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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Six Myths About Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is an important product for employees. There are six common myths that surround this insurance, though. Debunk the myths so you can understand and maximize your benefits.

1. Small businesses don’t need to offer Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

You may work in a small business with only a few employees. Federal and state laws dictate that most businesses with one or more employees must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Be sure your employer carries this valuable insurance even if you are a solo employee.

2. I don’t need Worker’s Compensation insurance because my job is low-risk.

Some jobs, like construction, farming and commercial fishing, are dangerous. However, even low-risk jobs include injury and illness risks. You could develop carpal tunnel while typing or slip and fall in the break room during lunch. Your employer will pay lower Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums if you work in a low-risk job, and you absolutely must ensure you’re covered no matter what type of work you perform.

3. I’m careful and won’t get hurt.

While you might have an accident-free employment history, it only takes a second for an accident to happen. Plus, some workplace accidents or injuries occur because of someone else’s actions. Ensure you are covered by Workers’ Compensation regardless of your careful track record.

4. My boss is like family, and I could never sue.

It’s great that you have such a good relationship with your boss and feel like family. However, you are still employer-employee. By law, your employer must provide Workers’ Compensation for you. You also owe it to yourself and your dependents to have this valuable coverage in place in case you are injured or disabled and can’t work.

5. My boss will pay my work-related injury or illness expenses out-of-pocket.

Perhaps your boss has vowed to pay out-of-pocket for your medical, living and others expenses if you’re injured or become ill on the job. Unfortunately, your boss may decide not to pay, particularly when the Workers’ Compensation claims reach thousands of dollars or affect multiple employees. Always protect yourself with Workers’ Compensation insurance so that you can ensure your expenses are paid.

6. Any pain I feel at work is eligible for Workers’ Compensation.

While assembling furniture at work, you notice that your arm hurts. Instead of rushing to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, think about when and where the pain started. If it originated from an activity or injury that occurred outside of work, don’t file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Workers’ Compensation insurance is important. Understand these six myths as you make sure you’re covered. For more details, contact your Human Resources manager or insurance agent.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Safety Footwear, the Right Shoe for the Job

Whether you stand all day, operate heavy machinery or handle chemicals, you need to protect your feet as you work. Several foot safety tips reduce injuries and help you maintain a safe work environment.

When to Wear Safety Footwear

Safety footwear protects your feet against numerous injuries, including punctures, impacts, electrical shock and compression. If you work in any hazardous work environment, you probably need to wear safety footwear as part of your daily uniform. Protective shoes also protect your feet if you suffer from weak ankles or other medical conditions.

Available Types of Safety Footwear

Depending on your job and preferences, you may select safety boots or sneakers. Available in a variety of styles and colors, the best safety shoes include a CSA certification and may include:

Safety-toe – features a special toe covering that protects the foot from dropped objects

Steel insole – stabilizes feet and protects them from joint and bone injuries or problems

Metal instep – provides a barrier against glass, nail and other sharp object punctures

Metatarsal protection – reduces injuries to your upper feet and internal bones

Electric protection – absorbs shock through specially made soles

Heat resistant – resists heat-related injuries

Water resistant – repels water and keeps feet dry  

Nonslip – improves traction on various surfaces

Where to Purchase Safety Footwear

Your employer may provide strict guidelines and limitations about exactly which safety shoe you may wear, including where you may purchase this gear. If you can select the safety shoes you wear, check specialty footwear stores or online retailers. Because you want to protect your feet, select only the right shoes for your job and feet. Price should be secondary as you promote safety.

How to Fit Your Safety Footwear

When trying on safety footwear, ensure a proper fit.

  • Try on shoes in the afternoon to accommodate swelling that occurs naturally during the day.
  • Wear your regular work socks and any special supports.
  • Ensure ample toe room since the shoes typically do not stretch with wear.
  • Check for snugness around the heel and ankle.
  • Walk around a bit to check for comfort.

Care Instructions

Most safety footwear requires ongoing care and maintenance. Before you wear them for the first time, apply a water-resistant coating. Every day, inspect your shoes for damage, including sole cracks, leather breaks or toe cap exposure. Always replace your safety footwear if you notice signs of wear or damage that you cannot repair and after a puncture, impact or other event that may compromise the shoe.

Protect your feet at work when you wear the right safety footwear. Talk to your employer and check OSHA resources as you purchase, maintain and wear shoes that protect your feet every day.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Understanding Installation Floaters

During the process of completing a project, a contractor faces a variety of risks. Materials, equipment, machinery and supplies must be purchased, stored, transported, staged, processed and installed before work can be accepted. For contractors, the property they rely on to complete their work can be compromised along the way. 

Most commercial property insurance policies provide little to no coverage for property once it has been removed from a contractor’s premises. To guarantee that property will be insured up until the point that it is installed and accepted, contractors can turn to a form of inland marine insurance known as an installation floater.

The Basics

Installation floaters insure a contractor’s materials, equipment, machinery and supplies from the moment they leave the contractor’s premises until a job is complete. This means that a contractor’s property will be covered in the following scenarios:

  • While being stored at a temporary location
  • While in transit to a job site
  • While being staged or awaiting installation
  • While being installed
  • While pending acceptance by a project owner or general contractor

Put another way, installation floaters cover a subcontractor’s property before it becomes a permanent feature of a project or structure.

While installation floaters offer similar coverage to that provided by builders risk policies (another form of inland marine insurance typically purchased by project owners or general contractors), there are important distinctions between the two forms of coverage. Installation floaters are typically purchased by contractors or subcontractors that have a limited scope of work on a job because they provide coverage only for the insured contractor’s portion of a project.

Installation floaters can be utilized for both new “ground-up” construction and for remodeling projects, the latter for which builders risk insurance may not be applicable. Additionally, policies can be written either on an annual basis to apply to all projects undertaken by a contractor or on per project basis.

Covered Perils

Installation floaters are “all risks” policies, meaning that they cover all exposures other than those specifically named by the policy. Policies generally cover losses caused by fire, theft, explosions, traffic accidents, vandalism and several other perils.

Unless covered through an endorsement, installation floaters may exclude losses caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, sewer backups, governmental action, nuclear hazards, war or military action, employee theft, or errors and omissions.

Installation Floater vs. Builders Risk Insurance

While some brokers may argue that installation floaters cause redundancies in coverage, and they believe the project owner or contractor’s builders risk policy will respond in the event of a claim, this is often not the case. In some instances, the type of work a contractor performs may be excluded from the terms of a builders risk policy. For example, contractors installing highly valued equipment or materials not covered under the builders risk policy (such as roofs, HVAC and electrical systems) may need to purchase an installation floater to be properly insured.

Even if a builders risk policy covers the type of work being performed, a contractor will likely have to absorb a share of the policy’s deductible in the event of a claim. Depending on the terms of the builders risk policy, it can be more cost effective for a contractor to rely on an installation floater.

With these factors in mind, contractors should always evaluate a builders risk policy to determine whether their interests are properly insured and what portion of the policy’s deductible they may be required to absorb.

Other Considerations

Like other forms of inland marine insurance, installation floaters often exclude coverage for property while it is air- or waterborne. If a contractor’s work requires the use of a crane, helicopter, barge or watercraft to install property, the terms of an installation floater should be reviewed along with existing insurance policies in order to determine whether coverage is applicable and to identify potential coverage gaps.

Trees, shrubs and plants are also commonly excluded from installation floaters. If possible, contractors that perform landscaping installations should have their policy amended to specifically cover this type of property.

Companies that rely on temporary structures or falsework including, but not limited to, cribbing, scaffolding, forms, temporary fencing, and temporary lighting or retaining walls, should work with their brokers to find the proper installation floater. Policies may include a sublimit for these items, or, in some cases, exclude these items from coverage entirely. 

Lastly, policies may omit coverage for losses that occur during testing. Companies that execute startup, performance, stress, pressure or overload testing of materials, supplies, machinery, fixtures and equipment should confirm that their installation floater meets their testing needs. Often, coverage for testing can be added at an additional cost.

Claims Process

In the event of a loss, an insured contractor will be required to take action as specified by their individual policy. In general, insured contractors are required to do the following:

  • Provide prompt notice of the loss
  • Submit proof of the loss, including the time, place and circumstances of the loss, within the timeline specified by the policy
  • Supply estimates, specifications, inventories and other information that may be required to settle the loss
  • Disclose other insurance policies that may cover the loss
  • Take reasonable steps to protect the covered property to prevent further loss
  • Produce records related to the value of the property affected by the loss

As always, policyholders can rely on their Scurich Insurance broker to assist during the claims process. 

Work With an Expert

To discuss whether an installation floater is the right form of coverage to address your business’s property exposures, please contact Scurich Insurance.

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Scurich Insurance Services
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Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

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