Spotlighting the Faces Behind CalCas

Spotlighting the Faces Behind CalCas

It’s no secret; we have amazing employees at California Casualty. The Employee Spotlight is a series we created to highlight some of the talented individuals who are dedicated to making California Casualty a great company to do business with and a terrific place to work.

From human resource recruiters and learning and development trainers to claims adjusters, marketers, customer support specialists, underwriters, partner relations, insurance consultants, and beyond; we are one big family working together for a common goal – to serve you, our policyholders.

Below are just a few of our extraordinary team members who are continuously working to make sure our customers (and fellow employees) have a great experience with California Casualty.

 

Customer Care Specialist, Lori Ryan:

What made you want to work in Customer Service at California Casualty?

When I was applying for my job at California Casualty, I saw an exciting opportunity to work for a company that had “big corporation pay”, with the feel of a smaller “mom and pop” company, that was really focused on customer satisfaction and employee retention.

What is your favorite part about your job?

I enjoy the different ways in which I can impact my customers, whether it’s counseling them on coverage limits or just making the whole experience of dealing with insurance more enjoyable.

I LOVE working for California Casualty because I love our customers. We have such a unique and amazing customer base with our group members. I get to hear their stories of heroism, compassion, and commitment to community, all while helping them navigate and understand their insurance needs and how to protect their assets.

Tell us some fun facts about yourself!

I like to thrift shop and enjoy painting and repurposing old furniture.

I’m a transplant from Texas who is addicted to coffee and makeup.

I love my job so much, I commute 45 miles to work (one way) just to get here! During that drive, I like listening to podcasts about History, True Crime, and Philosophy

 

To read Lori’s Employee Spotlight click here.

 

 

 

Talent Acquisition Specialist, Cal Turner:

What made you want to work in Human Resources at California Casualty?

I wanted to work in this position because it makes such an impact on the company. Finding and selecting the right employees for all of our different positions is very challenging yet very rewarding. When you work hard with a candidate, build relationships, get them engaged in our organization and then watch them grow into their role and become a success, it is very rewarding.

What is your favorite part about your job?

I have many favorite things about my company. I am a proud employee – in staffing, you have to be.  A HUGE part of your job is selling the company to candidates who have never had any contact with us what-so-ever, and you have to truly love the organization you represent. Luckily, I work for the BEST business and it is very easy for me to do.

One thing I love about my company is all the different levels of management and how there is no division within the rest of the company. Everyone from the CEO to Executives to Upper Management are all warm and approachable people. We are all on the same playing field and it becomes obvious as we get to know each other. It is great to be in a company where everyone is connected that way.

I love the people I work with and the audience we represent. All of them. These are some of the best people in the business, and I love to see all the positive attitudes and appreciative people that I interact with each and every day.

Tell us some fun facts about yourself!

I like to run, do yoga, watch movies, and cook!

I have two awesome daughters who are also brilliant. One was passionate about becoming a lawyer and has recently passed the bar. She is now a Public Defender for the State of Colorado. My oldest daughter is a CPA for a respectable firm in Downtown Denver. I am very proud of both of them. They are the best thing I have ever done in my life.

 

To read Cal’s Employee Spotlight click here.

 

 

 

Personal Insurance Consultant, Kevin DeSousa:

What made you want to work as an Insurance Consultant at California Casualty?

I really just enjoy talking to people. It especially feels great when you’re also assisting a customer with a life necessity such as insurance.

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

Besides knowing that we’re helping our teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses!  I enjoy really getting to know our customers, I talk to each person on the phone like I’m talking to one of my family members.  I don’t want to under-insure my family and I also don’t want to over-insure my family; I want to make sure that everyone is paying for what they need to help take the best care of themselves as possible.

 

Tell us some fun facts about yourself!

I enjoy my family and my church family. Anytime we can all get together that is a good day!

I love going camping and enjoying the wilderness, I would say I go fishing, but I have yet to catch anything this season, so we’ll just skip that….

I also enjoy working on updating my house and working in my yard with my small farm.

 To read Kevin’s Employee Spotlight click here.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Marketer, Chloe Biancarelli:

What made you want to work in Social Media at California Casualty?

Well, when I first started at California Casualty I had taken a job as an Administrative Assistant for our Service Department.

I had big plans to work a more low-key job while I got my Masters in Marketing, and then I discovered that there was a Marketing position open here, and I had some experience, so I interviewed for it and the rest is history. Now, I’ve fallen in love with my job and I cannot imagine myself anywhere else.

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

There are so many things that I love about my job. Our audience, the creative freedom, my work family, all of it!\

There is no better feeling than giving back to the heroes in our community, my mom is a dispatcher, so I grew up always being around first responders and going to the sheriff’s office (I still do). AND my aunt and my brother’s girlfriend are also both Teachers. Any profession that puts someone else before themselves, will always have my gratitude and respect. I feel so good knowing that we are putting these heroes, and their needs, first here at CalCas – as they do for others.

Another reason I love my job is the complexity I have as a marketer. Social Media Marketing is often confused with just posting on Facebook and Instagram, but it’s SO much more. Aside from normal social duties, we run mini-campaigns, research and write blogs, communicate with our insured, partner with groups and individuals, strategize creative brand initiatives, sponsor events, design graphics, do video and editing, run our HR Linkedin account, and so much more. Every day is different, and because social is ever-changing, our calendar could literally change at the flip of a switch and you just have to roll with the punches. I love it!

And lastly my work family; we have our own little group of “creative weirdos” in the marketing department here at California Casualty. They make, even the most stressful day, enjoyable. AND we all are absolutely obsessed with our dogs – dog people are the best kind of people.

 

Tell us some fun facts about yourself!

I’m from Southeast Kansas, and I went to college at Pittsburg State University (Gooooo Rillas!).

I’m engaged and getting married in November! My fiancé surprised me by proposing in Seattle last fall in front of the Space Needle AND hired a photographer to capture the whole thing.

I LOVE Christmas and I’ve been to Rockefeller Center at Christmas time – it was amazing.

I will dance terribly to any song that is playing 100% of the time.

 

 

To read Chloe’s Employee Spotlight click here.

 

 

In our growing company of 700+ individuals, Employee Spotlights are posted weekly. Check them out for yourself by following us on LinkedIn at @California Casualty.

What to Do After a Natural Disaster

What to Do After a Natural Disaster

Whether it’s a flood, tornado, hurricane or earthquake, a natural disaster can turn your world upside down in a matter of seconds. Besides stress, adrenaline, and fear, there may be injuries to deal with and damage or loss of property. Many people don’t know what to do in the wake of a disaster, which can hinder their coping efforts and recovery.

Here’s a list of the 6 main steps to take immediately following a natural disaster and in the days, weeks, and months that follow.

  1. Deal with the Immediate Aftermath
      • Make sure all household members are accounted for. If anyone is missing, seek help from first responders.
      • Attend to physical injuries or emotional distress. In cases of serious injury, summon professional help.
      • If you and your family need to evacuate, follow your family’s evacuation plan, grabbing emergency kits, go bags, and essentials as assigned.
      • Notify family and friends that you’re safe. If you can’t connect directly, you can register with FEMA’s emergency family locator online or by calling 1-800-588-9822. See more FCC & FEMA communication tips here.
      • Be aware of any new safety issues created by the disaster, such as damaged roads/bridges, chemical spills, downed power lines, and washed-out roads. Inform local authorities if possible.

 

  1. Find Temporary Shelter or Housing
      • If your home is damaged and rendered uninhabitable, take photos of the damage, remove any valuables you can, and secure the property. Call your insurance company as soon as you’re able.
      • If you need to find an open emergency shelter near you right away, you can text SHELTER and your 5-digit zip code to 4FEMA. You can also use the FEMA Mobile App.
      • gov also has shelter resources online.
      • If you need to secure a hotel or other short-term housing, check FEMA’s resources for interim housing.
      • Remember that COVID-19 safety and health precautions may still be in effect so be sure to protect yourself and your family and stay informed on general guidelines.
      • If you have a pet, be sure to ask all sheltering or housing inquiries if pets are allowed.
      • Keep all your receipts from temporary housing costs, as you can most likely submit them for reimbursement.

 

  1. Emergency Food and Water
      • Listen to local radio or television to find disaster feeding sites.
      • Check with local agencies, emergency shelters, and food banks for food assistance.
      • If you have to boil or otherwise disinfect water, follow the proper guidelines.
  1. Seek Disaster Assistance
      • Check local radio and media for information on housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance.
      • The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations also provide assistance, supplies and help with clean-up efforts.
      • FEMA helps homeowners and renters who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially-declared disaster. Assistance includes temporary housing, counseling, low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. Register at gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA. You’ll need your:
          • social security number
          • telephone number
          • insurance information, address (location of damaged home and current address)
          • total household annual income
          • routing and account number for bank account
          • a description of damage and losses
  1. Returning Home
      • Wait until your area is declared safe.
      • If returning at night, use a flashlight to inspect your home and property. Keep an eye out for animals, including dangerous ones such as venomous snakes.
      • Inspect the property and perimeter first, checking for hazards such as gas leaks, downed power lines, and structural damage. Do not enter if you smell gas, see floodwaters, or if there’s fire damage.
      • If you do enter your home, you’ll need to be extremely cautious. Follow the dos and don’ts of inspecting your home in FEMA’s guide here.

 

  1. Replacing Lost Records & Protecting Your Property
      • Ideally, your important records and financial documents were part of your emergency kit.
      • If you need to replace records such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, marriage certificates or social security cards, follow the instructions at USA.gov here.
      • Contact your creditors to inform them of the situation and work with them for current and ongoing payments.
      • If the disaster is a declared Federal disaster, you may be eligible for federal income tax deductions. Check with your tax planner.
      • If a member of your family is injured and you’re caring for them, check with your employer to see if you’re eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act or disability benefits.

 

While checklists and logistical aspects all need to be dealt with, also keep in mind the mental toll that natural disasters exert. Seek help if you can, take breaks and walks, and practice self-care. Remember that children are especially affected. Community and support networks are especially important in times like these — lean on them when you need support, and offer help to others when you have some extra energy to give.

 

 

 

Supporting a Creative Contest Aimed at Teen Drivers

Supporting a Creative Contest Aimed at Teen Drivers

Our streets and freeways are coming back to life after having been empty for months. And right now, we are at the end of the season known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teenage drivers (Memorial Day through Labor Day). Add to that the excitement of back-to-school and socializing with friends beyond the virtual connections enforced by stay-at-home orders. It’s the perfect storm for poor decision making and inattentive driving by many 16 to 19-year-olds.

While COVID-19 poses a threat to our communities, teenagers are nearly four times more likely to die in a car crash than from the virus.

One of the biggest contributors to this “other” growing pandemic is distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, mind off driving, or keeps ears from being alert to surroundings.

Did you know that reckless and distracted driving is the number one killer of young people?

Recognizing the need to proactively address these 100 percent preventable crashes – mistakenly called accidents – Impact Teen Drivers (ITD) launched a Create Real Impact Creative Contest. The contest hinges on the idea that needless teen deaths can be avoided if young people are given a platform to – in their own words – urge their peers to adopt safer driving attitudes and avoid the tragic result of bad choices behind the wheel. This year’s Fall Create Real Impact Contest gives educators and students a chance to win their share of $27,000.

 

Here’s How it Works:

Students, ages 14-22, can submit one entry into one of the four categories — creative writing, video, graphic design, or music — to showcase their original idea for a solution or strategy to end reckless and distracted driving.

 

Individual Prizes are awarded in a variety of ways:

  • $500 to the entry with the most online votes within each category
  • $1,500 to the grand prize winner in each category (as determined by CRI judges*)
  • $1,500 for a Spanish language award within the video or graphic design category

 

*Judges will determine the Grand Prize Winners based on the following criteria: 25% concept/creativity, 25% execution of the idea, and 50% effectiveness of the message. Online voting in no way influences the decisions of the panel of judges.

 

In addition to the individual student winners, high school teachers and advisors are invited to submit a distracted driving social media campaign developed and implemented by their student leaders. The High School Distracted Driving Social Media Campaign contest gives students the chance to develop critical thinking and rational problem-solving skills through conducting research, advancing technical and creative writing skills, and developing communication with peers and community members across multiple media.

 

Projects can be developed through distance learning or in-person.

 

The social media campaign prizes are as follows:

  • $10,000 for the first place winner
  • $5,000 for second place
  • $2,500 for third

 

 

Important Dates:

  • Contest Opens: Monday, August 24, 2020, at 8:00 a.m. (PT)
  • Contest Entry Deadline: Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. (PT)
  • Online Voting Begins: Friday, November 13, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (PT)
  • Online Voting Closes: Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. (PT)
  • Grand Prize Winners and Top Online Vote Getter Winners will be announced by the week of November 23-27, 2020

 

No one understands teens the way their peers do. By leveraging their creativity to spread resonant messaging on safer driving and better decision-making behind the wheel, young people can be a powerful force in reducing needless teen deaths.

 

 

 

 

Fall Preparation Tips for Your Home

Fall Preparation Tips for Your Home

Fall is the perfect time of year! The summer heat begins to fade, leaves don their annual colors, football games take over the weekend, and pumpkin-flavored everything hits the shelves. fall preparation

However, it also serves as a reminder, that as the days grow shorter and the leaves start to fall, now is the ideal time to look around your home and get prepared for the oncoming winter. Fall’s mild temperatures and adequate daylight provide an opportunity to check the heater, repair gutters, and add extra insulation to the attic. An early autumn storm or blizzard is no time to learn you have leaks or other problems.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that winter-related damage causes over a billion dollars in insurance losses annually. So, enjoy the nice weather and your pumpkin spiced latte while you can. Just don’t forget to look ahead. Prevent your home from being a winter-storm statistic and make the necessary preparations to your home this fall.

 

Fall Preparation Checklist:

  • Have your heating system checked and cleaned.
  • Inspect ceilings, windows and outer walls for cracks.
  • Change air filters.
  • Check your pipes and plumbing.
  • Inspect your roof for wear or damage and clean the gutters.
  • Install weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors.
  • Seal up foundation and driveway cracks.
  • Check your fireplace and chimney for cracks or leaks.

Look around your deck or patio and yard. Now is the time to clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture and flower pots, drain sprinkler systems, trim trees and shrubs, fertilize lawns and mulch gardens. Before your lawnmower goes into hibernation, schedule a time to have it serviced. If your snowblower needs some TLC after its summer break, bring it in with your mower and tackle two chores at once. 

During the fall it is also important to make sure your home is fire safe. Hundreds of fires break out each day during the autumn and winter months. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure everything is working properly. The National Fire Protection Association warns carbon monoxide poisonings also climb during the fall and winter months.

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Preparation Checklist:

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on all levels of the home.
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries.
  • Have all heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected.
  • Keep all flammable material at least three feet from heat sources.
  • Check fire extinguishers. Replace or have them serviced as needed. 
  • Know and practice home escape routes. 

A vital preparation step for any season is to review and understand your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Make sure you know what is covered under your policy, if you need to up your coverage, or add additional coverage for the coming winter months.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty. We specialize in 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.

The Drawbacks of Premium Paybacks

 

Joe Volponi, President & CEO of California Casualty, speaks about the insurance industry during the coronavirus with David Perry on the “Great Pause” online news program.

As other insurance companies jump to reduce premiums, during the pandemic, Joe explains why a long-term premium relief strategy, like the one California Casualty is taking, has policyholders’ best interest for the future.

 

 

Virtual Communities and New Connections

Virtual Communities and New Connections

Over the last months, we learned to (quickly) shift our communities online — or create entirely new ones where there were none before.

If there are any silver linings to this pandemic, a strengthened sense of connection definitely tops the list. It’s no surprise that the professionals we serve — educators, first responders, nurses, and peace officers — have so often been the ones building community and connection.

Here’s a round-up of some heartwarming and creative ways they’ve brought us together while we’ve had to stay apart.

 

Educators

    • Positivity parade. To cheer their students up, teachers across the nation have driven through their students’ neighborhoods in car parades, oftentimes in vehicles decorated with joyful signs, messages, and decorations.
    • Teacher memes. Parents have certainly had a crash course in homeschooling — and their reflections (and teachers’ responses) have led to some brilliant memes.
    • Keepin’ it real. This music teacher’s video went viral when she shared what it’s like switching to online teaching and learning.
    • Mask project. Two former school administrators launched a mask-making project to support their communities’ frontline medical workers.
    • Keeping kids fed. Educators across the country have made sure that no students go hungry during school closures.

 

Nurses

    • Dance as medicine. Lifting spirits while delivering excellent care, these nurses use dance to bring humor and positivity to their Covid-19 patients. Check out all five videos — we dare you to keep a dry eye!
    • Stepping up, showing up. School nurses have been answering the need in communities everywhere, whether by administering tests at Covid-19 testing sites, doing wellness checks on hundreds of students, or rounding up donations and supplies for other frontline workers.
    • Creative stress-busting. Nurses and doctors are using humor, dance moves, and creativity to stay sane, spread smiles, and promote safety.
    • #904RainbowHunt. Trying to cultivate hope in an uncertain time, an ICU nurse created a (now burgeoning) Facebook group for people to create, share and hunt for rainbows in neighborhood windows.

 

First Responders

    • Storytime with peace officers. To comfort and connect with kids during stressful times, law enforcement officers nationwide have been reading to kids virtually.
    • Cribs – firehouse edition. Firefighters give kids a personal virtual tour of their fire station — from the living quarters to the garage, fire engines and everything in between.
    • Heroes cheering heroes. First responders cheer on frontline healthcare workers in New York and Pennsylvania with sirens, lights and applause.
    • #HeartsforHealthcare. Firefighters and first responders are sharing the love — by parking their engines and cruisers in heart shapes — to show support for healthcare workers.

 

Times of crisis bring out both the worst and best in people. We’re ever grateful to our American Heroes for bringing their best to their communities and inspiring us all to find ways to connect to and support each other.

 

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

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