5 Key Commercial Insurance Considerations for 2022 - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

5 Key Commercial Insurance Considerations for 2022

Standard and Poor’s 2022 Commercial Insurance Industry Outlook is now available. Here are 5 takeaways.

RiskAndInsurance.com | By: Abi Potter Clough | December 13, 2021 | Commercial Insurance

2021 was a pivotal year in the risk and insurance industry, and 2022 will no doubt bring new risks to light.

The pandemic created supply chain issues that restricted the ability of many businesses to operate, and spurred the need for innovative technology solutions to allow workers to do their jobs from home. New concerns arose to accompany these changes — like the increased cybersecurity concerns from a newly minted work-from-home workforce.

Ransomware and phishing attacks struck companies and organizations from every industry, even insurance companies.

But opportunities also emerged for companies to work differently.

Innovations in technology allowed work to continue from home as people found new ways to collaborate. Virtual tools made it easier for claims adjusters to view damaged property remotely and to settle claims virtually. Telehealth visits allowed injured workers to see their providers safely without risking leaving their homes during the pandemic.

There is no going back to the way things used to be — the new normal following the pandemic means technological innovations are here to stay. Insurance companies are working differently, and the trend is expected to continue.

To better understand how this flurry of changes will affect the commercial insurance industry, S&P Global Market Intelligence released its report, “The Big Picture – 2022 Insurance Industry Outlook.”

The company’s short take on the industry outlook for 2022 is that insurers will continue to need to respond swiftly to changing market conditions and be willing to “shatter their status quo” to manage the challenges that arise from new and evolving risks in many areas.

In the report, S&P Global Market Intelligence identified five significant areas of focus for the risk and insurance industry next year.

1) Technology Continues to be Key for Commercial Insurance

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Shield Agency Flood Insurance

Considering A Home In A Flood Zone? What You Need To Know About Flood Insurance

Water views are fantastic, but the thought of a flood in your home can be scary. Flood insurance works to protect homeowners against the devastation that can be caused by a flood. Here, we’ll take a look at what you need to know if you’re considering buying a home that requires flood insurance.

Who Needs Flood Insurance?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines a flood zone as an area that has a 1% or greater chance of flooding in the coming year. Changes in water levels can mean that a home may be in a flood zone one year, but not the next.

If you’re considering purchasing a home in a flood zone, you’ll need to have flood insurance in order to move forward with the purchase of your new home. Sometimes, flood insurance is covered as a part of homeowner’s association (HOA) fees. In other cases, homeowners need to purchase flood insurance on their own.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

Thankfully, your flood insurance policy may cover all direct damage related to a flood. In the event of a flood, your insurance policy may cover functional aspects of your home (such as a sewer system that has backed up as a result of a flood), and damage to personal items. It’s important to note that your policy is specific to you and your home, and you’ll need to work with your insurance agent to fully understand your flood insurance coverage.

Need Flood Insurance? We’re Here To Help.

Reach out to Shield Insurance Agency, serving Michigan, for more information about how a flood insurance policy can help keep you, your family, and your home protected against the unexpected.

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U.S. saw its 4th-warmest year on record, fueled by a record-warm December - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

U.S. saw its 4th-warmest year on record, fueled by a record-warm December

Nation struck with 20 separate billion-dollar disasters in 2021

NOAA.gov | January 10, 2022

On September 4, 2021, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldiers and the Bureau of Land Management-California’s Folsom Lake Veterans Hand Crew constructed a handline, cleared brush, and dealt with hot spots north of Lake Davis and Portola during the largest wildfire of 2021–California’s Dixie Fire. The western wildfires of 2021 were one of 20 separate billion-dollar disasters that struck the United States last year. (Joe Bradshaw/Bureau of Land Management)

The year 2021 was marked by extremes across the U.S., including exceptional warmth, devastating severe weather and the second-highest number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters on record.  

The nation also saw an active wildfire year across the West as the north Atlantic Basin stayed busy with its third most-active Atlantic hurricane season on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Here’s a recap of the climate and extreme weather events across the U.S. in 2021:

Climate by the numbers

December 2021 | Full year 2021 

The December contiguous U.S. temperature was 39.3 degrees F, 6.7 degrees above average, making it the warmest December on record and exceeding the previous warmest December in 2015.

Ten states — Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas — also had their warmest Decembers on record.

For 2021, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 54.5 degrees F, 2.5 degrees above the 20th-century average and ranked as the fourth-warmest year in the 127-year period of record. The six warmest years on record have all occurred since 2012.

Maine and New Hampshire had their second-warmest year on record with 19 additional states across the Northeast, Great Lakes, Plains and West experiencing a top-five warmest year. Meanwhile, Alaska’s average annual temperature was 26.4 degrees F, 0.4 of a degree above the long-term average and the coldest year since 2012.

Precipitation across the contiguous U.S. totaled 30.48 inches (0.54 of an inch above average), which placed 2021 in the middle third of the climate record. Massachusetts had its ninth-wettest year on record, while Montana ranked ninth driest on record for 2021.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought coverage remained fairly significant and steady throughout much of 2021, with a minimum extent of 43.4% occurring on May 25 and maximum coverage of 55.5% on December 7.

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5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage

ConsumerReports.org | By Paul Hope | Published February 18, 2021 | Updated January 5, 2022

  • Never use a generator indoors or within 20 feet of your house.
  • Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor.
  • If you use your car to stay warm or charge devices, make sure it’s outside the garage.
  • Never use a device (such as an oven) to produce heat unless that’s its intended purpose.
  • Indoor portable heaters should have an automatic shutoff switch in case they tip over.

Winter storms leave thousands of Americans without power each year, but there are several steps you can take to stay warm and safe.

The biggest threat from a power outage, of course, is the lack of heat. But even during an extended outage, there are ways to survive the cold.

The danger is that some alternative heating systems pose their own threats, such as fire and carbon monoxide. But there are precautions you can take to minimize the danger.

Here are five ways to stay warm—and safe—during a power outage.

1. If You Can, Get a Generator

Even if you’ve already lost power, it’s not too late to look for a portable generator. Sales always spike during weather emergencies, but it’s still worth trying.

Some major retailers have told CR that they’re able to reallocate the supply of generators to affected areas in as little as a day or two. A good strategy is to show up early at a store to grab one before they’re sold out.

If you’re fortunate enough to find a portable generator, use our guide to get it up and running quickly and safely. Once the outage is over, hire an electrician to install a transfer switch or interlock device so that the generator can power entire circuits in your home, which is both safer and more helpful.

If you can’t find a portable generator at a home center or power equipment dealer, try looking for a recreational generator at places like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, or even at a local RV or boat dealership.

These smaller generators aren’t really designed for power outages, but their output of 1,800 to 2,000 watts is still enough to power a large space heater and charge cell phones, which may be enough to get you through an outage.How to Run a Generator Safely

2. Stay in a Southern-Facing Room

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22 Tiny Mental Health Habits That Can Improve Your Life In 2022 - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

22 Tiny Mental Health Habits That Can Improve Your Life In 2022

Huffpost.com | By Amber Gibson12/28/2021 06:44pm EST | Mental Health | Health Insurance

Self-care won’t solve every problem, but these quick and easy activities may at least bring some happiness to your day.

Another roller coaster year is coming to an end, and the lingering effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have certainly taken a collective toll on our mental health.

There’s no way to know what 2022 has in store for us, nor can self-care erase the grief, trauma or other challenges we may have endured over the last 12 months. But as we look toward the new year, we can adopt healthy new habits to help incrementally improve our days, even if just for a moment. Sometimes, that’s more than enough.

Below are 22 happiness tips to try in the new year:

Start a gratitude journal.

This only takes a few minutes. Recording positive things about your day, whether major achievements or simple pleasures, can reduce stress, improve sleep and even foster better relationships by building a sense of empathy.

“There is no right or wrong way to write a journal, but I recommend that this becomes a daily exercise,” 

John Lee, director of clinical psychology at Executive Mental Health.

Lee suggests journaling at the same time each day, whether before dinner or before bed, and identifying at least one item for daily gratitude.

Take five deep breaths.

“Stress has many physical manifestations,” explained Amanda Goldstein, a psychiatrist in California. This can include issues like stomachaches or other digestive problems.

“By changing your breathing pattern, you can trick your brain into suppressing your fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system and increase your parasympathetic activity, or rest and digest. Not only will this make you feel calmer, but it will also help you digest your lunch better.”

Keep a light therapy lamp on your desk.

“Your circadian rhythm regulates your sleep-wake cycle, which affects bodily functions and behavioral responses,” Goldstein said. “Exposure to sunlight, especially first thing in the morning, helps keep your clock on time. Since most of us work indoors, a light therapy lamp serves this purpose and gives a nice boost in energy and mood. And as an added bonus, it provides excellent lighting for video calls.” (Here’s how to use one properly.)

Drink water.

Our bodies are made up of 60% water, yet up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

Sara Cullen, founder and CEO of GEM, said drinking enough water daily helps boost her mood. “Water is the essence of us and what we need in order for our micronutrients and functions to operate,” she said.

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Managing Diabetes is an Uphill Climb

Managing Diabetes is an Uphill Climb

Source: Diabetes.org

Giving support to those you love can make all the difference.

Diabetes affects millions, but its impact goes far beyond that.

It affects everyone—family, friends, and loved ones.

When a family member, especially a child, is diagnosed, it sends an emotional shockwave. What are the medical costs? What about getting proper care? How can you help manage diabetes at school? Suddenly, you have the world on your shoulders. But you also have support. There are countless ways to help your loved ones live a healthy, happy life. Reach out and ask for help: we have it for you here.

Talk to a health care provider

Too often, it can be hard to know where to start when you find out someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider what you can do to keep your loved one safe and healthy. Reach out to other parents or family members who have been impacted by this disease. You are now part of a worldwide community. And asking for help is the first step in supporting your loved one’s journey to health.

Parents: it’s a challenge you can meet head on

Hearing that your child or loved one has diabetes can be a shock. But after that shock wears off, know that there are plenty of things you can do to help along the way. Sure, daily life with diabetes can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge you can meet head on.

With planning and preparation, you can get back to daily life and resume your routine activities. You can help make physical activity part of every day. You can create a balanced eating plan for your loved one—one that everyone can live with and thrive on. Throughout it all, know that diabetes can’t keep your loved one from doing whatever they want or achieving their highest goals. There are Olympic athletes with diabetes, as well as professional football players, politicians, actors, rock stars and CEOs. So, take a deep breath. You can do so much to make sure the people you love are thriving as they manage their diabetes.

Keep them safe at school

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Georgia’s youngest farmer, Kendall Rae Johnson, is only 6 years old, and she loves ‘playing in the dirt’

By Lee Alexander and Chiamaka Ofulue, CNN

Updated 9:53 AM ET, Sun January 9, 2022

(CNN) At just 6 years old, Kendall Rae Johnson is making history as the youngest certified farmer in Georgia. Kendall Rae says her love of farming comes from her great grandmother Kate Johnson. “She taught me all kinds of stuff about gardening. Like, how collard greens grow — you start with a stem and put it in the dirt and it grows,” the young girl said.

 A 2-year-old from California is the youngest American to become a member of Mensa

Ursula Johnson, her mother, has only encouraged Kendall Rae’s love of gardening.

“When we found out that she really enjoyed this whole process of putting a seed in and seeing something come out of it, we were like, ‘Okay we have her interest,’ ” she said. So, for her fourth birthday, Kendall Rae’s parents built her a small patio garden at their home in Atlanta and threw her a garden party.

Two years later, Kendall Rae’s patio garden has grown into a small backyard farm that produces carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberries, okra, tomatoes, blueberries and even Carolina Reapers. “It’s a scary name for a pepper,” Kendall Rae said, “because it makes your mouth real hot.”

For Kendall Rae, who is home schooled, the backyard farm also doubles as her classroom. “She’s learning hands-on and then she’s able to bring it into the house and do school work, because she still needs to know her a-b-c’s,” her mother said. “There is always a lesson in digging in the dirt.””I like playing in the dirt because it makes me happy. It makes me want to garden and share it with my friends,” Kendall Rae said.

Check out the rest of this adorable story at CNN

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Healthcare Enrollment Ends Soon - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Healthcare Enrollment Ends Soon

The Deadline to register for healthcare ends January 15th. | Healthcare Enrollment

Let Carlos with Shield Insurance Agency get you signed up and covered.

You can call or text 616.777.3017 or email Carlos and get covered today!

Need other insurance? Shield Insurance Agency is locally owned and operated for over 20 years and can help with all your insurance needs!

Shield Insurance Carries Every Kind of Insurance Imaginable: Healthcare Enrollment

Healthcare Enrollment

You can call or text 616.777.3017 or email Carlos and get covered today!

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Heather Boone wins the USA TODAY Best of Humankind Awards Person of the Year for improving her community's access to shelter, food - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Heather Boone wins the USA TODAY Best of Humankind Award

Heather Boone wins the USA TODAY Best of Humankind Awards Person of the Year for improving her community’s access to shelter, food

USA TODAY NETWORK Ventures staff

Pastor Heather Boone was placed in a small church in Monroe, Michigan, over a decade ago. 

After three years in the community, she and her husband decided they wanted to stay in Monroe and start their own church, Oaks of Righteousness. 

When they went to look at the building, a homeless man was sleeping outside the doors. The building was a warming shelter at the time.   

“I was thinking, wow, I’m taking this man’s home away,” Boone said. “I don’t want to do that.” 

So they kept the shelter open, and eventually Boone and her husband moved in to raise money to buy a bigger building. That grew into Oaks Village, which is now a food pantry, clothes closet, soup kitchen, free childcare center, free medical clinic and a nonprofit grocery store, in addition to the shelter.  

For the kindness Boone has shown her community, she was named the USA TODAY Best of Humankind Awards Person of the Year. 

“There is no one road to homelessness,” she said during the show. “These are people just like you. We are all just a few paychecks away from being in this same predicament.” 

The win was announced during USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Awards, hosted by Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of TODAY with Hoda and Jenna.

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Ransomware Attacks Persists Even as High-Profile Attacks Have Slowed - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Ransomware Attacks Persists Even as High-Profile Attacks Have Slowed

Claims Journal | By Eric Tucker and Alan Suderman | December 20, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP)–In the months since President Joe Biden warned Russia’s Vladimir Putin that he needed to crack down on ransomware gangs in his country, there hasn’t been a massive attack like the one last May that resulted in gasoline shortages. But that’s small comfort to Ken Trzaska.

Trzaska is president of Lewis & Clark Community College, a small Illinois school that canceled classes for days after a ransomware attack last month that knocked critical computer systems offline.

“That first day,” Trzaska said, “I think all of us were probably up 20-plus hours, just moving through the process, trying to get our arms around what happened.”

Even if the United States isn’t currently enduring large-scale, front-page ransomware attacks on par with ones earlier this year that targeted the global meat supply or kept millions of Americans from filling their gas tanks, the problem hasn’t disappeared. In fact, the attack on Trzaska’s college was part of a barrage of lower-profile episodes that have upended the businesses, governments, schools and hospitals that were hit.

The college’s ordeal reflects the challenges the Biden administration faces in stamping out the threat _ and its uneven progress in doing so since ransomware became an urgent national security problem last spring.

U.S. officials have recaptured some ransom payments, cracked down on abuses of cryptocurrency, and made some arrests. Spy agencies have launched attacks against ransomware groups and the U.S. has pushed federal, state and local governments, as well as private industries, to boost protections.

Yet six months after Biden’s admonitions to Putin, it’s hard to tell whether hackers have eased up because of U.S. pressure. Smaller-scale attacks continue, with ransomware criminals continuing to operate from Russia with seeming impunity. Administration officials have given conflicting assessments about whether Russia’s behavior has changed since last summer. Further complicating matters, ransomware is no longer at the top of the U.S.-Russia agenda, with Washington focused on dissuading Putin from invading Ukraine.

Ransomware Attacks

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