February: “Insure Your Love” Month

Valentine’s Day is celebrated by 62% of adults in America – but how many of those people know that February is also “Insure Your Love” month?! “Alright Dana, way to go, take a fun holiday and bring life insurance into the conversation.” Sorry, just doing my job…

In the insurance business one of our main responsibilities is to protect things – assets like buildings, homes, cars, boats, and most importantly, people.  The first four items can all be replaced with time and money, but replacing you is impossible.  The only thing we can do is protect your future income so your loved ones do not suffer.

insure your love stats

It’s important to ask yourself, “Are my loved ones protected? What would happen if one of the income earners were to die unexpectedly?”

Your loved ones can use life insurance funds for financial needs such as:

  • Replacing a portion or all of your income
  • Keeping your family in their home
  • Paying for final expenses, including medical costs
  • Paying off debt
  • Establishing a college education fund
  • Covering financial emergencies
  • Providing a child or spouse a home care fund

So, How Much Life Insurance is Enough?

The amount of life insurance coverage you purchase depends on what you want the life insurance to accomplish. The best way to answer this question is with an analysis of your family and personal financial situation, along with your financial goals and objectives.  The chart below gives a good frame of reference.

Do you have enough life insurance?

A life insurance calculator is another great tool to use to start the conversation. Visit the Life Happens website to view this in addition to many other helpful resources.

Act Now to Provide your Loved Ones with the Financial Protection they Need.

I get it, it’s challenging to think about having to use life insurance, and nobody wants to do it. However, we would not be doing our job accurately if we didn’t talk about insuring your most valuable asset…YOU!


Dana Froumis, CIC

Chief Operations Officer                                                                                                       

Phone: 616-454-0800 Ext. 114



How does Michigan No-Fault Insurance Affect Your Premium?

3rd highest auto insurance rates

We won’t argue with the fact that auto insurance rates in Michigan are expensive. Instead, we’ll break down the state’s no-fault policy to give you a better idea of where these steep numbers are coming from:

In recent reviews of your auto policy, you may have noticed an assessment fee, which is sometimes referred to as “Programs Required by State Laws” or “MCCA assessment”. This fee offsets the cost and coverage afforded by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), the association that provides coverage for catastrophic medical claims that occur in the state.  MCCA was created by the State Legislature in 1978 to account for Michigan’s unique auto insurance no-fault law.

Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance is lifetime medical coverage and unique to Michigan, provides vehicle occupants unlimited lifetime coverage for medical expenses that occur as a result of an auto accident. Insurance companies operating within the state cover PIP claims up to $555,000.  Once a claim is over that threshold, the insurance company is reimbursed by the MCCA. The MCCA reviews data annually to determine what the required assessment fee will be for insurance carriers. Insurance carriers then pass that fee to policyholders on a per-vehicle basis.

Assessment Fees Graph

Research has indicated a steady incline in severe injuries along with an increase in the cost of medical treatment since 2001, which is directly associated with a steady increase in the assessment fee.  There have been 37,364 injury claims reported to the MCCA since July 1978 for a total of over $153 billion.


Individuals who are involved in catastrophic auto losses can benefit greatly by the uniqueness of Michigan no-fault. However, the downside to this unique coverage is that it places Michigan with one of the highest auto insurance rates in the country.  Legislators continue to brainstorm ways to reform Michigan’s no-fault law in an attempt to offer sufficient benefits to individuals injured in an auto accident, as well as assisting in lowering Michigan’s escalating auto insurance costs.

Whether you need guidance through handling a claim of your own, or assistance in understanding the ‘why’ behind your premium, we’re here to guide you as you navigate the intricate parts of your policy.

The Evolution of Group Health Plans | 108 Years of Compelling Reforms [Infographic]

Many legislators, business owners, and employees have waved the white flag in regards to understanding and solving problems surrounding the accessibility and cost of group health insurance. For the last decade, it seems that the issue of employer-offered health benefits has been discussed, argued over, and budgeted for to the exclusion of all else.

One of the top questions asked when discussing group health insurance is,  “What’s going to happen next with the Affordable Care Act?”

Unfortunately, that is a complex question that contains too many variables for anyone to be able to easily answer.

However, to view the issues we are experiencing as new or isolated and directly resulting from our current political climate would be shortsighted. It may be beneficial to review the evolution of health insurance plans in order to gain some perspective on how quickly (or slowly) things can change.


Heath Insurance Plan Timeline

In 1910, Montgomery Ward & Co. entered into one of the earliest group insurance contracts. This triggered the establishment of physician service and industrial health plans. Although definitely not a standard in our society, they were available.

By 1920, 16 states attempted to develop laws aimed at requiring health insurance programs. Think about that for a moment – 100 years ago, the first government-mandated health plans were introduced. However, all 16 efforts failed.

Fast forward to 1943 when the War Labor Board ruled to freeze wages. The wage freeze did not apply to fringe benefits, however, which prompted the business culture seen in today’s society of using benefits to recruit and retain top talent. If an employer was prohibited from paying more in wages during a severe labor shortage, offering health insurance was a great opportunity to sweeten the pot for prospective employees. Employer-provided health insurance started to become a standard benefit for employees. It became a considerable part of employment planning and decision-making. And consequently, it developed into an expectation and eventually, a nation-wide mandate.

Over the next 60 years, the structure of how health insurance was administered remained largely unchanged; Employers contract with insurance companies to manage their risk and provide a network of medical providers at a cost below retail. Likewise, the government has kept up a steady stream of regulations to contribute to the rising cost of care and administration of health insurance.


So here we are, in 2018. Just over 100 years after the first health plan was established and now employer-provided health insurance ranks in the top 3 business expenses for nearly every employer in the United States. Unarguably, this is an unsustainable path and an opportunity for another disruption.

And that is exactly what’s approaching.

Both options and opportunities for change are presenting themselves daily. The announcement of Amazon’s pioneering endeavors in regards to health insurance are promising and if nothing else, an icebreaker to shift the course.

How is your business handling the upcoming disruption? Are you holding your breath and hoping it will all go away or looking at potential opportunities? As your Proven Guide, we provide options to meet your current needs and help you navigate the changes to come.

Let’s chart this course together!



Cost Control Strategy: “Don’t step over a dollar to pick up a dime”

Cost Control Strategy

Think about your last renewal – how much time was spent on interviewing new agents, market selection, filling out applications/meeting with numerous insurance company Loss Control Representatives, and dealing with the “quoting process”? Now, think about how much time was actually spent sitting down to create an action plan to help you truly control your exposures and reduce your insurance spend over the next 5-10 years, rather than just the upcoming year.

In general, insurance agents are known to do a lousy job educating buyers on how to truly control their insurance costs. Most agents do a fine job of focusing on Cost Control Tactics – quoting every year, jumping to the newest/hottest market, hounding the carriers for a slight rate reduction, etc. But unfortunately, focusing solely on the tactics makes it difficult to prioritize addressing and creating a Strategy, which will help you control your insurance costs beyond just this renewal.


        “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten.”

                                                                                                                                           -Bill Gates                                                          

It’s important to put a strategy in place that will allow you to own the process. By implementing a strategy, you’ll be able to truly take control of your insurance destiny, rather than being stuck in the same old recycled insurance tactics. As your Proven Guide, we are committed to delivering Value Driven Guidance to your organization through everything we do.

Let’s develop an action plan together!


FMCSA puts final nail in the coffin for restart regs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration confirmed on its website that the 2013 regulations on the 34-hour restart will not go back into effect, given the results of a study released this week.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has notified Congress that the required study of the those regs revealed they provided no safety benefit. The notification verified a DOT Inspector General notice issued last week on the study’s conclusions. Continue reading “FMCSA puts final nail in the coffin for restart regs”

Safety Inspection Blitz Oct. 16 to Oct. 22

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will ramp up enforcement activity starting Sunday for its annual Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement blitz.

From Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, law enforcement agencies across North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at unsafe driving by both commercial motor vehicle drivers and car drivers. Continue reading “Safety Inspection Blitz Oct. 16 to Oct. 22”

DOT Proposes Speed Limiter Rule

Federal safety regulators are proposing that heavy-duty vehicles be equipped with speed-limiting devices set to a specific maximum speed. A notice of proposed rulemaking was issued jointly on Aug. 26 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The NPRM comes after a decade-long push by trucking and safety advocates to put such a requirement in place for trucks and other commercial vehicles. Continue reading “DOT Proposes Speed Limiter Rule”