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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Workers’ Compensation (Insurance) for Water Sport Businesses

With the Olympics in it’s third week and summer in full swing here, it’s a good time to talk about insurance coverage for water sports businesses – specifically works compensation. Owning a water sport business can be fun and a good investment, but you need to hire employees to help the business run smoothly. Be sure you purchase adequate Workers’ Compensation to cover your employees and protect your assets.

Covered Water Sport Businesses

Your water sports business could encompass dozens of activities in, on or near water. Whether you offer one or several sports, you will need Workers’ Compensation for your business. Example of water sports offerings include:

  • Fishing
  • Boating, Sailing, Yachting
  • Kayaking, Tubing, Canoeing
  • White Water Rafting
  • Jet or Water Skiing
  • Parasailing
  • Kneeboarding, Skimboarding
  • Kitesurfing, Kiteboarding
  • Hoverboarding, Flyboarding, Wakeboarding
  • Paddleboarding, Paddle Surfing
  • Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Polo
  • Surfing

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Many states require business owners to purchase Workers’ Compensation for employees, including seasonal and temporary workers. It pays certain expenses employees incur if they are injured or suffer an illness while performing work-related tasks.

Workers’ Compensation benefits can pay for:

  • Medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Death benefits
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Every Workers’ Compensation insurance policy has two parts.

Part One or Coverage A addresses your statutory liability, meaning the coverage your state requires you to carry. It includes no coverage limits and will pay all claims regardless of any benefit changes your state makes.

Part Two addresses employer liability for any employees that are exempt from Worker’s Compensation coverage. These employees could include independent contractors like boat owners or dive instructors who do not purchase their own Worker’s Compensation policy. Part Two can also cover legal expenses from third-party lawsuits.

Why you Need Workers’ Compensation for Your Water Sport Business

Whether your business operates year-round or seasonally, you value your employees and want to protect them from injuries or illnesses. However, accidents happen. You will want to provide financial resources that help your employees navigate their recovery and return to full health and work as quickly as possible.

Adequate Workers’ Compensation protects your business, too. It can protect your assets if you are sued by an employee, and it can pay legal expenses related to any lawsuits. Workers’ Compensation coverage also protects you from fines levied by your state if you don’t purchase adequate coverage.

Contact Your Insurance Agent

For more information on Workers’ Compensation for your specific water sport businesses, contact your insurance agent. He or she will assist you in understanding and complying with your state’s Workers’ Compensation laws. Your agent will also help you purchase the policy that’s right for your business and needs.

With the right Workers’ Compensation policy, you receive peace of mind. It protects your employees and your assets as you help your customers have fun while playing on the water.

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2 months 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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4 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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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

Time to Review Your First Aid Kits, Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers

How many times do you walk by fire extinguishers without checking those tags or past first aid kits without peeking inside to assure the contents are complete?

Most executives do not spot check these life saving tools.  That task is delegated to maintenance.  But these decisions are life and death, not simply profit or loss.  Show your employees you care; that you lead their safety program rather than follow pro forma insurance checklists.

Start your spring cleaning here: walk through your operation and stop occasionally to check if you can easily spot the nearest fire extinguisher.  Read the label.  Is it appropriate for the work area?

Stand at each fire extinguisher station and visualize successful deployment.  Is it easy and natural?  Can you travel unharmed to the nearest fire exit using the fire extinguisher to clear a path?

Observe any long pathways between fire extinguishers and exits.  Would another canister or different fire suppression device or system help?

Take some notes as you walk through the operation.  Review these observations with the person tasked to keep the equipment updated.

Repeat the above exercise with regard to first aid kits.  Are they easy to spot?  Easy to access one-handed?  Do they have instructions for calling emergency help?

These exercises do not require a great deal of time or scheduling.  Simply make a point of checking these items every quarter, something of an internal surprise inspection.

Add ten minutes every three months to your walk-through routine.  It doesn’t need scheduling or ceremony.  Simply observe, become conscious of the emergency response routine.  Are fire exits clogged with storage or debris?  Are aisles kept unobstructed?

Is a specific person charged with de-icing fire escapes?  As you walk through your operations, take notes of these questions.  Think through an emergency evacuation, then review the written plan for your company.  Does it make common sense?  Does it raise questions for your risk manager or safety specialist?

Does your at-hire training include safety orientation and procedures?  How about on-going communications on safety issues?  Both directions?

Corporate officers lead the safety culture.  Make these inspections in view of employees.  They will engage you if they have proper concerns.  They are a great resource.

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8 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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11 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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