unpredictable and often unavoidable: everything from mechanical failure or electrical short circuits to "arcing" (faulty wiring or motor burnout. The rapid growth of Internet marketing and "just in time" inventory make businesses more dependent than ever on computers - while critical data often exists only on the Internet or online databases that can't be accessed when equipment breaks down. Depending on their size and sophistication, some businesses include this coverage in their Property insurance, while other purchase it as an endorsement to the policy. A comprehensive Equipment Breakdown policy should include:
  • Reimbursement for the cost of repairing or replacing damaged equipment (Some policies also cover green construction, disposal and recycling methods)
  • Replacement of income lost from downtime ("Business Interruption" or "Service Interruption" coverage)
  • Assistance from your insurance carrier, ranging from maintenance guidelines and checklists and crisis planning templates to identifying sources for repairs, unusual parts, or replacement equipment that can be obtained quickly.
Our Business insurance experts would be happy to help you obtain a cost-effective Equipment policy that's tailored to your needs. Just give us a call.

Alternative Risk Financing: Not Just For The Big Guys

Author TonyScurich , 6/3/2016
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Unfortunately, many small businesses ignore business continuity planning - perhaps because this seems so simple that they just don't need to do it. Here are five basic (and cost-effective) steps you need to take before disaster strikes:

  1. Define who's in charge. Because you might be unavailable after a disaster - injured, ill, on vacation, etc. - designate an order of succession to avoid confusion and unclear responsibility during the recovery process.
  2. Avoid a communication breakdown. Normal communication infrastructure might be disabled after a disaster, so make sure you have alternatives for employees, customers, clients, key suppliers, and subcontractors. At a minimum, have phone numbers (landline and cellular), and e-mail addresses. Don't rely on outdated, unreliable methods such as phone communication trees. Use a voicemail system supported by a vendor with communication equipment offsite. Don't forget to consider backup power needs.
  3. Perform data backups. Be sure to make duplicate copies of data regularly, with one copy at a location that's easy and inexpensive to access.
  4. Have a Plan B. if your facility is destroyed or access is denied by civil authorities, can you conduct certain business operations from home or a local hotel? For example, what steps can you take to replace computers and retrieve data?
  5. Make sure you have enough insurance. In a worst-case disaster scenario (major fire, windstorm, civil disorder, etc.), you might well lose your business assets and face a period of downtime - zero cash flow. Insurance can keep you afloat until you're back on your feet.

We stand ready to help design a comprehensive, cost effective program that can make your business less risky.


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.

 


Don't Let Your Products Damage Your Bottom Line

Author TonyScurich , 5/4/2016
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Product Liability Insurance helps protect your company from damages for losses related to manufacturing or selling products or other goods.

These claims can, and do, put businesses out of business - just ask the officers of any asbestos manufacturer. Companies are vulnerable to three types of products claims
  1. Manufacturing or production flaws that create an unsafe defect in the product. For an example, just recall the recent claims against Chinese manufacturers for using dangerous chemicals in their products.
  2. Design defects that make the product inherently unsafe. (The series of lawsuits against Toyota vehicles for defective acceleration controls during the past two years comes to mind.)
  3. Inadequate warnings or instructions, such as failing to label a product properly or advise consumers about potential risks. A famous example is the McDonald's "hot coffee case."
Damages can include medical costs, compensatory damages, economic damages, and (in some instances) attorney fees and costs, as well as any punitive damages. Some sellers and retailers choose not to buy Product Liability Insurance because they don't actually "manufacture" anything. However, most states follow the "stream of commerce" model of liability, meaning that if your company sells a product, you can be held liable for damages to the end user. "Business Owners" and Commercial General Liability policies usually include some type of Product Liability Coverage (Sometimes known as Product/Completed Operations Insurance). Premiums are based upon the type of product and sales volume. If you try to reduce premiums by underreporting sales or insuring only a percentage of your sales, you'll probably face a hefty "underinsurance" penalty. Make sure to identify your products properly, too. For example; if you supply stepstools, you don't want them categorized as ladders, which have a higher premium because of their greater risk potential. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our Business Insurance professionals.

OSHA: A Valuable Asset For Small Business Risk Managment And Occupational Safety And Health

Author TonyScurich , 2/10/2016
Few business owners have happy thoughts when they think of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The first thought is usually of red tape and obsolete regulations instead of the possible benefits from taking advantage of the services offered by OSHA to reduce workplace illness, injury, and fatality. There are three very obvious ways in which any effort to mitigate losses from workplace illness, injury, and fatality can help a business:
  1. It helps to ensure minimal day-to-day work-flow disruption.
  2. It helps to boost employee morale.
  3. It helps to manage liability insurance costs, including that of Workers Compensation claims.

OSHA helps in these areas through an array of education, outreach, and compliance assistance programs. For example, OSHA offers a variety of training materials and guidelines that can help workers and employers to understand and comply with safety standards. These may be obtained online, on CD-ROM, and in print. There’s also a 24-hour toll free number that employers can call for assistance on workplace safety issues. For small business owners that need onsite help to identify and correct possible workplace hazards and/or establish health or safety programs, OSHA offers free workplace consultations among its many other services.

Through cooperative programs, like the Alliance Program, OSHA works directly with entities such as educational institutions, businesses, trade organizations, and labor organizations. Certain industries, such as food processing, shipbuilding, and construction, are specifically targeted through OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program.

The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) are considered the superstars of the OSHA cooperative programs. One of these programs is called the Star Program. It’s designed for businesses that have shown an exemplary workplace (injury and illness rates below the national average for their industry) through successful and comprehensive health management and safety programs. Businesses in this program will undergo a review and onsite investigation of their health and safety programs, a review of past inspections, an onsite condition assessment, and have their management team and employees interviewed. Incident rates are reviewed yearly and overall reevaluation takes place every three to five years to ensure that Star participants still meet the program requirements. The Merit Program is another voluntary protection program. It’s a stepping stone of sorts to the Star Program and is for those with good health and safety programs. These businesses have areas needing improvement, but demonstrate the potential for excellence.

Involuntary inspections are an even large part of OSHA’s preventative measures. Many are the direct result of a workplace injury or death report or complaint. In fact, of the 37,000 involuntary inspections OSHA conducted in 2002, around 9,000 stemmed from an accident report or complaint. These inspections resulted in almost 80,000 violations and $73 million dollars worth of penalties, $11.8 million of which was from the most serious violation category, the willful violation. The average OSHA fine was $28,000 and the most often inspected industries were manufacturing and construction.

Since its 1971 start, OSHA has proven itself a successful branch of the Department of Labor. Despite heavy employment growth overall, through OSHA inspection, education, outreach, and enforcement, workplace illnesses have decreased by more than 40% and deaths have decreased by more than 50%. Even though many small businesses, especially those not in frequently-targeted industries, aren’t highly concerned with OSHA compliance and regulatory monitoring, OSHA can still be a valuable asset when it comes to occupational safety and health and risk management.


Schedule A Risk Reveiw Today

Author TonyScurich , 1/20/2016
2Can you believe that winter is here already? Time flies. Always has, always will. However, as risk managers, we think that you should slow down for a moment and ask yourself if your risk-protection program has kept pace with the changing times.

Just as your business needs might have changed significantly since your last review, so have the methods of protecting you from risk of loss. New policies have been created, new techniques in risk management developed, and new exposures arisen.

Consider these questions:

    • Is your current risk protection program as up-to-date as it needs to be to meet your business needs today?
    • What if your business were unable to operate due to extensive damage?
    • How much income would you lose during the time it takes to open the doors again?
    • Or would your choice be to reopen as quickly as possible at another location? Bear in mind that the "hurry up" expense of making the move, installing the necessary equipment, and notifying your clients would prove a painful unplanned burden.

Let's schedule a time for a review. Our professional staff stands ready to work with you. Regardless of your firm's situation, it's important to get a comprehensive risk review of your business as it is today, not as it was years ago.

Call us. We're here to help.


Need Tips For OCIPS?

Author TonyScurich , 1/13/2016

2For years, Owner-Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIPs) were only found on large, single-site projects. Every day, more contractors are being required to work under these types of arrangements, either on smaller projects or "rolling" OCIPs that cover multiple projects. This requires contractors to identify and deal with the variety of complex issues that these programs raise.

Don't go it alone. Our Construction Insurance professionals stand ready to help. If you'd like to do some research on your own, the Insurance Risk Management Institute (IRMI) provides a wealth of solid safety guidelines that are updated frequently. Originally created as a resource for contractor risk management information, IRMI publishes one of the best and most extensive libraries of insurance expertise in the nation and is widely used by insurance agents and risk managers in all types of businesses.

"A Contractor's Guide to OCIPs," available on the Construction Business Owner Web site, offers valuable guidelines on the benefits and risks of these programs, together with tips on making the most from them, and dealing with such issues as loss costs, separating Construction Insurance costs from bids, and estimating labor expenses.

Check out the guide. Then give us a call on how to apply its principles to your business. When it comes to your protection, don't let "owner controlled" mean "out of control.


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