Why You Need Flood Insurance

Why You Need Flood Insurance

It’s no secret that spring storms can bring heavy rainfall in short amounts of time. This not only can cause rivers and lakes to rise outside their banks, but it can also cause flooding in city streets and near homes.

Contrary to what many may think is covered under their insurance policy, a Home or Renter’s insurance policy will not cover a flood. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you need to also purchase flood insurance. Floods are one of the most dangerous disasters in the United States, and if you don’t purchase flood insurance, they can cost you big time. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that just one inch of water in a 2,000 square foot house will result in $23,000 in damage.

Flood season has arrived. Here are five reasons you need flood insurance now:

1. It’s not just for homeowners and businesses.
Flood coverage is available for renters. Condo owners can also purchase it. It will cover damage to your possessions from a flood.

2. Flooding is not covered under your standard policy.
Homeowners and renters need to purchase separate flood policies. Umbrella insurance does not usually cover flooding, either.

3. Floods aren’t limited to flood plains.
Every state has experienced flooding, and it can happen anywhere. The NFIP estimates that 25 percent of flood claims come from areas outside of high-risk flood zones.

4. Flood insurance doesn’t take effect immediately.
There is a 30-day waiting period from the date you purchase the insurance until you are covered, in most cases.

5. It’s often not as expensive as you think.
The average policy costs about $700 per year. The higher your risk, the higher your premium. Costs do vary depending on your flood risk and the year and type of construction. Keep in mind, the average residential flood claim amounted to more than $38,000.

Don’t delay, there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage goes into effect. Call a California Casualty advisor today at 1.877.652.2638 to make sure you’re covered. Or, contact our Agency Services department at agencyservices@calcas.com.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Celebrating the 2020 Partner Relations Advocate Awardees

Celebrating the 2020 Partner Relations Advocate Awardees

Each year the California Casualty Partner Relations Department recognizes employees for their commitment and dedication to serving our group partners by developing and nurturing relationships and creating leader advocates. In a year of so much uncertainty, the efforts of these individuals shined as they adapted to a virtual environment. Nominated by their fellow managers or their peers, the 2020 Partner Relations Advocate Award recipients were Angela Morgan (WA), Bonnie Harber (NJ), Brandon Watson (TX), Inez Morales (CA), Justine Sallee (IL), Michelle Hawkins (WA), Norma Alfaro (CA) and Stephanie Whitmore (CA). Read on to learn more about each award recipient and why they were nominated.

 

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With nearly six years of experience, Bonnie Harber has become a permanent fixture at events throughout her territory in New Jersey and is well respected by association staff, leadership, fellow business partners, and her colleagues. Her dynamic personality, teamwork, and dedication have generated exceptional production results and strong relationships internally and externally. 

 

 

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Michelle Hawkins’s manager noted that she is simply the best.  She completely understands advocacy and how leveraging her relationships publicly affects her field access, retention, business growth, and overall marketing plan.  It’s all intertwined and she knows exactly what she is doing.  

 

 

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Stephanie Whitmore moved at the start of the pandemic from Iowa to California. She used her tenacity and creativity to introduce herself to group leaders in her new territory while she continued to be present virtually in her previous territory of Iowa and Nebraska. It was written of her, “The great thing is about her tenacity and creativity, is that she does not keep it to herself. She constantly shares what she is doing with her teammates and department”.

 

 

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Countless hours were dedicated by Norma Alfaro to ensure her fellow California field team members staff and our partner, the California Teachers Association, had all they needed to make it through 2020 successfully. Norma was nominated from two different Partner Relations employees, with one noting, “With every challenge comes an opportunity to adapt, persevere and demonstrate one’s inner strengths.  In 2020, Norma proved that she could not only weather the storm but thrive.”

 

 

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Inez Morales’s sense of responsibility towards her customers and her groups is amazing. Although she works with all our group partners in California, Inez was specifically nominated for her work as a PORAC Back-Up Account Manager.  Inez has a gift with relationships that have helped her to keep doors open to new opportunities and the ability to quickly address policyholder and group concerns. 

 

 

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Brandon was nominated for his attitude of service and advocacy as a representative in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  Since he started with California Casualty in 2011 he has exhibited great advocate qualities.  He cares for the members of the associations we serve and it is welcomed, respected, and appreciated by the leaders and members of these associations.

 

 

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As one of our field representatives in Illinois since 2012, Justine Sallee’s, ability to develop and maintain relationships has served her well.  She recognizes the value of service and care for the leadership and members of our partner associations.  This has enabled her to leverage these relationships to gain access, maintain visibility and generate policyholder growth in her territory.  She is a well-rounded field marketing manager and is liked and respected by her association leadership and members.

 

 

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To round out the 2020 Partner Relations Advocate Award recipient is Angela Morgan. Angela has embraced and led the way in building sustainable business practices to market throughout her territory.  She is consistent and relentlessly couples short-term and long-term wins throughout her day.  She understands the need for the immediate while teeing up future relationships and opportunities to leverage.

Congratulations to all the recipients! 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Why Standing Water Around Your Home is a Big Deal

Why Standing Water Around Your Home is a Big Deal

Spring is here! And so are spring storms, but spring showers don’t just bring flowers, they can also bring more water than what your yard can hold. And this standing water around your house can cause water damage to your home- costing you more than you think.

By definition, standing water is a body of water that does not move or sink into the ground. It can be caused by a number of factors: heavy rain, over-watering, poorly draining soil, improper grading, incorrect landscaping, low areas in your yard, and even water line leaks or bursts.

If you have standing water in your yard for multiple days, it can cause serious damage to your home. Not only will it be an eyesore that can ruin your grass and draw unwanted bugs, but stagnant water on the side of your home can also seep into small cracks or pores in your home’s foundation and get into your crawl space or basement, which can lead to water damage & more.

Here’s why you should address the standing water near your home now, and how you can prevent it from happening in the future. 

 

Standing Water Can…

Ruin your basement. Water can cause cracks in your home’s foundation. This is how water enters your basement or your crawl space. Once inside it can create a musty odor and add dampness that will completely ruin flooring, drywall, furniture, electronics, etc. 

Produce mold & mildew. High levels of condensation and humidity inside of your basement or crawl space create an environment for mold and mildew to thrive. This could not only affect your home, but it could also cause major health issues for you and your family.

Breakdown your home’s foundation. Over time, standing water that has made its way into your cement foundation will start to cause shifting and bowing of your structure. This is the beginning of the breakdown of your home’s foundation. If not taken care of- doors will no longer close, floorboards will start to squeak, steel beams may have to be inserted, and it could even lead to structural collapse. 

Cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. A homeowner spends over $3,000 on average to repair damages to their home and property caused by water. Preventive maintenance and early detection are key to helping you save your home and your wallet.

But that’s not all, standing water can also draw unwanted pests: mosquitoes, roaches, termites, ants, silverfish, and other pests thrive in moist environments. They will seek damp areas and make your home their home if you don’t address the issue quickly.

Here’s how you can prevent standing water from getting into your home this spring.

 

How to Prevent Standing Water 

1. Check for Proper Roof Drainage

Make sure every drop of rain will drain off of your roof correctly- starting at your gutters. Make sure they are free of leaves and sticks and that you have an attached downspout that is also clear of debris. It is also important to make sure your downspout has a downspout extension that will move water away from the foundation of your home.

 

2. Monitor Your Sprinkler Usage

If you see standing water, make sure to check that your sprinklers are not overwatering your lawn. First, check to make sure the sprinkler heads are functioning properly and not broken. If there is no issue, you will likely just need to reset your sprinklers to run at a less-frequent timespan. After resetting, if you are still seeing patches of barren or muddy lawn, you may have a leaky valve. Valves are responsible for distributing the water throughout the entire system, and if damaged they will need to be replaced right away.

 

3. Make Sure Your Yard is Correctly Graded

Grading, also referred to as lawn leveling, is the process of leveling your lawn to allow for the proper drainage of water. If you have water that is pooling around your foundation or your house is sitting on a low level, you may need to look into re-leveling your yard. Grading involves the moving of topsoil onto the yard. You will then even out the low spots with the soil and form a downward slope (around 2%) from your home’s foundation. Leveling is an intricate process, and if your yard needs re-leveled, you may need to hire a professional. 

 

4. Aerate Your Lawn

Aerating your yard means to perforate the soil with holes (4 – 6 inches deep) to allow water, air, and other nutrients to better absorb into the soil. Not only will aeration lead to a greener, healthier lawn, but it will also alleviate soil compaction and allow water to better absorb during rainstorms. The best time to aerate your lawn is during spring and fall. 

 

5. Mind Your Landscaping

Improper landscaping can cause water to sit at the base of your home’s foundation and ultimately make it into your home.  When landscaping, avoid making any changes that will block drains or downspouts. Make sure that all of your landscaping slopes downward to create runoff and that all downspout extensions or drainage systems extend beyond your planting beds leading the water away and far from your foundation.

 

6. Install a Drainage System

If you are constantly struggling with standing water in an area of your yard, it may be best to look into installing a yard drain. Yard drains act like shower drains. They prevent flooding and move the water away from your yard through hidden pipes to a dry well.  The dry well will then collect the water underground and slowly percolate to the soil around it

Standing water is a serious, yet largely overlooked, issue that can have serious consequences. If water has been in your yard for multiple days and won’t drain, don’t neglect it. Look for the cause of your problem or reach out to a professional. Acting today will save you time, money, and headache tomorrow.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Meet the Awardees of Our Company’s Highest Honors

Meet the Awardees of Our Company’s Highest Honors

California Casualty recognizes employees who have made a significant impact on how our organization does business as your insurance partner with two annual awards.

The Thomas R. Brown Pride in the Code Award is a tribute to Tom Brown, recognizing employees for outstanding contributions that reflect one or more of the company’s five core values drawn from the California Casualty Code: Acting with Integrity, Fulfilling our Promises, Providing Exceptional Service, Pursuing Excellence through Learning and Working as a Team.

Throughout the year, employees can be nominated by their peers to receive a PRIDE in the Code award. Quarterly award winners are selected from among all employees receiving a PRIDE in the Code award during a particular quarter. The highlight each year is when one of the quarterly winners is selected for the annual Thomas R. Brown PRIDE in the Code award.

The Carl G. Brown Jr. Award of Excellence, considered California Casualty’s highest honor,  is given to those who exemplify the value of Carl G. Brown Jr. – author of the California Casualty Code – who, over his 40 years of service, tirelessly dedicated his time, talent and energy to the company and the community.

Each year, in keeping with Mr. Brown’s deep personal commitment to responsibility and achievement in both these areas, the award is presented to an employee in recognition of excellence in their contributions to California Casualty and their local community.

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The 2020 recipient of the Thomas R. Brown Pride in the Code Award is Carleen N., Senior Communications Systems Analyst, for Providing Exceptional Service.

Carleen went above and beyond to help our employees work through phone and workspace issues at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was instrumental in assisting employees in many areas of the company to set up workspaces at home. Carleen solved numerous work-from-home phone issues, helped departments learn how to use our enterprise videoconferencing solution, and supported employees coming back into the office.

In addition to demonstrating the value of Providing Exceptional Service, Carleen is also someone who lives our core value of Working as a Team. One of her PRIDE in the Code nominators, Lisa P., said, “Carleen worked with so many employees with varying levels of system expertise. She was always patient and kind, with a positive attitude the entire time.” Another of her nominators, Greg F., added, “Carleen was willing to do whatever it took, working later in the evenings and on weekends as well!”

Managers and team leaders across the company recognize that Carleen’s expertise and dedication have helped their teams deliver for California Casualty’s policyholders in this difficult time, when nurses, law enforcement, firefighters, and educators are being stretched to do their jobs in ways that would have seemed unimaginable a year ago. Mike McCormick stated, “We have been able to continue to be available to our group members through it all because of Carleen’s responsiveness in working with our team!”

The Sales Leadership Team summed it up well: “We are so appreciative of Carleen and wanted to recognize her for the difference she makes. Thank you, Carleen!”

 

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The 2020 recipient of the Carl G. Brown Jr. Award of Excellence is Todd B., Senior Vice President-Underwriting Operations/ Analysis & Corporate Legal.

Todd started his CCMC career in the Colorado Service Center in 1998, excelling as a Sales Representative and as a Sales Team Manager. From 2003 to 2012, a period that included his election to Vice President in 2009, Todd had responsibility for various combinations of the following departments: Underwriting Operations, Service, Sales, and Direct Mail/Marketing Services. After a brief hiatus of just over one year as a self-employed entrepreneur, Todd returned to California Casualty in 2013 as Manager of Home Office Underwriting. Over the next few years, Todd gained responsibility for Underwriting Quality Assurance and Underwriting Operations, and he was re-elected Vice President in 2017. In 2020, Todd’s responsibilities were further expanded to add Corporate Legal and Licensing, and in December 2020 he was elected Senior Vice President.

Todd is a true champion of continuing education, personally earning seven insurance designations including his CPCU. He has successfully encouraged his staff to do the same as a way to increase their knowledge and elevate their expertise, through learning and obtaining the designations to reflect their achievements and their professionalism. On the application submitted for this award, Todd’s nominators stated, “With the value, he has set on education, it is no surprise that Underwriting has experienced a large number of employees receiving designations over the past few years with more in the works.” We are proud of the many employees in Underwriting and throughout the company who have risen to the challenge of boosting their knowledge and expertise, as California Casualty moves forward in a rapidly changing personal lines marketplace.

Todd is a “skilled and enthusiastic communicator” who is “able to gain buy-in by others for procedure changes and project implementations.” The key to his success is that his “openness to creative solutions is contagious and is a great gift Todd provides to those he interacts with.” Todd has always been open to new processes and innovations, leading or collaborating with others on many projects that have positively impacted California Casualty and how we do business. Todd is a bowhunter who has held leadership positions in organizations dedicated to conservation and record keeping. He has served as a director on the board of the Colorado Bowhunters Association, from which he received the 2018 CBA Bowhunter of the Year award, a lifetime achievement award, for his many hours of service and efforts. Todd has also served as a director of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society and of Pope & Young, the largest bowhunting organization in North America.

Please join us in congratulating Todd!

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Utah Students Receive Winter Coats Through PFFU’s Coats for Kids Program and a $2,500 Grant From California Casualty

Utah Students Receive Winter Coats Through PFFU’s Coats for Kids Program and a $2,500 Grant From California Casualty

California Casualty along with its long-time partners, the Professional Firefighters Association of Utah (PFFU) and the National Education Association (NEA), recently came together to deliver 85 warm coats to children at risk through the PFFU Coats for Kids program.

coats for kidsStudents at Redwood Elementary School in Salt Lake Valley’s Granite School District will be a lot warmer this winter thanks to California Casualty, PFFU Local 2970, Star Orullian of Granite Education Association, Redwood Elementary School Principal Jolynn Koehler, and NEA Member Benefits Affiliate Relations Specialist, Sean Mabey.

Coats for Kids was established in 2013 by the Professional Fire Fighters of Utah to combat one of the most fundamental hardships of childhood poverty- the absence of a warm winter coat.

For more than a decade, PFFU has watched the problem of childhood poverty creep mercilessly into the homes of the communities it serves. Poverty ravages families without discrimination – and by necessity those struggling to survive naturally prioritize food, heat, and rent above winter clothing.

In Utah, and many other communities across the country, the lack of a winter coat often results in frequent school absenteeism which translates to forgone learning, missed opportunities for socialization and play, and the loss of balanced nutrition provided through the school’s meal program. Helping students stay warm as they walk to and from school leads to increased attendance, allowing children of families in need to experience the critical childhood benefits their school has to offer.

There is no denying the joy of a child being zipped into their brand new coat by their hometown heroes. Since 2013 the Professional Firefighters of Utah Coats for Kids drive has resulted in 2,198 coats purchased and provided to needy children in fourteen different elementary schools in Utah.

“What happened today at Redwood Elementary mattered to many little First Graders”, said Sean Mabey “Seeing those little kids wearing coats, smiling and waving, will be a highlight for me personally this season.”

coats for kidsRepresenting California Casualty, Assistant Vice President, Valerie Cregan commented, “It is truly an honor for all of us at California Casualty to join in support of our valued business partners in their efforts to help the children of the Salt Lake Valley community.”

“The Professional Fire Fighters of Utah, and all of our IAFF Affiliate Locals are very proud of our ongoing Coats for Kids project. Our ability to supply coats is only possible through our members’ fundraising efforts and our great partners such as California Casualty. As 2020 was a most difficult fundraising year – California Casualty stepped up BIG to help us get more kids in coats just in time for the holidays.” Jack Tidrow, President.

In attendance: Redwood Elementary Principal Jolynn Koehler; Granite Education Association Representative Star Orullian; PFFU President Jack Tidrow; PFFU Secretary/Treasurer Susan Davis; IAFF Local 2970 Firefighters Kyle Stewart, Bronson VonTussenbrook, and Drew Griffin. Attending remotely from California Casualty:  Lisa Almeida, AVP, Valerie Cregan, AVP, and Erica Reich, Senior Field Marketing Manager; attending remotely from NEA Member Benefits:  Sean Mabey.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

5 Ways Potholes Can Damage Your Car

5 Ways Potholes Can Damage Your Car

It’s officially pothole season.

Potholes can pop up on roadways during any season, but why do they seem so prevalent during the first few months of the year?

When winter is ending and spring is on the horizon, the weather is constantly fluctuating between mild and freezing temperatures. Rain, snow, and ice get into smaller holes and cracks in the pavement, and as the temperature jumps back and forth from high to low, the precipitation continually freezes and thaws expanding those pavement cracks causing others to form. As cars and heavy trucks drive over them, the asphalt chips away, thus creating potholes.

Potholes, no matter how small, can wreak havoc on your entire vehicle.  Here are 5 ways hitting a pothole can cause damage.

 

1. Steering & Suspension

Your vehicle’s suspension absorbs bumps so you can’t feel them when you drive. If you cause enough wear and tear on your suspension system, it could result in a number of problems with your steering, including: vibrations, noises when you turn, vehicle pulling to one side, etc.

 

2. Undercarriage

Vehicles that ride lower to the ground have a better chance of being damaged by a pothole. They can cause scratches and scrapes, that aren’t dangerous until they start to rust or leak. They can also rip off low-hanging bumpers.

 

3. Tires & Wheels

It’s no secret that debris from potholes can cause holes, leaks, and tears in your tire, but when you hit a pothole fast enough, it can also cause a complete tire blowout. Potholes can also damage your wheels by bending or cracking your rim. And if there is visible damage, you’ll likely have to replace the entire wheel.

 

4. Body & Exhaust System

Pavement debris and rocks can scratch the paint on your vehicle and cause rips and leaks in your exhaust pipes, muffler, and catalytic converter. If your exhaust pipes have been damaged, it can be a serious issue. Ripped pipes can leak exhaust fumes into the cabin of your vehicle and cause serious health issues (including death). If you hear a strange noise or lose power after hitting a pothole, there is a good chance your exhaust pipes have been damaged and you need to pull over.

 

5. Loss of Control

Lastly, one of the most dangerous consequences of hitting a pothole is that it could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Losing control for even a few seconds, could not only cause damage to your vehicle, but could also be deadly for you and your passengers. That is why it is important to watch the road for potholes when you drive and try and avoid them.

 

Potholes are extremely dangerous for you and your vehicle, but sometimes accidents do happen.

So, what if you accidentally hit a pothole, is damage done to your vehicle covered by insurance? Typically pothole damage is covered if you have collision insurance. If you aren’t sure, call your agent and review your coverage today.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

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