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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: michigan 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

Tornado Facts

Tornadoes are one of the most destructive forces in nature. A tornado’s whirling winds can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible before a tornado hits.

  • The most powerful tornadoes in the world occur within the United States. 
  • Tornadoes have been reported in every state during every season, but the majority occur in spring and early summer
  • The majority of tornadoes occur between 3 P.M. and 9 P.M.
  • Approximately 1,000 tornadoes touch down in the United States every year
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.

Tornado Terminology

Tornadoes can strike quickly so it is important to monitor the weather closely during any type of storm activity. The United States National Weather Survey will issue alerts during storms to inform people of the likelihood of a tornado forming. Monitoring these broadcasts and understanding what the different alerts mean can help you respond quickly and appropriately.

Tornado Watch: Current weather conditions are ideal for the formation and development of a tornado. Increase weather monitoring and prepare to seek shelter immediately

Tornado Warning: A tornado is occurring somewhere in the area or a tornado touchdown is imminent. This is typically when a tornado siren will sound. Seek shelter immediately and wait until weather stations announce it is safe to exit.

Pre-Tornado Planning

Be prepared! Too often the biggest contributor to tornado injuries and deaths is failure to respond to warnings. People who are not prepared are often caught off guard by tornadoes and don’t have enough time to seek proper shelter or warn others about approaching tornadoes. The following tips if implemented before storms can be the greatest method of preventing tornado deaths.

  • Develop a plan for your organization on what to do in the event of a tornado. Tornado action plans differ greatly depending on location, type or organization, and what is going on at the time of the tornado, but all tornado plans include the following:
    • Identified and marked tornado shelter areas
    • A schedule of when drills and employee training will occur
    • Prepare tornado relief kits (battery power flashlights, food, water, blankets, radio, etc.)
    • Inform members of tornado emergency procedures
  • Educate staff on how to assist guests and what to do during a tornado. Staff should be trained on what areas to search for guests, where the safest areas are depending on their location, and how to communicate with other staff.
  • Know your community’s warning system. Depending on where you live your warning system may differ from somewhere else. It is important to know what the system is so you can respond immediately.
  • Locate all gas, water, and electrical on/off switches and make sure all staff is familiar with their locations and the proper procedures for shutting them off. This step is important because after a severe storm or tornado gas leaks can result in explosions, water leaks can cause further damage, and leaving the power on can cause electrocutions.
  • Monitor radio and television for information. Monitoring radio and television for inclement weather is always advisable, especially if any outdoor activities are planned. It is important to increase the frequency of monitoring when the skies look threatening or if thunderstorms are forecasted.
  • Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm to receive warnings. These devices are activated during severe weather and turn and sound an alarm immediately once an alarm or watch is issued. To learn more about this life saving device visit
  • Make sure that designated tornado shelters are clear and accessible. All too often we use these designated spaces for storage of other items.

Tornado Warning Procedures

Once a warning is issued it is important to act quickly and make sure everyone is accounted for and safely located in the designated tornado shelter area. Depending on where you are when the warning is issued there are varying degrees of safe locations to be in during a tornado. The following instruction is based off recommendations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, are designed to help individuals determine the safest place to protect themselves.

Location When Tornado Strikes

The Safest Area During a Tornado

Buildings Buildings like these should have completed tornado protocols with designated tornado shelter areas. These shelter areas will typically be on the lowest level of the building. If there is no basement, the safest area will be close to the center of the building and the farthest away from doors, windows, and exterior walls. Also, it is important to get a sturdy piece of furniture and/or blanket and put your arms over your head. Locker rooms and bathrooms are often suitable tornado safety areas.
Vehicles with nearby structures Exit the vehicle immediately and get into a nearby building and follow the tornado safety protocol for the building. If traveling with a group of children in a van or bus ensure all children have exited the vehicle safely before leading them to the safest nearby building.
No nearby shelter If you are outdoors in a vehicle and a tornado is approaching do not attempt to outrun the tornado. Also, resist the temptation to stay in your vehicle, it is much safer to exit your vehicle and had to a low lying area like a ditch or depression, lay flat and cover your head. Also, make sure any children or campers are all accounted for and led safely to the nearest low-lying area.

If you are not in a vehicle and no shelter is within a safe distance find a ditch or depression, lie flat, and cover your head.

Be mindful of flying debris. The largest cause of tornado fatalities is from flying debris.


Cell PhoneMany cell phones have grown far beyond that of being a simple device for making telephone calls.  Smart phones actually include a sophisticated computer that enables it to take and transmit photos, connect to the internet and perform a wide variety of other functions. 

The cost of cell phones has risen in proportion to their sophistication.  And, while most cellular companies offer huge discounts on the device when upgrading a service contract, the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged or lost phone can be staggering.

When purchasing a new cell phone, the service providers almost always offer insurance for the phone.  I recently upgraded my phone and was offered insurance at a price of $6 - $7 per month.  At first glance that seems reasonable, right?  But when you think about it, that’s an insurance premium of $72 to $84 per year.  Then if something happens to the phone there is often a deductible, and then the phone you receive is often a refurbished phone, not a new one as you may think.

Before purchasing insurance through your cell phone provider, check with your homeowner’s insurance agent.  You may be surprised to learn that you can add coverage for cell phones to your homeowner’s insurance policy by scheduling it, much like the way you would insure jewelry.  The scope of coverage and price varies from one insurance company to another and they will usually charge a premium based on the value of the phone.  For example, one of the companies we represent offers scheduled coverage for cell phones, GPS units, and similar devices and they charge a premium of $6 for each $100 of its retail value.  In other words, the premium to insure a $600 smart phone would be $36.00 per year if added to this particular insurance company’s homeowner policy.  That’s about ½ of the premium charged if buying insurance through the cell phone company.  And, this particular insurance company has no deductible that applies to scheduled items.

With any insurance, you will want to review exclusions to be aware of things that the insurance won’t cover. With phones, the intent of the insurance is to cover the device itself so you may find exclusions to be things like loss of data/photos, costs associated with activating a new phone, damage to batteries, services covered under a warranty, obsolescence, etc. 

Call us at Insurance Planning Service for additional further information on insurance for many items - from cell phones, to jewelry,  bicycles to collections at 800-220-5582 or click here to contact us online.  We can help!

Insurance ReviewA new feature to our website that makes getting a policy review quick and easy!  In fact, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3!

STEP 1: From any page on our website, go to the CUSTOMER SERVICE tab at the top and click "Policy Review Request".

STEP 2: Fill in your contact information and you can even upload a copy of your current insurance policy's declarations page.

STEP 3: Ask any specific questions you have in the "Questions or Additional Infomation" box and click the "SUBMIT" button.

We promise to get back with you as possible with the results of our review!

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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