April Showers Bring May Flowers - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April Showers Bring May Flowers

For me, spring and fall are by far my favorite seasons.  After a long, cold winter it was so nice to be outside this past weekend and enjoy the sunshine!  I am so thankful to live in a location that gets to experience all four seasons.  As I was outside this weekend I could not help but stop & look around.  The creation seems to be bursting with life!  There were buds on almost every tree, the flowering trees seemed to explode over the weekend and the spring flowers are appearing everywhere.
     In a household with 4 teenagers, spring is very busy at our house with school activities, sports, year-end school programs, graduations, college finals, work, etc.  Everyone seems to be hustling about, going here, going there.  What about your household?  If it’s anything like mine, there are times when you feel you can’t even catch your breath.
     My challenge for myself and my family (and you too) is to try to schedule – yes schedule – time to take a break and enjoy some quiet time outside.  Enjoy the outdoors, the beautiful city that we live in, the nature around us.  It’s amazing how therapeutic listening to birds singing while soaking up the sunshine and smelling the fresh spring air is.  So take a break!  Allow yourself to relax and enjoy the beautiful spring season.

Submitted by Tammy

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How to Make a Flower Garden - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Make a Flower Garden

If you have been wanting to start a garden, now is the time! The long, sunny days are a great source of energy for plants, making summer the perfect season to start growing flowers. Any home could use a pop of color. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, it can be helpful to cover the basics. From sunlight to soil, there are a lot of choices that must be made in order to create a successful flower garden, but hopefully, this guide will help you through the process with just five easy steps!

  1. Choose a Location
    The first step is deciding where you would like to plant your flower bed. Most people make flower beds along the front or the side of their house, but feel free to get creative with it. You could create a garden around the base of a tree, around your mailbox, or you could use flowers to hide certain objects in your yards such as electrical equipment or pipes. Sunlight is important to consider when choosing a location. Depending on the flowers you choose, they could need up to six hours of sunlight. It is important to read the labels of any seeds or plants that you buy to ensure that the location will be able to provide the necessary amounts of sunlight.
  2. Choose your Flowers
    Different flowers will flourish in different climates and different types of soil. Temperatures and day length plays a key role in the photosynthetic cycle. Depending on what region you live in, some flowers may not be able to grow. The country is divided into climate zones. Research what plants suit your climate zone, or ask for help at a local plant nursery! They will be able to help you choose the right flowers to make your garden successful.
  3. Remove the Grass
    Once you have picked a location, it’s time to prepare the soil. Begin by removing the grassy layer. With a shovel, start digging in the center of the designated area. Continue to lift the sod with your shovel until all grassy parts have been removed. If digging isn’t your style, there is another option! Although it is a longer process, it’s far less labor-intensive. Instead of digging up the grass layer, set newspapers over the entire area. Cover the paper with rich planting soil or compost and, in four or five months, the grass will have died and the area will be rich and ready for soil preparation.
  4. Prepare the Soil
    The next step is to add planting soil on top of the garden bed you have just prepared. When choosing one of the six soil types, consider what types of flowers or plants will be living in the soil. Each plant grows better in a certain type of soil. Be sure to research which type of soil will be best for your flowerbed before you begin planting. Soil does its best when it is loose and breathable. Before you add the soil, break up any clumps of dirt and remove rocks. Lay down six inches of soil. Do not apply too much pressure to the soil; packing it down will increase the density, making it difficult for air and water to reach the roots. Once the soil is down, create an edge with rocks or bricks to separate the garden from the grass.
  5. Plant the Flowers
    Before you begin planting, make sure that the soil is ready. You want the soil to be moist but loose. If you are planting seeds, look at the packet to see how deep they should be planted. Seeds need oxygen to germinate – planting them too deep can inhibit growth. Begin by digging a hole; for most plants, you want the hole to be about ¾ the size of the pot. Once you have taken the plant out of the pot, gently remove and discard the excess dirt from the roots. Set the roots in the hole you prepared, and gently push topsoil back into the hole, but do not press down. The soil needs to remain loose and full of oxygen.

Now that you have your flower garden, remember to take care of it! Some areas may have enough rain to nourish the plants naturally. If you live in a dry area, you will need to water your flowers between rainstorms to make sure that they are healthy.

Happy summer, and happy planting!


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Drivers who rely on health insurance to pay for auto injuries may be responsible for their own medical bills if they lose or change their health insurance

Michigan Drivers Reminded to Take Quick Action after Health Insurance Changes That Could Leave Them Without Medical Coverage in the Event of an Auto Accident

March 08, 2021, | Press Release

(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding Michigan drivers who excluded or opted out of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage for themselves or a family member that changes to or loss of health insurance coverage in their household can also affect their auto insurance coverage. Drivers may need to take action within 30 days after such an event to ensure that no one in their household is left without medical coverage in the event of an auto accident.

“Auto insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when your health insurance changes, but people who choose to rely on their health insurance coverage for auto accident injuries must take quick action if they lose or change their health insurance,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “There may be serious financial consequences if someone in your household has opted out of or been excluded from PIP medical coverage, loses their qualified health insurance, and is then involved in an auto accident.”

Under Michigan’s new auto insurance law, drivers can select the level of PIP medical coverage that they want to have for themselves and their families, which covers their medical and other expenses if they are injured in an auto accident.

Drivers can opt-out or exclude themselves from PIP medical coverage, as long as they have qualified health coverage, which means either: Medicare Parts A and B or Medicare Advantage; a health insurance policy that doesn’t limit or exclude auto accident injuries and has a deductible of $6,000 or less per individual; or another Michigan auto policy, depending on their selection. Other family members in the household can also opt-out or exclude PIP medical on the auto policy if they have qualified health coverage or another auto insurance policy.

Under the new law, if a person who has opted out of or is excluded from PIP medical coverage loses qualified health coverage, and does not do one of the following in 30 days they may find themselves with no medical coverage if they are injured in an auto accident:

  • Get replacement qualified health coverage and provide proof of coverage to the auto insurer, or
  • Add PIP medical coverage to their auto insurance policy.

If they do not take action within 30 days, they will not be entitled to any PIP medical benefits, potentially making them personally responsible for their own medical bills in the event of an auto accident. During the 30-day period only, if the consumer is injured in a car accident before they have obtained alternate coverage, they may receive up to $2 million in coverage from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.

“It is critical that Michigan drivers or family members in their household who have opted out of or excluded PIP medical coverage who lose qualified health coverage get alternate coverage for auto accident injuries before this 30-day period runs out, whether by obtaining new health coverage or getting PIP medical coverage under an auto insurance policy,” said Fox. “If anyone in your family who opted out or excluded PIP medical coverage recently lost their qualified health coverage and does not know how to buy replacement health coverage, DIFS is here to help answer your questions so you and your family can get the coverage you need.”

Anyone who needs health coverage may purchase a plan and take advantage of subsidies to lower their costs during the current special enrollment period on the Health Insurance Marketplace, which runs from Feb. 15 through May 15. Coverage begins on the first day of the month after you enroll. To review coverage options and enroll, consumers can visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

Consumers with questions about auto insurance can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437) or visit Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance.

Consumer Hotline: 877-999-6442
Laura Hall / Media Contact
517-290-3779 or email to halll17@michigan.gov

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

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Drivers who rely on health insurance to pay for auto injuries may be responsible for their own medical bills if they lose or change their health insurance

DIFS: Make Sure Your Health and Auto Insurance Policies Work Together to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Drivers who rely on health insurance to pay for auto injuries may be responsible for their own medical bills if they lose or change their health insurance

Media Contact: Laura Hall, 517-290-3779, DIFS-press@michigan.gov
Consumer Hotline: 833-ASK-DIFS, AutoInsurance@michigan.gov

From: DIFS Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2022

(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding Michiganders that if someone in their household does not have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage, a change in their health insurance can also affect their auto insurance coverage. Under Michigan’s auto insurance law that went into effect in 2020, eligible Michiganders may now choose to opt out of or exclude themselves or family members from PIP medical, but they must take quick action after a change in health insurance or they risk not having medical coverage in the event of an auto accident.

“Your auto insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind if you lose your health insurance, but Michiganders may now rely on their health insurance coverage for auto accident injuries and they must take quick action to protect themselves and their families after a change,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “There can be serious financial consequences if someone in your household does not have PIP medical coverage, loses their qualified health coverage, and is then injured in an auto accident without taking the appropriate action.”

Michigan’s auto insurance law now gives Michigan drivers the chance to choose from six different PIP medical coverage levels when they buy or renew their auto insurance. PIP covers medical bills and other expenses for those who are injured in an auto accident.

For people who have Qualified Health Coverage (QHC), two options allow them to remove PIP medical coverage for themselves and/or eligible household members. To count as QHC, the driver’s health insurance policy must not exclude or limit coverage for auto accident injuries and must have an individual deductible of $6,000 or less. Medicare Parts A and B or Medicare Advantage also count as QHC, but VA Health Benefits do not.

If a person who has been excluded from PIP has a change in their health coverage, they may have no medical coverage in the event of an auto accident. To prevent this from happening, DIFS is urging Michiganders who have a health insurance change in their household to A.C.T.:

  • A – Ask your auto insurance company or agent about your PIP medical coverage choice and find out if you need QHC to maintain your current selection.
  • C – Contact your health insurer to determine if your new policy counts as QHC and to get an updated QHC letter.
  • T -Tell your auto insurance company immediately if you lose your QHC. You have 30 days to obtain replacement health insurance or make a different PIP medical selection, or you risk not having medical coverage for yourself and your family in the event of a crash.

Drivers who do not secure replacement PIP medical coverage or QHC will not be entitled to any PIP medical benefits after 30 days, potentially making them personally responsible for their own medical bills in the event of an auto accident.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Consumers with questions about auto insurance can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437) or visit Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance.

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International Womens Day - Shield Insurance Agency

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is March 8

Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Celebrate women’s achievement.

Raise awareness against bias.

Take action for equality.

International Women’s Day is powered by the collective efforts of all

Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity are what make International Women’s Day impactful. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist, and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” So make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women.

Click here to access IWD 2022 Guidance and Resources.


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March is Women in Insurance Month

March is Women in Insurance Month

As the first chief actuary of the Insurance Information Institute – an organization designed to help everyone understand insurance better – I was keenly interested in having I.I.I.’s Pinterest board celebrating Women in Insurance Month include perhaps the most famous female actuary, Ruth Salzmann, FCAS.

Ruth Salzmann, FCAS. became a member of the American Academy of Actuaries in 1965, was named Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business in 1984 and named one of the “100 Leading Women” by Business Insurance in 2000.

Ms. Salzmann’s actuarial career began in the 1940s. She was the first female officer at Insurance Company of North America (INA), a company whose founding preceded the American Revolution. INA was the forerunner of CIGNA, and its property-casualty operations live on at Ace Insurance.

In Ms. Salzmann’s early days, the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) held its meetings at Union Leagues, some of which lacked any accommodations for ladies, even a restroom. She became the first female president of any North American actuarial association when she took the helm of the CAS in 1978. Read more about Ms. Salzmann’s illustrious actuarial career in the feature article in the May 2005 issue of the Actuarial Review.

Check out the rest of the story…


Women in Insurance

More interesting facts about Ms. Salzmann’s

  • Ruth attended Oshkosh State Teacher’s College for two years and transferred to the University of Wisconsin at Madison where she graduated in 1940 with a double major in accounting and statistics and a minor in math.
  • Immediately following graduation she was employed by Hardware Mutual Casualty Company in Stevens Point as an actuarial research assistant. In 1944 she worked out of Hardware’s Chicago office as a payroll auditor, returning to the home office in 1945 as an assistant actuary.
  • Ruth passed her associate actuary exams in 1946 and her fellow exams in 1947 to become the first woman in the Casualty Actuarial Society to be designated an actuarial fellow by exam.
  • In 1959 she moved to Philadelphia to take a position with the Insurance Company of North America, INA, which is now part of CIGNA. In 1962 she became the company’s first woman officer holding the positions of associate actuary, group actuary and secretary of underwriting before returning to Stevens Point in 1968 to rejoin what is now Sentry Insurance.
  • Assuming the position of vice president and actuary, Ruth became the first woman vice president of the company. Later she became the first woman to serve on the Sentry Board of Directors. She retired in 1984 with the title of executive vice president and actuary.
  • Ruth was active in her profession becoming the first woman president of the Casualty Actuarial Society in 1978. She developed mathematical tables — the Salzmann curves — that were a primary basis for pricing property insurance for 40 years. Her 1963 paper, Rating by Layer of Insurance, was required reading for actuarial students into the 21st century.
  • Following her retirement she wrote a book, “Estimated Liabilities for Loss & Loss Adjustment Expense” and was an actuarial consultant and expert witness for several court cases. She also served on the boards of the John Hancock Fire and Casualty subsidiary; the John Deere Fire and Casualty subsidiary (now owned by Sentry) and Neuberger and Berman Advisers Management Trust.
  • She became a member of the American Academy of Actuaries in 1965, was named Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business in 1984 and named one of the “100 Leading Women” by Business Insurance in 2000.

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Shield Insurance Agency shares 4 benefits of umbrella coverage - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Shield Insurance Agency shares 4 benefits of umbrella coverage

Nothing gives you coverage like an umbrella coverage.

This applies to insurance too. Umbrella coverage policies provide an extra layer of protection. This extends beyond the coverage established in homeowners and auto insurance plans. When these limits have been reached, umbrella insurance kicks in. It’s about preparing for the worst.

Shield Insurance Agency understands this more than most. They want to ensure all Michigan residents have the proper protection. While there are many reasons to buy a policy, the agency lists four primary benefits of umbrella insurance.

Offers personal protection

Any insurance plan provides personal protection, but umbrella insurance extends to some unique areas. Slander, defamation, and libel are likely covered. Even false arrests or losses resulting from being wrongly accused could also be included. None of these are provided by a standard homeowners or renters policy.

Protect assets

Umbrella insurance typically has a $1 million coverage limit. So, if an incident does occur, keep your savings and future unharmed. Umbrella insurance will pick up the tab.

Lawsuits can be even more damaging than accidents. Umbrella insurance will pay for some legal defense costs up to a policy’s limit. This exists no matter who is determined to be at fault.

Umbrella Coverage Shields the entire family

The policyholder is protected. However, umbrella insurance extends to your family too. Each policy will set specific definitions for what is considered a “household.” Review your policy carefully.

Contact a Michigan insurance agent

Shield Insurance Agency can provide an umbrella to keep you safe. Their experienced agents protect you, your family, and your assets, shielding you all when you need it most. For added security and peace of mind, call to set up an appointment today.

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Best Place to Raise a Family - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Best Places To Raise A Family

Rocket Homes | 9 MINUTE READ | FEBRUARY 05, 2022

Raising a family is as incredibly rewarding as it is challenging. There’s no doubt that heads of households want to ensure they’re giving their children every chance to thrive academically, mentally and physically, while also providing a safe space for the family unit to strengthen.

The burden doesn’t solely rest on a parent or caregiver’s shoulders. The place they choose to put down roots should also provide support and opportunity. The best cities for families to live will excel in providing safety, affordable care, open spaces to roam and quality learning, whether kids are starting kindergarten or wrapping up their high school years.

Taking those factors into consideration, Rocket HomesSM teamed up with BestPlaces.net to find some of the best locations to raise a family. This diverse list includes college towns, suburban spots, urban locales and several areas of the Midwest, meeting the needs of the country’s many different kinds of families – from those who wish to watch their kids grow up in the hustle and bustle of a big city to those who dream of the white-picket fences and treelined streets of the suburbs.

Finding The Best Places For Families

The researchers at BestPlaces.net used the following metrics to determine the rankings for the best places for families to live in the U.S.:

  • School ratings
  • Crime rate
  • Average cost of child care
  • Amenities for kids
  • Percent of households with children
  • Parks, playgrounds and greenspaces
  • Increase in households with children

1. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Population: 1,074,223

Percent of households with children: 47.9%

Average cost of child care: $9,420

Located just 30 miles from the beaches of Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids has an abundance of opportunities for kids to engage in culture, history, art and nature at more than 20 museums and the world-renown Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Residents can also be sure their children will receive a good education. Grand Rapids ranks in the top 5% in the country for school system ratings, which can be attributed, in part, to the quality of life of its educators, as the city also ranks as one of the best places to be a teacher.

2. Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Carlos Garcia Marketplace Circle of Champions

Shield Agent Carlos Martinez Garcia Awarded Elite level of the 2022 Marketplace Circle of Champions

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20201

Shield Insurance Agent Carlos Martinez Garcia reached the Elite level of the 2022 Marketplace Circle of Champions by helping more than 100 consumers actively apply for and enroll in coverage!

The year-round efforts of agents and brokers play an important role in helping Americans access coverage and we are continually impressed by the dedication and commitment Carlos shows to consumers during the busy Open Enrollment Period.

This is an outstanding achievement! We thank Carlos for the trusted advice, support, and assistance you provide throughout the year to Shield Insurance Agency clients.

Agent Carlos Martinez at Shield Insurance Wins Award

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DIFS: Auto Insurance Refund Checks Are Coming Soon

Michigan Auto Insurance Rebates are Coming Soon

From the Department of Insurance and Financial Services

Feb. 1 is National Auto Insurance Day: Governor Whitmer Reminds Consumers that Auto Insurance Refund Checks Are Coming Soon

Millions of Michigan drivers to receive $400 per vehicle refunds no later than May 9, 2022

Media Contact: Laura Hall, (517) 290-3779, DIFS-press@michigan.gov 
Consumer Hotline: 833-ASK-DIFS, Michigan.gov/MCCArefund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 1, 2022

(LANSING, MICH) February 1 is National Auto Insurance Day and Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) are reminding consumers to be on the lookout for refund checks from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) fund surplus that will be sent out by auto insurers later this spring.

“The bipartisan auto insurance reform law I signed has saved Michiganders hundreds of dollars per year and, as a further result, auto insurance companies will deliver $400 refund checks per vehicle to drivers no later than May 9,” said Governor Whitmer. “We are putting money back in people’s pockets and putting Michiganders first as we grow our economy and continue lowering costs for families.”

“DIFS has communicated to insurers that refund checks or ACH deposits must be delivered to eligible consumers by their auto insurers as quickly as possible, and in no case later than May 9, 2022,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “We are working with the MCCA and Michigan’s auto insurance companies to ensure they accurately, fairly, and promptly issue these refunds.”

In December, the MCCA announced it will refund Michigan policyholders $400 per vehicle, or $80 per historic vehicle, for each vehicle that was insured under a policy that meets the minimum insurance requirements for operating a vehicle on Michigan roads as of 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2021. The funds will be turned over by the MCCA to the insurance companies by March 9, 2022. DIFS has directed insurers to issue refund checks or ACH deposits to consumers as expeditiously as possible, but in no event later than 60 days after the transfer of funds, which is May 9, 2022.

As part of its core mission to protect consumers, DIFS is also reminding Michiganders that scammers may try to take advantage of consumers with scams or phishing operations based on their MCCA refund.

“Whenever there is a widespread distribution of funds to consumers, inevitably there will be bad actors who attempt to take advantage of the situation in order to steal personal information or money from consumers,” said Fox. “You do not need to take action to receive a refund, and if someone calls to ask for your personal information in order to process a refund – hang up and contact your insurer or DIFS.”

Consumers who have questions or concerns that cannot be resolved directly with their insurer should contact DIFS by calling Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437) or by emailing autoinsurance@michigan.gov. DIFS has also launched a consumer FAQ page at Michigan.gov/MCCArefund. The webpage contains important information and answers common questions about the refund timeline and eligibility requirements.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

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