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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

STUDY DIAGNOSES HEALTH OF WELLNESS PROGRAMS

Although more than three in four businesses offer their employees wellness programs, fewer than half believe that these programs provide an effective return on investment (ROI). That’s the bottom line on a recent nationwide survey by Business Insurance of more than 300 companies.

Check out these highlights from the study:

  • More than nine in ten respondents (93%) describe their programs as “extremely successful,” “very successful,” or “somewhat successful.”
  • More than four in five (81%) measure the success of their programs primarily by employee participation rates, while more than two in three (68%) rely on feedback from employees.
  • The great majority (85% of public companies and 70% of privately held firms and nonprofits) offer employees money or other incentives linked to participation in their programs.
  • Nearly three in four (59%) see improving employee health as the main objective of their program.
  • Fewer than one in three (28%) focus on reducing health care costs.

Experts say that employers can improve their ROI (directly or indirectly) from wellness programs by shifting focus from broadly-based activities (on-site health screenings and immunizations, weight-loss and stop-smoking programs, etc.) to individual health care — such as personal coaching, workplace safety evaluations, wellness newsletters, and classes on stress management and nutrition.

Companies can also boost their ROI by evaluating their programs at least once a year. The Business Insurance survey found that nearly one in three respondents (32%) failed to measure the participation rate or effectiveness of their programs on an annual basis.

If you’d like a comprehensive review of the benefits your employee wellness program provides, just get in touch with us.

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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

ACCOMMODATING PREGNANCY IN THE WORKPLACE

Although many women work through their pregnancies without difficulty, some of them with physically demanding jobs or complicated pregnancies might seek accommodation at some point. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not define pregnancy as a disability or disorder, but as a natural process related to reproduction.

If pregnancy is not a disability, are pregnant women entitled to accommodation? What about women with pregnancy-related impairments? Are they covered by the ADA Does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) entitle pregnant women to the accommodations they need to continue working during pregnancy? Are there state laws that entitle pregnant women to accommodation? These are the types of questions are being examined by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and other women’s legal organizations. According to NWLC, both the ADA and the PDA often require reasonable accommodation for pregnancy.

Let’s start with the ADA. The regulations interpreting the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) state that pregnancy-related impairments can meet the definition of disability if they substantially limit a major life activity. Pregnant employees with impairments that meet the definition of disability will be entitled to an accommodation under the ADA. Because the ADAAA has broadened the definition of disability to include many temporary and less severe impairments, more workers with pregnancy-related impairments will now qualify for direct coverage.

In addition, the interaction between the PDA and the ADA will often result in a heightened duty to accommodate even pregnant employees who do not meet the ADA’s definition of disability. NWLC argues that the PDA requires employers to treat pregnant women at least as well as other employees with similar limitations in their ability to work. Because the ADA requires employers to accommodate a wider variety of medical conditions, pregnant women will often have similar limitations to people who are entitled to accommodations under the act – which means that they’ll be entitled to accommodations as well. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made it clear that the ADA requires reasonable accommodation of a temporary back injury that leaves an employee unable to lift 20 pounds for a few months. Because pregnant workers must be treated as well as employees with similar work limitations, a worker who has been instructed not to lift weights of more than 20 pounds because of her pregnancy must also be accommodated, according to NWLC.

To ensure that employers’ legal obligations to provide accommodations are unmistakable, the NWLC and a broad coalition of groups from the health, disability, and women’s rights communities are urging Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) – draft legislation which states that pregnant women are entitled to reasonable accommodations that can be provided without undue hardship to an employer. These are the same types of accommodations that are available to people with disabilities under the ADA. In addition, some state laws already give pregnant workers’ rights to workplace accommodations, as described in a recent report by Equal Rights Advocates.

Accommodating pregnant employees is also in the financial interest of employers. The NWLC provides several sound business reasons why employers should accommodate their pregnant employees in the same way that they do for workers with disabilities. Data show that the costs of these accommodations are likely to be minimal, and that providing them will have bottom- line benefits to the employer: including reduced workforce turnover, increased employee satisfaction and productivity, and lower Workers Compensation and other insurance costs.

Despite the legal and financial arguments, some employers are still not accommodating pregnant employees. This is why the EEOC recently identified “accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the ADAAA and the PDA” as a priority area for itsenforcement efforts through 2016.

If you are an employee who was not accommodated during your pregnancy or you believe you were discriminated against on the basis of pregnancy, the NWLC would like you to share your story. Employers interested in sharing their experiences accommodating pregnant employees or in consulting about best practices are also invited to contact NWLC, at pregnancyandwork@nwlc.org.

Keep in mind that when it comes to providing accommodation ideas, Job Accommodation Network (JAN) consultants will brainstorm accommodation ideas for anyone with any type of limitation, including limitations related to pregnancy, whether or not the ADA covers the condition. So, if you’re an employer trying to accommodate pregnant employees, or a pregnant employee looking for accommodation ideas to offer your employer, feel free to contact JAN for assistance!

-Linda Carter Batiste, J.D.,

Principal Consultant with comments from the National Women’s Law Center

P.S. Speaking of job accommodations, HRThatWorks members can join us for a joint webinar with JAN on Providing Accommodations for Employees with Mental Health Impairments, to be held March 20th at 1PM EST by going tohttps://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/324256449.

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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

Why Coinsurance Makes Sense

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Insurance spreads the risk of loss among every policyholder and the insurance company.

The “coinsurance clause” in a Business Property policy reflects the fact that the coverage divides this risk by setting premiums based primarily on the value of the property. Those who insure their property for less than its actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost will have to pay the uninsured portion of any covered loss out of their own pocket — in other words, “coinsuring” the risk — which encourages policyholders to buy coverage for the full value of their property.

The coinsurance clause usually requires policyholders to insure their property for 80% of its ACV. For example, if the property of your business is worth $500,000, you would need to purchase a $400,000 policy. If a fire caused $300,000 worth of damage, the insurance company would pay $240,000 (80% of $300,000), leaving you to pick up the other $60,000. However, if you had purchased the full $500,000 in ACV coverage — paying a higher premium — the insurer would cover the entire $300,000 claim.

We’d be happy to discuss the benefits that the coinsurance clause offers. Feel free to give us a call.

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

Physical:
783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite7,
Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

Mailing:
PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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(831) 661-5697

Available 8:30am - 5:00pm