While we worry about our teens texting while behind the wheel, what kind of example are we setting? Nearly one-third of drivers of all ages admit to texting, talking or checking a map app while on the road. With Americans spending an average of an hour a day on the road, that’s too many opportunities for a serious crash.
Technology can give us the boost we need to stay on task, avoiding texting while driving. There are a variety of apps to reduce your temptation to use a smartphone while behind the wheel. Most of us already use apps for workouts, calorie counting, music and banking – why not add one for safer driving?
Five Apps to Stop Phone Use While Driving:
- AT&T DriveMode, a free app for iOS and Android that silences incoming calls, restricts texting, and sends alerts when the app is turned off
- DriveSafe Mode, an app available for iOS and Android that prevents texting and emailing while driving and sends notifications when the phone is in use or when the driver shuts off the app
- Cell Control, a subscription service that allows businesses or families to block sending or receiving texts while driving and sends an alert if it is deactivated
- On My Way Realtime GPS (available at iOS app store), a free app that allows others to track where you are in real time without the need to send a text or make a call while driving, and lets them know when you arrive at your destination
- LifeSaver, a subscription service for both Android and iOS that blocks phone use, monitors driving behaviors, sends alerts when the driver arrives safely and allows them to earn points while using the app
Your phone may already have a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. Search within your phone settings to activate it.
Some other tips to help drivers concentrate on the road and not on technology include:
- Mapping out the route before getting into the car
- Creating music lists at home to play on the ride
- Making calls to friends, work or relatives before the drive and after you arrive at your destination
Learn more about distracted driving and efforts to prevent it here.
California Casualty has a long-held tradition of recognizing and celebrating the charitable act of giving. In fact, our company’s two highest achievements – the Carl G. Brown, Jr. Award of Excellence and the PRIDE in the Code Award – are based on how individuals give to others.
As we celebrate our 105th year, we are proud of the support we’ve provided to the affinity groups you belong to, giving back in ways that made a difference for you and the people you work with.
In 2018, we gave almost $700,000 in grants, donations, awards and sponsorships that directly benefited fire victims, aided first responder and law enforcement families, recognized school and educator achievement, thanked nurses for their caring, and helped prevent teen distracted driving.
Some of the highlights included:
- $83,000 in Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants, benefiting high school and middle school sports programs
Plains High, MT Athletics Grant
- $76,000 in California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence grants, in conjunction with the NEA Foundation
- $39,500 to relief funds that assisted educators, law enforcement officers and firefighters whose homes or apartments suffered damage or were destroyed in California fires
- $40,000 as part of a commitment to Impact Teen Drivers and the Create Real Impact program to end distracted teen driving
- $21,600 in Help Your Classroom grants to assist educators in funding classroom materials and projects
- $25,000 in the “Wherever Your Journey Takes You…We’ll Be There” sweepstakes, with the NEA and NEA affiliates, to promote having enough insurance coverage
- $15,300 in Music and Arts Grants
- $8,850 in Work Hard/Play Hard first responder awards
- $4,000 in Nurse’s Night Out thank you grants
Vicki Rodgers, CTA Member Benefits, receiving California Casualty’s CTA Disaster Relief Fund donation from Field Marketing Manager Norma Alfaro
Many of you may have also experienced the dedication of our Partner Relations Field Team, who presented at benefit fairs, volunteered at fundraisers and in classrooms, attended conventions and worked hand-in-hand with your group leaders explaining the power and value of membership.
One example is our Nebraska and Iowa Field Marketing Manager, Stephanie Whitmore. The executive directors of the state education associations she works with couldn’t say enough about the energy Stephanie possesses and the impressive work she does promoting group membership. They added that Stephanie is one of their best recruiters, and proves to them what a great partner they have in California Casualty.
What you may not be aware of are the countless hours and monetary donations made by our employees each year for youth sports programs, cancer research, the American Heart Association, local food banks, school supplies, holiday giving programs, comfort for homeless pets, and raising and training service animals.
Helping others is part of our DNA. Our CEO, Beau Brown, said, “The American heroes we work with give so much to help others, even in times of adversity, and we feel an obligation to say thanks by giving back in meaningful ways that let them know how grateful we are for all they do.”
See some of the ways California Casualty gives back to the groups we partner with at www.calcas.com/newsroom.
It doesn’t take a natural disaster or tragedy to learn that you might be underinsured. An example comes from the holidays. The warmth of the season can turn into an economic nightmare if someone slips and falls at your home or apartment, your dog bites a guest, or someone gets food poisoning. Without enough liability protection, you could be in real financial danger.
Just do a search of personal liability lawsuits and settlements. You might be shocked by the results and the number of law firms filing such cases. You may think that a guest wouldn’t sue you for damages, but it does happen, especially if the injury is serious.
You’ve worked hard for the things you own; you don’t want to put them at risk.
Financial experts advise that as long as you can earn a livelihood, you should have as much liability insurance as you can afford. Most home insurance policies come with $100,000 liability coverage, but boosting your limits to $300,000 or $500,000 offers greater protection at a reasonable cost.
If you have a lot of assets or other exposures for a possible civil suit, you should consider an umbrella policy, which provides $1 million to $5 million coverage.
While you’re at it, what liability limits do you have with your auto insurance? You may be severely underinsured if you opted for the minimum liability limits required by your state. Just like home insurance, you should purchase as much liability coverage as possible, especially if you have a younger, inexperienced driver.
Accidents happen every day, but California Casualty can help you be prepared.
TAKEAWAY: If you don’t know what your liability limits are, or you’d like increase your coverage, Contact California Casualty’ Customer Service at 1.800.800.9410 option 3, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fires, tornados and other disasters are unpredictable and can turn dangerous for you and loved ones in just a matter of moments. Here are some things you can do now to be more prepared.
- Know and practice using as many evacuation routes as possible.
- Have a plan where you and family members will meet and how you will communicate if you become separated.
- Prepare a disaster kit that includes enough water, food, medications and other essentials for at least three days (don’t forget necessities for babies and pets), along with important insurance, banking and other papers.
- Complete a home inventory of all the items you own (clothing, shoes, mattresses, bedding, kitchen appliances, pots and pans, furniture, and electronics) to help replace your possessions.
- Review your insurance with an advisor to make sure you’re adequately covered.
If you need to evacuate:
- Text SHELTER and your ZIP code to 43362 (example: SHELTER 12345) to find the nearest shelter, or visit the American Red Cross webpage to locate shelters
- Contact California Casualty as soon as possible and save all receipts for living expenses, such as hotels, meals and other essentials
- Monitor local media about conditions, further evacuations, or when it might be safe to return home
When you return home, be very careful. There are many potential dangers, such as:
- Dangerous toxins, ash and debris following a fire
- Gas leaks
- Electrical shock
- Poisonous snakes or other animals
- Structural instability and collapse
- Sewage and chemical tainted water
For additional recovery help afterwards:
Please remember, you are not alone if a disaster strikes. California Casualty will be there when you need us the most. National and local governments will provide resources for safety and recovery, and numerous entities and nonprofits will offer food, clothing and other essentials as communities come together.
TAKEAWAY: California Casualty is ready to help you when you have a claim. Contact our Claims department 24 hours a day at www.calcas.com/claims or call 1.800.800.9410 option 4.
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.
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.