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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Build Better Relationships With Co-Workers

Closer relationships among co-workers boost collaboration, teamwork, morale, productivity, job satisfaction, and wellness. As you observe Relationship Wellness Month in February, encourage better work relationships with these suggestions.

Do a Good Job

Employees who consistently do a poor job force their co-workers to do more work. Resentment grows, and your company may miss deadlines and lose customers.

Give employees a clear job description and set expectations for performance. Then celebrate employees who do a good job and meet their goals.

Accept Differences

While it’s tempting for employees with similar interests to congregate together and avoid others who are different, greater acceptance improves relationships and personal well-being.

For this reason, provide opportunities for diverse employees to work together and find common ground. Plan team-building activities, too, as you celebrate and accept differences.

Share Less Personal Information

Your employees are human and will bring personal problems to work. However, distracted employees can make mistakes or cause accidents. Sharing too much information also causes discomfort and conflict between co-workers.

Remind employees to be professional at work. Also, promote the mental health benefits of your employer-sponsored health insurance or provide counseling services for employees.

Avoid Gossip

Juicy tidbits of information about co-workers may seem entertaining, but gossip breaks down morale and can cause projects to suffer. It also reduces trust and respect.

Spread awareness about the dangers of gossip. You can also remind employees to change the subject or walk away from such conversations.

Manage Conflict

Disagreements and conflicts are normal, but these situations create tension and inhibit collaboration.

Create a straightforward conflict resolution process, and maintain an open door policy. With these conflict resolution strategies, co-workers address issues, resolve challenges and restore relationships.

Assist Others

Meeting a deadline or managing a big project can strain busy employees and increase stress.

Promote helpfulness and collaboration as you ease strain, stress and pressure. Everyone on the team can and should work together to get the job done right and on time.

Stay Positive

Sometimes, bad things happen. Employees may make mistakes, struggle to adapt to change or feel unappreciated. Negative and bad moods are contagious, though, and affect everyone.

Instead of allowing negativity, implement a complaint procedure. Then lead by example as you promote positivity.

Plan Fun

In the midst of busy workdays, your employees may not have time to socialize and truly get to know their co-workers.

Schedule an outing, activity or another fun event at least once a month. Give employees time to unwind, relax and get to know each other better.

To observe Relationship Wellness Month, look for ways to improve rapport at work. These tips help you build better relationships among co-workers and increase employee and company success.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Flu Prevention Tips That Protect You and Your Coworkers

Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but it can last as long as May. Because the flu spreads quickly between people who work in close quarters, you really need to understand flu prevention tips as you protect yourself and your coworkers this flu season.

Get Vaccinated

The flu shot is one of the best preventative measures you can take since it combats the season’s main flu virus that is expected to affect the most people. Although the vaccine’s antibodies won’t begin protecting you for two weeks, get yours today, and encourage your coworkers to get their flu shots, too.

Stay Home if You’re Sick

Of course, your job is essential, but going to work when you’re sick only infects everyone else. Stay home, focus on getting better and remind your coworkers to stay home if they’re sick.

Disinfect Office Surfaces

Disinfectant spray and wipes will be your best friends this flu season. Use them to clean germs off your computer keyboard, printer key pad, phone, pens and pencils, doorknobs, drawer pulls and anything else you and your coworkers touch regularly.

Cover Your Nose and Mouth

Sneeze or cough into a disposable tissue to prevent your germs from spreading to others.

Wash Your Hands

As frequently as possible, wash your hands in hot, soapy water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipes also kill germs, but use them only when soap and water are unavailable.

Don’t Touch Your Face

Flu germs on your hands spread quickly when you touch your face, so protect yourself by keeping your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes.

Go to Bed

Enough rest increases your immunity and ability to fight germs. Your chances of staying healthy increases when you grab a few a few extra minutes of sleep every night.

Eat and Drink a Healthy Diet

From loading up on fruits and veggies to drinking water, your body will stay strong when you fuel it with healthy foods.

Are you ready to stay healthy this flu season, especially with the current Coronavirus outbreak? Follow these tips and talk to your doctor about additional ways you and your coworkers can stay healthy this year.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Start Your Insurance Renewal Process Early This Year (Insurance Secret Inside)

Businesses are shrinking or expanding constantly.  Start your renewal process today by comparing your policy estimated payrolls with the summary W-2 sheet produced by your accounting department (must be completed by February 1).

Review the 1099s and check these recipients against your files to assure certificate compliance and proper risk transfer techniques.

After reassessing your payroll exposures for the coming year, estimate your current premium.  Talk to your agent about optional markets at that premium level, insurance companies have different appetites for different size risks.  Find several appropriate insurers.

Many insurers now demand loss control inspections prior to commitment to offering any quote.  Get your reports in order.  Make sure loss control measures are in place and working.  Order loss runs from your current carrier to have on hand.

Most important: leave enough lead time for the inspections to occur.  At least ninety days, so new insurers can inspect your operations.

The insurance markets retool every few years and create new identities, new brands within the industry.  Currently, insurance companies are deciding what size accounts they will seek, single lines like workers’ compensation or general liability, or supporting lines requirements: like workers’ compensation, general liability or automobile liability.  Ask your agent what the current view is among their companies.

The key to having choices is starting early now.  Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the renewal carrier.

While your reassessing your policies, rethink your program as well.  Your program consists of the risk management decisions that have subtle but important impacts on your insurance costs.  For example: what is your best expiration date?  In the construction industry, January first or April first are popular choices in a well-managed risk management program.

One secret within the insurance industry: rates tend to change on calendar quarters.  If rates are increasing on April first, you can always renew on March thirty-first if you have enough lead time.  But you need to know in advance and have friendly underwriters, and proactive agents.

Calendar quarters allow for government filings to be used as a basis for the insurance auditors, and audits go smoother.  Corporate financial years can be good, especially if they fall on calendar quarters.  Decide your best expiration date (and you want all liability lines to share that date)and begin 120 days in advance gathering quote information and loss data.  Shop early.

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4 months ago · by · 0 comments

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

Holiday decorations around the office are fun and festive, but they do pose safety hazards and can cause injuries. Whether your employees decorate the office for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Years, insist on numerous safety precautions.

Avoid Trips and Falls

Place trees, gifts or displays in areas that are out of the way. If these items sit in a hallway or other busy area, employees could trip or fall over them.

Climb a Ladder

When hanging garland, snowflakes or streamers from the wall, windows or ceiling, use a ladder or step stool instead of a chair or desk. The right support helps you reach high places without pulling a muscle or falling.

Use Nonflammable Materials

All the holiday decor you use should be labeled as nonflammable or noncombustible. Check the label, too, to verify that your decorative drapes, lights and artificial greener are made of fire retardant material and safe for your employees.

Don’t Block Signs or Exits

Seasonal banners and other decor items may fit perfectly over signs or doors, but never cover signs or exit doors. Remember to keep fire equipment and sprinklers free from decorations, too.

Stay Away from Heat Sources

Always check the surroundings before you place decorations around the office. Items should sit away from vents, space heaters and other heat sources.

Attach Tall Items Securely

Tall trees and other display items are top heavy and may topple over if they’re bumped or even randomly. Secure tall decor items to the wall or ceiling with guy-wire.

Select Cool Burning Bulbs

Safety tested and cool burning bulbs in light strings or lamps are less likely to cause burns or fires. Check the label to ensure the bulbs are tested by an independent lab and verified to be safe.

Inspect Lights

Holiday lights add a festive look to your office, but always inspect lights before you plug them in. Toss strands with frayed or bare wires, broken or cracked sockets, or loose connections.

Take Care with Extension Cords

Extension cords are convenient but potentially hazardous accessories. Only plug in the recommended number of light string sets. Also, avoid tacking or stapling cords to the wall or floor, and tape or cover cords that cross the floor on walkways.

Ban Candles

An open flame is a big burn and fire hazard. Only allow electric lights and ban candles for safety.

Turn off Lights

At the end of the day or whenever the office is closed, switch off all the lights. You’ll save money and reduce a fire hazard.

The holidays can be more festive when you decorate the office. Use these safety tips to reduce injuries and keep your employees safe.

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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

The power of positive thinking.

Although you might not be aware of it, there are far-reaching benefits to positive thinking that can improve your health and help you with stress management. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that the personality traits of optimism and pessimism can have a direct impact on your well-being.

The good news is that, even if you are a pessimist by nature, you can take steps to improve positive thinking techniques in your life, and reap the resulting health and well-being benefits. Health Benefits of Positive Thinking. Over time, researchers have explored the effects of optimistic thinking on health, and have found many correlations between well being and positive thought processes. These include:

  • Longer life span
  • Better resistance to the common cold
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Reduced rates of cardiovascular disease
  • Improved coping skills during times of stress and hardship
  • Better physical and psychological well-being


Get on the Road to Positive Thought Processes. 

There are some simple steps to take to move away from negative thinking, and create a new habit of positive self-talk. Monitor yourself: During the day, stop and take note of your thoughts. If thoughts are mainly negative, make a conscious effort to put a positive spin on things.

Be open to good humor: Give yourself permission to be happy, to smile, and to laugh, even when the chips are down. Seek humor in everyday events.

Lead a healthy lifestyle: Follow a healthy diet and exercise at least three times per week. Eating right and exercising both have positive effects on mood and stress management.

Surround yourself with people who focus on the positive: Choose to spend time with family and friends who are cheerful, supportive, and offer helpful feedback. Avoid spending time with negative people who have a “glass half empty” attitude.

Practice positive self talk:
 Be gentle and encouraging with yourself, and never tell yourself something that you would not say to another person. If a negative thought enters your mind, try to think about it rationally, and follow up with positive affirmations about yourself and your circumstances.

Practice Every Day! 

If you have had a past tendency to have a negative outlook on life, don’t despair. While you may not become an optimist overnight, with everyday practice, you will begin to replace negativity with productive, positive thoughts.

You may find that you become, not only less critical of yourself, but more accepting of the world around you. As your general attitude improves, you will begin to reap the physical and emotional benefits of a positive outlook on life!

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6 months ago · by · 0 comments

Business Owners – protect your business with a Buy-Sell Agreement

You and your business partner or partners have a clear and common vision of how to run your business, where it’s going, and how it’s going to get there. As a team, you’ve worked together each and every day to share the daily demands and shape the success of your business. That said, have you thought about what would become of the business and all your hard work if you or one of your partners became ill, was injured, or died?

A business doesn’t have to become disabled or die just because one of the owners retires, dies, or becomes too sick or disabled to work. Whether the transition of business management or ownership needs to take place after death or during life, it can be orderly accomplished through appropriate business succession planning.

A buy-sell agreement is a tool commonly used in business succession planning. This planning feature, when correctly funded and designed, can orderly establish the value at which the business will be taken over and who will be doing the taking over. The owner can have a peace of mind from knowing that the business has a predetermined basis for which it can be sold in a ready market, thereby giving the owner a source of funds when they need it, such as when they are ready to retire. If the owner was to die prior to the above predetermined basis occurring, then the buy-sell can be used to meet the survivor’s needs or pay hefty estate taxes.

Although there are several ways that a buy-sell agreement can be established, an entity purchase agreement and cross purchase are the two most often used:

Cross Purchase

Due to favorable tax results, this is a highly used approach by many small businesses. It’s generally used by businesses that only have a small number of owners. The cross purchase is typically funded with a life and/or disability insurance policy that each of the owners must maintain on their co-owners. The death benefits from the life insurance policy aren’t subject to taxation since the owners, not the business, actually own the individual life insurance policies. Each of the business owners are legally obligated to purchase the ownership interest of the other co-owner(s) upon death.

The deceased owner’s estate sells the owner’s interest to the surviving owners in exchange for the proceeds from the life insurance policy. The surviving owners will get a step-up in the business’s tax basis. Alternatively, the insurance cash value can also be used if one of the co-owners was to need to fund a buyout during their lifetime. One point to remember regarding a cross purchase is that administration is smoothest when there are only a limited number of owners and will become increasingly difficult to administer as the number of owners increase.

Entity Purchase Agreement

This type of buy-sell agreement works somewhat like the cross purchase, but it’s the business, not the owners, that will maintain an insurance policy on each owner and agree to purchase any deceased owner’s interest in the business. As such, the taxation is different.

The death benefits under both an entity purchase and cross purchase agreement, whether being paid to the business or an individual, are exempt from federal income taxation. However, unlike with the cross purchase, there are certain situations that a C corporation can be subject to the corporate alternative minimum tax under an entity purchase. There’s also not a step-up in basis under the entity purchase plan.

Hopefully this brief overview of the entity purchase and cross purchase types of buy-sell agreements has spurred you to think about how vitally important business succession planning is to your business. Of course, this short article couldn’t possibly cover all the factors to consider when developing a business succession plan. As you begin the preparations for you business succession plan with your attorney, accountant, and insurance agent, they should be able to answer any additional questions or concerns you might have.

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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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