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Welcome to the Merriam Agency

The Merriam 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 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. Contact us now by phone or email for a free no obligation quote.

Recent Articles

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    Be Prepared!

    It has been a while since I wrote a “technical” article. My desire to write on a technical matter is due to all of the unnecessary frustration I see when it comes to people, businesses and not-for-profit entities experiencing prolonged difficulties following a loss. I am addressing the necessity to have a contingency plan. You might find this to be an obvious matter and hardly worth the ink to explain, but contingency planning, or “continuity plans” or “business interruption plans,” or whatever you want to call them, are almost more rare than is the predictability of the losses that warrant them in the first place. The reason I am considering this a priority is because I see losses happening almost daily, and with very few exceptions, most of those adversely affected by loss fail to have a plan as to what to do next. Instead, they are forced to figure out steps in the heat of the moment and make emergency plans even while the embers are still smoldering. Such pressure to make decisions in a crisis is going to result in a lesser quality outcome. As such, it is my counsel that each of us is immeasurably better off, if, before the storms of life hit, when there is no pressure to respond, we design contingency plans for what we will do if bad things happen to us. Here are some suggestions. Start by identifying the threats that may effect our individual/family/business life. Death, illness, disability, fire, flood, collision, [...]

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    Help from the Handyman: What you need to know

    What happens if your KOA’s handyman causes an unnoticed water leak within your walls, causing the growth of a fungus? What if a camper bumps into his ladder and both are injured in the resulting fall? What if he turns out to be a terrible handyman and the roof you hired him to repair is faulty and needs to be replaced? Running a KOA is next to impossible without help. Even if the family running the campground can do all the day-to-day work, they still often need to contract out roof repairs, plumbing, electric, and foundation work, among other things. Most campgrounds have a few go-to providers who know the property and provide invaluable service, often at the most inconvenient times. While handymen are invaluable, they can also cause serious damage and liability if something goes wrong. What can you do to be prepared, should a catastrophic accident strike? Here are some key factors the KOA Campground team at Merriam advises you to consider: Look into the qualifications and experience of your handyman to ensure that he has the skills to deal with your specific issue. Just because he is an able electrician does not mean he is a good plumber. Whenever possible, make sure he has his own General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation. General Liability insurance will pay for damage his work causes to you, the KOA, or your campers. Workers’ Compensation insurance will pay if he is injured on the job. If your handyman does not carry […]

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    Fall is just around the corner

    I love autumn. The crisp apples in late August remind me that the leaves will be changing soon. Along with the beauty of the seasons, we must ensure a safe environment where we live and work, so that there are no injuries and we can enjoy the beautiful weather. This may sound like common sense, but we as humans often forget to check on the little things. Imagine that my 95-year old grandmother is coming to visit. She’s not one of those women who is hardy, but I remember her going on a roller coaster almost 30 years ago. Anyway, she can trip over things easily, and needs something firm to hold onto. Therefore, it is necessary to look at these things: Sidewalks: clear of cracks Decks: clear of protruding nails/screws Hand rails: securely attached (metal ones like to rust out at ground level) Steps: not too wobbly Landings: not too sloped Walk, test, and observe. Then watch someone else walk and test the safety. What do you instinctively avoid? If my grandmother can navigate my house safely, your house can easily be made safe for visitors when it’s icy, snowy, or rainy. When you’re done, I’d recommend making notes in a small notebook or computer file, in case you find something similar later on down the road. If you notice that you have to pound the deck nails back in every year, seeing the pattern written in your notes may be sufficient to help you determine that it would be […]

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    Are my Independent Contractors covered?

    This is one of the most common questions I am asked when preparing quotes for E&O insurance. My answer is always the same: “we must look at the policy form to see how your carrier covers Independent Contractors.” More often than not, E&O insurance coverage is usually extended to the Independent Contractors being used. However, it is important to understand the nuances behind who is covered and the impact they have on your E&O policy. Many policy forms cover Independent Contractors only as “natural persons,” meaning there is no intent to cover other corporations outside of your own. It makes sense that other entities you are working with should have their own coverage in place, rather than relying on yours. Additionally, the IC is only covered for work they are doing on your behalf, and not for work done on their own or for others. Almost all E&O applications now ask for information relating to your use of ICs. Although frustrating, it is important to provide an accurate representation of your Independent Contractor exposure. Here are some key things we are looking for: How much of your work is done by ICs rather than your company/employees? Are you diligent to vet your ICs? How much experience do they have in the industry? Do they have a record of any claims? Do they carry their own E&O insurance? The answers to these questions can impact the eligibility and cost of your E&O insurance. The lengthy application you complete each year gives […]

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    Is it Better to Lease or Buy a Car?

    While many consumers want to own the cars they drive, some prefer leasing vehicles that may have lower monthly payments and could require less or no money down. Read More

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    Liability of Serving Champagne

    Do you include wine in romantic packages? What about welcome champagne? While these can greatly enhance the guests’ experience when done correctly, they can also provide a surprising liability issue for inns. For example, a guest consumes the glass of champagne and then has an automobile accident later that evening. Could your inn be held responsible? Or what if after drinking a glass of wine, the guest becomes violent toward another guest? Could your inn be liable for the other guest’s injuries? To further complicate matters, the typical inn liability insurance policy does not always offer you the protection you need. “Liquor Liability” insurance has to be purchased separately or specifically requested as an addendum. This means that unless you have thought through the way you deliver alcohol to your guests, you may not have proper insurance coverage. If that is the case, and you are brought into a lawsuit because of an alcohol related injury, you may have to pay for your legal bills out of your savings. Here are some steps the Inn experts at Merriam suggest to properly protect your inn. Discuss with your liquor authority or local law enforcement what you are allowed to do as far as beverage service under your state and local laws. Different states and communities have different standards for who needs a liquor license. Being found non-compliant by state and local officials after the fact is a hassle no innkeeper needs. Some communities have no issue if you give complimentary champagne/beer/wine, […]