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The Merriam Agency is an award-winning full-service insurance agency providing commercial insurance, personal insurance, health insurance and 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. In addition, our network of providers is so extensive that we can get risk personnel on the ground quickly… all to make sure you’re back up and running in the event of a loss. Our purpose is far greater than just providing risk management and insurance services. We use our skills and resources to support those who assist the disadvantaged, disenfranchised and the destitute. Contact us now by phone or email, for a free, no obligation quote.

Recent Articles

  • The difference between an agent & a broker

    The classic line in most states is that all an insurance agent has to do is listen and get the insurance a client asks for. They’re not legally required to actually search out what a client’s needs might be.

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    Broker vs. Computer

    I am seeing more articles about the rise of the machines in the insurance industry. Every year, someone is introducing the technology that will replace insurance agents. After I am often asked, “what do you provide that a computer (or competitor) does not?” When the personal computer came out, many were suddenly able to produce their own logos, flyers & brochures. Some organizations, however, want more than they (or a secretary) can create. Similarly, in insurance, people are empowered to buy the insurance they feel is appropriate for their own needs. And to a large extent, basic personal coverage is so systematized and regulated, online purchasing works well enough. But who will go to bat for you when you believe a claim should be covered, but is denied by the system? Factoid:  Many people mistakenly assume that everything will be covered by their insurance company. The perspective of a professional grows in value as the risk(s) increase. If the purpose of insurance is to fulfill a requirement, the underlying strengths and weaknesses of the policy become irrelevant to the purchaser – and fixing those (perceived as “up-selling”) is undesirable. Many people unknowingly self-insure in many areas. However, If the purpose of insurance is to mitigate risks, the expert human is still necessary. A broker, like myself, works to bring a higher level of expertise/experience from a larger group to benefit their clients. I have acquired many new clients who were unsatisfied by the “surprise” cost of a loss that was not […]

  • Agent vs. Direct

    I’m sure you have seen the commercials for insurance carriers such as Geico and Progressive. These carriers are reached by phone or internet. You rarely, if ever, speak to the same representative twice. Insurance is a complicated business. When you purchase from the internet, you choose the options yourself, not always getting what you think you are getting. What’s different when purchasing your insurance through an independent agent? Here are some important distinctions: • An independent agent has access to several carriers and can compare rates and coverage options to get the best fit for your insurance needs. • Your agent understands the complicated insurance coverage options and can direct you to the best option for you. • Most times you will be speaking to the same representative when you call the agency with a question, concern or claim. • The independent agent is your advocate between you and the carrier. Secret: I’ve heard — from unnamed sources — that The North Creek Branch of The Merriam Agency has a couple of the best representatives in the North Country.

  • A Country Under Siege

    Over the last few years it seems that the number of mass shootings has increased. The year 2015 saw fourteen killed in San Bernardino, California in December; nine killed at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in October; four killed at a military site in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July; and nine killed at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in June. Twelve were killed at a Washington Navy Yard in 2013, and perhaps, most tragically, 28 children and teachers were killed at the Newtown Connecticut Elementary School in 2012. In the last decade, I count 38 mass shootings where between 3 and 33 people have been killed (VTI in 2007). Schools, movie theaters, churches, coffee shops, malls, apartment buildings, even a military base… there is no place where such atrocities are impossible to occur. Is your organization the next place to make it into the news because of a violent intruder? Precautionary measures need to be taken so as to lessen the possibility of you, or your organization, being the next victim. Here are some steps to take: 1. Begin by having a frank discussion with your organization’s leadership –your Board of Directors and/or your Executive team. Establish your tolerance for risk in light of what we see in this dangerous world of ours. 2. Form a study group to research some of the matters addressed below. 3. Consider the layout of your organization. Where are the vulnerable points where an armed intruder may gain entry and/or have access to your [...]

  • Small Business Day at the Capital

    Small Business Day at the Capital Josh Crowder, Operations Manager, represented The Merriam Insurance Agency at the Capital in Albany on Tuesday, March 8th.  Crowder joined the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) in giving some perspective – as an insurance producer for a small agency—on the ever-increasing cost of doing business in New York. Relevant topics included: the minimum wage increase, FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), and their impacts on small businesses and community outreach, in particular. Here are a few disconcerting possibilities: Small businesses will struggle or become unable to keep quality employees. There will be a decrease in community outreach programs. The FMLA will especially put strain on employers’ capacity to employ enough people to cover the positions of those on leave and beyond. Inflation will skyrocket. Workers’ compensation will take a hit. These, and many more, are reasons to alarm small businesses. These are the sort of issues that will not only impact small businesses, but society at large.  If passed, these laws will perpetuate a vicious cycle of lay-offs, budget cuts and anxiety amongst employees and employers alike.  If enough businesses and other opponents of these issues – such as Senator George Amedore, who was in attendance—speak up to shed light on the realities of these potential laws: change is possible.  We plan to do everything we can to advocate for changes that will benefit not only small businesses, but also the general public of New York.

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    What Caused the Damage and Who Cares?

    “What” is very important, and “You” care, or at least you will when “What” happens. Suppose that “What” is a bolt of lightning that starts a fire in your house; or that “What” is a vehicle that missed the turn and drives through the front window of your business; or that “What” is a thief lurking when nobody is around…You care, don’t you? In the event of a property loss to your residential or business property, the “Cause of Loss” portion of your policy is very important. There are generally three variations of coverage for a property loss. A “Basic” cause of loss will only cover one of the three items listed above, whereas “Broad” coverage would cover two and “Special” would cover all three. Naturally, we recommend “Special” coverage in almost every circumstance. However, there may be some instances, such as in the case of a vacancy, in which a lesser form is offered instead by the underwriters. It may also be that your situation has changed from what it was in the past and you are now eligible for a coverage type that you do not currently have. We encourage you to review your policy to make sure you are aware of your current coverage. Please reach out to our office if you have any questions or need any clarification on your policy.