Thursday, October 28, 2010

CSE Insurance With IICF Serving The People

Bob Pick was kind enough to provide some details of this year's volunteer efforts on behalf of IICF.

On Thursday the 21st of October, 13 of us went to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. The food bank distributes food to other agencies in Alameda County, who then feed the needy. Our job was to bag a few carrots. 2500 pounds of them to be precise. They brought in about four boxes of loose carrots, grown specifically for the food bank. We put the carrots into bags, and put them into other boxes, after tying off the ends - the hardest part of the job. Lori Velasco and I thank everyone for a job well done.

Those who participated at the food bank were Lana Hee, John Conduracki, Craig Martinelli, Keenan Wong, Lori Velasco, Nick Chuinklin, Melissa Frasier, Antonette Caren, Sebastian Lopez, Maureen Boesch, Gigi Rayos, Ken Grant, and Bob Pick.

Special thanks go to John Conduracki and Craig Martinelli for providing rides to those who needed them, even going out of their ways, sometimes by intent.

The previous day, a smaller group including Tony Razo, Gordon Ching and I went to near the Caldecott Tunnel to the Gateway Gardens Vegetation project - in the area of the Oakland Hills Fire. We took a pile of mulch and spread it around to prevent growth of fireweed and other burnable plants. These guys worked hard - shoveling mulch into wheelbarrows, taking the wheelbarrows where the mulch was needed, and spreading it out. In just 3 hours, we got rid of a dump truck's worth of mulch.

A few photos from Thursday's carrot caper:

The gang gathers for a group photo. (L to R) Maureen Bosch, Melissa Frasier, John Conduracki, Craig Martinelli, Ken Grant, Bob Pick, Keenan Wong, Gigi Rayos, Lana Hee, Nick Chuinklin, Lori Velasco, Antonette Caren (Sebastian Lopez was hiding).

Lori, Gigi and Antonette smilingly note how much faster their box is emptying than...

... the one belonging to Nick, Keenan and Ken.

Ken silently reminds Nick and Maureen that if he hears "what's up doc" one more time...

John and Lana bag away.

See? There really is a bottom of the box!

Nick's future is so bright he's gotta wear shades.

One more group photo, this time with Sebastian.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't forget our Holiday Card and Calendar Design Contest!

I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight

One of those "talk about that in order to talk insurance" posts, so please bear with.

There's been word of some sporting event taking place tomorrow in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anyone heard about that? I know the San Jose Sharks and New Jersey Devils are playing tomorrow night in San Jose...

Seriously, it is well nigh impossible to go anywhere or do anything up here without being reminded the Giants are in the World Series. Orange and black are the colors du jour, and at least one-fifth of the population in these parts know how to spell Lincecum. Whether they know who he is is a matter of debate. But one thing at a time.

The problem with all the excitement is that for those of us who every time we hear the phrase "your San Francisco Giants" immediately reply "they ain't mine," the hype is highly distracting from assorted tasks at hand. Like, oh, this election thing coming up next Tuesday? If the Series goes to a Game Six, be thankful it'll be the day after or else all campaigns in the City by the Bay will have to be decided by coin toss due to lack of ballots cast.

Luckily, I have the aforementioned Sharks-Devils game to fill time tomorrow evening, although given how it'll be starting when the baseball game will be drawing to a close I imagine the only people paying attention to hockey when the puck drops will be me and hopefully the players. The rest of the time? I'm predicting a lot of reading, or guitar practice or similar activities.

Anyway, went through all of the above to discuss the danger of preoccupation.

We all get carried away with, at various points in time, certain events to the exclusion of most everything else in life. Which is okay. To a point. However, we must never allow ourselves the unaffordable luxury of sailing blissfully and merrily along, living solely in whatever moment is most appealing. Life happens regardless of whether we approve. Or appreciate the interruption.

Be prepared. That's where we come in.

That all said, sometimes we do need to blow off some steam...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Penalty For Honesty

It's happened more than a few times. I've been in conversation with someone I've either just met, or know through casual contact online or elsewhere. The dialog goes something like this...

"So, where do you work?"

"It's an insurance company."

"Oh." At which point the room temperature suddenly drops a few degrees.

There is definitely a reality gap when it comes to popular conceptions -- misconceptions, really -- and the truth about insurance companies. I'd like to dispel a few myths:

No, our role model isn't Snidely Whiplash.

We do not in our spare time tie the heroine to the railroad tracks just before foreclosing the mortgage on the orphanage, preferably in the middle of a snowstorm.

We pet puppies and kitties. In fact, most of us are diehard animal lovers who own dogs and cats. Well, in the case of the latter owned by them.

We did not invent disco, polyester leisure suits or the Macarena.

We cannot pay off the national debt with our pocket change.

We do not have piranha in our fish tanks, nor did we root for the shark in "Jaws." Although the Sharks did win tonight (shameless plug for my team).

Our customer service representatives do not have a running contest to see how long they can leave someone on hold.

We don't get our jollies out of denying claims.

We don't know where Waldo is either.

Yes, sometimes there is a penalty for honesty when you tell people the truth about insurance. But we've learned to live with it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remember the joy of coloring books?

This might sound like a rather odd title for an insurance company blog post, but allow me to explain.

Every year, we send out holiday cards in December. Starting last year, we also send a calendar to our agents.

This year, we're kicking it up a notch. Instead of the usual photos and what not, we're letting you design our holiday card and 2011 calendar!

Well, not you specifically. The calendar contest is for children 12 and younger who are either the children or grandchildren of agents, or employees of an agency, that are appointed with CSE. The holiday card contest is for children 12 and younger who are either the children or grandchildren of a CSE employee or the children or grandchildren of agents, or employees of an agency, that are appointed with CSE.

Here's how it works:

    1. The contest will run from November 1st through November 15th.

    2. The Calendar contest will be open to all children and grandchildren, aged 12 and under, for all employees of CSE appointed agencies.

    3. The Holiday Card contest will be open to all children and grandchildren, aged 12 and under, for all employees of CSE and all employees of CSE appointed agencies.

    4. Design criteria:

      - The holiday card designs should be of a generic holiday theme.

      - The calendar designs should feature one or more of our targeted Educator, Law Enforcement and Firefighter occupations.

      - Designs must be on a white, unlined piece of 8.5”x11” paper and may be in black and white or color (color preferred).

    5. Each child/ grandchild is allowed only one (1) entry for the holiday card and only one (1) entry for the calendar.

    6. It is preferable that the designs be sent unfolded.

    7. Designs must be postmarked no later than Monday, November 15th to be eligible.

    8. Please submit all designs to:

      CSE Insurance

      Attention: Corporate Communications

      2121 N. California Blvd., Ste. 555

      Walnut Creek, CA 94596-3501

    9. Please include child/ children’s name and age, CSE appointed agents name, agency, and contact information (address and phone number) on all designs submitted.

    10. All designs will become the property of CSE and will not be returned to the participant.

    11. Winners will be selected on Friday, November 19th, by the Corporate Communications Department, located in the Walnut Creek office.

    12. CSE will select the winners based on the design criteria explained above. A total of four (4) holiday cards and twelve (12) calendar designs will be selected.

    13. All designs will also be posted on CSE’s Facebook page ( ). CSE’s fans will be able to “like” their favorite designs through Friday, November 19th.

    14. The name, age, and parent of the winner plus the parent’s agency will be printed on the card and calendar.

    15. All winners of both the holiday cards and calendar designs will receive a $25 Toys R Us® gift card. Please allow up to 4 weeks for delivery of the gift card.

    16. The design (combination of holiday and calendar designs) that receives the highest number of “likes” on CSE’s Facebook page, will also receive a $25 Toys R Us® gift card.

Please allow up to 4 weeks for delivery of the gift card.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Makes An Effective Ad?

Other than a truly awesome voiceover, of course:

Raging ego aside, what makes an effective ad?

For me, the key is often humor. A couple of excellent examples from NASCAR:

And a non-NASCAR classic from earlier this year:

Finally, what is commonly regarded as the most memorable television commercial ever made. Little known secret: it was aired only once.

Friday, October 8, 2010

You're #1 With Us

Some companies say their customers are #1. We prove it!

Starting today, we’ve lowered the down payment requirement on all new Auto policies in California, paid for through EFT, from three months to one!

Now, the quality and peace of mind that comes through insuring your car through CSE is even more affordable!

CSE. Where you are #1 every day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wonder How That Claim Worked Out

One evening in 2001, a doctor in Australia, who was also a pilot, prepared to make a night flight over water. Unfortunately, when he attempted to start his plane, he discovered it had a dead battery.

Undaunted, the doctor decided to to things the old-fashioned way and start the engine by hand-turning the propeller. Unfortunately, it worked.

While the doctor avoided being sliced and diced, he now faced the dilemma of realizing he had managed to start the plane without the handbrake being engaged. For the plane's part, it dutifully started taxying down the runway...

... with the pilot hanging on to the tail for dear life.

The plane, left to its own devices, merrily chugged down the runway blissfully unaware of anyone or anything in its path. Thankfully, there was no one else around.

However, there was another plane in the area...

His insurer was out around $1.5 million.

The doctor later went to court, claiming that the handbrake was indeed engaged at the time he started the plane.

No word on how that came out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

California Residential Property Bill of Rights (With Commentary)

Although the California state legislature remains thoroughly incapable of passing a budget, it has managed to get more than a few bills through to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk for his yea or nay. A few days ago, he said yea -- well, signed anyway -- a bill related to how property insurance in California is sold.

The bill, AB2022, takes effect on July first of 2011. It reads as follows... actually, it's rather dry reading material. So...

Instead, in our never-ending effort to make insurance more enjoyable for all, here is the new California Residential Property Bill of Rights. It must be given to all purchasers for residential property insurance starting July 1, 2011. Minus the, shall we say, editorial comments added:

California Residential Property Insurance Bill of Rights

A consumer is entitled to receive information regarding homeowner's insurance.

Honest, just ask us. We'll tell you what it's about!

The following is a limited overview of information that your insurance company can provide:

Note the word "limited." As opposed to "unlimited," which is often used in conjunction with "imagination." As in the unlimited imagination some people use in believing what insurance covers.

The insurance company's customer service telephone number for underwriting, rating, and claims inquiries.

Sorry, pizza delivery not included.

A written explanation for any cancellation or nonrenewal of your policy.

Please ignore the urban legend about how grounds for canceling a policy includes owning a Justin Bieber CD.

A copy of the insurance policy.

No, there isn't a coloring book version.

An explanation of how your policy limits were established.

Which, contrary to public opinion, did not involve the usage of an Ouija board.

In the event of a claim, an itemized, written scope of loss report prepared by the insurer or its adjuster within a reasonable time period.

Please note that "reasonable" does not mean five minutes after the claim is filed.

In the event of a claim, a copy of the Unfair Practices Act and, if requested, a copy of the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations.

Now there's some exciting reading material!

In the event of a claim, notification of a consumer's rights with respect to the appraisal process for resolving claims disputes.

It's a little more involved than a coin toss.

An offer of coverage and premium quote for earthquake coverage, if eligible.

Earthquakes? In California? When did that start?

A consumer is also entitled to select a licensed contractor or vendor to repair, replace, or rebuild damaged property covered by the insurance policy.

Choose... wisely.

The information provided herein is not all inclusive and does not negate or preempt existing California law. If you have any concerns or questions, contact your agent, broker, insurance company, or the California Department of Insurance consumer information line at (800) 927-HELP (4357) or at for free insurance assistance.

Contact your agent first. Trust us.