Direct Impact

|

The EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants family was impacteddirectly, as our Southwest Regional HQ is located in Houston.Following Harvey, we made a fund of $25,000 immediately availableto assist EPIC team members with any initial needs. We also started“EPIC Cares — Houston Relief Fund” on GoFundMe. To date, we'vereceived roughly $152,000 in contributions from more than 300people. In total, $177,000 has been raised to help our Houstonteam.

|

In addition, our team in Houston has been very committed to andgenerous with their own support of the local community, including anumber of EPIC people facing significant personal hardship andchallenges of their own.

|

Dave Hock, senior vice president marketing &communications, EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants

|

On an Island

|

We have partnered with several local Caribbean organizations tohelp facilitate getting aid to those impacted by Hurricanes Mariaand Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. One of thebiggest challenges those in these regions are facing is the abilityto get basic necessities like clean drinking water, diapers andsoap.

|

We are gathering supplies from local businesses and friends toensure that those impacted receive them, bypassing the traditionalorganizations due to the urgency of the needs in these areas. Ipersonally have spent a lot of time in the USVI and Puerto Rico andam passionate about the people in those areas—they are extremelywelcoming but a lot of the areas are extremely poor.

|

We are also working on putting together a humanitarian missiontrip to St. Thomas and other islands in the region to make surethat we are able to assist them personally. With many of theseislands experiencing catastrophic and historic devastation, it isour patriotic duty to help them as Americans. Our goal is to get ateam of people together to go down and help rebuild the area asneeded to ensure that these residents can resume their normal livessooner rather than later.

|

Felipe Barganier, CEO, Gab International

|

Long-Term Commitment

|

There are several ways in which we are working to support ourclients and customers affected by the recent hurricanes:

  • We committed $10 for every sales order received on August 28, inrecognition of Houston-area workers, and on September 13, to helpthose based in Florida. Those donations were made to support reliefefforts by the American Red Cross in those areas.

  • We've also reached out specifically to our Texas- andFlorida-based clients and those clients with a concentration ofemployees in the Houston area. We are working to support theiremployees in a number of ways. For example, several of our clientshave created relief funds, and we have contributed toward those. Werecognize that the recovery process for many of our customers willtake time and will continue to offer proactive outreach to helpsupport these employees for several months.

Elizabeth Halkos, chief operating officer, PurchasingPower

|

Close to Home

|

Before the storm, residents in southwest Florida were putting uphurricane shutters, securing their homes and leaving town. None ofmy local clients from Naples were available as they were preparingtheir properties and taking their families out of harm's way. Theonly clients I was able to contact and conduct business with wereseasonal residents who spend their summers in the Midwest.

|

After the storm, power was out for days in Naples. To makematters worse, Collier County was on a boil water alert. My focuswas on reaching out to clients who needed immediate help. I alsowanted an update on how they fared during and after the storm.Thank goodness, no one reported any injuries. Most of the storiesfrom North Naples were about downed trees, collapsed pool cages,and the initial flooding in the streets.

|

I had a tough time contacting clients for days due to poweroutages. Collier County enforced a curfew for nearly two weeks dueto power outages around town, and schools were closed for twoweeks. When the power was back, clients were still prioritizinggetting their lives back together above addressing their insuranceneeds. I was concerned about one client for whom I needed tocomplete paperwork for Medicare plans and I finally met with himjust days before his transition to Medicare effective October1st.

|

Many employers were back to business, understanding theirservices were needed in the community. Employees were anxious toget back to work and looking forward to receiving their paychecks.Overall, there was not a major disruption for employers orindividuals as it related to their health insurance coverage.However, this is a much different story for my friends in theproperty & casualty insurance business.

|

NAHU & FAHU are fundraising for local members needingassistance, and HAFA is doing the same for their Texas &Florida members.

|

Wayne Sakamoto, president, Health Insurance InteractiveInc.

|

Coordinating Efforts

|

|

We donated a chunk right away and gave to Red Cross because itwas the most credible place we knew of that would provide practicalhelp. Then, we heard that Texas AHU had created a Disaster ReliefFund specifically to coordinate efforts to help brokermembers/families. As of today, they've raised more than $25,000 andhave been coordinating with local chapters regarding specificneeds.

|

Reid Rasmussen, co-founder and CEO, BenefitBrainstorm

|

A Family Affair

|

My nephew is a paramedic on our local fire department and OhioTask Force 1. He was deployed immediately to the Houston area andtold me that of the 4,000 or so active full-time fire fighters inHouston, over 1,000 lost their own homes and yet were working18-hour days saving other families.

|

My son works as a dispatcher for a trucking company called JraylTrucking. He spoke to his management team and they agreed to donatea semi-trailer,and we began filling the truck with first-respondersupplies, including t-shirts, underwear, socks, flashlights,batteries, first aid supplies, diapers, hand tools, baby wipes, oilremover, cleaners and toiletries.

|

After the first load, donations kept pouring in from thecommunity. A local company, the K Company, accepted the donationsand helped pack each load. We have since filled two more trucks.Many of the outlying stations have not been getting the sameattention and are very much in need. One of the big organizers wasthe K-9 group, a local nonprofit. They had a personal connection asone of their K-9 police dogs was donated last year by the HoustonFire Department.

|

Beazley really promoted employees contributing time andresources to causes like this. Beazley also made an $8,000 donationimmediately for the relief. It is awesome when the companies andcommunities come together to help those in need!

|

Dan McNeill, regional sales manager, Beazley

|

Denim Donations

|

ONI Risk Partners is about to wrap up a month-long campaign toraise money for victims of the catastrophic hurricanes. Associatespay $5 per week for five weeks and they can wear jeans every day.The money raised will be matched by the agency. Our team is closingin on our goal with one week left!

|

Marti Thornbury, corporate communications & marketingdirector, ONI Risk Partners

|

Greater Good

|

Each fall, more than 1,000 NAIFA members look forward toattending the annual Performance and Purpose Conference to hearinspirational remarks, attend professional development sessions andnetwork with peers, longtime friends and colleagues. A few daysbefore Hurricane Irma was to strike south Florida, the NAIFAExecutive Committee made the right decision to cancel theconference, which was scheduled for September 8-10.

|

New Orleans is my hometown, so I had a pretty good idea what wasin store for those living in Irma's path. It turned out that the1,000 or so hotel rooms that NAIFA had blocked for the conferencewere made available to residents of a senior citizen home whoevacuated from Tampa.

|

Today, many of our NAIFA friends and colleagues across theregion are dealing with the aftermath of flooded homes andbusinesses, as well as property losses. The news reports andhorrible images of the destruction left many of us wondering whatwe could do to help. The answer was obvious: We reactivated theNAIFA Hurricane Relief Fund, which originally was established in2005 following Hurricane Katrina to assist insurance professionalsaffected by Gulf Coast hurricanes.

|

The fund provides an opportunity for agents and advisors to helpeach other in a time of great need. NAIFA gave $10,000 as aninitial contribution to the fund.

|

Keith Gillies, CFP, CLU, ChFC, president, NAIFA

|

Every Little Bit…

|

Health Agents for America is putting together hurricane purses.We are asking members/public to fill a purse and send it to theoffice to be distributed to Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico. Theycan be filled with things for a woman, man, child, dog, cat, etc.,including socks, underwear, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. If it'seasier, they can send money and/or gift cards.

|

Ronnell Nolan, president and CEO, Health Agents forAmerica

|

Diapers in Demand

|

As Hurricane Harvey approached the Gulf Coast, Raffa FinancialServices and our sister Raffa companies reached out to our clientsto understand how we could best support those displaced by theapproaching storm.

|

We learned that aid organizations and Homeland Security Agenciesdo not regularly stock diapers, infant or adult, for those in need.The companies scheduled two Denim Days, allowing staff to wearjeans in exchange for a donation to support the victims of thehurricane, raising more than $3,000 to support the Texas DiaperBank to help fill this critical need.

|

Additionally, staff volunteered their time to help HealthcareReady, a nonprofit that works to ensure people have theirmedications and access to health care during a disaster. The Raffateam, as well as family and friends, helped staff HealthcareReady's Emergency Operations Center in Washington, DC in the daysafter both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

|

Sharon Tiger, VP of business development, Raffa FinancialServices

|

Extra Credit

|

I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but I grew up inDickinson, just south of Houston. You may have seen all of the boatrescues from Dickinson during Hurricane Harvey—most of the town wasunderwater. Like so many, I wanted to do something but felthelpless. So, when I received an email asking for donations to theTAHU Honorees Disaster Relief Fund, I saw an opportunity to help.The TAHU Honorees is a 501(c)3 tax exempt corporation set up by theTexas Association of Health Underwriters, and the email noted thatany donations would be used to help agents and brokers affected byHurricane Harvey in the area. I quickly emailed two friends ofmine, Mark Bellman with UnitedHealthcare and Mike Smith with TheBrokerage, who immediately said yes to my idea of doing a series ofCE webinars to raise money for the Harvey relief efforts. We hostedtwo events, one on September 7 and one on September 22, and betweenthe two, we raised more than $5,000 for the TAHU Honorees. Thatamount included very generous donations by UnitedHealthcare andfreshbenies.

|

I want to publicly thank Mark and Mike for their participationand to thank our sponsors and attendees, many of whom contributedmuch more than our “suggested donation.” I know this was just adrop in the bucket and that a lot of people, including manyinsurance professionals, will spend months trying to return tonormal, so hopefully everyone will continue to support the victimsof this hurricane and the other recent natural disasters.

|

Eric Johnson, broker sales executive for freshbenies andfounder of ComedyCE.com

|

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the editor-in-chief of BenefitsPRO Magazine and BenefitsPRO.com. He has covered the insurance industry for more than a decade, including stints at Retirement Advisor Magazine and ProducersWeb.