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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 Construction Insurance - Construction Insurance

OSHA Launches Campaign To Curb Construction Falls

Author TonyScurich , 10/28/2016
Falls are the leading cause of construction deaths. In 2014, fatalities from falls accounted for 359 out of 899 deaths in the construction industry. To curb such deaths and injuries, OSHA has joined forces with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).The Construction Nationwide Safety Awareness Campaign is comprehensive and based on three key steps for employers: Plan for safety, provide proper equipment, and train workers. To ensure safety on job sites that involve working from heights, plan how the project will be done and the tools needed. When estimating job costs, include these resources and have them available on site. For example, on a roofing job, think about such potential fall hazards – holes, sky-light, leading edges, etc. – and then select appropriate fall protection equipment, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). Provide workers who are six feet or more above lower levels with fall protection and the necessary equipment including ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. If roof work is involved, have a PFAS with a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the device fits and inspect all equipment regularly. Finally, give workers “toolbox talk” training on potential fall hazards and the set-up and use of the safety equipment they’ll be using. The OSHA campaign has a number of training tools, job site posters, and other educational resources – (many of which target workers with limited English proficiency). To learn more about how to keep your workers from falling down (literally)on the job, feel free to get in touch with our construction insurance specialists.

Construction Site Traffic Management Checklists: Safety Pays!

Author TonyScurich , 10/26/2016
  Accidents involving vehicles or mobile equipment (excavators, dumpers, etc.) on building sites kill more than a dozen workers a year and injure hundreds more. To help make sure that your workers and outsiders can move around your job sites safely,and keep your insurance premiums down, experts recommend using this checklist: Keep pedestrians and vehicles apart:
  • have separate entry and exit gateways for pedestrians and vehicles
  • provide safe pedestrian walkways that take a direct route where possible
  • make sure drivers with access to public roads can see both ways
  • don’t block walkways or vehicle routes
  • install barrier between roads and walks
Minimize vehicle movements:
  • provide offsite parking
  • control entry to the site
  • have storage areas so that delivery vehicles don’t have to cross the site
Control people on site:
  • recruit drivers and equipment operators carefully
  • make sure that drivers, operators, and those who direct traffic are trained
  • manage the activities of visiting drivers
Maximize visibility:
  • provide mirrors, CCTV cameras or reversing alarms
  • designate signalers to control maneuvers by drivers or equipment operators
  • install lighting for use after sunset or in bad weather
  • make sure that all pedestrians on the site wear high-visibility clothing
Provide safety signage and instructions:
  • ensure that all drivers and workers know and understand the routes and traffic rules on the site
  • use standard traffic signs where appropriate
  • provide safety instructions to all visitors in advance
For a comprehensive – and free– review of vehicle and mobile vehicle safety practices on your job sites, just give us a call. We’re here to help at any time.  

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.

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.

Construction Safety: Myth And Reality

Author TonyScurich , 9/9/2016
construction-646465_1920 Unfortunately, a number of erroneous beliefs about worksite safety are widespread in the construction industry. Here are seven common safety myths - and why they don't pass the reality check:
  1. Safety programs ensure worker safety. In practice, this means that binders on a variety of topics (usually regurgitated OSHA standards) end up gathering dust on a back shelf.
  2. Safety is common sense. Taking risk is a very personal matter. Some people skydive, others bungee jump; some race automobiles, others rock climb.
  3. Incentive programs improve safety. Because these programs usually reward not having a recordable incident, they benefit workers been lucky enough to avoid accidents - not to mention a natural tendency not to report injuries.
  4. Progressive punishment ensures safety compliance. The best punishment can do is achieve temporary compliance. Effective policing must be continuous and consistent, with clear consequences.
  5. Firing noncomplying workers solves safety problems. This is like trying to cure a disease by treating its symptom. Instead, find the error that led to unacceptable behavior and change it.
  6. Safety training is a leading safety indicator. The sign-in sheet shows only who attended the meeting. For training to work, managers need to test what individual workers learned - or didn't learn.
  7. Inspections and audits will uncover most workplace hazards. Inspections provide snapshots of workplace conditions at a given time, rather than an accurate picture of ongoing operations or activities.
Every construction firm needs to evaluate its safety systems, practices, and procedures critically, challenge the status quo where needed - and take decisive action. Our agency's professionals would be happy to offer their advice at any time, free of charge.

Pollution Liability: The CPL Solution

Author TonyScurich , 8/15/2016
Air, water, and soil pollution pose a serious financial threat for contractors. One small misstep can require thousands - or even millions - to clean up. Consider these scenarios:
  • Remodeling a school kicks up dust.
  • Using construction materials generates fumes that pollute the air.
  • Hitting an underground storage tank leads to the release of liquid pollutants.
  • Spraying to remove a bees' nest from a work area releases insecticides.
  • Tying into a sewer line improperly causes sewage to back up.
Your Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) policy provides severely limited protection against these types of pollution claims. Not to worry! Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) insurance can protect you. (These policies are sometimes written together with Contractors Professional Liability coverage - see the previous article). CPL covers Bodily Injury and Property Damage - whether by settlement or verdict - as well as the expenses of investigating, defending, or settling claims. Most policies also cover the costs of removing or neutralizing pollutants and restoring the damaged property. CPL policies usually include a "hammer clause" that works like this: if the contractor chooses to fight a claim, rather than settle it, the insurance company's liability for damages and claims expenses is limited to what it would have had to pay if the contractor had approved the settlement. As you can imagine, most contractors choose to settle when their insurer recommends this approach. As with Contractors Professional Liability coverage, CPL policies are usually written on a case-by-case basis, with the size of the policy depending on your situation (for example coverage might be worldwide or limited to the U.S). Our agency would be happy to work with you, and the quality insurance companies we represent, to tailor a program suited for your needs. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

Demand For Contractors Professional Liability Rises

Author TonyScurich , 8/12/2016
New approaches to building projects, as well as new techniques, are leading to increased demand for Professional Liability insurance for contractors. A few years ago, people would shake their heads at the idea of this coverage, asking how contractors could be held liable for professional risk when they don't provide professional services. However, there has been a blurring of the once-sharp lines between contractors and architects and designers, as more and more contractors are being drawn into the design process. Under the traditional "design-bid-build" method, a project would be designed, bids put out, and the project built. However, the spread of the "design-build" concept - which decreases the amount of time, and the cost, of the project involved - has meant that medium sized and large contractors often take the design responsibilities in-house, and even subcontract them to design firms. These contractors' biggest exposure is for claims filed against them for project delays and cost overruns. However, traditional General Liability insurance offers coverage only for Bodily Injury and Property Damage, and does not cover financial or economic losses. Contractors Professional Liability insurance fills this gap. Because these policies are relatively recent, only a limited number of insurance companies offer them. These companies haven't paid enough claims for underwriters to establish the underwriting history and set standard rates - which means that policies are usually negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The amount of insurance can be up to $50 million; if a contractor needs more capacity, coverage can be added through excess layers. If your firm is (or might be) taking on project design responsibilities, a comprehensive Contractors Professional Liability policy can help protect your pocketbook - and provide peace of mind. To learn more, just give us a call.

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.

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.

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