Author Archives: Brian H. Merriam, CPCU, ARM, AAI, President

When Rising Water Is Called a Flood

There are floods in the news again… seems incessant. Hurricane Sandy just devastated the New York metropolitan area. Duluth is still working to recover from recent flood damage of trout streams and hiking trails. Though we’ll likely have a reprieve for a few months, flood season will come roaring back shortly after we’re lulled to sleep. Most everyone experiences a surprise “flood” in one situation or another, whether a formally declared flood such as caused by hurricane Sandy, or a swamped basement because a sump pump couldn’t keep up following a spring thunderstorm. There are multiple definitions of what constitutes a “flood.” Some floods are addressed easily by insurance, some are clearly excluded.

Determining the Lowest Premium

Many times people who call me for car insurance quotes are satisfied just by hearing the “cost per month.” It seems simple: Determine the lowest total cost, and you know what you are getting into. But in fact, hidden costs can lurk beneath the surface. Here are some questions to...

New York State Defensive Driving Course

Save $$ on your auto insurance and reduce up to 4 points off your license by taking the New York State Defensive Driving Course! Join Brian Merriam, CPCU, ARM, AAI in Schenectady at 376 Broadway for State sanctioned Defensive Driving. This 6-hour, two night course (3 hours each night) is valid for 3 years and can save...

Additional Insureds? Here are the Facts

I received a phone call from one of my cross country ski club association clients recently asking advice about one of their members. The member was asking the club to name them as an additional insured on the racing association’s liability insurance as an “Additional Insured,” believing that would protect them...

Controlling Health Insurance Costs

Despite the declarations of politicians, statistics show the cost of health insurance continuing to rise dramatically. Newton’s third law of physics, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” applies in economics as well as physics. As our government continues to make “free services” available along with reducing payments, the costs are showing up in other areas. Quite simply, insurers are passing along the cost to the person who writes the checks. “Value-Based Purchasing” (kind-of a reverse version of pay-for-performance) and “Reduced Payments for Hospital Readmissions” are the two most