June 28, 2019

Admitted vs. Non-Admitted Insurance Carriers


How important is it when choosing an insurance carrier that they be admitted (standard market) vs. non-admitted (excess or surplus lines)? Although it may be important, it may not be as important as choosing an insurance company with financial stability. For example, an admitted company with an A.M. Best rating of C may be more of a risk than a non-admitted carrier with a higher A.M. Best rating. Typically, insurance will not be placed with a non-admitted carrier unless it has been declined by admitted carriers (the agent is required to do their due diligence in seeking a standard market … Continue reading

May 28, 2019

Insurance for Caregivers


Insurance for caregivers is a topic that is often overlooked, or it is often assumed there is coverage on the homeowner’s policy, but usually that is not the case. First, let’s cover who is considered a caregiver. A caregiver could be a nanny that watches your children, someone who looks after an elderly parent in their home most or all of the time, or even a housekeeper. Caregivers can be paid by W2 or 1099, but they do not work for a separate business that has its own insurance. They are considered an employee, which is essentially what excludes them … Continue reading

May 28, 2019

What Can Cyber Liability Do for You?


If you had to guess what the fastest growing line of insurance for business is, what would you guess?  I’d like to contend that it is cyber liability.  In fact, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) cited cyber insurance as the fastest-growing line for 2017.  The reason for this jump in cyber liability popularity is many-fold.  The prevalence of smartphones, and the growing number of computer hackers put us all at risk both personally and through the businesses we interact with and own.  Large and small businesses deal with cyber security breaches on a daily basis.  Names like Target, … 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

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

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