May 25, 2020, began as an ordinary spring morning in Minneapolis, but the events that unfolded over the course of the day would turn out to be anything but typical. That evening, news of the murder of George Floyd swept the country, sparking important questions and conversations about systematic racism and racial injustice in America.
Senior leadership at Central Insurance recognized a clear opportunity to do more and do better. As a company and culture rooted in caring for and about our people, it was no longer enough to just talk about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We were ready to go all-in on prioritizing inclusivity and opportunity throughout the organization to ensure everyone at Central felt comfortable being their most authentic selves. To accomplish this goal, we knew we’d need a dedicated group of people excited to help make it happen. From there, assembling a group of individuals dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace became a top priority—and Central rose to the occasion.
The initial call for DEI committee applications was met with an outpouring of interest. What we initially anticipated might result in a few hand raisers turned into dozens of employees from diverse backgrounds and different departments wanting to know how they could get involved. From the large number of applications received, nine Central employees were selected to launch the team and lead our internal DEI efforts.
Click through the slideshow below to meet the members of Central’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and learn a bit about what inspired them to get involved.
When it comes to DEI, we’re all learning together. We’re working hard to foster a greater sense of internal comfort and vulnerability so those critical conversations can happen. Though our DEI committee is still in the early stages, its impact is already shifting mindsets and driving internal improvements. Ultimately, the goal is for all our employees to come to work with the confidence they can be their authentic selves while feeling respected, valued, included, and welcome. The more people, perspectives, and experiences we bring to the table, the stronger we become as a company.
“Central has made leaps and bounds when it comes to having honest conversations, which contributes to a culture of increased openness and respect for our differences. That’s what success looks like; an environment where everyone feels they can be their whole self.”– Nicole Rhooms, DEI Committee Member
“Right now, it’s about raising internal awareness and getting buy-in,” said Nicole Rhooms, HR & Administrative Manager. “We’re recognizing awareness months and sponsoring activities that engage everyone across the company in thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’ve even partnered with Central’s social team to share some of that with our external audiences. We’re also working hard to understand our recent Gallup results and how DEI can support a more diverse overall work environment. That includes reconsidering everything from how we integrate new talent into our culture to our training process to geographical diversity as more work goes remote.”
One of the best investments you can make in your commercial building is the installation of a fire sprinkler system. A properly designed sprinkler system can greatly reduce your exposure to loss of property and lives from fires.
That same system can also reduce your property insurance costs. However, installing the sprinkler system is just the beginning. Just like specialized machinery used in a manufacturing process, sprinkler systems need regular inspection, maintenance, and testing in order to function at their full potential.
To help ensure your sprinkler system performs properly in the event of a fire, these basic maintenance and inspection requirements should be followed:
1. Complete an internal pipe exam every five years. The purpose of this test is to inspect for the presence of foreign materials that might obstruct the flow of water from through the pipes to the sprinklers. Follow the full inspection process here.
2. Test or replace pressure gauges in comparison with a calibrated gauge. Those deemed not to be accurate within the standard scale reading must be recalibrated or replaced. (Explore these scales and requirements here.)
3. Complete an annual flow test. This includes testing to ensure water flow detecting devices are operational, and that a signal is properly triggered when you allow the water to flow for 60 seconds. Follow the full testing process here.
4. Visually inspect piping on an annual basis to ensure the system is in operating condition and free of physical damage.
5. Perform an annual visual inspection of the fire department connection to be sure the caps have not been removed. If the caps have been removed, debris or insects may build nests in the connection, resulting in obstructions in the system during sprinkler head operations.
6. Visually inspect sprinkler heads annually. Heads over 50 years old (especially those manufactured before 1920) should be replaced or a representative sample of heads should be sent to a recognized laboratory for testing. If one head were to fail testing, all heads in the representative area should be replaced. Testing is then required every ten years.
7. Test alarms quarterly. To do this, communicate with your local fire department or central station and warn them you will be testing these systems. Then trigger activation of alarms through the running of water through the inspector test valve, and confirm whether or not the alarm sounds.
8. Visually inspect the control valves on a weekly basis. This includes ensuring that the valves are open and secured, and confirming there are no visible leaks in the equipment.
9. Ensure all storage is at least 18-inches below sprinkler heads in order to prevent interference with the spray of water from a sprinkler head during a fire.
10. Reference the full and comprehensive list of testing and maintenance requirements from the NFPA 25 to ensure your system is up-to-date.
All testing should be performed by qualified personnel, preferably a licensed and insured sprinkler fire protection contractor. Always keep sprinkler design and testing paperwork onsite to allow easy access for contractors, insurance carrier loss control representatives, and insurance property rate promulgation companies such as Verisk.
Central Insurance was first founded as a fire insurance company in 1876 and, as such, has an ongoing vested interest in fire safety. Our loss control consultants are trained to evaluate the basic adequacy of sprinkler systems, and are happy to address any concerns as part of the general survey process for Commercial Property Insurance policyholders.
Not already covered by Central? Find an independent Central agent today to get a quote.
Article at a Glance:
Many insurance policyholders adopt a “set it and forget it” mindset when it comes to their coverage. They figure that once they’ve done their due diligence to make sure their key assets are insured, they can wait until they need to file a claim before worrying about their policies.
Unfortunately, this practice is ineffective in properly managing your insurance coverage. In fact, many insurance experts recommend reviewing your insurance policies at least once a year, if not more frequently.
“There are so many people who have not reviewed their coverages for a long time,” says Pat Filipkowski, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Central Insurance. “And if you haven’t, you should make it a priority to call your agent, review your coverage, and ensure you’re protected against anything that might come up.”Read More
Although this data is certainly alarming and might make parents question the safety of water-based activities, there are ways to ensure that you and your children remain safe.
In this article, we explore what the three main types of drowning look like, and dive most deeply into the phenomenon of dry drowning—a non-medical term for when someone exhibits the symptoms of drowning but without any actual water present in their lungs.
Read on to uncover the main symptoms of dry drowning, and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family this season.Read More
You might find yourself wondering, “Do I really need an umbrella policy?” The short answer is: yes.
While many consider umbrella coverage a supplemental policy compared to home, auto, and even life insurance, for many, the safety net provided by this unique type of policy is anything but optional.
In this article, we will review everything you need to know about umbrella insurance— from who it’s for to how much it costs—and explore some of the unique features that set Central Insurance’s umbrella policies apart.
A personal umbrella policy is designed to provide an additional amount of liability insurance protection and a broader range of coverage than typical homeowner, auto, and other types of personal insurance policies.
“It’s important to remember that an umbrella policy is for liability to others,” says Stephanie Olsen, Senior Personal Lines Product Development Specialist at Central Insurance. “It will not cover your own injuries or personal damage…[nor] will it cover business liability-type exposures.”Read More
While electricity is a necessary and useful tool in our daily lives, it can also be extremely dangerous. In fact, data shows that about 400 people are electrocuted in their homes every year, with about half of those electrocutions resulting in death.
Although leading causes of electrocutions vary, The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that the most common occur due to negligence or simply underestimating the potential danger of this everyday power source. For example, interference with outlets and cords by children or pets, exposure of electric tools to water, failure to turn off a circuit breaker during electrical work, and even failure to read and follow an appliance’s instructions are all marked among the most common causes of electrical accidents in the home.
For this reason, “electrical safety precautions should not be taken for granted,” says Cory Eickholt, a Loss Control Manager for Central Insurance.
Below, we review the five electrical safety tips that every homeowner should know and follow to ensure your safety and that of your family and home.
Watch This: Electrical Safety: How to Keep Yourself and Others SafeRead More
Contractor Fraud at a Glance:
From online scams to identify theft, fraudulent behavior has become something of an unwelcome norm in today’s society. In 2021 alone, the Federal Trade Commission discovered that consumers reported $5.8 billion in losses due to fraud—a 70 percent increase in fraud-related losses compared to 2020.
As a result of this unfortunate trend, many of us are taught to keep a watchful eye on our online information. We ignore potentially virus-inflicted emails, change our passwords every few months, check our credit card bills for inconsistencies, and adopt dozens of other tedious practices to try and keep ourselves secure.
But what happens when the threat of fraud isn’t coming in the form of a suspicious email or link? What if, instead, it comes in the form of a contractor knocking on your front door and claiming to have noticed damage to your home that needs to be addressed immediately? How are you supposed to know who to trust and who might be trying to scam you?
In this article, we’ll address the intricacies of contractor fraud, explore how these individuals operate, uncover the steps you can take to prevent this type of behavior, and discover Central Insurance’s commitment to protecting its policyholders from this and all kinds of potential fraud.Read More
With home values significantly rising across the country over the past few years, it’s important to understand the difference between dwelling coverage vs. market value when it comes to home insurance. When buying or selling a home, much of the conversation and considerations focus on market value, which is the amount a home can be bought or sold for in the current market. In contrast, insurance companies prioritize dwelling value, which is the estimated replacement cost of a structure.
An insurance company is never going to sell your home, but they will replace it should you suffer a catastrophe like a tornado or house fire. For this reason, it’s vital that your home is insured for the proper amount needed to rebuild rather than what the real estate market might dictate the home’s worth to be based on the current housing market.
Several years ago, when it was considered a “buyer’s market,” many homeowners were confused about why they were required to insure their home at a value higher than what they were likely to receive if they sold. Due to the lack of demand and ample homes on the market, market values had been driven below cost to rebuild. In 2022, however, we find ourselves navigating a very different landscape. Rising inflation, pandemic impact, and the current “seller’s market” have driven both market and dwelling values up, leaving homeowners with an entirely different set of choices to make.
Read on to learn more about how COVID and inflation are impacting dwelling and market values, as well as ways Central can help you determine whether your home is insured for the proper amount.Read More
We all know we shouldn’t give into distractions when driving, so why is it so tempting to reach for the phone the moment you hear that little ding? Just a quick glance can’t hurt, right? Wrong.
Data from a 2020 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows that 1.6 million crashes, more than 3,100 deaths, and 400,000 injuries were caused by some form of distractions when driving in the year 2019 alone. In addition, more than one in four of all accidents—including 87 percent of rear-end collisions—are the result of some form of distracted driving.
What feels like a quick check of your phone, flip of the radio dial, or reset of the GPS can easily result in injury or tragedy.Read More
Last year was a big one for Central. Our agents expressed a clear desire to go even deeper with us. Aligning with their wants and needs fueled our strategy, setting us up for a year of growth while remaining committed to our core values.
Our team rose to the occasion, leaning into a spirit of excellence at every opportunity. Throughout 2021, we leveraged the specialized expertise of our vertical teams to drive innovation in step with the evolving needs of our commercial agents and policyholders. Our claims department fulfilled our promise to serve, bringing heart, humanity and hospitality to every interaction. The outcome of our cross-team collaboration is something to be proud of.
From enhanced vertical expertise to exciting new product development and exceptional customer service scores, we’re excited to share the full story of 2021 in our Annual Report. View it here.