May 28, 2019

New Employee


I remember those feelings of my first day at VAST like it was yesterday. I was extremely nervous and excited, because it was such a big change for me. A new job, new industry, and even a new building to navigate. I had never worked in the insurance industry before, but I knew I was up for the challenge. When I walked through the door that morning, I was more than pleasantly surprised. All that worrying was completely unnecessary, because I immediately felt welcomed.  The very first thing I did that Monday morning at 8 am was meet the entire … Continue reading

April 26, 2019

The Calculation of Workers’ Compensation Premium


Every day here in the office my colleagues and I answer plenty of questions our insureds have. One of the areas that we receive a lot of questions on is workers’ compensation. This blog will outline how workers’ compensation premiums are calculated. The primary purpose of workers’ compensation is to pay for medical and loss of wages to employees that have been injured in the course of their employment. The system is a “no fault” system, which helps provide coverage for medical expenses and lost wages to injured employees regardless of negligence. Workers’ compensation varies from state to state, but … Continue reading

April 22, 2019

The Differences Between an HMO and PPO Health Plan


When researching health insurance plans, there are many items to consider. There are two plan design options to choose from, and knowing the difference between them is very important in determining which coverage is best suited for you. One of the plan options, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), commonly requires you to choose one Primary Care Physician (PCP) and all services will go through this physician. If you need to see a specialist or receive a service that is outside the realm of your PCP’s practice, you will need to make an appointment with your PCP first, who will then refer … Continue reading

April 17, 2019

Pollution Insurance: Down and Dirty


What exactly is considered pollution in the eyes of insurance?  Pollution is any material that can irritate or contaminate something or someone and cause damage.  This definition opens the door to an infinite number of claims that could occur.  Contrary to popular opinion, pollution is more than hazardous waste.  In litigation, whether or not something is considered as pollution will be determined by a court of law, and the results can be surprising!  Basically, if a material goes beyond its intended use and contaminates or irritates something or someone, the event could result in a pollution loss.  How then can … Continue reading

April 4, 2019

Staying Connected


Baby Boomers. Gen X. Millennials. Gen Z. They are all names given to the generation that you’re born in, but what does is have to do with the insurance industry? As with all companies, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve or move over. With the ever-changing world of technology revolving around us, “keeping up” is just as important for the world of insurance. One way to do this is by tapping into the traits of your clients, and those characteristics can differ depending on which generational category they fall into. Your Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and … Continue reading

March 28, 2019

The Melt And How to Deal With It


After the winter that Northern Michigan and the Midwest in general has experienced, it may be safe to say that spring is quickly approaching. The sun is getting higher in the sky throughout the day, bringing warmer temperatures and now with Daylight Savings Time our daylight hours are extended. With the incredible snow totals, and extreme cold temperatures we’ve endured this winter, there are some items you may want to take into consideration when preparing your home, office building, or structures in general to be sure they are foundationally sound for what they’re about to go through this melting season. … Continue reading

March 26, 2019

Beating the Winter Blues


Winter Blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, affects many people this time of year and is fairly common, especially in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Our winter weather can last for days-on-end with very limited sunlight and LOTS of snow that can make us feel trapped inside our homes.  That being said, there are numerous things you can do to fight those feelings during the winter months when the days are short and the air outside is frigid.  Here are some ideas: Do something you love! Whether it’s watching a funny movie, throwing a party, jamming out to a favorite song, volunteering by … Continue reading

March 6, 2019

Insuring to Value


If you are a business owner, you know that you are responsible for insuring your business.  What would happen if a fire or other incident occurred and you did not have enough insurance coverage to rebuild?  No one wants to think of worst case scenarios, but if you own a building or property, you will want to insure what you own to value.  Insuring to value refers to the cost to rebuild an identical building from scratch, and that equates to the amount of insurance coverage you would want.  Essentially, it’s the cost to repair or replace what you own. … Continue reading

February 25, 2019

I’ll Be (ice) Dammed!


It is once again that magical time of year where it seems to never quit snowing. As you drive around town, you may also notice large icicles hanging off homes and businesses. While they can certainly be interesting to look at, they could potentially be the start of a more serious winter issue, ice damming.  But what exactly is ice damming? What causes it? How do we get rid of it and keep it away? I’m here to answer all of those questions! Ice damming is when you get a buildup of ice on the edge, or eave, of a … Continue reading

February 25, 2019

The Benefits of Offsite Meetings to Organizations


On January, 21st, 2019 the team here at VAST had our 2019 Annual Meeting at Barrel and Beam brewery in Marquette. It was a full day of reflecting on 2018, as well as planning for a successful 2019. The day was productive and fun, complete with a guest speaker, taco bar, and a late afternoon happy hour for employees to mingle and chat about everything that had been covered throughout the day. As I think about the benefits of this meeting, one thing that comes to mind was the fact that we were out of the office at a neutral … Continue reading

Our foundation may be insurance, but we have evolved, and so have the solutions that we provide.