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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

Happy New Year!

new-year-2017-small

“As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection – a time to release old thoughts and beliefs and forgive old hurts. Whatever has happened in the past year, the New Year brings fresh beginnings. Exciting new experiences and relationships await. Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future.” – Peggy Toney Horton

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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

Help Put An End To Workers Comp Malingering

ohio-labor-law-workers-comp-article-smallIt’s frustrating when you suspect that a Workers Compensation claimant is milking the system. However, you can reduce potential malingering significantly if you attend to it from the get-go.

Start by designating a manger as the “firm’s rep,” to ensure that any employee who makes a Comp claim gets a doctor promptly and to inform your insurance company immediately. The rep should transport the employee to the physician, stay at the office during the examination and treatment, and then take him or her home or back to work.

While at the doctor’s office, the firm’s rep should ask the physician about the medical condition, recommended treatment, and a reasonable return-to-work date. If the claimant or physician objects, the rep should assure them that he or she will work with the insurance company to make sure all reasonable and necessary benefits and medical bills are paid.

Resist any employee excuses for not seeing a doctor. If the employee has an attorney, suggest getting a second opinion (which you will provide at no cost). If the claimant already has a doctor, have the firm rep offer to take him or her for a consultation– and ask about diagnosis, treatment, and return-to-work status.

The rep should then: 1) follow up with the employee at least every two weeks – and more often if possible – face to face or by phone; and 2) stay in touch with the claims adjuster to share information about visits with the doctor and claimant that might help him or her return to work as early as possible.

Although these techniques won’t always work, anecdotal evidence suggests that they can reduce malingering claims by up to 70%.

What’s not to like?

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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

Workplace Injuries – Does Age Matter?

elderly-man-seniors-older-men-smallAs people retire later, the workforce keeps aging. This trend has been a concern for businesses because the conventional wisdom holds that older workers are more vulnerable to costly injuries, driving up Workers Comp rates.

However, new research from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) casts doubt on this conclusion, changing the definition of “older workers.”

After studying injury rates for different age groups, NCCI found that, while workers under 35 had substantially more cuts on their fingers and those over 35 suffered more cases of carpal tunnel and cervical injuries, the numbers are startlingly similar.

What about expense? NCCI concluded that although workers between 20 and 34 create much lower costs (and fewer days lost), once they reach 35 these costs are similar. This redefines an “older worker” as someone who grew up listening to Nirvana instead of Elvis.

Injury prevention for employees – regardless of age –should begin during the hiring process. Once you have a written job description, offer the candidate the job based on his or her ability to do the work with reasonable accommodation. Then have the candidate complete a medical questionnaire to determine if he or she “fits” position. If so, it’s time to get started. If not, to find someone else.

If you haven’t already done so, set up and monitor a comprehensive safety-training program for new hires, Make sure that they remain mindful of how they’re doing their job. Far more injuries result from unsafe acts by employees than unsafe workplace conditions Employees who feel rushed are more likely to ignore safety aside so they can meet deadlines – leading to preventable accidents.

To learn more about keeping your workers safe on the job, feel free to get in touch with us.

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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

Online Identity Theft Prevention

credit-card-1730085__340-smallGoing online has become part of everyday life, whether it is for everyday activities such as shopping, sending email or paying bills, and managing your accounts. But data breaches, in all their forms, can potentially expose the personal information that we share online, putting consumers at risk of identity theft.

According to the 2015 Travelers Consumer Risk Index, 59% of Americans worry about online identity theft. Fortunately, there are steps that consumers can take, including not opening unsolicited emails and avoiding unsecure websites, to protect their personal information while online.

The following tips can help you learn how to help stay safe online:

Online Shopping

  • Research potential retailers to make sure they are reputable and have a secure network and website. Try to avoid buying from a site that does not have a secure socket layer (SSL) encryption installed. In order to do this, look for the ‘s’ at the beginning of a URL – HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// – to help determine if a site is SSL secured.
  • Read the site’s privacy policy to learn how the personal information you provide will be used.
  • Use only one credit card for online purchases. Be sure to read statements when received to check for fraudulent or unknown charges or activity.
  • If you receive an email regarding sales or discounts from a particular retailer, log on directly to the official website for the business. Avoid linking to it from an unsolicited email.

Emails and Attachments

  • Do not send personal information in email or instant messages. Emails are out of your control once sent, and can be easily intercepted.
  • Do not click on links you receive by email or encounter online that are suspicious or from unknown sources. Only accept and click if it:
    • Comes from someone you know.
    • Comes from someone you have received mail from before.
    • Is something you were expecting.
    • Does not look odd with unusual spellings or characters.
    • Passes your anti-virus program test.
  • Be cautious of emails you receive regarding your financial accounts. If you are not sure of the email’s validity, contact your financial institution directly.

General Online Safety

  • Try to limit the personal information you put on the Internet. Social media sites can be good for networking, but identity thieves can use the information you share.
  • Remember to keep your Web browser up to date. This can help ensure the latest security features are installed.
  • Avoid storing personal information, account numbers and personal identification numbers on your computer.
  • Install firewall and anti-virus software. This can help protect you from exposure to malicious cyber attacks.
  • Choose strong passwords and keep them private.

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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

My Employees Are Honest – Aren’t They?

th-1-smallSmaller companies tend to be more vulnerable than Fortune 500 corporations to theft by employees.

According to John Warren, general counsel for the U.S. Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (USACFA), losses from internal theft are disproportionately high among small businesses. A nationwide USACFA review of more than 1,100 fraud cases found that the median loss in organizations with fewer than 100 employees came to $190,000 – more than half again as much as the $120,000 loss among companies with 1,000 to 9,999 employees.

Check tampering was the most common scam uncovered by the survey, followed by skimming (the theft of unrecorded sales), faked billing, and phony expense reimbursements.

One reason why small companies take a bigger hit is because employee theft is often hard to detect and can last over several years. Most perpetrators aren’t hardened criminals, but rather longtime, trusted workers who have risen through the ranks. “It’s startling how many times people will say, ‘I’ve known this person for 10 years, they babysat my kids,’ ” says the USACFA’s Warren, ” ‘Out of all of my employees, I would have never guessed this.’ ”

Embezzlement usually starts small and then escalates, often triggered by money problems facing the worker. Says one expert, “Any time you have an employee who has financial difficulties, you have the makings of a problem.”

their vulnerability, many small businesses don’t take basic steps to deter employee theft. “There’s a reluctance to think about this, compared to larger companies,” notes Rich Simitian, Southern California managing partner for accounting firm Grant Thornton. “The attitude is, ‘I’ve got too many other things to think about as a business owner.’ ”

We’d be happy to recommend precautions that can help you deter fraud internal fraud.

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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

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