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Wow, Look What You’ve Done!

You always amaze us. From great achievements, awards, and celebrations, you impress us with all of your many accomplishments. We’ve been lucky to be there with you for many of them.

California Casualty contingent and California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, celebrating Distinguished Schools with Mickey and Minnie Mouse

On the education side, California Casualty is proud to sponsor the California Distinguished Schools Awards and Gala. It was a thrilling night at Disneyland in April, as we honored the 162 public middle and high schools and 18 districts that were named 2019 Distinguished Schools and Exemplary Districts.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, thanked California Casualty for its help. “We couldn’t provide this platform of acknowledgement without our partnership with California Casualty, a long-time sponsor of our California School Recognition Program,” he said.

Nina Ericksen presenting the Distinguished School banner to Medea Creek Middle School


Our CEO, Beau Brown, expressed how fortunate we were to be a part of the special event. “We are elated to join the Department of Education, California Teachers Association and the Association of California School Administrators in congratulating all of the schools and districts being honored, especially the dedicated staff who worked so hard for this designation. Their dedication and innovative leadership has helped California continue to be one of the top states preparing students for graduation, college and beyond.”


The entire list of 2019 California Distinguished Schools can be found at


Meadville High Athletics Grant presentation

Athletics Grant presentation at Lewis
Middle School

Also in April, we announced the 64 public middle schools and high schools in 32 states that were recipients of the 2019 Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants. A total of $67,149 was awarded this year to help schools affected by tight budgets purchase equipment, improve safety or provide new uniforms. A couple examples included Lewis Middle School in CA, where the grant will help provide uniforms that will be shared by the basketball, cross country and Special Olympics teams, and Meadville Area High School in PA, where the baseball team will buy safety equipment and update the scoreboard.


The entire list of 2019 Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants awardees can be found on the California Casualty newsroom page,



Caden receiving his Create Real Impact award

California Casualty is also a proud supporter of the Create Real Impact Contest, which awards students ages 14-22 for their creative works to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Educational Grants totaling $12,000 were awarded in the 2019 Spring contest, including Caden Turner’s $1,500 grand prize for his video, “Listen Up.” The Missouri teen was honored during a district school board meeting in April.

Other grand prize recipients were:

  • Ashlee Walkowiak, WI, in the writing category for her work titled, “Be Different”
  • Everen Graves, CA, in the music category for the song “So Much to Live For”
  • Lindsey Sanchez, GA, in the art category for the poster “Camera Filters”

Information about the Create Real Impact Contest and the Spring 2019 winners can be found at


Karen and Field Marketing Manager DeeDee Tempeleton

And because nurses give so much, California Casualty gives back with the $1,000 Nurse’s Night Out award. Medford, Oregon ICU nurse Karen Dwyer was the most recent winner. At the check presentation in May, Karen said she will use the funds to buy a new bicycle for an upcoming cross country bike trip. “It makes me feel good to receive this honor, and it’s a wonderful way to show appreciation for the caring we give to people – especially as we start Nurses Week,” she said.

Oregon & Ohio nurses can apply for the next Nurse’s Night Out at


Tanya and NVFC’s Bob Timko with Jr. Firefighter recipient Robert Dowd

California Casualty has worked with firefighter organizations since 1974. We’ve provided support for various trainings, benefits and activities, as well as Firehouse Makeovers and Work Hard/Play Hard giveaways.

An important program that California Casualty sponsors is the National Volunteer Fire Council’s annual Junior Firefighter and Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Awards. The 2019 recipients are Robert Dowd and the Westport, Massachusetts Fire Department’s Explorer Post #744. California Casualty’s Account Relations Manager, Tanya Rigsby, helped present Robert’s award at the NVFC awards gala at the end of April. Robert remarked that it was nice to be recognized for the hard work he’s put into the fire service, and how important it is that California Casualty helps in the effort to develop future fire professionals. “The support that I have received from California Casualty has been unparalleled, and it has pushed me harder to be my best and helped me focus on reaching future goals that will put me at an advantage in life,” he said.


We also ask a lot from our law enforcement officers, with all too many losing their lives as they do their jobs. It is important that we remember and honor those who give the ultimate sacrifice.

National Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony

California Casualty was proud, once again, to attend the National Law Enforcement Memorial and help sponsor the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS awards.

Vice President of Partner Relations, Roxanne Dean, and Alina Fayerman, Account Relations Manager, represented the company as family, friends and the public honored 371 fallen officers from 2018 at the nation’s capital.

Roxanne and Alina were also present as the TOP COP Awards were presented to law enforcement officers from 10 federal, state, county, tribal and local agencies from across the country, for actions from the previous year that went above and beyond the call of duty.

California Casualty salutes the law enforcement officers for all the work they do to make a difference for their communities.


You all do extraordinary things, and California Casualty continues to thank you for your hard work. Educators have until June 30 to apply for a Music and Arts Grant at, and until July 12 for a $7,500 School Lounge Makeover at First responders can enter to win a $7,500 Garage Makeover from California Casualty at Pass the information on to your colleagues too. The entry deadline is October.


Learn more about the many resources and ways we honor the professions we serve at our blog,



A Teen Driver Checklist

Having a new driver in the family can be an exciting yet terrifying time. It means a newfound freedom for your teen, but lots of parental worrying about distractions, their inexperience, and the aggressive drivers they might encounter. These safety tips can help ease your worry and make sure they’re ready to get behind the wheel and take to the roads.

  1. Enroll Them In Driver Education

A dilemma for many parents is deciding whether to teach their child to drive, or leave it up to an expert. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends enrolling new drivers in a driver education program to help develop life-long safe driving habits. Each state has a list of approved driver education programs, often found on your state’s department of motor vehicles website. A resource for all states can be found at

To ensure young drivers have the training and experience they need, safety groups are pushing for a national, mandatory graduated driver licensing system (GDL), which has proven to save lives.

  1. Research Which Vehicles Are Safer for Them

When shopping for a vehicle for younger drivers, The National Highway Safety Institute recommends:

  • Looking for bigger, heavier vehicles that offer more protection (no mini or small cars were on the list)
  • Avoiding vehicles with high horsepower
  • Considering vehicles with an electronic stability control system to maintain traction and control on curves and slippery roads

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does extensive crash tests on cars and trucks to rate them for safety. Realizing that many parents opt for a used vehicle for new teen drivers, they created a list of those that meet important safety criteria, with prices ranging from $2,000 to nearly $20,000. They found 53 “Best Choices” under $20,000, and 62 “Good Choices” that start at under $10,000.

Some of the “Best Choice” vehicles $20,000 or less include:

  • 2007 and newer Volvo S80 – large cars ($4,000)
  • 2013 and newer (built after October 2012) Volkswagen Passat – midsized cars ($6,600)
  • 2014 and newer (built after October 2013) Mazda CX-5 – small SUVs ($10,700)

These are some of the recommendations for “Good Choices” priced at $10,000 or less:

  • 2010-2016 Buick LaCrosse – large cars ($6,200)
  • 2009-2014 Volkswagen Jetta sedan and wagon – midsized cars ($3,800)
  • 2007-2011 Honda Element – small SUVs ($4,400)

Most of these vehicles now include safety technology – such as collision avoidance systems and full airbag protection for drivers and passengers. See the complete list at

  1. Observe Their Driving Habits

Before you let your new driver start on the road to independence, check that he or she knows the vehicle and understands safe operating procedures, such as:

  • Adjusting the seat and mirrors before leaving the driveway
  • Putting on seat belts and ensuring that all passengers are buckled in
  • Using turn signals
  • Looking in all directions before pulling into traffic (even at green lights)
  • Accelerating and braking smoothly
  • Following at a safe distance
  • Avoiding distractions

To help avoid confrontations with irate drivers, parents can put a “New Driver” sticker on the car, truck or SUV that the inexperienced driver will be using.

  1. Reinforce the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted and inattentive driving are one of the leading causes of crashes for all drivers, but especially for teens. The crash rate for newly licensed teens was almost double that of teen drivers with a few years of experience, according to the NHTSA.

Here are some strategies to help prevent inattentive driving:

  1. Pledge, along with your teenage driver, to avoid texting or using social media behind the wheel
  2. Use apps that block incoming calls and texts, and send alerts when the app is turned off
  3. Teach children to speak out when they are with a driver who’s distracted
  4. Request that they not speed, goof off, or drive impaired (or get into a car with someone who is upset or impaired)
  5. Help your teen map out routes and create music lists before heading out

Impact Teen Drivers, a non-profit founded through a partnership between California Association of Highway Patrolmen, California Casualty and California Teachers Association, offers free, creative ways for parents and teens to educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted and careless driving. Visit to learn more.

  1. Fully Insure Your Teen Drivers

While higher auto insurance premiums are a hard reality for parents, you don’t want to skimp on your coverage. Did you know that California Casualty has really good rates for teen drivers?

Lack of experience behind the wheel makes them more likely to be involved in a collision, even a minor one. Increasing your liability limits, and adding full coverage, ensures that your insurance is enough to cover your assets. (Now is also a great time to learn more about an Umbrella Policy if you don’t already have one.)

Here are some ways to help manage the insurance costs for teen drivers:

  • Take advantage of good student discounts
  • Purchase cars that have modern safety features and a good safety rating
  • Consider a monitoring system that tracks your young driver’s habits
  • Enroll them in a defensive driving course
  • Cut driving miles by carpooling and using mass transit
  • Let your insurer know if the driver is away at college

Hopefully, your teen driver will gain experience, and you’ll feel more confident each time they get behind the wheel, knowing they are in the safest vehicle, armed with the best advice, and are paying attention to the road and other drivers.


Take a moment and contact one of our Customer Service representatives to get the protection your teen driver needs by calling 1.800.800.9410, option 3, or by visiting


Rental Car Reimbursement 101

When something happens to your vehicle, it’s an unexpected and unappreciated disruption to your life. We often take for granted the convenience our vehicle provides – until it is out of commission following an accident or other covered claim. That’s why you need rental car reimbursement.

Rental car reimbursement, also known as rental car coverage or transportation expense, is a wonderful feature of your auto insurance. When added to your policy that already has collision and comprehensive, it pays the cost of renting a vehicle until repairs from a covered accident or loss are completed on your ride.

Did you know?

  • Insurance will only reimburse you for the daily rental rate. Other expenses, such as the cost of gas or security deposit for the car, are typically your responsibility.
  • The rental car company can bill the insurer directly if you choose one that partners with your insurer.
  • Lower rental rates are available to those involved in an accident, but you must let the rental agent know that you are renting due to an accident.
  • There are typically two types of parameters for reimbursing your temporary rental: a daily rate and a per-claim limit.
  • Choosing the right amount of rental reimbursement is important. Some insureds may need only the minimum coverage amount while others may need more.

If you have a large family that requires a larger SUV or van to commute to work, school and all of the extracurricular events your family participates in, then you should consider a higher amount of rental car reimbursement.  Also, take into account where you live. What are the going rates for a rental car, truck or SUV that would fit your needs should your personal vehicle be out of commission for a number of days? Be sure you have the limits that make sense for your needs.

An accident is disruptive enough; having the right rental reimbursement coverage will save you time, money and headaches while you’re getting your vehicle back on the road.


A California Casualty advisor is ready to give you a policy review, make sure that you have comprehensive and collision coverage, and check the amount you have for rental car reimbursement. Give a call today at 1.800.800.9410 option 3, or visit

From A Child’s Perspective

This Behind the Scenes has a different angle than in previous issues. Instead of highlighting what we do, we want to take a moment to show you an inspiring project that highlights what you do.

California Casualty has worked with first responder groups for decades. As your insurance provider, we know you as fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers – real people who dedicate themselves to making a difference for the world we live in.

To invite others to share our admiration for all that you do, we recently launched a video series that captures a behind-the-scenes look at those in uniform. Filmed by Wide Awake Films, the uplifting videos feature heartwarming interactions between first responders and children in their community.

In A Day With Law Enforcement, two kids, Jayden and Giselle, got the chance of a lifetime – spending a day meeting and riding with police officers. The videos highlight the interactions that broke down preconceived notions, and allowed the children to view police officers as real people.

“They were really nice…when you actually get to meet a cop – actually meet them – like others say, ‘you never judge a book by its cover,’” said Jayden.

“They’re just trying to do their job and they are putting their life on the line,” added Giselle.

In the other series, A Day With Firefighters, viewers are treated to 8-year-old Journey’s incredible day riding in a fire truck, meeting firefighters – from recruits to the fire chief – and showing his stop-drop-and-roll move.

“I think if I got to do what he did today when I was eight years old, it would have opened my eyes,” said one firefighter. “The community is only as good as the people who protect and service it…we all have a part in making our community a good place to live. It was a rewarding day for the both of us.”

“They have to be very brave because they are close to the fire and stuff,” said Journey.  “Today was a very good day,” he added.

“We’ve worked with first responders for 50 years and are proud to give a glimpse of the people making a real difference for our communities,” said California Casualty Social Media Manager, Demian Tallman.

So far, there have been almost 367,000 views of the videos. You can see for yourself how Jayden and Giselle felt after their day-in-the-life at

You can also watch Journey’s great day with his firefighter friends at


We invite you to see our extensive video library, which offers insurance resources and highlights the professions we serve, at

Standing Beside You To Support And Celebrate All That You Do

CSFA’s Joe Stewart, Bob Hamilton and Executive Director Gene Gantt with California Casualty’s Tami Phillips and Roxanne Dean

At California Casualty, we pride ourselves on being there when you need help, or to celebrate your achievements. Recently, we have done both.

Helpful Giving

The terrible fire in Paradise, California, destroyed the entire community, including homes of many law enforcement officers and firefighters who faced the flames to protect others. The California Casualty CARES Committee, which assists the many groups we serve, donated to the North Valley Community Foundation Camp Fire Relief Fund, at the behest of the California State Firefighters’ Association. The fund aids public safety employees whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the flames.

CTA Controller Wei Pan
and Beau Brown

The California Casualty CARES Committee also gave $20,000 to the CTA Disaster Relief Fund. The funds will help provide financial assistance to CTA members who have experienced significant losses due to the fires in California.

We also learned that Paradise Intermediate School (PINT) was one of eight schools in the Paradise area that were either destroyed or too damaged to hold classes. The staff (35 of whom lost homes in the fire) was forced to find a temporary facility, 20 miles away in a vacant hardware store in Chico.

Christy Forward (left) celebrating with Reiner Light, Camp Fire Education Administrator; Kat Kennedy, PINT teacher; PINT Principal Cris Dunlap; Larry Johnson, PINT Co-Principal

Knowing the emotional roller coaster that the administrators, teachers and employees have endured, our Field Marketing Manager Christy Forward, who spent hours helping people while the fire raged, arranged to give PINT a $7,500 School Lounge Makeover to make their days at school a little more soothing and relaxed.

The gift was announced January 17, and Principal Cris Dunlap (who lost her home) was moved to tears as she said, “We’ve focused so much on giving students a learning space and place to be with their teachers and friends. As educators, we put others ahead of ourselves. It’s so nice that California Casualty recognizes the valor of our teachers and everything they are doing to be there for our kids and to keep the district going.”

The finished makeover should be revealed later this month and will be relocated to the school in Paradise once repairs are finished.

Roxanne Dean and Beau Brown presenting CARES Check to Kevin Michelson, CPOMF President

Meanwhile, California Casualty continued our decades-long support of the men and women who wear a badge and uniform in California. In January, the California Casualty CARES Committee presented a $15,000 check to benefit the California Peace Officer’s Memorial Foundation (CPOMF) scholarship fund, which is available to family members of California peace officers who have died in the line of duty.

“As a child who lost her father in the line of duty, I am very thankful for the foundation to help me in continuing my education,” wrote one recipient. “I deeply appreciate your support towards the fallen officers and supporting their families, and I promise you I will work very hard and give back to others when I have completed my student teaching.”

“I take pride in being part of your foundation and am grateful to your contribution to my schooling,” wrote another.

CPOMF also funds and organizes the California Peace Officers’ Memorial and the annual commemorative memorial service in May. California Casualty is honored to support such a worthwhile organization that provides so much to the families of fallen officers.


Beau and Award for Teaching Excellence Recipients

One of the most prestigious honors in public education is the California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence. California Casualty has partnered with the NEA Foundation for many years to present awards. This year, 46 instructors, the most ever, were recognized. Each awardee’s school received $500, and California Casualty CEO, Beau Brown, helped hand out the awards at the NEA Foundation’s annual Excellence in Education Gala in February.

For over two decades, California Casualty has provided $200 Help Your Classroom grants to educators across the country to help purchase supplies or educational materials. Each month, eight recipients are chosen, and we get dozens of thank

you cards every year. Recently, our Washington Sr. Field Marketing Manager, Michelle Hawkins, was able to present the grant to Robin H., in Port Angeles. Robin, who used the funds to purchase a label maker for her school district, said,

California Casualty Sr. Field Marketing Manager Michelle Hawkins with Help Your Classroom recipient Robin H.

“Every year the district orders supplies to stock up for the entire school year. I was able to contribute to our supply closet. It was very fun to win.”

We are proud of the support we give to the groups to which you belong.


See some of the ways California Casualty gives back to the groups we partner with at


Why You May Not Have Enough Insurance to Rebuild

Seeing a wall of flames or a madly spinning tornado bearing down on your community or neighborhood is the worst time to wonder, “Do I have enough insurance to build my home again?”

While some areas of the country have already experienced tornadoes and record flooding, fire and storm season is just beginning.

We’ve seen enough disasters to know the stress and financial impact they leave behind. More out-of-control fires and powerful storms have resulted in higher cleanup costs, elevated rebuilding prices and shortages of manpower and materials, due to the damage in a concentrated area.

It’s very important to make sure that you have enough insurance for your home and property.

Here’s why:

  • Half of American homeowners have told experts that they don’t really know what their homeowners insurance policy covers
  • Other studies estimate that six out of ten homeowners are underinsured by an average of 20 percent – meaning if their house costs $200,000 to replace, they would fall short by about $40,000 if they had a total loss
  • Less than 20 percent of those in flood or earthquake-prone areas have flood or earthquake insurance

Here are some of the factors that could lead to a home being underinsured:

  1. Improvements and upgrades. When you buy new appliances, remodel kitchens and bathrooms or add on to your home, those improvements may not be covered by your original insurance policy.
  2. Hazardous materials removal costs. After a disaster, your property may be full of dangerous chemicals, asbestos and other hazardous materials. It may take months to get proper permits, and the costs to remove the toxic residue can be quite high.
  3. Rising construction costs. After large-scale disasters, building materials, construction crews and equipment may be in short supply. Costs in many areas have skyrocketed after massive property destruction.
  4. Updated building codes. Rebuilding an older home to meet today’s safety codes may be expensive, especially if you bought your home decades ago.
  5. Limited loss of use coverage. Make sure you have enough coverage to pay for extra living expenses (rent, food and other essentials) while your home is rebuilt or repaired. It’s important to factor in extended time after large disasters, sometimes more than a year.
  6. Not enough personal property protection. Make sure that you have enough contents coverage to replace the many items you own – bedding, clothing, kitchen items and electronics. Don’t forget scheduled personal property for high value items, such as jewelry, special musical instruments, fine art and collectibles.

Being Prepared

A yearly policy review is a must. As your insurance partner, it’s imperative that you tell us about any home improvements/upgrades that you’ve made. A California Casualty advisor will take the time to explain your policy and help make sure that you have the coverage you need with the discounts you deserve.

Its’s also important that you make an inventory of your possessions. Not only will it help determine the amount of coverage you need, but it speeds up the process of replacing those items. Only half of American homeowners and renters have done an inventory, which could leave them in the lurch after a disaster.


Take a moment and contact one of our customer service representatives for your policy review by calling 1.800.800.9410, option 3.


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