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

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 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

November 30, 2018

Surety Bonds 101


When I tell my friends and family that I work in the commercial side of insurance, and issue many surety bonds, I get a lot of blank stares.  The fact is, if you’re not familiar with construction and the world of bonding, it’s likely you’re not aware that surety bonding even exists!  Below I’ve a compiled a few quick tips and facts to help with familiarity and awareness of surety bonding. In its purest form, a surety bond is a financial guarantee that a contract will be upheld and completed for an owner by the contractor or principal. In construction … Continue reading

September 17, 2018

Insurance Misconceptions Pt. I – The Agent


Working in the insurance industry, I’ve come to find that during discussions with family and friends I’m often having to paint a “prettier” image of the job of an agent and the industry itself. Here, you will find a few of these misconceptions and the reality of insurance as I’ve come to know it first-hand. Working with an agent is more expensive It actually saves time and money when you go to an agent for your insurance needs. Think of it as your one- stop shop. When you go to an agent at VAST, they are able to seek out … Continue reading

August 14, 2018

Fall Hazards


  Occupational hazards are a serious aspect employers must consider.  Many safety applications exist to protect workers from harm, including death.  It may surprise you to learn that for Michigan workers, the most frequent cause of death for 2017 was due to falls.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, reported falls as the most common cause of work-related deaths for 2016 nationwide, which was 38.7% of all deaths reported. This may bring to mind the image of a construction worker or roofer falling from a high structure. In reality, falls from less than 6 feet can also cause … Continue reading

June 29, 2018

5 Insurance Coverages Breweries Should Consider


Craft beverages have become a growing trend, not only here in our town, but across the U.S.  According to the Brewers Association, overall beer sales were down 1% in 2017.  However, craft brewer sales continue to grow at a rate of 5% by volume. Craft production has grown the most in microbreweries. Due to the large growth in craft beverages, many insurance companies have specially designed programs for breweries. Here are five insurance coverages breweries should look for in an insurance policy: Product contamination – provides coverage if beverage product becomes contaminated while on your premises or comes into contact … Continue reading

June 26, 2018

Pre-Employment Screening Program


Motor carrier companies have many tools at their disposal in screening driver applicants. Motor carriers mostly run MVRs (Motor Vehicle Record) checks on potential applicants as part of their hiring process. However, there is another report that motor carriers run on applicants that is not as well-known as the MVRs. It is called the Pre-Employment Screen Program Report, or PSP. The PSP, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is a federally maintained program that allows motor carriers, drivers, and other industry service providers to access commercial drivers’ safety records. You may be thinking wouldn’t a drivers MVR show … Continue reading

March 21, 2018

A Synopsis: Commercial Property Coinsurance


What does the term “coinsurance” mean when referring to commercial property insurance?  This word is often misunderstood and confusing to policyholders.  It is a term that is completely different when it comes to health insurance, and it is important to know the meaning and how it works when you insure your building for your business. Coinsurance is commonly found in commercial property policies, but it is also found in many other insurance policies such as dwelling forms, homeowners, federal flood, directors and officers liability, inland marine, and of course health insurance.  Even the use of the word “coinsurance” can have … Continue reading

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