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Your employees do a lot for your business. You want to show them that you have their best interests at heart. Offering benefits is one way to do so. image of employees gathered

Not only do you recognize the importance of protecting employees, so does the law. Some benefits are not options, but requirements. Businesses often have to provide certain perks to their employees. These particular benefits often act as valuable personal protection for your workforce.

Required Employee Benefits

Employee benefits usually involve various forms of insurance. Therefore, multiple laws cover whether certain businesses must offer certain benefits. As a business owner, always make sure you provide the benefits required of you. These might include

  • Health Insurance: Many employers have to offer some or all employees health packages. The employer usually shares the cost of the policy with the employee. These packages usually must meet standards set forth in health insurance law. Whether the employee takes this coverage is up to them. However, the employer usually must at least offer it.
  • Workers’ Compensation: If an employee gets hurt on the job, they might have to miss work to recover. This means they might not be able to receive income because they cannot work. Most businesses have to provide workers’ comp as a result. It serves as a way to help an employee receive income while recovering from an injury.
  • Overtime Pay: When certain employees work past their required time, they qualify for more pay.
  • Minimum Wage: Federal and state law require some or all employees to receive pay at a minimum level. The minimum wage is one way of making sure that employees can pay their own bills.

A variety of laws might govern how businesses must compensate their employees. Check your local statutes for more information on the benefits you must offer.

Optional, Additional Benefits

Good perks often provide incentives for your employees to stay with your company. So, most businesses provide a wide range of benefits. Beyond required benefits, additional perks you might offer include

  • Dental insurance for adults (many health insurance plans come with pediatric dental insurance)
  • Paid maternity or paternity leave
  • Paid holidays
  • Club memberships such as gyms or health spas
  • Life insurance and retirement accounts (some states might require this coverage)

And everything from pay raises to severance pay.

When it comes time to setting up your company's benefits plan, talk to your commercial insurance agent at 734-421-9900. They can help you enroll in benefits in compliance with the law. You can then work on offering extra benefits that provide workers with more comfort.

Also Read: Reducing Worker Falls on Icy Outside Surfaces and What to Consider When Launching a New Business

When renting a home, you walk a fine line between personal ownership and leasing. The homeowner owns the property, and likely has a lot to do with its upkeep. However, you live in the rented space, and probably put a lot of work into keeping it nice. Not only that, the property’s owner likely won’t take anyimage of girl in new apartment responsibility for your own possessions.

When you move your belongings into the rental, they still belong to you. You want to protect these items in case they sustain harm. Usually, you can do so with your renters insurance's possessions protection.

Determining What to Claim on Possessions Protection

Your renters insurance policy will likely come with possessions coverage. This protection can cover your personal items in case perils like fire, theft or weather hazards damage them.

Many insurers will allow you to declare an approximate value of your personal items. Your insurer will likely use this value as your policy’s limit. This is the maximum compensation you might receive from a claim.

So, to make sure you get appropriate limits, take a close look at the value of your possessions. The key here is to get enough money to replace your most valuable possessions. However, you might be better served to keep certain possessions off your estimates. If you can keep your limits as low as practically possible, you might be able to keep your renter insurance premiums lower. However, don't cheat yourself and neglect getting coverage that might make replacement easier.

Items to include in your value estimate might be:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Food values—about 1-2 weeks of grocery bills
  • Electronics—computers, tablets, cell phones
  • Medication or medical device costs (even if you have health insurance)
  • Appliances owned by the renter (not by the homeowner)
  • Tools
  • Novelties like toys, books or movies

Items you might be able to leave off your possessions coverage includes easily replaceable items like toiletries, undergarments or other items of lesser value.

Keep in mind that your policy will likely come with a maximum limit on possessions coverage. Furthermore, possessions coverage might exclude particularly unique items. For example, you might not be able to cover jewelry or artwork within standard possessions coverage. You might have to invest in policy riders to extend coverage to these exceptionally valuable items.

Therefore, when looking for renters insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Ask them to help you determine the adequate value of your possessions coverage. Keep documentation of your possessions’ values, such as appraisals or receipts, to help justify these claims. Let Insurance Planning Services help you with your renters insurance and possession coverage, get started today by calling 734-421-9900 or 800-220-5582.

Across America, many employees are injured each year by slipping and falling in or around their workplaces. During the winter, these risks are higher. Cold temperatures and slick, icy surfaces provide more opportunities for workers to lose their balance. This can happen on parking lots, sidewalks or indoors.image of a slippery fall warning sign

Your company’s workers compensation insurance can help cover employee losses should they sustain a fail. This includes compensation for lost time at work and medical bills.

Preventing these accidents, though, is more important. Here’s what to look for to do just that.

Recognize the Risks

Visualize the way your employees come to work each day. They get out of their vehicle and approach the building. Even if they walk less than 10 feet from their vehicle to the office entrance, those 10 feet of concrete, pavement, dirt or grass provide a significant slip-and-fall risk. The individual walks into the building. This floor could be wet due to outdoor conditions. He or she proceeds to enter into the work space. The moisture from his or her shoes comes with them. This presents additional risks.

Tips for Minimizing Risks

To reduce worker fall risks, focus on keeping surfaces as dry as possible. Here are some steps to do this during icy weather conditions.

  • Hire a team to clean away any snow or ice build-up. Be sure the company does this frequently enough to reduce the pile up of snow or ice.
  • If you must, by law, see to certain pathways before others. Take care of those areas first. Then expand your de-icing techniques to other areas as needed.
  • Monitor floor conditions in the building. This is especially true in immediate doorways leading to the outdoors. This area can freeze up as well. This creates more ice.
  • Workers handling business tasks outside need proper shoes. Discuss treads on shoes with employees. Look for products that can reduce slips on icy surfaces. Mark hazardous areas where employees should avoid.
  • Keep carpets and mats clean and dry. No matter where they are in the business, keep them as clean as possible.
  • State laws usually determine whether falls in parking lots are the responsibility of the company. However, most state laws say sidewalk falls are the company's responsibility.

These tips can help reduce worker falls due to wet conditions. However, this is an ongoing problem. Being consistent is essential. Notice areas where the problem continues to persist. Look for more extensive treatment and solutions for these areas. Improving drainage, for example, can help.

If you need workers' compensation insurance coverage, contact one of our agents today at 734-421-9900.

Also Read: Prevent Business Insurance Claims with These Risk Reduction Tips

Posted 2:33 PM

image of girl in new apartmentRenters insurance is one of the most important investments for those who live in properties owned by someone else. It provides a wealth of financial protection. Its aim is to protect you, the renter.

However, it often does not protect the property owner. It does not protect any of the property owner's possessions either. In this way, most policies do not cover appliances. There are some limitations here. You should read through your policy to know the specific coverage you have.

Understanding Personal Property Coverage

Renters insurance includes personal property coverage. It can cover the cost to replace your belongings in the instance of a covered loss. Losses may result from fires, theft, vandalism or storm-related loss. That does not mean your policy includes all of the items within your rented space. Typically, appliances and other furnishings owned by the property owner will not have coverage under your policy.

Here are some examples. James home starts on fire due to a faulty appliance. The property owner provided the stove. The property owner bought and maintains the stove. When James moves out, he cannot take the stove with him. In this case, the renters insurance policy paid by James does not cover the stove. The property owner's coverage will cover not just the appliance but other losses James incurs since the owner is likely liable.

However, down the hall, someone steals Liz's microwave from her home. Liz purchased and maintains the microwave. She will take it with her when she moves. This is part of her personal property and possessions. In this case, the renters insurance policy will often cover the microwave loss. The policy will pay Liz based on the value and terms of the policy. She will not need to file a claim with the property owner's insurance.

It is important to remember that renters insurance has limits. These policies usually have a maximum amount of coverage per item (such as the value of the microwave). It also has a maximum total payout for the incident. You can adjust how much this is, though.

Work with your renters insurance agent to learn more about your policy. Clarify which appliances you own. Be sure your policy offers enough coverage to reduce the risks of loss regarding appliances. A clear policy is important in every case when it comes to renters insurance and property ownership.

Talk to an insurance agent with Insurance Planning Service at (800) 220-5582 about how we can help you get appliance protection. They can help you determine how to best structure your policy.

Rental Property Seasonal Maintenance

Choosing Appropriate Renters Liability Coverage

Monitor Your Changing Renters Insurance Needs

Lighthouse Insurance Group has closed the Livonia branch office location at 15624 Farmington Road, Livonia as of November 30, 2017.  It is important to know that this closure will not cause any change to the team you have become familiar to working with. 

 Rick Bernard and Mariah Cosper will continue to be available for our commercial (business) clients and the personal lines teams for new business and customer service remain the same.  Our hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday.  Plus, our 24/7 support remains available on our website ( under the customer center tab to report claims, pay your bill or submit a change request. 

Continue to contact us at:

We look forward to continuing to serve your insurance needs.  Thank you!

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Insurance Planning Service - Mailing Address
4808 Broadmoor Ave SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake