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

July 20, 2018

Dogs in the Workplace


It has recently become popular among businesses to encourage, or at least allow, employees to bring their pet dogs to work.  This is often viewed as a perk to potential employees, and is known to boost morale, increase productivity, motivation, and reduce stress.  What can be more fun or enjoyable than a workplace that allows you to bring your best furry friend to the office?  In fact, American Pet Products Manufacturers Association conducted a survey that found nearly a quarter of employees believe that pets should be allowed in the workplace. However, a few questions come to mind.  How can … Continue reading

July 11, 2018

Local Healthy Foraging


The team at VAST focuses on 9 Core Values in everything we do. Essentially, it’s who we are.  One of VAST’s 9 Core Values is Healthy.  The VAST team focuses on being healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  Part of a healthy lifestyle is diet. Foraging for berries is not only easy to do in the Marquette area, but it can also be a fun adventure, save you money on groceries, and it is a healthy addition to your diet!  The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has many opportunities to forage healthy food.  Many Yoopers enjoy taking part in foraging favorite … Continue reading

June 19, 2018

Insurance Terms to Know


Insurance can be a scary world to someone who’s not familiar with it, and especially scary to someone who’s not familiar with the different language that goes along with insurance!  I’ve compiled a short guide of some commonly used insurance terms to help you navigate the world of insurance. Binder – a temporary proof of insurance that is effective for 30 days from the effective date. An official insurance policy will follow in its place. EPLI – Employment Practices Liability Insurance, covers an employer who has a claim made by an employee alleging discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and other employment-related … Continue reading

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