An 85 Year Journey

This year, our agency celebrates its 85th year in business.  That spans 8 decades and 3 generations.  As the youngest of the third generation, I have only recently come to fully appreciate what an achievement it is.  In an age when most start-ups fizzle out within a few months and personal interaction is a thing of the past, our family-owned business turns 85.

The journey of most businesses is a rollercoaster of highs and lows, expansion and contraction, ebbs and flows.  Ours has been no different. 

My grandfather began building our company one policy at a time out of the basement of his Cleveland home.  His mindset was simple: help the people he cared about protect the things important to them.  He believed if he acted in the client’s best interest and cared for them like family, his company would flourish.

My grandfather would always say, “The most important aspect of our profession is client service.”  Those words are the foundation our company has been built on.

My Dad took over after my grandfather became ill and, through hard work and a number of acquisitions, he expanded the agency, adding a team around him to help strengthen that foundation.

I often reflect about the journey of our business and how much work and sacrifice went into getting us to this point.  I think about how fortunate my brother and I are to have been blessed with an opportunity to continue its legacy.  I think about the 4th generation.  I think about my grandfather’s vision and how important those words are – now maybe more than ever.

As we celebrate this year, what I am most proud of is we have never lost focus on what is most valuable: our clients.

Christmas Vacation

Christmas Vacation

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the iconic holiday movie, Christmas Vacation.  Last year I was jokingly asked whether any of the craziness that ensued would be covered under a homeowners policy.  While there are too many variables to say for sure, I found myself watching the movie through the eyes of an insurance agent and risk manager…

As Clark’s road rage leads his vehicle – with a large uprooted tree on top – under a semi-truck and careening off the road and into the air, I wondered if his personal auto insurance was paid up?

As Cousin Eddie empties his RV’s waste container into the neighborhood sewer system, eventually causing an explosion, I wondered if this could be considered a Back-up of Sewer & Drains claim?

As Clark’s determination to have the largest and brightest Christmas light display in the neighborhood causes an eventually power surge, I wondered if Clark realized what a dangerous fire threat excessive temporary wiring can create?  Hindsight is always 20/20, I guess.

As Cousin Eddie kidnaps Clark’s boss after the lack of a holiday bonus, I wondered if Frank Shirley’s homeowners policy was endorsed with Kidnap & Ransom coverage?

As Uncle Lewis lights his cigar and tosses his match into the drain, I wondered if the insurance carrier would try to subrogate against Uncle Lewis’s or even Cousin Eddie’s insurance policy?  Eddie seems like a guy who prioritizes insurance protection, right? 

As you prepare for and celebrate the holidays, take a minute to consider the potential impact of decisions this year… but may all of us have the Christmas spirit of Clark Griswold!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Remote Workers Can be Big Cyber Risk for Small Business

security risk of remote workers

Many small businesses are allowing some of their employees to work remotely or from home. There are many Pros and Cons to this practice. Some Pros include increased opportunity for employers to attract talent and reduced work-related expenses for employees. Some Cons are the suspicion of lack of productivity and risk of distraction. A new Con to remote workers is that they present an increased risk of cyber attacks to the company.

Remote workers may not only be at home, but also in public access points like coffee shops or airports. When they log into the wifi at these locations they may not realize they are on public platforms where their computer can be accessed by anyone in the room.

While allowing some employees to work remotely can have benefits to the company as a whole, the fact remains that most small business owners have not implemented the necessary “remote work policies” or training processes to protect their companies. The Small Business Administration has gathered a list of best practices for remote work.

Consider adopting policies like using strong passwords that are changed on a regular basis. Another critical practice is to make backup copies of important company data and information. This backup should live offline and offsite. Implementing this practice can protect the company from a ransomware attack. And consistently educate your staff on cyberthreats and security. Make sure they know they are accountable for keeping their computers and data safe no matter where they are. Working remotely does not have to put a company at risk if you take the necessary measures to mitigate a cyber risk.

Life Can Happen.

Life Insurance

As Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) wraps up, it provides one last opportunity to stress the importance of Life insurance, and maybe more specifically, planning.  

When it comes down to it, life insurance is simply both short and long-term planning.  Determining the right policy for your individual situation can help you plan, not only for the unexpected and unforeseen of today, but the long-term goals of tomorrow.

Have a family?  You need life insurance.  

Have a mortgage?  You need life insurance.

Have retirement goals?  You need life insurance.  

Have estate-tax concerns?  You need life insurance.

Have aging parents?  You need life insurance.

Have a business?  You need life insurance.

There is a great non-profit organization called Life Happens ( which operates as an educational and informational resource for those considering life insurance.  Whether you are a single individual, in a marriage, have kids, retired, or own a business, this site, like the life agents on our team, can help explain the benefit of life insurance for each situation.

Remember, only 62% of individuals have life insurance but 100% need it.

Interested in learning more?  Get a quick and easy life quote now.

Risk Management & Insurance for Churches

insurance for churches

“Recently, Mike Herzak, President, and his son, Dan Herzak, VP, were invited to speak at the 2019 Serbian Orthodox Sabor in Chicago, IL.  The talk centered around best practices for risk management and insurance for churches. 

Unlike insurance, risk management is the process of identifying risks, assessing the potential impact of the risk, and determining how best to control the risk. The discussion focused on topics such as property & casualty risks typically found within Orthodox churches, what churches can do on a local level to improve their own risk management, how to reduce the risk of sexual abuse, as well as recommended insurance coverage each parish should carry.

The presentation was welcomed by the clergy and laity with numerous questions and lively discussion.”

Don’t Be Fooled by Insurance Ads


Recently, there has been a proliferation of advertising by insurance carriers that are interesting and even fun to watch. You have all seen Allstate’s “mayhem” ad, Farmers’ “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two,” Progressive’s “Flo” and Liberty Mutual’s “customizable” ad with “only pay for what you need.”

Interestingly, all of these ads describe claims and coverage situations that ALL carriers would readily cover. Yet, because these large carriers spend billions of dollars on ads espousing these things they leave the impression that only they provide coverage in these instances. In fact, frequently you can do better or equally as well with smaller companies who cannot afford to spend billions of dollars on ads. To be sure the consumer is paying for these ads through their premiums. Certainly not all carriers are the same, some are clearly better than others. However, there are standards that most carriers follow.

All of the carriers that we represent are rated by A. M. Best Co. “A-“ (Excellent) or better. They will all cover the types of claims you see in these mega carrier TV ads. With our many regional and national carriers we have terrific relationships and can use that relationship to advocate for you. So while these TV ads may be fun to watch don’t be fooled into thinking that those carriers are something special. Frequently we can offer you better coverage and pricing than these carriers and you get us to advocate for you at renewal time and claims time.