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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

  • Choosing an insurance provider is like choosing a new pair of skis…

    When choosing a new pair of skis... Step One Choosing a pair of skis depends upon the type of activities in which you want to participate. Are you interested in venturing into deep snow off the beaten path? Do you plan on using the skis for racing? Sport? Adventure? Different skis are designed for each type of activity in which you are engaged, and like choosing insurance, you sometimes end up with either the wrong ski, or too “MUCH” ski, for what you need. That can be an expensive, and frustrating, error. Step Two The length of ski is crucial: the lighter the skier, the shorter the ski should be. Longer skis are faster. They ride more smoothly. Shorter skis are easier to control, and make turns more simple to negotiate. Step 3 The width of ski is also important. When skiing on packed trails, a narrow ski is preferable. How-ever, if you like to venture into fresh, deep snow, you will want to choose a pair of skis with a larger surface area. The wider area allows you to “float” on the surface of the snow more readily. Step 4 There are also many different “ski flex options” to consider. A stiff ski flex means that a lot of weight is needed in order to flatten the surface of the ski against the snow. A soft flex means that the ski flattens out much more easily. If you desire speed, a stiffer ski flex. Step 5 Ski boots should fit [...]

  • 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 ICs.” 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 the […]

  • Lawsuit

    “Transgender Discrimination… does my insurance cover that?”

    Questions of discrimination are frequently being asked by leaders in non-profit organizations like our Rescue Missions and Churches. It is the right question to be asking; however, the risk is not limited to just non-profits. We have seen a dramatic increase in allegations of discrimination and lawsuits since the 2015 introduction of Caitlyn Jenner and the Pentagon policy shift. Claims of gender discrimination are no longer just in the big city. It is a part of a major cultural shift, and we are seeing claims of discrimination spread to regions and businesses that would have previously been considered “safe.” Some of these have been in the news, while others have mercifully stayed silent. As we studied the insurance policies protecting a variety of organizations, we have identified numerous policies with significant gaps. Statistically, your company’s policy is probably one with significant gaps as well – and this is why we are very concerned. While these gaps exist in the almost all of the most commonly-purchased insurance policies for non-profit or religious organizations, we also noticed that most small corporations and private companies typically avoid purchasing insurance policies with these coverages. Risks are increasing, we recommend that you explore this a little further. Testing and Transition Christians have been in the spotlight for discrimination for quite a few years. Whether declining to bake a cake or refusing to perform a wedding ceremony, the media are having a hay-day and the courts are very busy. This week, we learned of two more [...]

  • Board Of Directors

    Directors & Officers insurance

    There are some things you should be aware of. Does your organization have a Board of Directors or Senior Executives that help provide direction, influence decision-making and help craft policy? Are you on such a board? By participating in such a capacity, somebody becomes personally liable for decisions that they make in that role. In light of the many high profile corporate scandals (i.e. Enron, Health South, Madoff) that have exploded since the late 1990s, elected officials have put the blame for these occurrences at the feet of the corporate leaders. Legislative actions have placed a heavy burden on these individuals to ensure the organizations that they are overseeing are run in a proper manner. Even if an individual acts in a volunteer capacity, and even if the organization is small, the personal assets of the leader(s) may be at stake. Are you asking yourself, “Do I have insurance for that?” Most people know that one component of a typical homeowners policy provides liability insurance; however the liability protection provided by such a homeowners policy is limited in scope. A homeowners policy is designed to respond to “Bodily Injury” or “Property Damage.” It could also be broadened by a “Personal Injury” endorsement which provides a defense against unintentional acts of libel or slander. An umbrella policy could be added to provide an additional limit of liability. These extra precautions are good, and certainly have their place, but may not be helpful in the event of a claim arising from your […]

  • I liked the company so much…

    I have been a personal lines customer of the Merriam Insurance Agency since 2003. I always had positive customer service interactions with the staff. My circumstances changed in February, 2015 when I needed to obtain auto and renter’s insurance for myself. The situation was a “no-brainer,” I called the account manager for personal lines and requested a quote for coverage. I was provided the quote, my business was being placed with the same carrier, with coverage in my name – the policy was written. I went to the office to sign the documents and make my down payment. After our conversation, I said to the representative: “I need to find a full-time job, now.” She inquired as to my background and offered that I was experienced in health insurance, having previously worked for a broker and a local health insurance carrier. To my surprise, she explained the office had an immediate opening for an individual with a health insurance background. We talked a little longer; she ventured to ask if I would email her my resume. Within 30 days I became the Health Benefits Specialist at the Merriam Agency! After 18 months of working for the Merriam Insurance Agency, all I can say is everything happens for a reason!

  • Old Warehouse Converted To Modern Apartments

    Do you own an older building?

    If you answered YES, there is some important information you should know. In most parts of the United States, buildings are older than the people who use them. Right around the corner from my apartment in Schenectady, NY is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in the country, known as The Stockade. Many buildings there were built sometime in the 1800’s and a few date back to the 1700’s. Renovations have provided new roofs, wiring, plumbing, and heating systems, but the basic structures of the buildings have not changed. We see our clients renovate and re-purpose their buildings frequently; non-profits change old factories into apartments, entrepreneurs turn Victorian mansions into boutique inns, and homeowners gut and renovate. Many of these clients know to purchase a “replacement cost” policy so that if there is extensive fire damage to the roof, for example, the insurance company is obligated to pay for a new roof, even though the home is not new. What many building owners do not realize is that extensive damage may necessitate more than gutting the building. Sometimes parts or all of the house must be torn down and new structures put into place. In these situations, owners of old buildings can be faced with steep costs if they are required by the municipality to build new structures that are up to building code. Many buildings have been “grandfathered” into acceptance because they have been in use for so long, but if they are partially or completely destroyed, the municipality […]