This afternoon Arlene Brown, California Casualty RUS Analyst, reaches a milestone in her career, that few ever see in their lifetime, as she celebrates her 50th anniversary as a full-time employee.
In recognition of this incredible achievement, Joe Volponi, President and CEO of California Casualty, honored Arlene in an email sent to all CalCas employees telling Arlene’s career story and highlighting the significant impact she has made at CalCas within her 50 years. Read an excerpt below.
“It is not often in this company (maybe never) that an employee reaches 50 years of service as a full-time employee. Arlene Brown will reach that incredible milestone and a well-deserved retirement on September 8th.
She started as a Coder, working with Assigned Risk paper files. She quickly progressed to become the Auto Coding Assistant Supervisor in charge of Assigned Risk and was given the nickname “Queen of Assigned Risk.” She worked with both agents, and customers, often remembering their names and policy numbers from year to year! Those were the days when every detail had to be transferred to a grid, which a keypunch operator entered. Rating was done by hand and with a 10 key calculator spitting out the answers on paper tape. Her other daily tool was a pro-rata wheel, a few relics of which still survive today, although they remain a mystery to those familiar with more modern devices.
Arlene’s reputation for accuracy followed her throughout her career. She was a strong underwriter who was frequently overheard teaching sales reps how to find the answer to their question in the underwriting manual (a large binder with hundreds of pages). Online reference tools didn’t exist back then, so it was a manual process. She didn’t just want to give an answer, but rather help them understand where to find the answer for next time.
Similar to the Guidewire conversion we are going through today, the company as gone through several system conversions in the span of 50 years. One such conversion to the Policy Management System (PMS), as part of that effort, she ultimately wrote much of the PMS manual that defined each field of entry into PMS. The effort of proofreading draft procedures for accuracy and consistency became known as “Arlene-a-sizing”.
Arlene was a founding member of the QAD team, a group formed to improve quality assurance of PMS (Series 2) entries. As things evolved, she was a natural to become part of the RUS team, when it was formed to oversee the automation of rating, underwriting, and system processing. She became an expert in writing QMF queries, and could apply them against different generations of the system since she was one of the few that had worked in all the different systems!
Aside from all her accomplishments on the insurance side of the business, she was a tireless worker on the In-Club committees that coordinated many employee events over the years. In addition to coordinating the details for these events, she put together photo albums to commemorate them.
Arlene considered California Casualty her family, and did everything in her power to bring success. In her half-century here, she’s touched many people in a variety of ways. People like her have made this company successful.”
Arlene’s successful career is full of many achievements, but one of her favorite memories in her time with CalCas is winning the well-deserved Carl G. Brown, Jr. Award of Excellence, which is an employee-nominated award given annually to an employee whose sustained excellent contribution to the company is matched by a substantial contribution to his or her community.
When asked what the secret is to her 50-year career, she says, “It’s true what ‘they’ say about loving what you do – the time just flies. When you love your job it leads to honing your skills, seeing opportunities to improve things (processes), and finding the needles in haystacks to resolve system/policy problems. That being said, I couldn’t do the job I’ve done without the support of my work family.”
And we couldn’t do it without you, Arlene. Congratulations, and thank you for all you have done for California Casualty. You have helped turn us into the company we are today. Your presence in the office will be missed each and every day. Have a great retirement!
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
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.
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.
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.
During these trying times, it’s important to know that you are not alone. You have a community of people behind you, encouraging and fighting for you.
Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals are leading the fight on the frontlines against COVID-19, stepping up heroically in the face of incredibly long hours, heartbreaking care cases, and increased personal risk. Peace officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency personnel are on the frontlines risking their own lives to keep our communities safe and in working order during this public health crisis. While teachers, school administrators, and education support professionals have completely changed their teaching strategies to accommodate students so they can stay safe at home and finish out the rest of the school year virtually.
We have never been more thankful for our everyday heroes than we are right now.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned our daily lives upside down, but when we come together as a community- as neighbors, as family, as friends -we are unstoppable. We CAN get through this and we WILL. Together we CAN.
We’d like to extend an extra special thanks to the Firefighters, Police Officers, Teachers, and Nurses who took the time to participate in our Together We CAN video. It is a privilege to hear about your daily experiences throughout the pandemic, firsthand. We appreciate your courage and dedication to helping keep us safe now, more than ever. Thank you.
The Heroes Video Series was filmed and produced by Wide Awake Films. If you’re not already following California Casualty, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn. At California Casualty, our mission is to provide trusted, personalized auto and home insurance protection. exclusively for educators, law enforcement, nurses and firefighters—those who protect, strengthen and enhance the quality of life in American communities.
Super Bowl LIV: the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Kansas City Chiefs was a very special game for us here at California Casualty. Not only was it the biggest football game of the year, but it was also the most important to our offices
As you might know, our headquarters are in San Mateo (SMO), California, 30 minutes outside of San Francisco; however, we also have a service center located in Kansas City (KSC).
So, in honor of both of our favorite teams facing off against each other, we decided to come together and do the same. As a company, we created our own in-office Super Bowl named, “Super Bowl LIV: Battle of the Offices.”
The Battle of the Offices may not have been as aggressive as the big game, but it was every bit as intense, as the offices battled against each other to raise money for local charities. CalCas employees in each office put money down on their Super Bowl favorite, knowing all proceeds would go to a charity in the hometown of the winner.
To encourage participation, a CalCas executive in each office agreed to match each donation up to the first $100, but thanks to our amazing employees ‒ and the raffle of a Patrick Mahomes jersey ‒ donations started pouring in and those numbers were quickly bypassed!
To keep track of who was in the lead, daily emails were sent to employees, along with some “friendly” trash-talking, of course. As the week went on and anticipation for the Super Bowl grew larger, so did the Battle of the Offices. Remote employees and field marketing managers living in different states even started sending in their donations to join in on the fun.
The offices were neck and neck all the way up until the end, much like the last half of the Super Bowl, but in this battle, California ultimately came out ahead.
The final tally was SMO: $640 – KSC: $623. Making the grand total = $1,263.
However, bragging rights is the only thing SMO will have to show for their victory, because the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV in a come-from-behind victory against the San Francisco 49ers! Meaning all proceeds raised from the Battle of the Offices will go to the Sunflower House, a non-profit children’s advocacy and abuse prevention center in the Kansas City metro area.
Thank you to both offices for all of the hard work you put in to make the Battle of the Offices a success, and congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs ‒ your Super Bowl LIV Champions!
Your satisfaction is very important to us. We want to work better for you, and we’re asking you to help us accomplish that goal.
For years, we have been measuring your customer service experience, and you have repeatedly given our Customer Service team a 99% satisfaction rating. The Service team celebrates when you tell us that we are meeting your expectations. When you say that we didn’t, they have reviewed their procedures, resulting in new programs, such as our call-back option to avoid long hold times during high call volumes, along with more online opportunities to manage your policies.
You’ve also aided our Claims department, which has implemented new technology to accentuate your customer experience. A major improvement has been the new electronic transfer of funds, providing customers much quicker financial assistance when there is a claim.
We feel it’s crucial that we maintain that level of service, and your insight is invaluable. That’s why California Casualty offers ongoing surveys to customers like you. What you think about what we are doing right, and where we fall short, makes a difference. All the feedback you provide is added to our Net Promoter Score.
The Net Promoter Score helps us stay focused on what you think is important. We review and share your open-ended comments with all levels of the company. You give us a benchmark of what we do right over time, and your constructive criticism helps effect change that benefits customers.
So far, we have completed 15 Net Promoter Score surveys.
“While the trend in the score over time gives some directional information, the real value of the survey is the specific written comments we receive. These highlight the things that we do well, but also show some of the interactions where we could have improved,” said California Casualty CEO and President, Joe Volponi.
Many of those sentiments from the Net Promoter Score are echoed in California Casualty’s Trustpilot reviews. Free and open to all, Trustpilot is considered the most powerful review platform with a mission of bringing people and companies together to create ever-improving experiences for everyone. Trustpilot has recorded more than 71 million reviews, connecting consumers to businesses and improving business engagement and collaboration with consumers.
Your 1,456 reviews of California Casualty on Trustpilot have provided us a real-time measure of what you are thinking. While a majority have been positive, others have assisted us in fixing areas where we fell short in giving you the ultimate customer experience. We invite you to read our Trustpilot reviews and give one of your own at www.trustpilot.com/reviews/calcas.com.
While more than 90% of you have told us that you would recommend California Casualty to family members or colleagues, we still are not satisfied.
We have recently added new ways to measure how we are living up to our promise to give you a great customer experience.
We are now asking you to take a short survey after talking with a Customer Service advisor, determining if we resolved your issue and if you would refer us to others. We are also asking anyone who contacts our Sales team if they were satisfied and if we met their expectations.
If you took part in one of these surveys, thank you.
Engaging with you – listening and learning – is all part of our effort to deliver the best insurance experience that our valued customers and group partners deserve. You work hard to make our communities better, and we appreciate all that you do.
We are an insurance company that cares. That means we are part of people’s lives when the worst happens, and how we handle the task is what makes us different.
TAKEAWAY: Please help us improve by completing the survey offered after contacting California Casualty. You can also find our Trustpilot reviews and connect with us via social media at our blog page, www.mycalcas.com.
Who would have thought that an insurance company would focus on a strong social media presence? We did. After all, it’s a great way to connect with you.
Meet Chloe, our social media scientist.
On a daily basis, Chloe is the online heart of our organization; creating and sharing content, resources, and occasional “aww moments” that inform and entertain you.
“I love social media, and like the rest of the world, I am glued to my phone,” she said. “What attracted me to the job with California Casualty is the writing/blogging involved.”
Working out of our Leawood, Kansas office, Chloe is a Kansas girl who loves the Kansas City Chiefs. She and her fiance, Trevor, also love to travel, go to concerts, and hang out with their dog, Maverick, a 1-year-old border collie mix.
Originally from Cherokee, a small town in southeast Kansas that she describes as “a place with no stoplights, and a 30-minute drive to find a Walmart,” Chloe graduated from Pittsburg State University with a B.A. in Communication/Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. “Through college, I wrote for a blog and I loved it. I remember when my second post got published and there were 20,000 shares – I FREAKED OUT!”
Her goal at California Casualty is to learn more about you and create posts that ignite your interest.
“Let’s face it, insurance can be confusing,” says Chloe. “I try to find facts and details that people may not know about their coverage – like how renters insurance can cost less than college textbooks or how you get free ID theft protection with your policy – anything to make the posts a little more interesting and entice readers to go to our blog to learn more.”
“However, I strongly believe that our insureds don’t want to just see just insurance facts on their feeds. While keeping insurance posts in the mix is important, I like to go with a ‘we get it’ strategy – highlighting that California Casualty understands that teachers work 10-plus hours a day and some days just want a funny classroom meme to make them smile; or that the media sometimes show first responders in a dark light, so here’s an officer breakdancing with a child or a firefighter bringing groceries to the elderly. When you understand the audience and what they want to see, you start seeing engagement go up.”
And, engagement on our various social media platforms is definitely up. Since Chloe took the reins, the numbers have shot up. “Our social engagement has more than doubled since Chloe came on board,” said California Casualty Social and Digital Marketing Manager, Demian Tallman.
Chloe finds it inspiring interacting with audiences across the platforms. “We are very active on all of our social media sites. We love to hear about the difference our policyholders are making in their departments, classrooms, and communities, and we would be happy to feature more of them.”
She also appreciates hearing from and interacting with many of you who have taken the opportunity, via the various social media platforms we offer, to say hi or share with others. One important follower gives Chloe a lot of feedback. It’s her mom, a dispatcher for a county sheriff’s department, who has taught Chloe firsthand about the stress and challenges of being called to work in the middle of the night because of violent storms or missing holidays because of work. “It taught me to have so much respect for dispatchers and their spouses.” Oh, and one of Chloe’s aunts is a high school science and astronomy teacher, who also gives her advice.
You will find many avenues to follow, learn about, and engage with California Casualty.
Chloe’s favorite is Facebook, where there are more than 120,000 followers, but she hopes that you will follow California Casualty on your favorite platform. “That way, they can keep up with news and helpful information pertaining to their professions, which are posted daily. Another cool thing we do on social media (and probably the favorite thing for our readers) is giveaways and contests.”
Here’s a list of where to find us:
LinkedIn: @California Casualty (there’s a space between the words)
Pinterest: California Casualty
Spotify: Cal Cas
Chloe highlighted a couple of her – and your – favorite posts. One was about a nine-year-old boy who started a GoFundMe and raised $80,000 to purchase bulletproof vests for K9 dogs (“How could anyone not love that?”) that garnered hundreds of likes and shares and reached over 10,000 people. Another is a new page of educator printables, downloadable posters, and interactive activities that are free to use (https://mycalcas.com/printables-for-teachers/).
Chloe added this invitation: “Follow us and enjoy the fun.”
TAKEAWAY: Connect and share with Chloe and California Casualty at our blog,www.mycalcas.com, and scroll down on that page to find the various other social media available.
Get a $25 gift card when you complete an auto quote with a representative.
*Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. One gift card per household, per year. Offer not valid when a California Casualty policy is already in force. Offer not valid in FL, GA, MD, NC, ND, TN and UT.
Offer not available to United MileagePlus® Members.