CEA Presentation Gets High Marks at National Catastrophe
CEA is often invited to provide its expertise on the concept of national
catastrophe insurance, which has received increased attention recently in the
wake of two disastrous hurricane seasons. Most recently, CEA staff attended
the National Catastrophe Insurance Summit
on November 15 and 16 in
CEA Chief Executive Officer Elaine Bush gave a presentation to the nearly 200 attendees on the CEA’s history and financial structure. Ms. Bush served on a panel of directors of state catastrophe insurance organizations, including Florida and Texas. During the summit, the CEA was recognized as a leader among the states that address disaster losses, and CEA’s mitigation and marketing efforts toward earthquake preparedness were noted as models.
As of December 9, 2005, the CEA policy count hit an all-time high mark of more than 749,000 policies in force. During the past year the CEA’s policy count is up 9.7 percent; homeowners lead this statistical reflection of consumer interest with 611,306 policies, a 9.9 percent increase from a year ago. The number of policyholders opting for supplemental coverages has risen by 8.7 percent over the past year.
While some overall growth is due to the recent addition of 3,000 mobilehome policies from new CEA insurer Foremost Insurance Group, we believe most of the increase is due to the CEA’s summer marketing and consumer-education campaign and heightened disaster-awareness from this year’s tragic Gulf hurricanes.
Earthquake Mitigation Outreach Paying Off
Because Every Day is Earthquake Season in California®, mitigation strategies are a priority at CEA. Public/private partnerships, marketing contracts, and education initiatives linked to the ’06 Alliance and the 100th anniversary of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, make the CEA a statewide leader in earthquake-preparedness.
Extensive dissemination of CEA brochures and support of materials, like multiple editions of the highly popular Putting Roots Down in Earthquake Country, gives consumers information about protecting themselves from earthquake loss. In the coming year such CEA publications will reach even more Californians through regional and multi-language editions.
The CEA is active in the 300-member strong ‘06 Alliance, which is working to make the most of the educational opportunities offered by this anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The CEA continues its support of the Oakland Museum of California’s exhibit Aftershock!, which will shake visitors’ earthquake consciousness with a full-sized shake table on which they can stand while they experience the ‘06 quake’s violent ground motion. The display opens on April 1, 2006 and runs through August.
The CEA is also working with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) to contract with retailers who are disseminating copies of Putting Down Roots. The CEA’s Consumer Services and Mitigation team is always exploring ways to promote the CEA’s preparedness messages, including the current mitigation programs that offer everything from hands-on earthquake preparation seminars to rebates for mitigation products. According to participating retailers, as a result of the Gulf disasters and the CEA’s mitigation messages, mitigation-product sales have increased more than 75 percent in just a year.
The CEA will continue to build on its successful marketing partnerships with new mitigation projects. This month RFP #0506CS, Earthquake Loss Mitigation Pilot Projects: Personal Property Mitigation, was posted on the CEA Web site. The RFP seeks qualified organizations to design, develop, implement, and evaluate personal-property earthquake-loss-mitigation program models or create a sustainable earthquake loss mitigation education tool. Proposals must be submitted to the CEA by January 31, 2006. The full text of the RFP is available on the CEA Web site at www.EarthquakeAuthority.com.
The CEA is always seeking productive contact with various organizations that hold promise in helping Californians prepare for earthquakes. Last month CEA staff met with representatives from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes—a non-profit organization that promotes life safety, property protection, and economic well-being through strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters.
CEA Marketing in Outreach Mode
CEA Consumer Services staff continued their proactive marketing this fall with statewide visits to industry events where they provided the newest CEA literature to assist agents in educating consumers about earthquake insurance. The beautiful new CEA brochures explaining earthquake insurance for renters and condominium owners were in such demand by agents that reprints are already on order. CEA staff traveled throughout the state to bring CEA messages to industry events.
Industry events give CEA staff a great opportunity to tell agents about the CEA’s free online training. Online training, combined with on-site classes, has set training number records this year, as more and more agents take advantage of the opportunity. Insurance professionals tell us they are using CEA materials and services and are enthusiastically making this information available to policyholders.
CEA Web Site Redesign
The CEA Web site is under active redesign with upgrades and enhancements for better information and materials access. The CEA executive staff and CEA information technology staff are working to analyze the site's audience, content, and accessibility.
Legislative Hearing Raises Preparedness Issues; New Laws Ready
The Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security called a hearing last month to pose the question, "Is California Prepared for The Big One: Earthquake, Tsunami, Wildfire, Flood, An Act of Terrorism?" The hearing was attended by state and local public agencies charged with first response. While not a first responder, the CEA monitored the session. Key questions on the agenda:
The 2005 legislative year produced a number of chaptered bills that place additional requirements on insurers and the CEA. The CEA’s Insurance Operations department is already working on compliance aspects of the new laws that become effective January 1, 2006. The CEA will issue circulars to its participating insurers to inform them of the new mandates and remind them of their responsibility to the CEA in meeting these requirements.
Legal Advisory - As a matter of its standard operating procedure and as part of its general compliance program, the CEA continually confirms that it complies with all applicable laws, regulations, and rulings, including those regarding insurance rating and pricing.
The CEA's use of information obtained from third parties is in compliance with applicable privacy laws and regulations.