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Welcome to Merriam Insurance

The Merriam Insurance Agency is an award-winning full-service insurance agency providing commercial, personal, and health insurance, as well as employee benefits. By working with clients nationally, we see the national trends and help you prepare for potential threats. Through our systematic approach to evaluating your risk management and insurance, we ensure that we cover all the bases and properly underwrite your risk. We show you the “must-haves” and present any options that make sense to consider. Additionally, our network of providers is so extensive that we can get risk personnel on the ground quickly . . . all to make sure that you are back up and running in the event of a loss. Contact us today for a free, no obligation quote.

Recent Articles

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    New York State Paid Family Leave

    As of January 1, 2018, New York State’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) began to provide paid time off so an employee can: bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child; care for a family member with a serious health condition; or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty. The immediate benefits notwithstanding, PFL allows you to continue your health insurance while on leave and guarantees that you return to the same or a comparable job after your leave ends. Who is Eligible? If you work a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week, you are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. If you work a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week, you are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive. You are also eligible regardless of your citizenship and/or immigration status. What is the Benefit? For 2018, PFL will pay 50% of your average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of the New York State average weekly wage, for a maximum of 8 weeks. However, the benefit is set to increase each year for the following three years, through 2021, and will be capped at 67% of your average weekly wage for a maximum of 12 weeks. Payroll Deduction The 2018 payroll contribution is 0.126% of your weekly wage, capped at 0.126% of the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). The SAWW for 2018 is $1,305.92. For 2018, this is […]

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    Tips for Safe Outdoor Adventures

    When winter turns to spring, and spring turns to summer, it’s time to hang up the skis and dust off the hiking boots. This summer millions of Americans will head outside to camp, kayak, hike, and bike. To ensure that you maximize your valuable leisure time, here are 5 tips to recreate safely for the whole season. Plan Ahead and Prepare. Knowing where you’re going to hike, paddle, or bike is just the beginning. There are many other factors to consider. How are the bugs during the day you’ll be outside? Are there any trails that are closed? What animals might you encounter, and what precautions can you take to safely enjoy their presence? These, and other questions, can usually be answered by the local land management agency (The National Park Service, local rangers, etc.) or by a reputable outfitter. Buy or Rent the Proper Equipment. Every outdoor activity requires proper gear. Basics such as a map, water bottle, and appropriate clothing are essential. Other activity-specific gear (such as a headlamp for longer day hikes) is often required as well. Visit your local outdoor supply store to get advice about what to purchase, or contact a reputable outfitter near your trip location to rent the necessary items. Check the Weather. This may seem simple, but weather patterns often change quickly. Knowing what to expect will help ensure you and your family remain dry, warm, and comfortable. Be sure to check more than just the percentage chance of rain the day […]

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    Long-Term Care Insurance

    A close relative of mine has always been a saver. He would squirrel away money and only bought used cars rather than new. When it came to wanting something that was new, even if it was on sale, he would instead choose to purchase used if in fact he couldn’t build it himself in his basement workshop! I have always appreciated his sense of economy and frugality. But he is now of the age where he has had to sell his house and move into an independent living arrangement. The cost is high due to there being staff on duty should he or his wife need help. After living in that arrangement for a couple years, his wife began to show signs of serious memory loss, aka dementia and Alzheimer’s. After several months of worsening behavior, it became evident that she needed to move to the memory care unit. Suddenly my relative’s rent went from $3,000 per month for both of them to an additional $5,500 per month just for his wife! Then, within a couple more months her Alzheimer’s caused her to forget how to walk and the facility staff informed my relative that it was time to move her to the full-blown nursing center. This raised her rent to $12,500 per month, in addition to the $3,000 that my relative continues to pay for himself. A total monthly cost of $15,500 is causing him to blow through a lifetime of work savings at an alarmingly fast pace. If […]

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    Service Line Coverage: What You Need to Know

    It is common for homeowners to forget that the water that flows through our homes and the wastewater that flows out spends time traveling through the area between the front of the house and the street. If those subterranean pipe systems happen to fail, the homeowner, not the utility, is financially responsible for the necessary repairs. However, unlike with leaks inside your home, your standard Homeowner’s Insurance policy does not cover the oftentimes expensive repairs to water lines, sewer lines, and landscaping. While utility companies do offer a potential solution by selling service plans at a monthly rate, your current Homeowner’s Insurance policy may be updated to provide the necessary coverage to protect you and your property. Most policies do not automatically cover sewage and drain backups, which can cause expensive damage if water and sewage backs up into your house. It may cost just $50 to add about $10,000 in sewage backup coverage. However, that is only to cover the internal work, and does not cover water or sewer line repair outside of the home. Merriam Insurance has a better solution. We recommend that you ask about adding a Service Line Rider to your Homeowner’s Insurance policy. Not only will it cover repairs to the water and sewer lines outside of your home, but unlike with a service plan from your utility company, you will be able to use your own plumber for the repairs. Merriam Insurance recommends you contact one of our experts today to learn more before […]

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    NYS Paid Family Leave: What Your Church Needs to Know

    Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a phased-in system of paid family leave (PFL) that became effective January 1, 2018 for New York employers. Administered by the State of New York Workers’ Compensation Division, PFL is an automatic rider to your statutory disability policy. PFL eligibility and internal administration will be, for the most part, the same for all New York employers. It is important to note that there are some important differences for churches. How does it affect your pastor? How does it affect the rest of the church’s employees and volunteers? The first notable difference for churches is in the eligibility requirements of its clergy and employees: The ability to not participate in PFL roughly coordinates with the ability to waive the Workers’ Compensation benefit. Thus, a pastor who waives Workers’ Compensation coverage may also choose to waive PFL participation. Clergy members who do want to participate in PFL must be appointed 25% or more to the specific church providing the PFL benefit. Employees must work 20 hours per week or more and must have worked 26 consecutive weeks prior to the first day of leave. Employees who work less than 20 hours per week are eligible after they have worked 175 workdays, no matter the number of hours in those work days. The church must approve a request for both spouses to take advantage of the PFL benefit at the same time. If you are faced with this situation, contact us for additional information. The second difference […]

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    Driving for the Ministry? What church leadership needs to know

    Can your church get sued over a car accident, even if the church does not own a vehicle? The answer is yes. Any time a person drives his or her own vehicle on church business, liability is generated for the church ministry. This could be the pastor driving to visit a patient in a hospital or a volunteer youth leader driving kids to a youth conference. Whenever a “church activity” includes some kind of transportation, provided by volunteers in their own vehicles, there is liability for the church. This means that if that pastor or volunteer causes a serious accident, the church could be the target of a lawsuit by the injured party. The argument that will be made, and accepted by the court, is that, “were it not for the church, the person who caused the accident would not have been on the road.” Lest you feel targeted, know that this same standard applies to all businesses and non-profits who have employees or volunteers on the road. Because of this, it is important for churches to screen those who are driving on church business. Here is what we recommend you do: Compile a list of times and places that people go regularly, when driving on church business. Make sure the church leadership is comfortable with whatever driving occurs. We find that during this research, many churches discover that unnecessary driving occurs and they choose to eliminate it. Make sure the regular drivers are screened. An annual MVR (motor vehicle […]