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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 Employee Engagement Review - Employee Engagement Review

Reclassifying Obesity Could Raise Comp Premiums

Author TonyScurich , 10/12/2016
Injured workers who gain weight due to inactivity or as a side effect of medication will probably receive higher workers comp benefits, thanks to the American Medical Association’s recent reclassification of obesity as a disease. That’s the conclusion of a recent six-year study of claims by the California Workers' Compensation Institute. According to the report, although this reclassification doesn’t have legal standing, the AMA’s positions often have a strong influence on lawmakers, regulators, and health care providers. Immediately after the decision, senators and congressmen introduced bipartisan bills requiring Medicare to cover more obesity treatment costs, including prescription drugs and intensive behavioral weight-loss counseling, which will give health care providers a financial incentive to use these remedies. Judging from the results of the California study, this means that businesses can expect to pay more for workers comp. The report found that the costs of comp claims that listed obesity as a “comorbidity,” or additional cause, were far greater than for claims without them. Medical benefits for comorbidity cases cost 81% more than for other cases, while indemnity payments averaged nearly 65% higher. More two in three claimants with obesity comorbidity received permanent disability, nearly five times the rate for the non-obese. Finally, the use of narcotic painkillers was significantly higher among overweight claimants. Obesity might even become a primary comp diagnosis for jobs such as long-haul trucking or office work that require employees to remain seated for extended periods. The bottom line: look for the management and financial changes stemming from the reclassification of obesity as a medical condition to create new challenges and incentives for health care professionals, businesses, and workers compensation insurance companies. We’ll stay on top of these changes to help make sure that your company has the coverage you need at a competitive rate.  

More Midsized Companies Offering Wellness Incentives

Author TonyScurich , 5/20/2016
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The number of mid-market employers giving Group Health plan members incentives to participate in wellness programs has more than doubled since 2010, says a recent report by Fidelity Management and Research L.L.C.

The study found that more than three in four midsize businesses (77%) - those with fewer than 5,000 employees - offered employees monetary rewards tied to wellness activities and health management outcomes in 2011, compared with fewer than two in five (38%) that provided cash incentives in 2010. Overall, nearly nine in ten employers surveyed (86%) gave some type of incentive for wellness activities and/or outcomes in 2011, up from with 63% a year earlier.

The average value of incentives offered to employees and their dependents has also increased substantially. For the 2013 plan year, the average employee incentive value will reach $521, up from $460 in 2011; while the average incentive value for dependents will grow to $465 this year, from $390 in 2011.

Despite the rapid increase in mid-market businesses offering incentives for wellness program participation, they're still less likely than larger employers to provide these rewards. The value of incentives also remains lower among midmarket employers than those given by larger businesses. Less than half of midsize firms (45%) offered inducements for healthy behavior worth $500 or more, compared with 50% of large employers and 68% of very large employers.

"As the cost of providing health care continues to increase, employers recognize one of the key ways to manage their company's costs is to give incentives to their workforce for leading a healthier lifestyle," says Adam Stavisky, Fidelity Senior Vice President/ Benefits Consulting.

If you'd like to implement, or a revise, an incentive program to help keep your workers stay more healthy - and, thus, more productive - just let us know. We're here to help!


Attracting And Maintaining Top Talent

Author TonyScurich , 3/14/2016

teamworkI recently responded to the LinkedIn question "How can a company attract and maintain top talent?" in this way:

"Although you'll get many responses about technique and strategy, in my experience that's just the beginning of the answer. There's a significant emotional aspect to the question. In the words of the Buddha, "What comes to you comes from you." So that's what I'll focus on in this answer; the emotional blockages that stop things from coming to you. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Are you really willing to do what it takes to attract and keep great talent?
    • Are you willing to hire somebody better than you? Or even better than their manager?
    • Does driving towards excellence scare you? Are you prepared to hire the top 10%?
    • Would you fit in this category?
    • Is there such a thing as an "overqualified" applicant?
    • Are you open to hiring and managing different types of people? Can you hire without baggage?
    • Do you make a conscious effort to show people you care - or is this just your self-talk?
    • Do you allow employees to make a difference? To stretch? To find the good in their work?
    • Do you let go of poor performers, thus making room for more good ones?
    • Does leadership give a hoot about people, or simply growing their bottom-line?
    • Is this a fun place to work or is the attitude that fun and work don't mix?

Most importantly, think about your own experience. Why would you work somewhere or stay there? "


Side Job Doesn't Prevent FMLA Claim

Author TonyScurich , 3/9/2016
In the California case, Richie v. AutoNation, an employee out on CFRA (FMLA) was fired by his employer when he was found to have been working at a restaurant he owned during his leave period. The company's leave policy prohibited outside employment during leave. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that FMLA/CFRA (the California equivalent) has a process to follow in shortening FMLA leave if you believe that an employee no longer qualifies for it. You cannot create your own rule or process and, in a sense, do an end run around FMLA protections. The court ruled that because job reinstatement is mandatory, the only way to stop leave properly is by following the CFRA process and questioning the medical opinion of the employee's doctor.

This decision reminds us that ignorance of legal requirements is no excuse. In this case, the company argued that it had a good faith defense because it was not aware of this limitation on managing leave. The court essentially said "So what? It's a mandatory statutory obligation, which you can't avoid." As a different court stated, "A showing that an employee is unable to work in the employee's current job due to a serious health condition is enough to demonstrate incapacity. The fact that an employee is working for a second employer does not mean that he or she is not incapacitated from working in his or her current job."

Some additional notes:

  1. The decision reminds us that an employer's policy on secondary employment during FMLA leave must be the same as that for employees who are not on FMLA leave. Otherwise, the policy itself violates the law.
  2. Second, the court overturned an arbitration decision in this case which allowed the court's good faith defense. Although review of arbitration is very limited, the court will step in if the arbitrator misapplied the law.
  3. Finally, whether it's FMLA leave, ADA accommodation leave, use of PTO or sick pay, etc., if you doubt the veracity of any employee's story (i.e. they were playing soccer or lifting pianos this weekend), you must follow the proper procedures so that you don't find yourself trapped like AutoNation did in this case.

A Snapshot Of HR Executives In Small To Mid-Sized Companies

Author TonyScurich , 1/11/2016

In a recent HR webinar, I asked three highly revealing polling questions. Here they are:

    1. What have you done to show your value?

Nobody knows that you're doing a great job unless you tell them. It's not that they don't care about you; it's just that they're running 75mph and barely have time to pay attention to anything but their own work. What effort have you made to get noticed by delivering a report or giving a workshop? Unfortunately, only 21% of respondents said that they created a strategic plan. As Mary Kay once stated, "most people spend more time planning their vacations better than their career." Or, as I might add, their HR department.

    1. How excited are you about the HR opportunity on a scale from 1-5 (5 being very excited)?

Half of the respondents described themselves as fairly "excited." Unfortunately, some 43% were just "ok or worse" with HR. Most organizations find the whole idea of HR boring. My guess is that is not the case at the 7% of companies where people said they were very excited about HR! I believe that if 7% can be excited, so can the 93%. It's simply a choice. What have you done in HR lately that goes beyond administrative or compliance requirements? What have you done to help improve the quality of the workplace (getting rid of poor employees and replacing them with great ones is a start), increasing performance management (having a performance management system that actually works), boosting retention, and giving greater love to that 20% of your workforce that produces 80% of results? What are you helping your company do to become more creative, innovative, and interesting?

    1. What's stopping you?

I often ask this question in workshops and in webinars. Time is always the most common response (one of those buts again), followed by the company or management. A survey of HR That Works members found that 84% of respondents said they would make better use of the service if they had more time.

Time management is a major issue!

Go to the time management training on HR That Works. Watch the two videos and then start putting them into practice. I would recommend that you start by tracking where your time is going and then eliminate five hours of the uncool, un-valuable work you do every week.


Employer Sponsored Disability Insurance: Meeting A Need

Author TonyScurich , 12/21/2015

A recent study by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) spotlights the value of employer sponsored disability coverage in helping meet the health and financial well-being of workers.

According the Social Security Administration, one in every four employees will use their disability coverage at some point.

Despite this need, the nationwide survey found that fewer than two in five workers (39%) in the private sector have short-term disability (STD) coverage through their employers and only one in three (33%) have employer sponsored long term disability coverage (LTD).

Studies by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Mathew Greenwald & Associates have found similar rates of participation in these programs.

CFA Executive Director Stephen Broback says, “Surveys have shown that disability insurance is a critically important part of the social safety net”. . . “that plays an essential role in protecting the emotional and financial lives of workers.” Based on the study’s findings, he urged “all employers to offer the option of obtaining disability coverage.”

The survey also found that when businesses don’t offer LTD, many workers would buy it for themselves if they could receive the lower group rates available through employer sponsored coverage. Most disability plans cost workers between $10 and $30 per month, and the average monthly premium for STD coverage comes to $18.

More and more employees are benefiting from these plans, an estimated 650,000 disabled workers received employer sponsored LTD payments last year.

If you’d like to offer your employees this valuable “peace of mind” benefit, or for a complimentary review of your disability plan,– feel free to get in touch with us at any time. It’s our pleasure to serve you.


Help Workers Plan For Their ‘GOLDEN YEARS’

Author TonyScurich , 12/11/2015

For your workers to enjoy the full financial benefits from their 401(k) plans, experts recommend that employee education sessions make sure that participants:

  • Contribute enough to receive the maximum match. One expert estimates that at least one in three employees don’t make the maximum contribution, which means they’re leaving free money on the table.
  • Avoid account trading. Because it’s all too easy for plan participants to panic at market bottoms and be over-confident at tops, advise them not to open their account statements during these periods.
  • Diversify. Concentrating account balances in one or a few funds that employees feel will perform well or are safe means making a risky bet on only one economic scenario.
  • Keep their money in the plan. Employees who take out loans on their funds, make withdrawals or cash out a 401(k) when they change jobs will have to pay taxes and penalties that reduce plan payout by almost 50%, which will make it impossible to save enough for retirement.
  • Keep saving. Workers stop saving for a number of reasons. The equity market falls, their spouse loses a job, they want to save outside the plan for a home, car, boat, marriage, etc. It’s far better to lower their contribution if necessary, without going to 0%. Remember, employees need to average 15% in savings over an entire career to retire at their current standard of living.
  • Focus on the bottom line. The most important factor in a 401(k) is not the allocation of assets, market timing, or investment performance, although these are important. It’s how much the employee saves!

Make sure that you follow these guidelines in retirement planning education for your employees. They’ll be grateful for your encouragement and support.