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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Insurance Terms – What Is An Act Of God?

In legal terms, an act of God isn’t, in fact, a religious experience. Well, that’s not to say that an act of God couldn’t be a religious experience, it’s just that that’s not inherent in the legal definition of the term. An act of God essentially comes down to the unforeseen and the unpreventable. You can reduce the likelihood of accidents on the job site by making sure that you don’t allow any drinking, fighting or general carelessness on site, you can reduce the likelihood of accidents on the road through proper auto maintenance, but you can’t prevent a flood or an earthquake no matter how many safety courses you attend.

Acts of God will exempt a party from strict liability and from negligence in common law. Many building contracts have a provision allowing for acts of God to excuse unexpected delays in a project’s completion. However, damages and delays owing to a natural disaster may be disputed as acts of God in some circumstance.

The key word is “unforeseeable.” If someone falls off of a scaffolding and spends the next four weeks in a cast because of an earthquake, then that will usually be chalked up to an act of God. If they saw a storm coming in, decided to keep working, and then got struck by lightning, then the “act of God” claim may be contested.

“Act of God” is sort of a liability free-pass card, exempting you from responsibility for things that you couldn’t possibly have predicted. There are a few steps that you can take to ensure that there is no gray area, no room for doubt when you need to lean on this legal term:

  1. Keep tabs on the weather. Don’t assume, for instance, that a storm “isn’t going to be as bad as they say.” It might not be so bad, but do you want to bet your career on it?
  2. Keep all of your safety equipment in tip top shape. You don’t want to give people any wiggle room to say that that safety harness would have snapped eventually with or without the earthquake.
  3. This goes for your vehicles, as well. It’s hard to claim a small flood as an “act of God” when your truck was the only one slipping and sliding across the road.

An act of God can be a godsend when it comes to liability, but things have to line up correctly.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Cybersecurity Preparedness and Protection

You and your company can make several preparations regularly to help prevent a cyber attack.

Host an Educational Event

Begin planning an open house, expo, lecture, or other educational event that focuses on cybersecurity. Depending on your company, you may decide to focus your educational efforts on information that will benefit senior citizens, college students or families. For example, your IT specialist could present advice that helps consumers avoid cybercrime, or you could show customers how to implement security protocols on their electronic devices. Get creative as you prepare to raise cybersecurity awareness during an educational event.

Train Employees

Cybersecurity training should occur year-round, but your employees may be especially receptive to security tips during a month that’s focused on raising awareness. Take advantage of this annual opportunity to discuss topics like choosing secure passwords, securing electronic devices used for work and managing email safety. Or choose a different topic based on your unique needs.

Focus on Different Weekly Topics

Some topic ideas include:

  • Online safety at home.
  • Training for a cybersecurity career.
  • Ensuring online safety at work.
  • Safeguarding critical infrastructure throughout the nation.

Your company can prepare to discuss these weekly topics during your events, through customer newsletters and on social media.

Utilize Your Social Media Influence

If your company has a large social media following, you have a powerful platform to raise awareness for cybersecurity. You can write blog posts that outline the importance of cybersecurity, share information about how to join the cybersecurity workforce or detail the ways your business protects data. Also, prepare infographs and other visual aids that discuss online safety tips.

Partner with Other Companies

Your company can partner with other businesses as you increase cybersecurity awareness. Share the latest cybersecurity information, create resources that educate the public about cybersecurity or host an online safety seminar together.

Check your Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage

Cybersecurity insurance protects your business in many circumstances. Review your needs with your Scurich insurance agent as you ensure you have the correct amount of cybersecurity insurance for your company.

Consider taking these steps now. They give you the tools you need to raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees, customers and community.

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4 months ago · by · 0 comments

Why Do Businesses Need Insurance?

Most business owners would agree that it’s important to maintain insurance to protect business assets. But, many business owners do not know that they will not be able to contract with other companies (landlord’s, vendors, large customers, etc.)  without certain insurance coverage.

When they think about insurance, business owners generally consider protection against hazards such as fire, flood or theft at their company sites. This is obviously an important protection to have. However, there are other types of hazards that may not be quite as high on the list, but protection could be every bit as important to offset significant financial losses. Here are five examples that underscore the need for comprehensive business insurance protection:

Company vehicle contents

If you operate a business with employees on the road making service calls to customers, chances are there is valuable equipment contained in the company vehicles. But a typical auto insurance policy would probably not cover the contents of a company vehicle if that valuable equipment is lost or stolen.

Tenant property improvement insurance

Do you rent space to conduct your business? Have you built out the interior of your space or made improvements to accommodate your business needs? If so, you probably made a considerable investment in the improvements. But many property insurance policies don’t include the value of the improvements made by a tenant to the existing structure. If you’ve invested in improvements, it’s worth taking a look at securing coverage to protect it.

Home-based business equipment

More and more people are working at home at least part of the time, even if they maintain an office or site elsewhere. Most don’t have insurance on the business equipment they keep at home; many assume their homeowner’s insurance would cover it. However, homeowner’s insurance generally does not cover business equipment. If you have expensive business equipment at home, you may want to consider purchasing additional protection.

Business interruption insurance

Remember the series of hurricanes that hit Florida? The wild fires that damaged cities and towns in California? The flooding that disrupted life in the Midwest? In addition to the effect that disasters have on individuals, they can bring businesses to a standstill for weeks or even months. Business interruption insurance can provide a way to get back on your feet.

Key person insurance

In many companies, the knowledge and skills of a single person or a top few are absolutely essential to the enterprise’s success. Key person insurance can help a company recover if an essential employee dies or becomes disabled for a lengthy time. The coverage can provide needed funds that allow the company to continue operating during a search for a successor or until the key employee returns.

As you can see, there are many hazards businesses face that aren’t covered under a typical insurance policy. However, you can get extra protection with the types of coverage outlined here. Since you invest so much time, money and effort into your business, it pays to make sure you have the protection you need. Call us for a consultation today!

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6 months ago · by · 0 comments

Working remotely can be a drag with slow internet.

You pay premium prices for great Internet, now that you work remotely (from home). You need high speed Internet, so getting it back up to speed when it starts to slow down is a top priority. Here’s a quick troubleshooting guide to help you determine whether you can apply a quick fix, or if you might need to make a phone call:

Boosting Your Wifi Signal

The issue might not be your Internet connection, but your Wifi signal. It doesn’t matter how fast your web connection is when you’re too far away from your Wifi router or it’s putting out a weak signal. Plug directly into your Internet with a wired connection. If it runs fine, you may simply need to buy a more powerful router, switch to wired connections, or rearrange your office space so that your router can reach everyone who needs it. Also, consider a ‘mesh’ wireless system.

Someone’s Doing Some Heavy Downloading

Let others know that business-class internet doesn’t mean “Go ahead and do all your bit torrenting at the office from now on.” Downloading twenty eight movies at once while uploading fifteen others is going to slow you down.

Do a Security Check

Your network may be infected with a worm. More so than most viruses and malware, worms can really drag your connection down to a crawl. A network scan will be able to help you root out the intruder if this is the case.

See if Someone is Stealing Your Wifi

You can check your router device list to see if someone is connecting without permission. If so, you can change the password, and/or switch your security settings to WPA2-AES.

Call Your Provider

Call your provider and ask there are any issues in your area. It may simply be a temporary issue that they are already hard at work rectifying. And if that doesn’t work…

Start Shopping Around for a New Provider

Your provider might just not be up to the task of providing you with top-notch business grade Internet. If there are competing ISP’s in your area, don’t hesitate to get some quotes and compare download speeds. Brand loyalty is all well and good, but you don’t owe it to an ISP that isn’t providing.

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7 months ago · by · 0 comments

Even If It’s Not Raining You Need an Umbrella

You own your home, have your own business, and drive a new car. Though you are not rich, you are comfortable. It will be a shame to lose it all if someone sustains injuries by your car or at your home or place of business.

You have insurance you say; you have standard auto liability insurance. The limits are $100,000 for a single person and a total of $300,000 for multiple people. Suppose you are responsible for any accident involving a shuttle taking ten people to the airport. Three hundred thousand dollars allows on average $10,000 per person. That is hardly enough to cover the emergency room fees let alone any surgery, rehabilitation, lost wages and other medical expenses. If there is a fatality, you may consider bankruptcy.

Your business has a small storefront on a busy street. A middle-aged executive comes into your place of business following a rainstorm. Your floor is wet and slippery, and the executive slips and falls. He strikes his head, loses consciousness, and goes into a coma. Your general business liability insurance has the same limit as your auto insurance – $100,000. It may cover part of the hospital bill, but the official says he is permanently disabled and sues you for future wages for $1 million. Since your business is a sole proprietorship, bankruptcy beckons.

Your son invites a friend over for a swim in your pool. He dives into the shallow end strikes his head and suffers traumatic brain injury. Sadly, the damage is permanent — with standard liability limits of $100,000 — well, you know, bankruptcy stares you in the face.

The inexpensive, elegant solution to the problem is umbrella insurance. When a claim exceeds your standard liability insurance limits, your umbrella insurance policy takes over and pays up to your umbrella liability limits. Most people who buy umbrella insurance extend their liability limits to $5 million.

Though you hope never to use it, for a few hundred dollars per year, you can protect your assets, and avoid financial disaster. Umbrella insurance pays when you are responsible for an injury that exceeds your standard liability limits.

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10 months ago · by · 0 comments

October Is Fire Prevention Month

With over 3 million acres burned this year, California is reeling under the impact. This is around 10 times more acres than the state usually experiences.

While firefighters fight on, and our state’s resources are strapped – much of our wilderness and trails remain closed. As regular citizens we may feel helpless but we need to continue to do our part to prevent fires when we can.

October is National Fire Safety Month. Now is as good a time as any to evaluate your home and workplace so you can keep your loved ones and employees safe. Consider taking these steps that help you prevent fires this month and year-round.

Fuel Remediation

Make sure trees and surrounding areas follow the local guidelines. Clear out flammable brush and take down flammable trees. Thin the trees (using recommended proximity guidelines) .

Organize your Space

Poor housekeeping can mean an increase in clutter and fire fuel. Plus, messy hallways and blocked exits, sprinklers or firefighting equipment can hinder escape and rescue efforts. Walk through every part of your building and perform a thorough cleanup.

Maintain Equipment

Machinery, electronics and other equipment can overheat and cause a fire. Maintain all your equipment to prevent this hazard.

Prevent Electrical Hazards

Faulty wiring and other electrical hazards can spark a fire. Perform regular inspections of the entire electrical system and make any repairs immediately.

Store Chemicals Wisely

Flammable chemicals pose a safety risk. Read the Material Safety Data Sheets and labels on each container, then store and use the chemicals properly.

Allow Control Panel Access

You can turn off the electric and reduce this potential fire hazard at the control panel. Ensure the control panel is easily accessible and that key personnel know where it’s located and how to turn off the electric during an emergency.

Stock Fire Extinguishers

Based on your building’s size and occupancy, you must stock a certain number of fire extinguishers. Follow this requirement and inspect the fire extinguishers at least once a year to ensure they remain in proper working order. Also, train every staff member to use the fire extinguishers confidently.

Install Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers

Smoke detectors provide a warning, and a sprinkler system can save your building, equipment and inventory if a fire does start. Install both of these safety features, and inspect them regularly.

Designate Specific Smoking Areas

Require smoking employees and visitors to smoke only in certain areas that are far from chemicals, papers and other flammable materials. Provide ashtray receptacles and stock working fire extinguishers near the designated smoking areas, too.

Clearly Mark Exits

Post emergency exit diagrams where employees can see them. Also, mark every exit with a neon sign, and place reflective tape on the floor and doors.

Perform Regular Fire Drills

Fire drills prepare your employees for a successful evacuation. Conduct these drills regularly.

Update Contact Information

All of your employees should know who to contact during an emergency. The contact list will include the phone numbers for emergency personnel and key employees.

This October, you can celebrate National Fire Prevention Month. Take these 11 steps as you prepare your commercial property to remain safe.

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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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