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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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    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 […]

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    Safely Handling Snow and Ice at Your Inn

    While winter may be a beautiful time of year, it is not all about skating, sledding, and romantic walks in the park. Along with the many enjoyable recreational activities comes the potential for injury from exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, slip and falls, or even heart attacks. It is advisable your Inn take the proper precautions to ensure that you, your workers, and your guests avoid potential injuries, or a costly insurance claim. Merriam Insurance recommends you evaluate your snow and ice removal procedures. Workers should be made aware of any unexpected hazards. Walkways, driveways, porches, steps, and railings should be inspected regularly by a competent person to determine if they are structurally safe for your guests and employees. Employees should be trained in the proper methods to ensure their work is performed safely. In addition to having a formal written procedure, sturdy ice-free handrails, and non-slip surfaces, follow these recommended tips when clearing snow and ice: Track your clearing of snow and spreading of a deicer. You should keep a log that shows how frequently walkways and parking lots are checked for unsafe conditions. We recommend an early morning check of all surfaces to see if ice has formed. If it has, treat and monitor those surfaces regularly. If you choose to have a contractor take care of your outdoor snow removal, be sure to have: A written contract, outlining his responsibilities and liability if the work is not done correctly. Proof of insurance for auto liability, in case their […]

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    How to Properly Insure Your Campground’s Cabins

    Cabins, from Camping Cabins to larger Park Models, are a key part of revenue generation for many KOA Campgrounds. It is essential that KOA owners know, and fully understand, what is covered by their insurance and what is not, especially if one or more of your cabins experience damage. What many KOA owners don’t know is that insurance companies have the right to determine not only the amount of the loss, but also whether you are carrying enough insurance. These rights are specifically written into every property insurance policy. If you do not have enough insurance, you may not receive a large enough check to fully repair the structural damage or fully replace damaged appliances, fixtures, and furniture. When selecting the coverage limits for your cabins, one of your main priorities should be to determine the type of valuation. The most common option for valuing a cabin is “replacement cost,” which is the cost to have a qualified contractor replace it with a similar sized structure of “like kind and quality.” In other words, “enough” insurance is the amount it would cost to hire a contractor to replace the entire cabin, just as it stands today, with entirely new material. Many campgrounds purchase prefabricated cabins or cabin kits. If that is the case, “replacement cost” should be the cost to purchase the kit, have it delivered, and set up. If you do not have enough insurance, the insurance company is allowed to only make a partial claim payment. Even if […]

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    Holiday Parties: Is Your Inn Protected?

    It is once again the holiday season, a time when many inns like to host holiday parties and charity events. While these gatherings can provide opportunities for your guests and visitors to mingle casually and revel in the spirit of the holidays, they can also prove to be a liability for you and your inn. That is why it is important that you take reasonable precautions to minimize risk and financially protect yourself through proper insurance coverage. The United States Department of Labor states that hosting a holiday party with improper use of alcohol can make your inn more vulnerable to liability under Workers’ Compensation or other laws. When you host a holiday party and serve alcohol as part of the festivities, liquor liability can be covered by your Commercial General Liability policy. However, it is always best to check with your insurance agent or broker first, to make sure this coverage is specifically included. If you are an inn without a liquor license that does not serve alcohol, you may not need a Liquor Liability policy. We strongly recommend you discuss the specific serving practices of your inn, whether by staff or by the guests themselves, with a trusted insurance advisor, to make sure you have the protection you want for this activity. In addition to a Commercial General Liability policy, businesses should also consider purchasing an Employment Practices Liability policy. This policy will protect your inn from claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, emotional distress, and other workplace-related issues. […]