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3 days ago · by · 0 comments

Home Care for Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season is upon us, and many people will begin experiencing symptoms like sore throats, runny noses, coughs, fevers or muscle aches. While a trip to the doctor is important and can help you recover quickly, there are a number of supplemental home care strategies that can help you further recuperate.

The following are some remedies to try:

  • Take aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve symptoms, such as a headache, muscle ache and fever.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Use a humidifier or take a hot shower to relieve a headache, cough or congestion.
  • Place a warm washcloth over your eyes to ease sinus pressure and congestion.

While home remedies can help relieve cold and flu symptoms, they aren’t useful for everyone. Children and the elderly should see a doctor if they begin to feel sick to avoid more serious health complications.

Specifically, individuals should seek immediate care if they experience any of the following:

  • Chest pain when breathing
  • A sore throat lasting more than 48 hours
  • Yellow or green nasal discharge that is accompanied by severe facial pain or a relentless headache
  • Persistent pain in your abdomen or rectum

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Instagram Tips That Improve Holiday Sales And Protect Your Company

Your successful business probably utilizes social media to build relationships and boost sales, especially as the holidays approach. Over 400 million users access Instagram every month, making it one of the most effective social media tools you can use. Maximize your company’s Instagram presence and protect your company with these tips.

Involve Your Audience

Because social media is meant to be social, interact with your audience as much as possible. Ask questions and take polls about holiday-related content as you motivate more people to talk about your brand.

Start a Debate

With a friendly debate, you increase interaction on Instagram. Center the debate on the holiday and your brand, and keep the content light. For example, ask fans of your electrical repair business if they prefer white or colored lights.

Keep Posts Short

While you should include words and hashtags in your posts, keep the written content short and sweet. Focus on posting high-quality and engaging photos instead.  

Create Urgency

Call on last-minute shoppers to make a purchase when you create urgency. Mention a deadline for a promotion or sale, or share how much of each product you have left on the shelves.   

Utilize User Content

Instagram users enjoy participating with brands they like, especially if they get a shoutout. Create a special holiday hashtag, and put the word out for your viewers to share a picture with the hashtag. This campaign builds emotional connection and engagement.

Mention Pop Culture

Reference pop culture to increase the number of viewers who actively engage with your Instagram account. Be sure your pop culture posts are authentic, timely and fresh rather than outdated.

Advertise Sales and Discounts

If your company offers a sale or discount on your products and services, advertise the special on Instagram. Invite your viewers to share the sale with their friends, too.  

Host a Contest or Giveaway

Give your audience the opportunity to win one of your products or services when they like your Instagram account or “like” or “share” the contest post. You could also sponsor a giveaway to improve engagement and increase sales.

Partner With a Charitable Cause

The holiday season and charitable giving go hand-in-hand. Choose a local charitable organization, and use Instagram posts to raise awareness or solicit donations. Your efforts demonstrate your company’s commitment to goodwill and the community.

Take Protective Measures

As you use Instagram more this holiday season, take several steps to protect your company.

  • Honor sales, discounts, contests, and giveaways.
  • Get permission to use customer photos before you post them online.
  • Follow copyright laws for images.
  • Update your insurance policy to include liability coverage.

Are you ready to boost sales this holiday? Use these tips as you maximize your Instagram account and protect your company.

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3 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Reduce Your Exposures During Work Events

Businesses host parties for a variety of reasons, including the holidays and organizational accomplishments. While these events are fun, team-building opportunities, they can create a number of risks for the hosting company. In fact, in the event that an employee is injured at the party or causes property damage, the employer is usually the one held responsible. This can lead to costly litigation and reputational harm that can affect a company for years.

To avoid major losses, it’s not only important for employers to secure the right insurance coverage for every individual risk, but to also have a thorough understanding of common holiday party exposures.

Alcohol

Anytime you provide alcohol to individuals in a non-commercial manner, you are considered a social host. This is important to note, as a social host may be responsible for the acts of their guests should their conduct create harm. These risks are compounded when alcohol is served, and employers may be liable for damages following a drunken driving accident or similar incident.

While the best way to reduce alcohol liability risks is to avoid serving it altogether, this isn’t always feasible. To promote the safety of your employees and guests at company-sponsored events, consider the following:

  • Hold the event off-site at a restaurant or hotel.
  • Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the night.
  • Serve drinks to guests rather than offering a self-serve bar. Limit the amount of alcohol you will serve. Require servers to measure spirits.
  • Set up bar stations instead of having servers circulate the room. Place table tents at each bar that remind employees and guests to drink responsibly.
  • Don’t price alcohol too low, as it encourages overconsumption. Offer a range of low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks at no charge.
  • Close the bar an hour before the scheduled end of the party. Do not offer a “last call,” as this promotes rapid consumption.
  • Entice guests to take advantage of safe transportation options by subsidizing taxis or promoting a designated driver program.

Marijuana Consumption

Similar to alcohol use, marijuana and other drug consumption can directly affect the safety of your party guests. In fact, according to the most recent federal data, 44 percent of vehicle crash deaths can be linked to drug-impaired driving, up from 28 percent a decade earlier.

Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, many of which act directly on the body and brain. Individual sensitivity to marijuana can vary, but the general effects include the following:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness, light-headedness, fatigue and headaches
  • Impaired memory, concentration and ability to make decisions
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Suspiciousness, nervousness, anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations
  • Impaired motor skills and perception
  • Dry mouth, throat irritation and coughing
  • Increased heartbeat

These health effects can last long after an employee smoked, increasing the potential for accidents or major health concerns. In addition, federal, state and local laws may prohibit marijuana use in certain areas, making it all the more important to educate employees on behavior expectations.

To keep your party guests safe and avoid any liability concerns, consider making clear rules for marijuana use at your party. Remind employees that even though they are at a social event, they are still attending a work function and workplace policies on the use of marijuana still apply.

Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Even when holding company-sponsored events off-site, employers are expected to enforce their workplace policies and safeguard their employees. In particular, employers must pay extra care to prevent issues of harassment and discrimination at their events, as they can lead to employment claims and costly litigation.

To help keep employees safe at company parties, employers should ensure all of their policies related to harassment, violence, discrimination and code of conduct are up to date and account for company-sponsored events. Policies should be specific as to what is and is not tolerated, and redistributed them as thoroughly as possible.

In addition, employers should:

  • Consider making the event a family party where employees can bring their spouse, significant other, children or a friend. This can help deter inappropriate behavior.
  • Keep event themes and decorations appropriate. Parties should be neutral and not make reference to specific religions or beliefs. In addition, plan your party on a day that does not conflict with religious holidays.
  • Consider having just one entrance to your party. This will allow you to control who enters the venue and ensure that uninvited guests do not attended.
  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.
  • Avoid making attendance for company-sponsored events mandatory.

Food Exposures

Food is a staple of many company-sponsored events, and can actually be a useful way to keep party guest sober and limit alcohol-related liability (starchy foods can help reduce the absorption of alcohol). However, when serving food, there are a number of risks employers should consider.

For instance, employers need to be wary of potential food allergies. In the event that a guest gets sick from the food, they could sue the employer for negligence.

To help protect against this, employers should ask party guests to disclose any of their allergies, either in their RSVP or by contacting the event coordinator directly. In addition, you should specify what ingredients are in every food item, both on the menu and on display cards near the food itself.

For added protection against illnesses, it’s critical that employers promote safe food preparation and handling practices. Moreover, when working with a third-party provider, employers should do their due diligence to ensure they are securing reputable vendors.

Property Damage

Property damage can occur at just about any kind of party, even small, company-sponsored events. As the host, it’s your job to ensure your guests remain safe, behave appropriately and respect the venue and its contents.

To do so, employers should:

  • Set behavior expectations before the party.
  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.
  • Remove valuable items from the party area wherever possible. Make sure any areas that you don’t want guests to enter are locked, roped off or secured in some way.
  • Review your liability insurance and know what it covers.
  • Ensure the venue is equipped to handle the number of individuals invited to the party.

Secure the Coverage You Need in Advance

Even if you take all the appropriate precautions, incidents can still occur. As such, it’s important for all organizations to secure adequate insurance.

Each business is different, and may require additional policies to account for all of their exposures. Contact Scurich Insurance today to learn about your coverage options when it comes to hosting a party.

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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

A New Law Could Change How We Prepare for Disasters

Congress and President Donald Trump recently approved the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), an overhaul of the federal government’s approach to disaster preparation and risk reduction. The new law gives businesses, federal agencies and state governments more flexibility when requesting and using federal grants.

Before now, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had strict regulations about how it distributed funds during a recovery process. Grants were usually used to help replace lost property, but didn’t account for improvements to help prevent future disasters. In fact, one of the biggest reasons that the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) is over budget and in need of reform is that it’s common for a single property to flood frequently and make multiple insurance claims.

The DRRA has new provisions in place to emphasize planning and help streamline how funds are given out:

  • 6 percent of the federal disaster budget will be put into a pre-disaster mitigation account every year. State governments, businesses and communities can apply for grants to fund risk mitigation activities.
  • Rebuilding that uses federal funds will use strengthened building code requirements to protect against future incidents. Improving public utilities will also be a priority in order to ensure access to clean water and electricity.
  • The president will be able to reimburse up to 75 percent of a state or local government’s disaster mitigation efforts to ease the strain on federal agencies.

According to FEMA, every $1 put into planning for disasters can help save $6 during the recovery process. Contact us today at 831-661-5697 for toolkits, articles and other resources your company can use to prepare for various disasters and ensure the continuity of your business.

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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Because identity theft and data breaches are becoming an ever-growing problem, it’s important to not only have a different password for each account, but to make those passwords easy to remember and hard to guess. The following are tips you can use to make your password harder to crack:

  1. Change your passwords every 90 days. This might seem like a hassle at first, but hackers have a better chance at cracking your passwords if they never change. It’s also a good idea to avoid reusing passwords.
  2. Make your passwords at least eight characters long. Generally, the longer a password is, the harder it is to guess.
  3. Don’t use the same password for each account. Hackers target lower security websites and then test cracked passwords on higher security sites. Make sure each account has a different password.
  4. Include uppercase letters and special characters in your password. Special characters include symbols like “#,” “*,” “+” and “>.” These symbols can make your password more complex and harder to guess.
  5. Avoid using the names of spouses, kids or pets in your password. All it takes for a hacker to crack passwords that include these things is a little research on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

How NAFTA’s Replacement Trade Deal Will Impact Businesses

Representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada recently reached an agreement to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new trade deal, referred to as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), includes a number of changes to support North American businesses, increase labor regulations and overhaul intellectual property (IP) protections.

Although the USMCA has many similarities to NAFTA, some important changes will likely affect businesses:

  • North American auto industry—Starting in 2020, vehicles will only avoid tariffs if at least 75 percent of their parts are made in North America (up from the current 62.5 percent requirement). Also, at least 30 percent of the work done during the manufacturing process must be done by employees with hourly wages of $16 or more. Although these changes should help to discourage overseas imports, some believe that they could significantly increase the price of vehicles.
  • Better IP protections—The new deal has stricter regulations to protect trademarks, copyrights and other strategic plans. The USMCA also extends copyright protections to 70 years beyond the life of the author.
  • Disputes and reviews—One of the USMCA’s provisions allows for a special dispute process that’s handled by a panel of representatives instead of one of the three country’s court systems. An automatic review process will take place six years after the three countries ratify the deal, and it will automatically dissolve after 16 years.

NAFTA will remain in effect until all three countries approve the USMCA, which is likely to occur sometime in early 2019.

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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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