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10 years ago · by · 0 comments

Contractors pollution liabiltiy insurance and risk management are vital to protect against environmental exposure

Scurich Insurance Services, CA, PollutionPollution and environmental exposure risks on site and during transfer and disposal, such as toxic mold, the disposal of contaminated soil, and broken pipelines releasing toxic materials, are major construction concerns. When such incidents happen, a contractor’s reputation and livelihood can be irreversibly impacted.

Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) is a type of insurance designed to protect contractors against the liability issues and financial losses that result from such environmental incidents. This insurance covers an array of environmental and pollution risks that are common to construction projects and is considered an appropriate coverage whether a firm is a trade contractor, such as those specializing in paving or HVAC; a general contractor; remediation contractor; or a contractor doing specialized work, such as tank installation or drilling. Contractors Pollution Liability insurance is available to cover areas like pollution incidences that result in bodily injury, third-party property damage, or remediation costs. Comprehensive policies can even be customized to provide pollution risk coverage to an entire project, which would include off-site transportation and all contractors involved in the project. Most Contractors Pollution Liability policies are written on a claims-made basis. This basis limits the insurer’s risk for unknown future liabilities since it means the policy only pays claims occurring and being filed during the period covered by the policy.

Clearly, Contractors Pollution Liability insurance can provide invaluable protection against environmental-related financial losses. That said, such a policy doesn’t prevent environmental incidents from occurring in the first place. To help prevent environmental incidences and protect hard-earned reputations, contractors should additionally adopt effective environmental risk management practices.

Creating an environmental risk profile will be one of the most important factors when taking steps toward risk management. This allows the firm to identify possible loss exposures and risk areas by thoroughly reviewing their administrative control documents. While some firms opt to conduct the profile in-house, many prefer the expertise and outsider’s perspective offered by a professional environmental consultant. In any event, documents related to the following areas should be reviewed during the development of an environmental risk profile:

  • Contractors Pollution Liability policies
  • Standard client agreements
  • All mold prevention programs
  • All environmental management programs
  • Subcontractor’s environmental/mold management/prevention systems
  • Language of subcontractor agreements
  • Environmental data searches of job sites
  • Hazard communication programs
  • Quality assurance programs
  • Internal health and safety programs, incident response protocols, and training protocols
  • Trends, history, corrective measures, and employee communications related to environmental losses
  • Environmental assessments for all leased and owned properties

Once the above documentation is assessed, the firm can identify strategies to reduce, if not eliminate, their exposures to environmental risks. Combining risk management with a Contractors Pollution Liability policy can help contractors reduce their risk, but still be covered in case the unexpected happens.

Contact our office for more information.

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10 years ago · by · 0 comments

Watsonville Council OKs Brennan Street homeless shelter

Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Homeless ShelterTeen Challenge plans 94-bed facility for women and children

The City Council approved conversion of the former Baker Brothers furniture store on Brennan Street into a rehabilitation center and 94-bed shelter for women and children.

“I live next door to a Teen Challenge facility, and they’ve been nothing but good neighbors,” said Councilman Daniel Dodge, joining a 6-1 majority in the approval.

The city Planning Commission unanimously approved the Teen Challenge Monterey Bay’s shelter proposal in May. But lawyer Timothy Walsh, whose firm rents a neighboring office, appealed the decision, citing parking concerns.

With a school, strip mall, offices and homes, the neighborhood is a congested area with an existing parking problem that would be made worse by the shelter, Walsh said.

Several neighbors agreed, including a woman who said parking is so tight, people leave their cars in her driveway.

The project, which only identifies 18 parking spaces for its use, doesn’t meet city regulations that mandate at least 36, and possibly as many as 55, he said.

Officials can’t ignore the rules just because the project may offer a beneficial service.

“This is not about challenging Teen Challenge. I’m sure they are a wonderful organization and helping people,” Walsh said. “The Planning Commission simply can’t ignore city regulations dealing with parking.”

But planner Keith Boyle said city regulations do allow parking requirements to be cut in half if the building is used for transitional housing.

Boyle also said the city only has a chance to weigh in because the use departs from commercial zoning. If a more intensive retail business moved into the building, the city would not be able to stop it.

“From our perspective, this is one of the better opportunities not to impact neighbors,” Boyle said.

Mike Borden, Teen Challenge executive director, urged the council to uphold the planning commission’s decision.

He said the nonprofit has operated similar facilities in Watsonville for 27 years without problems, and it is providing vital services to a vulnerable population.

Borden also said the facility would not need much parking in any case. Residents involved in the rehabilitation program are not allowed to have cars, and shelter guests don’t typically have the finances to own vehicles.

“The best way to see if we are going to have a negative impact is to look at our record,” Borden said. “We’re very careful and concerned about our public image, and we are a contributing member to this city and to this county.”

Councilwoman Nancy Bilicich, citing concern over possible litigation, wanted to resolve issues before the project moved forward. She voted no.

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10 years ago · by · 0 comments

The Importance of Crop Insurance

Scurich Insurance Services, CA, DroughtAs with any business, agricultural producers face risks of all kinds. However, the two most important risks facing farmers are yield and price. Fortunately, producers can buy insurance that reduces their exposure to low yields or low prices. Unavoidable risks protected by crop insurance include:

* Heat
* Hail
* Drought
* Frost
* Freeze
* Pests
* Excess Moisture

Since the 1930s, crop insurance has been available to agricultural producers in the United States. However, it was in the 1990s that the United States government promoted crop insurance by offering new products and more insurance premium subsidies.

The Risk Management Agency (RMA), is part of the United States Department of Agriculture is the governing authority for the crop insurance program and is in charge of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC). Private insurance companies contract with RMA to service crop insurance sold through independent insurance agencies. As with other disaster insurance programs, such as the National Flood Insurance Program, the private sector sells crop insurance, as the private sector is more efficient and rapidly adjudicates claims.
Crop insurance is unique in that companies selling Federal Crop insurance have a mandate to sell to any farmer, even those who are at high risk, at the same premium set in advance by the Federal government. Even farmers in high-risk drought areas such as California get policies without special underwriting standards or higher premium rates.

Without crop insurance, agricultural producers would have difficulty in achieving financial stability, a more difficult time in getting and repaying loans. Crop insurance allows agricultural producers to help forward marketing.

Essential facts about United States Crop Insurance

* Farmers share in the cost of the program
* Agricultural producers are personally responsible for managing risk
* Under the program, the producer gets tailored risk management solutions
* Quick indemnity pay outs
* The crop insurance program is dynamic; it can quickly adjust and self-correct
* Payments to producers never exceed actual insured losses
* Insurance is allowable collateral for loans
* Growers have no payment limits that cut protection from losses
* Insured growers have the benefit of private sector efficiency
* The program has the flexibility to meet World Trade Organization support limits

The United States crop insurance program provides so much more than just protection from risk. It plays a vital role in keeping the agriculture industry functioning.

Contact our office to make sure you are completely covered.

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10 years ago · by · 0 comments

Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day 2014

Scurich Insurance Services, CA, Play outsideMonterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day is a totally free event open to the public. Our focus is to get kids interested in the many outdoor activities that are right here in our back yard. With over forty different organizations represented, there is something for everyone!

Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating youth about the countless outdoor activities available in our area. All of us involved with MBYOD have the same goal for the children of today…

Our goal is simple, lets get our youth back outside and active! We believe that we live in a unique and amazing region and because of that it is important to teach our children to cherish it. We are looking to encourage youth to be healthy through outdoor activities  and build a better place for the future.

In hopes of achieving our goal we hold an annual event at the Santa Cruz Fairgrounds where various companies and organizations can showcase their specialties. The event is totally free and we also raffle off dozens of prizes to the youth in attendance to inspire them to participate in the outdoor activity that they find most appealing.

MBYOD 2014 will be held on June 21 from 10am to 4pm, so bring your children to the fairgrounds so they can enjoy the dozens of activities we have to offer!

When:     Saturday June 21, 2014 from 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Where:   Santa Cruz Fairgrounds

Cost:       FREE!

Who:       The entire family!

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10 years ago · by · 0 comments

10 Ways To Avoid Tick Bites This Summer

Scurich Insurance Services, CA, TicksIt’s summertime, which means outdoor play, hiking, gardening — and tick bites. The creepy crawlies tend to latch on during the summer months and these arachnids are ubiquitous throughout the U.S.

But tick bites are more than just an annoying spring and summer nuisance. Each year, about 300,000 people in the U.S. catch Lyme disease, which is caused by bacteria, from a tick bite, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Thousands more develop tick-borne diseases such as the malarialike disease babesiosis, the flulike anaplasmosis and the Heartland virus infection.

But people can take steps to avoid the nasty critters, beyond the old-standby advice to cover up and avoid tall grass, experts say. From wood chips to a quick ride in the dryer, here are 10 ways to avoid tick bites.

1. Repel the bugs

Insecticides can be used to repel ticks, said Thomas Mather, a public health entomologist at the University of Rhode Island, and the director of 

Permethrin, the insecticide found in antimalarial bed nets, kills adult ticks as well as those in their larval stage, called nymphs, which are the likeliest to harbor Lyme disease.

Ideally, people should buy permethrin-treated clothing, socks and shoes, Mather said.

By contrast, evidence suggests that the more common bug spray chemical, N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), isn’t useful against ticks.

“It’s not toxic to the ticks,” Mather told Live Science. “They still can scurry across a DEET-treated surface, and get to places where the DEET is not,” such as a warm human leg, he said.

2. Be vigilant at home

Hiking and camping aren’t the most common ways to catch a tick-borne disease, said Kirby Stafford III, the state entomologist at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the author of the “Tick Management Handbook.”

“We estimate three-fourths of people pick up the ticks in activities in and around the home,” with children’s play and gardening being some of the riskiest activities, Stafford told Live Science.

Parents should also make sure to do tick checks on children when they come in, he said.

3. Stay in the sun

Tick nymphs have leaky cuticles, or outer covers, that rapidly lose moisture. As a result, they can’t survive in environments with lower than 80 percent humidity for more than eight hours, Mather said.

As a result, nymphs congregate in leaf piles in shady, humid environments, so sticking to sunny areas can reduce tick exposure, he said.

4. Change the landscape

Most ticks around homes stay within a few yards of the interface between the yard and a wooded area, Stafford said.

To keep the yard tick-free, use landscaping that deters mice, deer, woodchucks and other rodents that carry ticks, he said. People should also remove tick habitat such as leaf piles, shrubs and groundcover near the house. Play sets should be kept in the sun, away from the shade, he added.

Ticks won’t cross a barrier of wood chips placed around the yard’s perimeter, perhaps because the dry material makes them dry out too much, he said.

Read the entire list here.

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite7,
Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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