A Salute to Our Amazing First Responders

California Casualty’s 9/11 Red Rocks Stair Climb Team

It’s hard to describe the emotions of being part of the thousands who turned out to honor first responders on the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attack in New York. If you were lucky enough to be a participant, you know the mix of sadness, pride, and amazement that comes with each step at one of the many stair climbs held across the country. California Casualty helped sponsor a half-dozen memorial climbs, from California to Colorado and Ohio to Maryland.

We were honored to join firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement officers and medical professionals to remember the heroes who gave their lives to save others, and to support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and its mission of providing emotional and financial help to the families of fallen firefighters. Students and teachers from various schools also attended, learning about the terrible events that day.

California Casualty’s Debbie Harris and Lorelei Seip at the Yellow Springs, OH, Stair Climb

Miami Township Fire-Rescue Chief, Colin Altman, who organized the 150-person climb in Yellow Springs, Ohio, was grateful for California Casualty’s help and presence. “Your field team not only provided snacks and bottled water, but they were supportive and wonderful, making a difference cheering people on,” he said. Chief Altman feels it’s important to teach young people who were born after 2001 about the impact of that day, and not to forget the heroism exhibited by first responders.

California Casualty feels a responsibility to the brave men and women who risk their lives to make our communities safer every day. Following another disastrous California fire season, in early September we donated $2,500 to the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) Police Officers Relief and Education Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund. The fund assists law enforcement members whose homes were damaged or destroyed by wildfire, often while they were working to protect others during the firestorm.

California Casualty’s Jana Charles and Roxanne Dean presenting a donation to PORAC Insurance Benefits Trustees

And in May, California Casualty also had the privilege of participating in two important law enforcement memorial weekends. CEO Beau Brown and Vice President for Account Relations Roxanne Dean attended the California Police Officers’ Memorial Ceremony in Sacramento, commemorating six officers who died in the line of duty in 2017. California Casualty provided the blue light pens used at the evening candlelight ceremony, and is a donor to the California Police Officers’ Memorial Foundation scholarship fund, which aids the families of fallen officers. Roxanne is also an advisor to the Memorial Foundation Board and sits on the Fundraising Committee.

Roxanne and Account Relations Manager Alina Fayerman represented California Casualty at the 2018 National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the National Association of Police Organization’s TOP COP Awards, held in the Nation’s Capital. The TOP COP Awards highlight the heroic actions of law enforcers and honors those who lost their lives in the line of duty. While everyone who attended felt moved by the events, Alina summed it up best: “It struck me that our protectors need protecting and their families need our love and support.”

 

California Casualty has partnered with law enforcement associations for almost 50 years and firefighter organizations for 45 years, and we appreciate their service and sacrifices.

TAKEAWAY:

Learn more about California Casualty’s commitment to first responders at https://mycalcas.com, and share your pictures and stories about the men and women who wear a badge at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty.

Sump Pump/Water Backup Coverage – Why You Need It

It’s something we all hope never happens to us: a sewer backup or sump pump failure. When it comes to sewers, what goes down shouldn’t come back up. In fact, any home with a toilet and a sink is susceptible to this type of event.

Damage from a sewer backup or sump pump failure is not covered under your homeowners insurance. Without the endorsement, you’ll be paying for the damage yourself.

Here are five reasons to have water backup/sump pump overflow coverage:

  1. It can happen at any time to any home
  2. Just a couple inches of brackish water can cause thousands of dollars in damage – ruining carpets, destroying appliances and crumbling dry wall
  3. It helps speed up the necessary clean-up, preventing mold and further damage
  4. It’s not covered under flood insurance
  5. It’s relatively inexpensive

If you live in an older home, one that has a basement and/or a sump pump, and there have been problems of backed up sewers in your neighborhood, you should definitely consider adding water backup and sump discharge or overflow coverage to your homeowners insurance policy.

With a California Casualty water backup endorsement, you’ll have as much as $10,000 to clean up and repair damage (amount varies by state).

TAKEAWAY:

Review your policy and if you don’t have a water backup endorsement, or don’t know if you do, contact a California Casualty advisor today at 1.800.800.9410 option 3, or email service@calcas.com.

Flood-Damaged Vehicles Across the U.S. – Buyer Beware

If you’re in the market for a used car or truck, be aware that water-damaged vehicles could soon be coming to your community. While most will arrive from areas deluged by tropical storms and hurricanes, others can come from flooding in other parts of the country. The U.S. Justice Department and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners warn that crooks often ship these flooded vehicles across the country to unwitting buyers, and any used vehicle in any part of the country needs to be checked for water damage.

Carfax estimates there are now more than 325,000 water-damaged vehicles on American highways. They’ve been found from California to Maine and Minnesota to Florida. In fact, the cities where the most flooded cars have washed up are Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago. The states with the most flood-damaged vehicles are Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and Kentucky.

A waterlogged vehicle can have chronic issues that can last for years. Water fouls fuel lines, destroys electronics, and rusts engines, brakes and other important parts.

You should always test drive and inspect any used vehicle you plan to purchase. Here are some signs a vehicle has suffered water damage:

  • A musty odor or heavy aroma of cleaners or disinfectants to mask mold odors
  • Water marks or dirt in the dashboard, carpets or trunk
  • Rusty door hinges and truck latches
  • Corrosion around bolts or screws
  • Silt or mud under seats, glove compartments or window wells
  • Electronics that flicker or don’t work
  • Fog or moisture in interior lights or the dashboard

When test-driving a used vehicle, experts say you should:

  • Turn on the ignition and check all instrument panel lights and accessories
  • Test the interior and exterior lights, air conditioning, windshield wipers, turn signals, high beams and heater
  • Turn on the sound system and check door speakers, which often become damaged in water
  • Look at the engine oil – when mixed with even small amounts of water it turns murky and looks like a melted chocolate shake
  • Inspect the air filter for water stains

If you suspect you unknowingly bought a water-damaged vehicle, the Federal Trade Commission has a wealth of resources for used car buyers who fear they are victims of fraud.

You can get a free vehicle history check from Carfax or through vendors approved by the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.

TAKEAWAY:

Learn more about avoiding flood-damaged vehicles at https://mycalcas.com/?s=flood+damaged+cars.

Agency Services – Who They Are and What They Do

Kim, Tanya, Kelly, Bianca, Linda, Lori and Nancy

With almost 100 years combined insurance industry experience, California Casualty’s Agency Services team can help you with your specialty insurance needs, such as earthquake, flood, pet insurance, personal umbrella, or antique and collectible car insurance. It’s a one-stop shop for your insurance needs.

Our Agency Services team members are a diverse group of personalities. From the world-traveling Tanya and the outdoorsy Kelly, to Nancy, who is the vegetarian military mom, this group of individuals finds ways to have fun while providing you exceptional service.

Lori S. is the team manager of the group. She has nine years of insurance experience, seven-and-a-half of those with California Casualty. She takes great pride in educating people about the insurance Agency Services offers.

Lori values time with family members. “Coming from a large family helps me manage our fun, exuberant group. It has also taught me how to relate to others. I will do whatever I can to help customers and keep them with California Casualty,” she said.

Lori also helps organize the many Agency Services potlucks and celebrations, because everyone in the group considers themselves a “foodie.” The lunches provide a time for everyone to catch up with each other, building teamwork and unity.

Tanya C. has worked in insurance for 20 years, and has the longest tenure with Agency Services, starting when it was created, 16 years ago.

A travel aficionado, Tanya says seeing and experiencing other parts of the world allows her to connect with people who have different perspectives. “It helps me relate and build rapport,” she said.

Tanya credits her travel experiences and her ability to relate to others for her long run with Agency Services.

Tanya is also the “green chili” champ of the group, having won numerous Agency Services and California Casualty chili cook-offs.

Kelly D. has been at California Casualty since she was a teenager. In her 15 years with the company, she has worked in underwriting, sales, customer service and Agency Services.

Kelly and her family are avid outdoors people, and she often goes camping, hiking or exploring with her husband and daughter. That time away helps her recharge, enabling her to be a better agent to others.

“I try and make sure people understand what they are getting, what it will do and won’t do. I don’t want to sell something they don’t need.” she said.

Kelly loves that California Casualty is a family-owned business that appreciates the people it serves, and is very proud of the company’s disaster call-out efforts. “I was talking to a police officer in South Carolina after the hurricane who was so surprised and thankful that we were checking on him. I told him that we care about protecting him just as he was protecting his community.”

Kelly likes to show off her culinary expertise at potluck time. While she’s perfected many dishes, one of her favorite creations are her home-made cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. “They are light, fluffy, and not-too-sweet heavenly deliciousness,” she added.

Nancy N. is the quiet one. She’s also considered the flood insurance expert of the team. She has 13 years experience in insurance, seven of those in Agency Services. She considers herself a “sports and military mom,” supporting and traveling with her military family that includes three children who are all very involved in a variety of athletics. “All this has taught me how to deal with a multitude of interesting situations. That helps me address the many needs of our clientele,” she said.

She added that she especially loves working with first responders, who often don’t take care of their own insurance needs because they are too busy helping others. “I believe in helping them quickly and efficiently and giving them the insurance they need to protect them and their families.”

Being the vegetarian of the group, Nancy brings healthy choices to their various food events.

Kim H. has been employed in insurance since 1985, with the last eight years at California Casualty. She’s licensed for property and casualty, health, life and commercial insurance.

She is a devoted grandma who likes to tackle home improvements. After a recent fall that resulted in a broken wrist, her four-year old grandson now calls her “Grandma Owie.”

Kim also spends many evenings playing softball.

Working in specialty products, Kim tries to put herself in other people’s situations. “I was a mother with teens and understand the difficulties of insuring them, and the high rates that come with that. I think it takes empathy, understanding and compassion to do this job well,” she said.

With a broad understanding of insurance, Kim is dedicated to counseling the people she works with, and believes in follow-through to the end. “I make sure that everything gets done by reassuring the client, and then confirming with them when the paperwork is completed.”

While she may have great follow-through with clients, Kim likes to take the easy way out by bringing Chipotle’s Barbacoa Beef to the luncheons.

Linda T. is the team’s administrative assistant. She’s been with California Casualty almost nine  of the 30 years she’s been in the insurance business.

Besides handling reports, paperwork and other duties, Linda takes great pride in doing important follow-up with clients on policies and  renewals.

Linda works with customers to make sure they have the appropriate insurance, reminding them to pay before renewal and helping them get refunds. “I try and do as much as I can in my administrative role to free up our licensed agents to do their important work.”

Linda is devoted to golf, both as a sport and working weekends at a golf course. She likes to say that she serves people at both jobs. She likes to bring sports-related food to the team’s potlucks, like chips with homemade salsa or BBQ wings.

Bianca O. oversees the operations of the Agency Services Department, in addition to managing an inbound customer service team.  In the 18+ years that she’s worked for California Casualty, she’s had the pleasure of working in sales, customer service and Agency Services.

When Bianca isn’t at work, she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.

Getting to know the ladies in Agency Services, and sharing various meals and gatherings, has been a delight for Bianca. “The team’s wealth of knowledge and ability to change focus with each incoming call is extraordinary,” she said.

With a husband who is a bakery chef, Bianca likes to put the “sweet” in the Agency Services potlucks with a variety of scrumptious deserts.

Agency Services – Ready to Serve You

With wide-ranging backgrounds and years of expertise, if you need specialty insurance, our Agency Services department can provide it. Lori, Tanya, Kelly, Nancy, Kim, Linda and Bianca are ready to help you, and they might even share their favorite recipes.

TAKEAWAY:

Meet the team and contact California Casualty’s Agency Services for your specialty insurance needs at 1.877.652.2638 or at agencyservices@calcas.com.

 

 

Connecting With America’s Educators

It’s been quite a year for educators. California Casualty is glad to celebrate the progress made despite challenging times.

Once again, we had a great opportunity to meet with the delegates at the annual NEA Representative Assembly (NEA RA), held this July in Minneapolis, and explain the benefits of the NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program provided by California Casualty.

 

Gathering with 6,000 representatives from around the country is always inspiring. The passion for students and public schools always impresses us. It’s wonderful to reconnect with old friends (many of whom are longtime policyholders) and get introduced to new ones, sharing the importance of membership to an organization like the NEA that fights for the rights of teachers and education support professionals.

 

Brian Goodman, Assistant Vice President of Field Relations, was working feverishly to catch up with as many NEA members as he could. “The NEA RA is really a remarkable event. It is rewarding to see our genuine leadership connections from across the country and get a chance to interact with 6,000 NEA leaders at one location,” he said.

 

California Casualty Senior Vice President Doug Goldberg concurs. “This year, the passion and energy at the RA was palpable, understandably with all of the external pressures facing public education,” he said.

 

Assistant Vice President Lisa Almeida added, “In my 13 years attending the Assembly, this was the best ever. Meeting with NEA leaders from across the country and hearing about their positive interactions with California Casualty and their local Field Marketing Managers is so gratifying.”

 

Doug said that NEA members took notice of the value and attention they receive from California Casualty. “We learned over handshakes and hugs with our friends and customers how much they appreciate the NEA, NEA Member Benefits and partners like California Casualty. In one example, a past NEA president sought us out to say he’d be switching over soon. The presidents of a couple states’ two largest locals also came to thank us for our local representation.”

 

 

Field Relations Vice President Debbie Harris summed it up with, “We often hear praise from delegates about our local reps from their states. They see us as friends and partners. Those relationships are priceless.”

 

TAKEAWAY:

We love hearing your California Casualty stories. Share them at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty, or tell your colleagues and family about our exceptional service and have them visit www.calcas.com to learn more about what we do and how we serve you.

College Students & Renters Insurance

The rush is on to get everything ready as students head back to college. If yours are moving into a place of their own, don’t forget to purchase renters insurance to protect all the special items that make the new place their home away from home.

Here are some important reasons why renters insurance is a necessity for your college student(s):

1. College kids have more these days: books, bicycles, TVs, computers, tablets, gaming systems, smart phones, sound systems, clothes, bedding, furniture and kitchen items. Replacing those items if they were stolen, damaged or destroyed in a fire could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Renters insurance also pays for temporary living expenses, like a hotel room, while their room or apartment is repaired.Renters insurance also pays for temporary living expenses, like a hotel room, while their room or apartment is repaired.

2. While most students who live in a dorm have personal property coverage under their parents’ homeowners insurance, once they move into a place of their own they usually need their own renters insurance policy.

3. A landlord’s insurance policy won’t cover your student’s belongings. The landlord’s insurance protects the building and only pays to fix walls, roofs, etc., not any of your kid’s contents.

4. Renters insurance provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt at your student’s apartment. It helps pay for medical expenses and other costs, like legal fees, if the injured person sues.

5. Renters insurance is a great value. On average, it costs between $10 and $20 a month, or about $200 a year. That’s less than most people spend each month for cell phones or the cable bill.

TAKEAWAY: Learn how renters insurance will cover your college student’s belongings by contacting one of our advisors at 1.800.800.9410, or visit https://secure.mycalcas.com/loverenters

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