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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

What You Need To Know About The 2018 Construction Risk Conference

The International Risk Management Institute’s Construction Risk Conference (CRC), held from November 4-7, 2018, in Houston, Texas, is designed for construction professionals like you. If you decide to invest in your business and attend this conference, here’s what you need to know.

What is the CRC?

Held annually, the CRC brings together a variety of experts who share up-to-date information about construction industry risks, insurance trends, and strategies and tactics you can take to avoid risks. This year’s sessions include:

  • Kathy Antonello, Chief Actuary at the National Council on Compensation Insurance, will discuss “Workers Compensation Trends and Challenges in Construction.” You’ll learn about trends, challenges and ways to manage your Workers’ Compensation program.
  • The View from My Seat offers tools you can use to manage new technologies, labor shortages, law and regulation changes, and other evolving construction risks.
  • Jim “The Rookie” Morris shares his inspirational and motivational story.
  • Breakout Sessions and Snap Talks dive into topics like contracts, design liability, construction delays, and your supply chain.

Who Attends CRC?

The CRC is designed for a variety of people who work in the construction industry. It’s important for: 

  • General contractors.
  • Subcontractors.
  • Project owners and managers.
  • Developers.
  • Construction lawyers.
  • Insurance agents, brokers, underwriters, and adjusters.
  • Consultants and service providers.

Why should you Attend CRC?

Consider attending the CRC to gain five benefits.

  • Gain knowledge about emerging risks, trends and solutions. As you understand new threats in your industry and to your business, you’ll also learn how to manage these challenges in ways that protect your company.
  • Position yourself as an expert. Attending a conference will enhance your knowledge and understanding. Use the information you gain to improve your business offerings and reputation as an expert.
  • Expand your network. Meet and collaborate with other construction professionals as you strengthen valuable relationships and share advice and support.
  • Identify your insurance needs. After learning more about your risks, you can identify and purchase the right insurance coverage for your business.
  • Rejuvenate your mind and body. While you’ll listen to experts and network with peers, you also have time to rest and relax, which allows you to return to work mentally and physically refreshed.

How do you Register?

Registration is open until November 7. However, you can take advantage of the Standard rate and save $400 when you register before October 12. Save even more with the discounted rate that’s available to project owners and contractors. Also, remember the IRMI Conference Guarantee. You can request a registration fee refund if you don’t get your money’s worth from the CRC.

Invest in yourself and your construction business when you attend the 2018 IRMI Construction Risk Conference. It’s good for business.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Safety Measures That Prevent Employee Theft

Employee theft, fraud and embezzlement can cause serious financial and reputation damage to your company. Implement several safety measures as you prevent employee theft and protect your business.

Review Your Hiring Practices

Start with honest employees, and you could reduce your theft risk. Consider implementing the following pre-employment checks for all employees, particularly those who work with finances, confidential data or inventory.

  • Criminal history of theft, fraud or violence.
  • Civil history of fraud, collections or restraining orders.
  • Driver’s license report of serious or numerous violations.
  • Education verification of degrees and certifications from accredited institutions.
  • Employment verification of positions, length, performance, reasons for leaving, and eligibility for rehire.

Utilize Internal Controls

Prepare for the possibility of theft with policies and procedures that limit this risk. 

  • Separate duties – Place different employees in charge of transaction processing and recording.
  • Control access – Only authorized employees should have access to accounting systems and physical and financial information and assets.
  • Authorize control policies – Develop a secure process for initiating, authorizing, recording, and reviewing financial transactions and inventory.
  • Update security – Install security cameras, engrave “do not duplicate” on keys to sensitive information, and change locks and security codes when cleared employees leave.  

Perform Impartial Audits

In addition to regular audits, hire impartial parties to conduct random audits. Examine financial, inventory and other records as you encourage employees to resist temptation.  

Create a Positive Work Environment

When your work environment supports collaboration, fairness, and recognition and implements clear policies, organizational structure, and communication, your employees will probably remain honest. They will feel goodwill toward the company and may be less likely to commit theft and jeopardize the supportive, friendly and healthy environment. 

Educate Your Employees

Partner with your employees to avoid and prevent theft. They should know your company’s internal controls, conduct and ethics policy, and discipline process. Ask new employees to review these documents and sign a form indicating they’ve done so, and review the policies at least annually.

Use an Anonymous Reporting System

Equip employees, clients and vendors with the power to report suspicions or proof of theft, fraud or embezzlement. An anonymous reporting system protects your staff while giving you valuable information that protects your company.

Investigate all Theft Reports

Demonstrate that you take theft seriously when you investigate every theft report you receive. The investigation should be thorough, prompt and transparent.

Purchase Adequate Insurance

Commercial crime insurance protects your business as it covers financial losses and liability. Your insurance agent can help you purchase the right insurance coverage and adequate policy limits.

Protect your company from employee theft when you implement several security measures. They can reduce your theft, fraud and embezzlement risk.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Caused 1 Death, 17 Illnesses

On Thursday, Aug. 29, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that salmonella-tainted chicken caused at least 17 illnesses and one death.

Investigation Details

Reported illnesses ranged from Sept. 25, 2017, to June 4, 2018, but the agencies didn’t begin their investigation until June. The investigation was launched after the New York State Department of Health said several of those who have become ill reported eating kosher chicken. When they were asked what specific kosher chicken brand they ate, they reported it was Empire Kosher brand.

At this time, the CDC isn’t advising against eating Empire Kosher brand chicken. There also haven’t been any recalls issued. Instead, they issued a public health alert on Aug. 24 out of an “abundance of caution.”

What You Can Do

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes intestinal illness. If you experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention for possible salmonella infection:

  • Diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps
  • Symptoms beginning 12 to 72 hours after suspected ingestion
  • Symptoms lasting four to seven days

The CDC recommends doing the following to reduce your risk of contracting salmonella:

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry or meat.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of foods. Keep uncooked meats separate from produce, cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, counters, knives and other utensils thoroughly after handling uncooked foods.
  • Always wash hands before handling food and between handling different food items.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Low-wage Labor Workplace Violations

An extensive survey of more than 4,000 low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) reached these conclusions:

  • More than one in four workers surveyed (26%) were paid less than minimum wage.
  • Among these workers, 16% were underpaid by more than one dollar per hour.
  • More than three in four (76%) workers who worked overtime were not paid for their time. The average worker had put in 11 hours that were either underpaid or not paid at all.
  • Women and foreign-born workers were victimized more than anyone else.
  • The average wage theft was 15% of earnings.

Additional violation categories included:

  • Off-the-clock
  • Meal breaks
  • Pay stubs
  • Illegal deductions
  • Tips
  • Illegal employer retaliation
  • Workers Compensation violations

It is hard to balance this economic suffering with the fact some executives are making tens of millions of dollars during a failing economy. You don’t have to be of any political persuasion to realize that something’s out of whack. Not only do these employers deprive good people of a fair day’s pay, they’re also at war with companies who strive to grow their business the right way; perhaps even going above the call and actually empowering their workers rather than oppressing them. If we can fight overseas to assure basic human rights, we should be able to do the same here.

For more information on the survey, click here.

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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

Permit-required Confined Spaces and Emergency Responders

OSHA recently developed a standard for confined spaces in the construction industry (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA). These spaces can present conditions that are immediately dangerous to your workers’ lives or health if not properly identified, evaluated, tested and controlled. As a result, preparing to respond to an accident in a confined space is just as important as training workers to enter them.

One provision of the standard requires employers to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services in permit-required confined spaces. Any employer who relies on local emergency services for assistance is required to meet the applicable requirements of the OSHA standard.

However, not all rescue services or emergency responders are trained or equipped to conduct rescues in confined spaces. When you identify an off-site rescue service, it is critical that the rescuers can protect your employees. The emergency services should be familiar with the exact site location, the types of permit-required confined spaces and the necessary rescue equipment.

Employer Considerations

Pre-planning for a rescue will ensure that the emergency service is capable, available and prepared to save your workers.

Before the start of any rescue operation, you must evaluate prospective emergency responders, and select one that has the following traits:

  • Adequate equipment for rescues, such as the following:
    • Atmospheric monitors
    • Fall protection
    • Extraction equipment
    • Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for the particular permit-required confined space
  • The ability to respond and conduct a rescue in a timely manner based on the site conditions, and the capability to conduct a rescue if faced with potential hazards specific to the space. These hazards may include the following:
    • Atmospheric hazards
    • Electrocution
    • Flooding or engulfment
    • Poor lighting
    • Falls
    • Chemical hazards
  • The ability to notify you in the event that the rescue team becomes unavailable.

To ensure the safety of your workers, you must take a proactive role in securing the services of emergency responders. This includes finding the most efficient way of contacting emergency responders, conducting a tour of the project site with them and communicating any changes made to the site before a rescue becomes necessary.

Communicating With Emergency Responders

Talking with emergency responders about the hazards they might encounter during a rescue will assist in preparing for the situation. The following are some questions responders should be able to answer when you request their services:

  • Are you able to respond and conduct a rescue in a timely manner based on the site conditions?
  • Do you have the appropriate equipment for response and rescue?
  • Are you prepared for the hazards identified at the project site?
  • Are you aware of the exact location of the work site? This includes information on access routes, gates, site plans and GPS coordinates.
  • Can you visit the site and hold a practice rescue?
  • What is the best way to contact you? How would I communicate any changes to site conditions throughout the project?
  • Could other emergencies or group training preclude you from responding, and how will that be communicated?

Additional Resources

Complying with OSHA’s new standard will protect your workers and save you from costly penalties. Contact us today at 831-661-5697; we can provide you with our comprehensive resource, “Permit-required Confined Spaces in Construction Program and Training Materials.”

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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

Are Your Employees Appropriately Reporting Workplace Injuries?

According to a report by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor, a staggering 69 percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses may not be represented in the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, which many trust as a gauge of the safety of American workplaces. On a corporate level, not reporting or underreporting workplace injuries can have serious ramifications for the organization and the employer, which can include fines, exorbitant and unnecessary, health costs and more.

Research has found that the employer’s behavior, policies and attitude are key determinants in a worker’s decision to report an injury. Not only is it essential that employees are educated on the importance of reporting injuries, it is also important to examine your company policies so you are not inadvertently discouraging reporting. The consequences of underreporting can be severe.

Consequences of Underreporting

The unfortunate trend of injury underreporting can have serious ramifications at both the industry and company level. Widespread underreporting can be quite damaging to workers’ compensation rates on a large scale. Employers may not realize it, but such an underreporting problem may lead to more audits by insurance companies of their clients and higher rates for everyone. Many employers erroneously believe that reporting injuries leads to audits and higher rates.

At the company level, underreporting injuries can be quite costly for the employer. If it is an OSHA-reportable incident, the employer may face significant fines if it is not properly recorded or reported.

In addition, often when an injury isn’t reported or properly cared for immediately, it worsens and leads to higher health care costs and more lost time. Even if it is never reported as a workplace injury, the employer still loses out on health care costs and productivity. If it is eventually reported, it becomes much more difficult to prove that it was workplace-related. Additionally, a study reported by the Hartford Financial Services Group found that injuries reported four or five weeks after the incident are 45 percent more expensive than injuries reported within the first week due to increased health costs and possible legal fees, or even a lawsuit, associated with late reporting.

One of the best ways to control workers’ compensation costs is through early reporting and intervention. Not only will it save money in health bills and legal fees, but it will also help to constantly improve your safety program. When there is an injury, consider it an opportunity to examine current safety procedures and decide if there is a suitable change that could be made to prevent similar injuries in the future. Thus, prompt reporting can be a productive element to your safety program in your quest to always strive for the safest work environment. Rather than accepting a vicious circle where injuries are not reported and thus nothing is done to fix the problem, leading to more injuries, take advantage of injury reporting as a proactive solution to safety.

Reasons for Underreporting

There are several reasons why employees may not report injuries immediately or at all.

Incentive programs: Many employers have reward or incentive programs to promote their safety initiatives, such as rewards for going a certain number of days without an injury. This can create a negative attitude toward reporting an injury, since doing so could cost that employee, a co-worker or a superior a reward or bonus.

Having incentive programs are a good idea, but a more effective strategy is to reward positive, safe behaviors. This can include reporting a safety hazard, attending a safety meeting or training class or equipment maintenance. Rather than rewarding for days without an injury, reward behaviors that strive to avoid injury, or even reward employees for prompt reporting when an injury occurs.

Fear of negative ramifications: Some employees fear that reporting an injury will create an image of them as weak to their co-workers and managers. He or she also may fear that such an image will be a detriment to his or her career.

Dispel this fear by assuring all employees that reporting an injury will have no negative impact on their job, and ensure follow through on all levels of the company. Work to promote a safety culture where prompt injury reporting is encouraged and praised. Injury reporting should never be frowned upon, even subtly or behind closed doors. If employees find out you are angry about a reported injury, he or she is less likely to report an injury in the future.

Some companies have a policy mandating drug testing after any incident whether or not there is evidence of drug use. This deters some employees from reporting injuries as well. Consider making the drug testing conditional depending on the circumstances of the injury and whether there is evidence that drug use was a factor.

For more information about injury reporting or your company’s workers’ compensation and safety programs, please contact Scurich Insurance at 831-661-5697 today.

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Company information

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

Contact details

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Info@ScurichInsurance.com

(831) 661-5697

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