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

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

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 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

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

November 13, 2018

Enhancing Our Culture through Conferences


Attending industry conferences can greatly benefit employees in many occupations, especially insurance.  VAST regularly sends team members to multiple different conferences throughout the year.  Doing so gives us educational opportunities, networking possibilities both with others in our industry and with vendors and suppliers, and prospects to grow within our fields of expertise in the insurance industry. VAST regularly encourages and sponsors its team members to take part in many different conferences and learning opportunities.  Some include specific educational opportunities and exams for different insurance agent designations.  Others focus on particular insurance carriers or sectors of the industry.  All conferences provide … Continue reading

August 27, 2018

Work Culture Outside of the Office


If you’d like to increase your creativity and productivity in your job, and be more successful in your career, consider joining your coworkers in an after-hours work event.  Engaging with coworkers outside of regular office hours builds and strengthens positive relationships, enhances communication and trust, and makes the workplace happier. VAST creates plenty of opportunities for employees to engage and have fun after work through our committees that focus on the culture of our workplace.  Our Culture Committee regularly plans after-hour events for employees and spouses to get together.  Recently, we’ve held those events at Vango’s, Iron Bay, and the … 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

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