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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: homeowner insurance

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Michigan MillersIn a recent press release, the Michigan Miller's Mutual Insurance Company made the following announcement:

We are pleased to announce that the Boards of Directors of Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company and Western National Insurance Company have approved an affiliation of the two companies.  The affiliation will be final after the necessary regulatory approvals are completed, which we expect by the end of March, 2015.

The affiliation of Western National and Michigan Millers will result in expanded opportunities for both companies. "The affiliated companies already share similar organizational values and a long history of service to policyholders and partner independent agents", said Stuart Henderson, President and CEO of the Western National Insurance Group.  After the transaction is completed, the companies will achieve better geographical diversification, operational expense savings, and expanded market reach.  Most significantly, Michigan Millers will regain an "A- (Excellent)" rating from AM Best providing extra financial security for their policyholders and the last needed element for continued, strong growth.

"This is an exciting time for the folks at Western National and Michigan Millers," said Henderson.  The combined direct written premiums of the group at affiliation will be in excess of $550 million, with total assets of $1.1 billion and policyholder surplus of almost $400 million.

"We look forward to our future with Western National as we continue to grow and prosper for the benefit of our policyholders, partner agents, and employees," said Thomas Lindell, President and CEO of Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company.

Western National Insurance Group, headquartered in Edina, MN, is a super-regional group of seven active property and casualty insurance companies serving individuals, families and businesses in 19 states in the Midwestern, Northwestern and Southwestern U.S.  The group distributes its products exclusively through independent insurance agents.

Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company, headquartered in Lansing, MI, is a regional property and casualty insurance company serving individuals, families and businesses in Michigan and New York. The company distributes its products exclusively through independent insurance agents.

We understand that a consequence of this affiliation is that Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company will be stepping out of the the personal lines market completely.  As a result, all personal auto, homeowner and umbrella liability policies will be non-renewed beginning in April, 2015.

If you receive a non-renewal notice for your policy with Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company, call us at 800-220-5592 or contact us on the web.  We can help find a new insurance company to suit your needs.

Electrical Panel
Did you know?

  • An estimated 53,000 electrical fires occur in U.S. homes each year.  These fires cause more than 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage
  • The leading causes of building fires is poor maintenance of the electrical system
  • Most electrical fires and injuries could be prevented if homeowners would take the time to have their electrical systems inspected

Health home tips on electrical safety

  • Have the wiring in your home inspected.  Owners of homes more than 10 years old should be considered for inspection.  If your home is over 40 years old, an inspection is overdue.
  • Install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area of your home
  • Never place electrical cords under rugs or bedding.  Heat or sparks from these cords could cause a fire.
  • Frequently tripped circuit breakers, shocks and hot electrical switches are warnings that something is wrong with your electrical system or with an appliance in your home.
  • Hire a licensed professional to make repairs or modifications to your home's electrical system.
  • Install cover plates on all electrical outlets and switches.
  • Use 3-pronged plugs properly.  The third prong is there because the appliance must be grounded to prevent electrical shocks.
  • Be aware not to overload outlets.  Extension cords shouldn't be used as permanent fixtures in home rebuilding.
  • Once a building reaches 30 years, the wiring needs to be upgraded, updated or replaced to meet current code.

Article source: Michigan Millers Insurance Company

EarthquakeEarthquakes have been in the news lately a result of the recent 6.0 earthquake near Napa, California that caused deaths, injuries and considerable damage to property.   Earthquake is a phenomenon that occurs on almost a daily basis around the world.  In fact, as I’m writing this article, a minor earthquake with a magnitude of 3.7 was reported in Chile and a moderate quake with a magnitude of 5.6 occurred near the Samoan Islands in the Pacific earlier today, according to

Michigan is not exempt from earthquakes.  According to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Earthquake Hazards Program, Michigan experienced a 4.7 quake on August 10, 1947 centered southeast of Kalamazoo.  Chimneys were damaged, windows and plaster were broken, and brick cornices were downed.  It was felt in our surrounding states and in Ontario.  Another quake centered in Michigan struck outside of Lansing in September 1994 with a magnitude of 3.5.

There have been several other earthquakes centered outside of Michigan that were felt here - the most recent was in April 2008 measuring 57.  It was centered in southern Illinois.

Earthquake is one of two natural disasters that ARE NOT COVERED by standard insurance policies.  The other, of course, is flood.  While flood insurance must be purchased on a separate flood policy, coverage for earthquake can usually be added directly to a homeowner or business insurance policy.  Even though damage caused by earthquake can be significant, premiums in Michigan are surprisingly low because we are not prone to frequent or serious quakes.  Rates vary depending on the type of construction and the amount of coverage, and it can be purchased to cover the building (dwelling) and contents.  Deductibles for earthquake insurance are usually a percentage of the loss rather than a specific dollar amount.

If you have questions about earthquake insurance, call us at 800-220-5582 or contact us online.

Image courtesy: Naypong /

Clothes DryerDid you know?
  • According to the NFPA, there is an annual average (2006-2010) of 15,520 home fires, 29 deaths, 402 injuries and $192 million in property damage attributed to dryer fires.
  • The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them.

To help prevent fires:

  • Clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer after every use.
  • Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically.
  • Clean behind the dryer where lint can build up.
  • Replace the plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugate semi-rigid metal duct.
  • Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains.
  • Make sure that your clothes dryer is located in an area that has proper ventilation, airflow and enough airspace.
  • You should always turn off your dryer before you leave the house or when you go to bed.

Source courtesy: Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company

Home OfficeDo you sell things on eBay? Do you make any crafts that you sell at shows? Do you work from home? Does your child mow lawns in the summer? Have you earned more than $2,000 revenue in the last 12 month period from activities like these?  All of these things are considered a home business. Even if no customers come to the home there are exposures that can jeopardize a claim being paid.  A homeowner policy is not designed to cover the exposures that a home business generates.  Worse yet, if the business is run from a detached garage or outbuilding your homeowner’s insurance may not cover that building at all!  Contact us today if you may fall into this category to discuss the options available for your protection. 

Image courtesy Ambro /

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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

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