June 19, 2020

The Lowdown on ERISA Bonds


You may have heard of ERISA bonds before.  You very likely have heard of 401(k) plans.  But did you know the two are connected?  I have found that, even in the insurance business, there is a lot of uncertainty as to what ERISA bonds do, how they work, and why they are required. ERISA is an acronym for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which was enacted into federal law to set minimum standards for retirement and health plans and to provide protection for individuals enrolled in the plans.  ERISA bonds are fidelity bonds that act as employee … Continue reading

March 5, 2020

Inland Marine Insurance – What Does That Cover?


When I first heard the term “Inland Marine Insurance”, I thought it sounded like an oxymoron.  How do you have insurance for marine items that are “inland”?  In fact, inland marine insurance almost fits that line of thought.  It is insurance for a wide assortment of specialized property made for land, not for oceans or water-travel. Inland marine insurance is a type of business property insurance that can include coverage for scheduled items on a policy, and it can also include a general limit for many items that fall under the same category.  This is often included on policies for … Continue reading

February 24, 2020

Green Team Spotlight


In 2019, I was fortunate to be part of a group of VAST employees who developed a plan to implement recycling in the office.  We had a desire not only to recycle, but also to reduce the carbon footprint of VAST and help the environment though waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation, and sustainability efforts.  Through the determination of a handful of dedicated individuals in the office, the Green Team was born. Throughout the year, the Green Team assessed the current state of VAST’s recycling efforts through Waste Audits and offered the employees of VAST opportunities to recycle rigids, fibers, batteries, … Continue reading

January 17, 2020

The Importance of Longshoreman Coverage


If you own a business and work near navigable waters, it is very likely that you need Longshoreman coverage.  This coverage is for your worker’s compensation policy to protect your employees who work on or near navigable waters of the United States, including employees working in any capacity near the water.  Working near the water can include anything from loading and unloading a vessel, doing work on a vessel, repair work, construction, and much more. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is similar to the Jones Act, but it was created for a different category of workers.  It … Continue reading

December 11, 2019

Business Auto – Drive Other Car Coverage


In today’s insurance world for Michigan, auto insurance is a big question mark looming in the distance.  Lawmakers and insurance carriers are currently deciding how everything will fit in place with the new auto insurance laws coming into effect July 2020.  The changes will influence both personal and commercial auto insurance, and no one has concrete answers on all of the details quite yet. If you own a business that possesses autos, most likely you have a business auto insurance policy.  No matter how many vehicles are on the business auto policy, if you or other employees use them for … Continue reading

November 15, 2019

The Value of Umbrella Policies


If you own a business, you probably have insurance policies for general liability, property, auto liability, and possibly workers’ compensation if you have employees.  However, there is one standard liability policy that is sometimes overlooked – umbrella liability.  No, it’s not insurance for those things you hold over your head when it rains, but much like those types of umbrellas, umbrella liability policies provide extra coverage. Commercial umbrella liability policies offer an extra layer of protection for businesses with claims against bodily injury, property damage, and other liability claims.  The policies are designed to extend coverage when your business’ general … Continue reading

October 7, 2019

Protecting Your Business from Errors and Omissions


Does your business work directly with clients in a professional manner or give advice as a service?  If so, your business would likely benefit from the protection of an errors and omissions liability policy.  Business professionals such as contractors, real estate agents, lawyers, marketing professionals, architects, engineers, doctors, bankers, insurance agents, event planners, and technology companies are prime candidates to carry this policy. Errors and omissions, or E&O, liability policies are a type of professional liability insurance that covers claims arising from mistakes, oversights, and negligence.  They provide coverage for misrepresentation of facts, documentation errors, and perceived poor or inaccurate … Continue reading

September 10, 2019

Employment Practices Liability Insurance Basics


Employment Practices Liability Insurance, often called EPLI, is a coverage that has become more popular in recent years.  Part of the reason for the increase in popularity is due to the growing amount of lawsuits in our country for matters including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, emotional distress, and more.  Those issues and cases have grown large in the public eye, with employers often assumed as the guilty party. One way to protect your business from a claim like this is to have an EPLI policy in place.  EPLI policies provide financial protection to … Continue reading

August 28, 2019

The Ins and Outs of Directors & Officers Liability


Mismanagement. Bankruptcy. Financial mishandling. Employment discrimination. If you are in the position to make decisions in your business, you could be held personally liable for the consequences of those decisions, no matter how good your intentions were at the outset.  Any party who holds an interest in the company and believes they were hurt based on your decision can expose the possibility of legal action.  This kind of situation can become very costly very quickly.  Events such as change of control in a company, dishonesty of a director or officer, dramatic change in share value, boardroom disputes, and poor trading … Continue reading

August 13, 2019

Preparing Your Business for Extreme Weather


Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, wildfires, flooding, wind storms, and overall severe weather has affected millions of people and all kinds of businesses throughout the U.S. economically and logistically in the past decade. According to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, 2017 was the costliest year on record for weather-related disasters, which included 16 different billion-dollar disaster events that resulted in over $300 billion in losses. So far for 2019, as of April 9, we’ve already experienced 2 events exceeding $1 billion in costs in the U.S. Extreme weather events are unfortunately becoming the norm, and it is important to know what … Continue reading

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