The Ayres Insurance Group announces the addition of Tyler Losinski to their group of agents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sturgis, Michigan – October 6, 2016

The Ayres Insurance Group announces the addition of Tyler Losinski to their group of agents serving insurance clients in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana.

Tyler joins Ayres Insurance in Sturgis, MI after eight years of service as an elementary teacher.

Losinski holds a Bachelor degree from Trine University and a Masters degree from Concordia University.

Tyler and his wife Laura reside in Bronson, Michigan, where Tyler was raised and graduated from Bronson Senior High School in 2004.  Tyler is well known in the area for his activities as high school sports official, and for having grown up on his family farm.

Losinski notes that he is looking forward to working with people from Bronson and the surrounding area to meet their insurance needs.  Losinski will concentrate on working with farmers for their insurance needs, as well as other areas of insurance.

Ayres Insurance has been locally owned and operated in Sturgis, Michigan since 1941.   Ayres offers many types of insurance for personal and commercial needs, and promotes and supports many aspects of the local community with time, talent and funding.

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123 W Hatch St,
Sturgis, MI 49091
(269) 651-1761

 

The benefits of working with an independent agent

After a lot of saving and planning, my sister and her family bought their dream home. Sadly, a storm damaged their roof, and she’s had difficulty resolving her claim. Her family did not purchase their insurance through an independent agent. I encouraged her to give her carrier the opportunity to see things through, but I also suggested that once her claim is resolved, she might consider an independent agent to help her better determine the right carrier and insurance products for her family’s needs.

My sister and her husband are busy with their jobs and kids, and it never occurred to them to research insurance options. After their recent experience, they are coming to understand that how your insurance company treats you when you have a claim matters.

My sister hadn’t considered why it’s advantageous to partner with an independent insurance agent and actually didn’t know the difference between independent and captive agents (agents who represent one company). Like many people, she hadn’t thought about the various ways of buying insurance and the differences among them. It’s easy to compare the concept to buying shoes for her kids.

Quality: My sister wants the highest quality shoes that she can afford for her children. After all, those shoes are what will protect their feet and carry them on all their daily adventures. Likewise, you want the best insurance products your money can buy to protect your belongings, and an independent agent can offer them to you. Independent agents are business owners who select the most desirable carriers, apply to represent them and sell their insurance products. So when agents represent a carrier, it’s because they believe in the carrier enough to associate their own business’ name and reputation with it.

Selection: Instead of going to a store that carried only one brand of shoes, my sister would go to a store that offered a variety of quality brands with different features and styles. Similarly, an independent agent offers a selection of products to meet clients’ needs, whether the clients’ focus is on claims service, specialized coverages or even cost. Independent agents ask questions, listen and make recommendations – maybe your child will soon be old enough to drive, you have a special collection to protect or you plan to buy a rental property. Whatever your situation, your agent has options to match you with the appropriate carrier and insurance products.

Knowledge: My sister would never guess at a size; she’d ask an informed employee for help measuring her children’s feet to make sure they got the appropriate fit. She would ask about wear and durability and get the facts from the sales person who knows the products better than anyone. In the same manner, independent agents know the benefits of each carrier and nuances of each product and can provide you with the details to help you make informed decisions. You can be confident that your independent agent has the expertise you are looking for.

Obviously, insurance is far more important and complex than shoes! But if my sister would put the effort into making sure she bought the best shoes for her children, doesn’t it make sense to apply a similar process to ensure the right protection for her home and autos?

It’s easy to “check the box” and buy online. Voila – you have insurance! But partnering with an independent agent can help you make sure you have the right amount and type of insurance coverage from a carrier that he or she trusts to protect what matters most to you.

For more information contact The Ayres Group

Keys to controlling business auto insurance costs

Insurance underwriters take into account a company’s past automobile loss experience when pricing automobile insurance. By reducing your company’s exposure to auto losses, you may be able to reduce your insurance costs. Three ways to control business auto costs are to review driver history; promote safety awareness and training; and maintain vehicles in good working order.

1: REVIEWING DRIVER HISTORY

Carefully evaluate driver candidates prior to putting them behind the wheel.

Consider requesting prior work history, conducting a criminal background check and obtaining a motor vehicle report to evaluate an applicant’s driving history and license status. Prior to conducting pre-employment checks, consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and to determine when employee releases or notices may be required. Once drivers are hired, check annually for accidents, violations and license status.

Once you’ve obtained the driver’s signed release, you can follow your state’s requirements to request an MVR through your state’s license bureau. Make sure to review MVRs from every state the employee has resided in for the prior five years. MVRs can reveal accidents, tickets and other infractions that may impact their ability to drive for your business.

Analyze reports, looking at:

  • frequent or repeat accidents or moving violations. Non-traffic events, such as glass breakage, fire or flood may not be an accurate indicator of how a driver’s record could impact your business
  • evidence that the candidate has limited experience with the type of vehicles your company uses may be a red flag
  • suspensions ̶ administrative suspensions and those resulting from serious violations, such as operating a vehicle under the influence or driving under the influence, reckless operation – should be viewed very seriously

Also consider the types of any violations. A study by the American Transportation Research Institute evaluated 540,000 drivers. Their MVR histories revealed that conviction for a single moving violation dramatically increases the likelihood of becoming involved in a crash to between 91 and 100 percent. The four convictions with the highest likelihood of a future crash are:

  • improper or erratic lane change
  • failure to yield right of way
  • improper turn
  • failure to maintain proper lane
2: PROMOTING SAFETY AWARENESS AND TRAINING

Road testing all driver candidates is a great practice but, if not possible, at a minimum require drivers operating vehicles other than standard passenger vehicles to successfully complete a road test in the type of vehicle the driver will operate. Document test results in the employee’s personnel or driver qualification file. Verify that candidates are properly licensed for the vehicle to be driven. Business can also benefit from these safety practices:

  • Establish “Rules of the Road” which clearly define what acceptable driver behavior is while in the course and scope of your employment.
  • Provide initial and ongoing safety training and awareness guidance for all drivers.
  • Require drivers to verify that vehicle safety components – brakes, lights, wipers, tires, mirrors – are in working order prior to starting their daily trip. A good practice is to require completion of a daily safety checklist.
  • Train all drivers in what to do in case of an accident, and define the required notification system to report on-road incidents.
3: MAINTAINING VEHICLES

Keep all vehicles maintained and in good repair, providing a system for drivers to report maintenance concerns. At a minimum, maintenance intervals and focus should meet vehicle manufacturers’ recommendations.

Paying attention to driver qualification, safety awareness and maintenance can go a long way toward helping your business avoid unnecessary risks and keep auto insurance costs to a minimum.

Contact your Ayres Group Representative for more information

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.

Courtesy: Cinfin.com

Why health care entities purchase directors and officers liability coverage

Health care organizations are under constant pressure in today’s world of evolving practices, procedures and laws. Managers deal with everything from the investment and allocation of corporate resources to administrative duties. The decisions they make affect everyone who has a relationship with the health care entity.

It’s a huge responsibility. Every action has the potential to put the organization and its individual managers and directors at risk for financial or reputational loss. But directors and officers liability insurance for health care entities – D&O coverage – can help these institutions recover from claims made against the organization and its managers.

In addition to all the issues faced by any business, health care managers must oversee and direct issues unique to health care facilities, such as peer review committees, quality of care and staff privileges. Health care facilities want to hire and retain top talent in the industry to oversee and run their organizations, but need to protect them from having personal liability at stake. D&O coverage helps accomplish that goal.

Consider some potential risks:

  • written demands for monetary damages or nonmonetary relief
  • civil suits
  • formal administrative actions
  • regulatory proceedings
  • Allegations can be brought by shareholders, patients, regulatory agencies, competitors, creditors or suppliers stating
  • that the health care employees violated their professional duties of loyalty, obedience or due diligence. And those
  • allegations or lawsuits could involve those employees’ spouses, heirs and estates.

Directors and officers coverage can insure:

  • the health care institution and its subsidiaries
  • past and present directors, officers, trustees, administrators, employees, faculty members, staff members, volunteers, members of boards or committees (including peer review committee members)
  • spouses brought into a lawsuit because of shared property interest or transferred property
  • estates, heirs, legal representatives or assigns of deceased, incapacitated or bankrupt insured persons

In summary, D&O coverage protects both health care professionals and the organizations they serve. It gives professionals the peace of mind to fulfill their roles within industry operating guidelines while preserving the organization’s ability to attract and hire top talent.

Contact your Ayres Group Agent for more information about directors’ and officers’ liability coverage for your organization.

Courtesy Cinfin

Safety comes first when the pool is open

A refreshing pool on a hot day can be so inviting. Children of all ages enjoy splashing in the cool waters in private home-based pools, swim clubs, health clubs, country clubs and public pools.

With this fun comes great responsibility. To make sure everyone leaves the pool happy and healthy, pool owners and operators should take steps to prevent injury and drowning.

Television and movies often show drowning as a dramatic event with victims thrashing and calling for help or lifeguards springing into action for the save.

While these instances can occur, drownings often are silent and difficult to see. They can occur in shallow water or even after a person has left the pool.

Water clarity is an important component of proper life safety in the pool. A lifeguard, parent or counselor cannot see someone in need of help as easily if the water is cloudy and murky. Having lots of people in the pool also can affect water clarity, emphasizing the need for proper chemical balance and additional lifesaving staff. Lifeguards must stay alert, taking breaks in rotation while following protocols at all times.

Some signs to look for to identify a potential drowning victim in the water may include:

Head low in water with mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Glassy or empty eyes
Failure to kick or move legs while in a vertical position in the water
Trying to swim with no headway
Remember, too, that drowning doesn’t always happen in the deep end. Shallow water blackout results when an individual holds his or her breath for too long. Younger swimmers can drown in much shallower water. A person can drown in as little as 2-3 inches of water in less than 30 seconds.

Dry or delayed drowning is another scary and potentially fatal phenomenon that can occur long after an incident in the pool. Symptoms can include:

Coughing
Chest pain
Trouble breathing
Feeling extremely tired/change in energy level or increase in irritability
A more detailed description is available at healthychildren.org.

With proper supervision and awareness, pool owners and operators can prevent a tragedy from occurring and help everyone to enjoy their time at the pool!

Courtesy: Cinfin.com

Fly the flag with confidence and pride

Many American families and businesses show their pride by flying the flag on patriotic holidays or perhaps every day. The flag can be a stirring symbol of freedom that unites neighborhoods and communities. You can display the flag with patriotic pride by following the guidelines outlined in the U.S. Flag Code.

The code describes the correct way to fly a flag under many conditions: on a vertical pole, an angled staff, in a stand, in a parade or suspended from a building or stage. The code also explains the protocols for honoring military or public service by placing a flag on a casket or flying the flag at half staff on specific occasions.

To ensure that your flag display is done with honor and respect:

Inspect your flag periodically. Is it torn, faded or unraveling from the ends? The Flag Code allows repairs to be made by sewing, but you may instead wish to buy a new one.
Inspect the rope if you fly your flag on a pole. Look for signs of wear that could loosen in the wind, causing your flag to fall to the ground. Replace the rope as necessary.
Check mounting brackets. Make sure they are secure to the wall and that the screws are tight.
Check your wiring on lights used for night display. Flags displayed at night should be well lit. Check your wiring periodically and make sure you have an extra bulb on standby.
If you replaced your flag, contact one of your local veterans’ organizations for help disposing of the old one properly. Every American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post will gladly take your flag at no cost to you. Some even have drop boxes in front of their buildings for used flags. Some Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops also conduct annual flag retirement ceremonies.

For more information about the proper display of the flag and honors rendered, you can look up the U.S. Flag code.

The American Legion also answers common questions about the flag and flag etiquette on its website.

Courtesy: Cincinnati Insurance

Ayres-Rice named 2015 Western Michigan Top 10 Agent

Congratulations to Ayres-Rice Insurance Agency, which has been named #9 of the Auto-Owners Insurance Company Western Michigan Region Top 10 Agencies! The Top 10 Agencies qualified by showing the greatest increase in Property/Casualty written premium in 2015.

The Top 10 agency representatives met today with Jeff Tagsold, President & COO and Cathy Adcock, Regional Vice President—Western Michigan Region for a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West in Lansing, MI. Agents and officers discussed their triumphs and hurdles in the insurance industry over the past year. After lunch, agents visited the new Auto-Owners South Campus for a cake and punch celebration with their branch associates.

The Top 10 Agents were greeted at the branch by a thunderous applause in appreciation for all of their hard work over the past year. It truly takes a team to show such amazing results. Auto-Owners would like to recognize and thank all the employees working in our Top 10 Agencies for their hard work and dedication in helping to write profitable business with Auto-Owners.

Thank you to all who have contributed to the success of our Top 10 Agencies. We look forward to a great 2016 with you!

For graduates and their families: Celebrate safely

Most teens see graduation as the end of adolescence and the beginning of their next phase of life: a rite of passage into adulthood. It is a time for celebration, but both parents and graduates should consider ways to keep the celebration safe.

STUDENTS

  • Share your graduation and post-graduation party plans with your parents.
  • Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
  • Wear a seat belt – even in the back seat.
  • Stay with a group of friends and watch out for one another.
  • Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Don’t get in a vehicle with a driver that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Report any illegal drug or alcohol use as well as unsafe behaviors such as threats, assaults and weapons.

PARENTS

  • Discuss your child’s plans for graduation and post-graduation celebrations.
  • Know who your child will be with and talk to their parents to coordinate plans.
  • Make sure your phone and your child’s cell phones are fully charged.
  • Provide your child with alternate adults to call in case they feel unsafe – no questions asked.
  • Wait up for your child to make sure they return safely.
  • Talk about drugs and alcohol with your child and set expectations.
  • Report any illegal drug or alcohol use as well as unsafe behaviors such as threats, assaults and weapons.

PARTY HOSTS

Graduation parties require special planning because of the unusual mix of ages and relationships. Some families find a brunch works well, as alcohol would not be expected at this time of day. Many parents have decided to serve no alcohol at parties given for teenagers even if adults attend them. Consider these tips when hosting a graduation party:

  • An adult should be present throughout the party.
  • Alcohol or other drugs should NOT be served or available.
  • Anyone who leaves the party should not be allowed to return – this will discourage people from leaving with the intent to drink or use drugs and then return to the party.
  • Encourage small parties, limiting attendance to 10-15 teens per adult present. Go over party plans and house rules with your teen prior to the party so all expectations are understood.
  • Plan to have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.

Congratulations to graduates – and their parents – on reaching this milestone.

Courtesy: Cinfin.com

Breaking down the facts on equipment breakdown

We’re breaking down misunderstood insurance terms to help you understand coverages that could benefit your business or farm.

Like this one: What exactly is equipment breakdown coverage?

Just think about the variety of equipment your business or farm needs to run. From computers to generators to refrigerators, you rely on equipment to keep things working. And if that equipment fails, you need to get it fixed quickly.

That’s where equipment breakdown coverage comes in. Consider these examples of equipment breakdown claims:

  • A switch on an automatic animal feeding system broke, causing the entire system to crash onto the barn floor.
  • An air-conditioning system leaked water into telephone switching equipment, shorting it out.
  • A power surge in an office building damaged 200 computers.

Equipment breakdown coverage helps with the costs related to repairing or replacing damaged equipment. In these examples, you’d have protection to help you repair the systems, and to make up for the interruption to your business, productivity, or possibly income in the meantime.

The coverage is helpful when you need to restore your data or cover spoiled stock. It can protect against damage caused by short circuits, power surges, or motor burnout, among others.

Talk to your Ayres Group agent to learn more and to make sure your equipment is protected.

A Guide for Hiring Safer Drivers

As the United States truck driver shortage intensifies, it’s important for fleet managers to be reminded of good hiring practices. The challenge for fleet managers will not only be to fill increasing numbers of vacant positions, but also to ensure safe drivers are behind the wheels of company vehicles. From the interview to requirements for employment, every fleet should have a clear driver hiring process.

Step 1: Establish Firm Hiring Guidelines
Formal hiring guidelines are crucial to ensuring every driver has been properly and consistently vetted. EMC recommends the following minimum requirements for hiring truck drivers:

  • Applicants must have a valid license for the vehicle type and load hauled
  • No chargeable accidents in the past year
  • No DUI or DWI convictions in the last five years
  • No more than two non-serious moving violations in the past three years
  • Minimum of three years of verifiable driving experience with similar vehicles

Step 2: Take a Close Look at an Applicant’s Motor Vehicle Record
Meeting the minimum requirements for a driving position is only the beginning of the vetting process for new hires. A thorough review of an applicant’s motor vehicle record (MVR) will reveal even more. Past violations noted on the MVR are often an indication of the potential for future accidents and violations. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the occurrence of one of the following moving violations increased the likelihood of becoming involved in a crash by the following amounts:

  • Failure to use turn signal: 96 percent
  • Improper passing: 88 percent
  • Improper turn: 84 percent
  • Improper or erratic lane change: 80 percent
  • Speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit: 67 percent

Beyond identifying violations, the MVR will provide information on the applicant’s license endorsements and any restrictions they may have. You need to make sure your applicants have the necessary endorsements for the cargo that they will be hauling. For example, if your company transports hazardous materials, drivers will need a HAZMAT endorsement.

Step 3: Go Beyond the MVR
In addition to a thorough MVR review, a well-organized interview will help you better assess the values, personality and work ethic of potential drivers. These soft skills are a solid indication of what often characterizes a long-term and valued employee. Ask open-ended questions during the interview about the candidate’s driving history and what they have done to improve their driving skills.

You may want to ask applicants to complete a written test and a driving test as part of the interview process. If you decide to hire the applicant, consider hiring them on a temporary basis to make sure their driving skills and habits are a good fit. Remember, you are hiring someone that represents your company, protects the public from accidents and will ensure the safety of your loads. The more comprehensive the hiring process, the greater the likelihood of putting the right person behind the wheel.

Step 4: Make Ongoing Training a Priority
Driver error is the No. 1 reason for truck accidents. As an employer, it is your responsibility to make certain drivers receive ongoing training to ensure their safety and the safety of the public. To help your training efforts, you’ll find a full array of driver training materials on the Loss Control section of EMC’s website. These include online training programs, posters, tech sheets, safety program templates and more.

Step 5: Use EMC’s SuperVision Driver Monitoring Service to Effortlessly Monitor Driver Safety
Driver monitoring is an effective way to know if you are exposing your business to loss revenue, legal costs and higher insurance premiums that could result from accidents. EMC can help with SuperVision, a new service available at a discounted rate to policyholders. SuperVision is specifically designed for smaller fleet operators who can’t justify the expense of a full-time employee to monitor drivers. Using SuperVision, you’ll know when a driver receives a violation and have an easier time picking out unsafe drivers. Ask your EMC loss control representative for more information about this valuable service.

Courtesy of EMC