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Setting Up a CEA Agent Roundtable in Your Area

Setting Up a CEA Agent Roundtable in Your Area

(L-R) Poway insurance agent Marc Nimetz with CEA’s Agent and Community Liaison Mark Toohey.

It Started with a Rotary Club Meeting

Marc Nimetz, a San Diego-area insurance agent and a member of the Rancho Bernardo Sunrise Rotary Club, asked CEA to provide a speaker for his Rotary Club’s weekly meeting.

Nimetz thought his fellow Rotarians would enjoy learning more about the CEA and how homeowners can better prepare themselves and their property for the inevitable: the next major earthquake in the Golden State.

It turns out that Nimetz knew his fellow Rotarians well—they were curious, engaged, and had plenty of questions after Mark Toohey, CEA’s agent and civic group liaison, delivered his 20-minute presentation.

At the end of the presentation, Nimetz and Kevin Paulson (a fellow San Diego-area agent and Rotarian) had a hypothetical question about the application of CEA policy deductibles in the aftermath of a major earthquake that completely destroys a home and its contents.

Nimetz and Paulson had different interpretations of the deductible question, and Toohey promised to do some research with his CEA policy experts in Sacramento to get a quick, accurate answer.

It Turned into a Roundtable Discussion

Rather than provide an impersonal answer to their question by phone or email, Kelli Guerriero, the CEA’s Insurance Education and Sales Support Manager, saw an opportunity to get CEA in front of a larger group of insurance professionals, as opposed to just one or two agents.

Guerriero asked Nimetz, who represents Farmers Insurance, if he could gather several local San Diego-area agents for a roundtable luncheon. Representatives from the CEA would also attend and provide answers for their specific, technical coverage and policy questions.

Nimetz accepted the challenge and, working with CEA’s Agent Outreach Coordinator Guillermo DeCoteau, gathered five additional Farmers agents (Cathy Carroll-Peterson, Thomas Krynicki, Marie Milliman, Lyle Sprung, and George Wen) for the roundtable luncheon. The agents were joined by CEA agent trainers, Andrew Fawcett and Tim Watts.

“Tim and Andrew were phenomenal,” said Carroll-Peterson. “The entire experience was enlightening. Every question we had was answered, and then some.”

Said Nimetz, “The information exchange was extremely helpful. The fact that CEA was willing to send two members of its team all the way to San Diego to meet with us, and personally answer our questions, meant a lot.”

Not only did Fawcett and Watts answer and explain the sometimes misunderstood deductible question, but the roundtable discussion also branched off into such areas as CEA’s competitive rates, enhanced coverage options for consumers, and available agent training, tools, and resources.

“They were also able to explain CEA’s definition of ‘separate structure’ and how CEA’s definition differs from what ‘separate structure’ means in the regular homeowners policy,” said Krynicki. “Having this better understanding of the CEA policy language and coverages will help us so much when we are sitting across the desk from a customer.”

Carroll-Peterson said she walked away from the roundtable meeting with an even better understanding of CEA's “Choice” policy, which she believes is the best option for most of her CEA customers.

Schedule Your Own CEA Roundtable

Said CEA’s Tim Watts about the roundtable, “Discussions like this are excellent opportunities for CEA to stay aware of the real-world challenges that agents face, and to personally assist them in overcoming these obstacles however we can.”

“It is our hope that these type of roundtable meetings can become a blueprint for the future with groups of agents across California,” said Guerriero.

Please Contact Us if you are interested in working with CEA to gather a group of colleagues for a future CEA-hosted roundtable. Your invitations can help agents and CEA collaborate to help meet the earthquake insurance needs of Californians.

Mark Toohey is the Agent and Community Liaison for the California Earthquake Authority, having recently retired from a distinguished 25-year career with Farmers Insurance. In his role with CEA, Mark meets with, and gives presentations to, California insurance agents and community groups about the importance of earthquake insurance.