In Your Community: Our Hearts Are In It – From Tears to Triumphs.

In these trying times, it’s an honor to work with so many who give so much for our communities. California Casualty appreciates all that you do, and our employees and executives are proud to be a part of your everyday lives. From disaster relief to prize giveaways, we are dedicated to making a positive impact for you, your peers and your families.

Knowing the toll the California fires took on the people that we insure, the California Casualty Cares Committee of the Advisory Board wanted to assist the many heroes who helped others at their own peril. California Casualty donated $20,000 to the CTA Disaster Relief Fund to help CTA members who have experienced significant losses due to the disasters in California.

California Casualty is also working with other groups, such as the Police Officers Research Association of California, California   Association of Highway Patrolmen, California State University System, and the California State Firefighters’ Association, to give an additional $12,000 in donations from the Cares Committee. These donations supplemented $7,500 given earlier in the year to help with the 2017 fires that struck Sonoma and Ventura Counties.

In an effort to remind insureds to check their policies and make sure they have enough coverage to protect against a disaster, California Casualty initiated Wherever Your Journey Takes You…We’ll be There” Sweepstakes. Bloomingdale, Illinois 8th grade teacher Kathleen Nikides was the grand prize winner. She was surprised with the $25,000 award November 16 during an assembly at Stratford Middle School.

“I’m still flying high, I can’t believe I won. My husband and I will take some time to figure out what we will do with the money,” she said.

Kathleen found out about the contest from the Illinois Education Association, but never thought she’d win.

Teaching for 35 years, 30 years at Stratford, Kathleen loves advocating for students and helping them reach their full potential. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I still love every minute of it. It was great that my students were so excited when they learned that I had won.”

Kathleen is the co-president of the Carol Stream Education Association, which is an affiliate of the Illinois Education Association, and is thankful California Casualty supports education associations. “Thanks to member benefit partners like California Casualty, we feel valued, and that value is very appreciated right now,” she said.

More than 52,000 school administrators, instructors and education support professionals shared their journey and entered the contest.

Knowing how hard firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMTs work, and the danger they put themselves in to keep us safe, California Casualty invited first responders to sign up for the “Better Safe Than Sorry” Work Hard/Play Hard contest. Three winners – in California, Colorado and Oregon – will each be receiving a check for $2,250, to purchase the Liberty Safe of their choice, that they can fill with a collection of provided 5.11 tactical gear – a total prize value of $2,950. We’ll share who the winners are in the next California Casualty Connection.

In an effort to reduce tragic driving deaths and injuries, a total of $12,000 was recently awarded in the Fall Create Real Impact contest, sponsored by California Casualty and Impact Teen Drivers. The Create Real Impact contest encourages the creative efforts of youth ages 14-22 to prevent distracted driving – the number one killer of teens in the U.S.

Grand prizes were awarded for best video, writing, music and art submissions, and to schools that had the most entries. Create Real Impact is one of the many initiatives employed by Impact Teen Drivers to combat dangerous inattentive driving. Your kids, or students at your school, can learn more and enter the 2019 spring contest at www.createrealimpact.com.

 

TAKEAWAY:  Learn more about California Casualty’s commitment to the groups we serve at https://mycalcas.com/community/, and share your pictures and stories about the men and women who make a difference for our communities at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty.

Behind the Scenes: “Are You Okay?” It’s Just the Beginning – For You and Us.

As disastrous wildfires recently tore through California once again, our employees went into high gear to reach customers, plan next steps for relief, and get their own feet on the ground to offer the needed face-to-face support.

From the first responders going above and beyond to save lives and property, to the devastated customers who were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, California Casualty was there to give a helping hand to the decimated communities of Paradise, Concow and Magalia in Northern California, and the Southern California towns of Thousand Oaks and Malibu.

Our Partner Relations and Service Support Teams immediately started calling more than 530 insureds to see if they were okay, how they might be impacted, and help them if they needed to start a claim or required other support. Our employees talked to or left messages for more than 300 people.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, with many thanking California Casualty for reaching out and expressing concern for their safety. “You are even better than I thought you were,” said one policyholder, who was extremely grateful for the call. “Your call means more than words can say,” said another.

“The magnitude of the destruction, and knowing so many people were suffering, made this calling effort a lot more emotional than previous ones that we have done,” said Customer Support team member Karen.

Ruth, another Customer Support employee, said the calls were heart-wrenching at times. One insured told Ruth that she and a neighbor had barely escaped the flames, and they feared they might not make it out alive. She was beyond grateful that we called to offer compassion and caring. Ruth was able to email the customer her policy numbers and claims contact number, as well as information about how to contact the Red Cross and FEMA for additional assistance.

And Lorelei, a member of our Partner Relations team, said the calling effort made her proud to work for a company that takes the time to reach out to customers. While the magnitude of the disaster was overwhelming at times, she says one call to a retired California teacher was “life changing.”

He was in the hospital when the Woolsey fire broke out. His wife was rescued by first responders as their house was consumed by flames, but he had not been able to contact her.

“This was more than just an insurance call, it was a real connection. He needed someone to listen to him and be there for him,” Lorelei said. “He was obviously distressed, but I felt really good knowing what our company stands for and that we cared for him and his wife’s well-being. Just talking and listening to him made a difference, and he thanked me so much for doing that.”

Northern California Field Marketing Manager Christy leapt into action on the ground, meeting with insureds and bringing water, snacks and other necessities for evacuees and first responders to various locations around fire-stricken Butte County.

California Casualty Field Claims adjusters are now meeting with the hundreds of customers affected by the fires. As in past disasters, they are working with insureds to make sure their immediate needs are met, while helping them begin the long process to recovery. California Casualty will do everything in our power to lift up our customers during this devastating period in their lives.

California Casualty is there for our insureds in their greatest time of need. The people who commit to make a difference for our communities deserve financial protection with the highest levels of care, service, compassion, and understanding…which is why we exist.

As one of our adjusters said, “I think we are going to make you proud.”

TAKEAWAY: We love hearing your stories. Share your experience with California Casualty and add a review at https://www.trustpilot.com/review/calcas.com.

 

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.

 

 

Pin It on Pinterest