Archive for the ‘Telcom News & Events’ Category

Working for you

December 2nd, 2020 by admin

As 2020 draws to a close, there are many who are glad to see it go. It was a difficult year to say the least. It was a year of tremendous change and uncertainty. It was a year that was overshadowed by the pandemic, but with masks and social distancing, our employees never stopped working for you.

This year has been full of challenges. But one thing we understand is how to adapt and overcome adversity. It is what we do to serve those who trust us with protecting their most valuable assets. We have a long history of meeting adversity head-on and creating insurance and risk management solutions. It’s what we do.

This year was no different. We adopted new protocols to keep our employees and our customers safe. We socially distanced. We worked from home when possible. We sanitized and put on masks. We were forced to make changes in our daily lives, but we never stopped providing service and peace of mind that our customers depend on.

Over the years we have earned a reputation for being more than an insurer. We work every day to become trusted partners with those we protect. We offer insurance and risk management solutions that serve the telecommunications industry through honesty, integrity and acts of kindness that build trust with those we serve. It’s our mission. And it is what we do even during a global pandemic.

We are proud to have developed close relationships with our insureds, and because of the relationships we have built, we are able to develop new, virtual methods to communicate and work with those we serve.

It is unclear what 2021 has in store. We are all hoping for a return to normal, but regardless of what natural disasters or health pandemics lie ahead, know that we are here working for you, building better ways to serve and protect your business.

Happy holidays to you and your families. Best wishes for a new year.

Kids’ Recipe and Craft

November 16th, 2020 by admin

Oreo Ornaments

Oreo cookies dipped in white chocolate and decorated to look like a holiday ornament with peanut butter cup minis, and festive candies and sprinkles.

Ingredients:

  • Oreo sandwich cookies, your favorite flavor
  • 2 cups white chocolate wafers
  • 2 tablespoons paramount crystals
  • 8-ounce package Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis
  • Sprinkles, M&M’s Minis, sanding sugars

Instructions:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, add white chocolate wafers and paramount crystals. Microwave on medium heat for 30 seconds. Remove and stir slowly. Return to the microwave and heat for 15-second increments until the candy wafers are completely melted.
  • Dip Oreo cookies into the melted chocolate using a fork or dipping tool and lightly tap to remove excess chocolate. Transfer the cookies to the parchment paper, immediately press a peanut butter cup mini into the top of each and decorate them with your choice of sprinkles, M&M’s Minis and sanding sugars. Allow the Oreo Ornaments to sit until the chocolate hardens. Eat and enjoy!

Note:

  • Oreo Ornaments should be stored in an airtight container; will keep 7+ days.
    Variation: Use Rolo candies instead of Reese’s peanut butter cup minis.

Reindeer Mason Jar Treats

Materials:

  • Mason jar
  • Hot glue and scissors
  • Candies, of your choosing
  • Brown craft paper or construction paper
  • 2 googly eyes
  • 1 red pompom
  • Red ribbon
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Reindeer gift tag

Fill the jar with candy. Cut a piece of brown craft paper/construction paper and glue it around the middle of the jar. Using a hot glue gun, put on the googly eyes and red pompom nose. Glue the ribbon around the lid. Form the antlers from pipe cleaners and glue them on.

Telcom Happenings

November 16th, 2020 by admin

Jennifer Prather won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Texas Telephone Association meeting. She has worked long hours this year on the board of TTA, an association that has gone through a huge transformation thanks to her involvement and efforts. Jennifer is also on our Telcom Insurance Group board.

Lucia Lucio, from ENMR, is retiring on her birthday in December. Congrats to her.

Dick Ekleberry, who was the owner/president of Sycamore Telephone Co., passed away in October. Condolences to his son, Rick Ekleberry, the current GM, and their family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil Maag, with the recent passing of his mother.

Best of luck to Joe Snyder from Citizens Mutual in Iowa, who is retiring at the end of the year. He and his wife plan to pursue many adventures around the U.S.

Our thoughts are prayers are with Laurie Magnus-Warner from Arapahoe, who lost her husband this summer after a long battle with illness.

Our own, Tisa Smith, lost her mother-in-law recently.

Congratulations to Joel Muniz, who was promoted to general manager at Dell Telephone in Texas this past September. He has over 33 years at Dell.

Congrats to our own Roberta Wells. She very recently welcomed a son-in-law into her family with the marriage of her daughter.

Basic Guidelines for Reopening Businesses

August 3rd, 2020 by admin

While this may not be an exhaustive list, here are some key factors to consider:

Review official guidance.
Read and make sure you understand applicable federal, state and local orders, directives and guidelines, including information from OSHA and the CDC. These may include specific steps that businesses must take before resuming operations, and some may be industry and location-specific. The return-to-work process will likely occur in phases, with certain types of businesses permitted to resume limited operations before others are allowed to do so. If conflicts exist among directives and guidelines, consider consulting legal counsel. Each state and often each county within the state may have different interpretations of the phases and the rules to reopen in that jurisdiction.

Independently assess your situation
Even where they are permitted to allow employees back into the workplace, employers should independently assess whether it is safe to do so, including whether social distancing can be maintained. Employers may also want to consider having employees return to work voluntarily at first to help address employees’ needs and concerns. Or they might consider returning employees to the workplace in waves, starting with the most critical workers first.

Consider screening practices.
Consider various options for screening employees and visitors before they’re allowed to enter the workplace, such as temperature checks, COVID-19 testing and/or self-certifications (individuals checking their temperature at home, keeping a temperature log and staying home if their temperature is 100.4 or higher). Employers that intend to conduct COVID-19 testing will also need to evaluate which type of test to use, who will perform it, how it will be administered and the implications of various testing protocols, consulting local health officials when assessing the different options. Employers should also ensure consistency in applying their screening procedures to applicants and employees. In addition, make sure to treat screening results as confidential medical records.

Note: As of March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has met the direct-threat standard referred to above, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If the CDC and state/local public health officials revise their assessment of the spread and severity of COVID-19, that could affect whether a direct threat still exists and whether screening would be permissible. This means that guidance may shift as the crisis recedes, so employers should consider consulting legal counsel before implementing screening protocols.

Maintain social distancing.
Consider steps to maintain at least 6 feet between individuals in the workplace, adjusting the work environment and office norms if necessary. Options include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Allowing employees to telework whenever possible
  • Offering flexible work hours and staggered start times and shifts
  • Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite (for example, opening every other CSR station, or Help Desk, or cash register for your retail operations)
  • Putting up partitions between employees and or plexiglass barriers
  • Increasing physical space between employees and customers through physical barriers and/or demarcating 6-foot intervals with lines or X’s on the floor
  • Postponing nonessential in-person meetings or events
  • Prohibiting group gatherings in the workplace and limiting access to spaces where groups tend to gather, like the breakrooms
  • Implementing restrictions on business travel
  • Delivering services remotely or delivering products through curbside pickup or delivery
  • Discouraging handshakes
  • Discouraging sharing tools and equipment and food and drinks (get individual, single-serve condiments and disposable plates/cups for your breakroom areas)
  • Restricting visitors in the workplace (check your local jurisdictions on what the limit is for visitors/customers in your offices, and use sign in/out to keep track)

Designate a safety lead.
Make sure employees feel safe about returning to work. Consider designating a point person who will be responsible for workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring compliance with federal and state occupational safety and health requirements. Tell employees what steps you have taken to protect them and whom they can contact if they have concerns. This might be your designated safety person, if you have one, or your Emergency Preparedness/Business Continuity lead person.

Train employees to practice good hygiene.
Train employees on safety protocols, and widely communicate ways to practice good hygiene. Such practices include the following:

  • Wear a mask where recommended.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of the elbow.
  • Stay home when feeling sick.
  • If you’re going into customers’ homes, wear a mask and gloves and use hand sanitizer/disinfectants as much as possible.

Signs available from the CDC can be posted as reminders to employees and visitors.

Thoroughly sanitize the workplace.
Consider more frequent cleaning and implement sanitary practices, including the following:

  • Disinfect and clean the workplace regularly.
  • Maintain and adjust HVAC systems, and increase ventilation.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
  • Provide soap and water in the workplace.
  • Provide hand sanitizers for when soap and water isn’t available.

Provide masks and other protective equipment.
Some state and local jurisdictions have enacted emergency rules requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public and in certain businesses. Some also require employers to provide such equipment at the employer’s expense. Review applicable rules and assess whether employees need to or should wear cloth face coverings, surgical masks, shields, respirators or other protective equipment. Employers should ensure employees comply in the workplace, if applicable. Also consider training employees on how to properly use protective equipment.

Note: Depending on the job and the circumstances, employers may also be required to provide protective equipment under existing federal and state occupational safety and health regulations.

Require notice of potential exposure.

Employers may ask employees to notify them if they’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Also, at this time, the CDC is recommending that people who are close to someone with COVID-19, and develop symptoms of the virus, self-quarantine for at least 14 days. Spell out any notification rules or guidelines in a written policy, and continue to monitor guidelines for any changes in notification protocols.
Any employees who believe they’ve been exposed at work and then test positive should file a workers’ compensation claim. It will be coded to the COVID-19 and will be addressed per each state’s rules on determining if the specific details of the work exposure caused the illness and therefore would be a workers’ compensation claim. The very nature of a pandemic makes this extremely difficult in cases of employees testing positive unless they are first responders. However, each claim will be evaluated on the merits of that specific claim.

Prepare for potential employee concerns.
Employees may have concerns about returning to work during the pandemic. Those who refuse to report to work may have protections from adverse action. For example, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employees may have the right to refuse to work if all of the following conditions are met:

  • Where possible, they have asked the employer to eliminate the danger, and the employer failed to do so.
  • They genuinely believe that an imminent danger exists.
  • A reasonable person would agree that there is a real danger of death or serious injury.
  • There isn’t enough time, due to the urgency of the hazard, to get it corrected through regular enforcement channels, such as requesting an OSHA inspection.

Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which grants employees the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, may also come into play in this situation.

Consider surveying employees on their thoughts/concerns about returning to work. Also, remember that until Phase 3, vulnerable employees should continue to telework and reduce their exposure.

Provide leave as required.
Employees may be entitled to leave under federal, state and local rules for various situations related to COVID-19, even when the crisis begins to recede. For instance, if an employee works for an employer with fewer than 500 employees and is unable to work because their child’s school is still closed, they would be entitled to paid leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Review policies, procedures and supervisor training to ensure compliance with applicable federal, state and local rules on leave.

Provide reasonable accommodations.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state laws require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. An employee with a disability that puts them at high risk for complications from COVID-19 may request a reasonable accommodation to reduce their chances of infection, such as asking to telework, for personal protective equipment or for paid or unpaid leave if their job isn’t conducive to telework. Additionally, if the employer requires employees to wear protective equipment, an employee who is unable to comply because of a disability may ask for an accommodation. Prepare to respond to such requests in compliance with applicable laws.

Develop protocols for symptomatic employees.
Develop procedures for situations in which an employee is showing symptoms of COVID-19 in the workplace. If an employee shows symptoms, separate them from other employees, send them home immediately and direct them to speak with their doctor. Additionally, notify other employees of possible exposure. When informing other employees, maintain confidentiality and don’t reveal who had the symptoms. Also, establish and communicate protocols for returning to work after being symptomatic, following CDC guidelines and applicable laws.

Conclusion:
Each workplace is different, so develop a plan for returning to work that is tailored to your particular circumstances, follows applicable guidelines and ensures safety for your employees, customers and clients.

Telcom Matters

August 3rd, 2020 by admin

We offer our congratulations to the following Telcom family members:
Tasos Tsolakis, who has been hired for the newly established role of CEO at JSI. He will lead JSI’s strategic vision and growth initiatives, as well as product and service development. Tsolakis brings years of experience in technology, telecommunications and cybersecurity, most recently serving as SVP of Global Service Delivery at Continuum Managed Services.

We offer condolences to the following Telcom family members:
To the family of Jim Bass, who passed away in May just two weeks short of his 99th birthday at his home in Carthage, Tennessee. He was one of the founding members of TECO, which was later renamed NTCA Rural Broadband PAC.

To the family of H. Filmore Melick, who passed away in July at the age of 99. Melick served as manager at West Liberty Telephone from 1954 to 1998, was a director of the Iowa Telephone Association from 1953 to 1977 and was ITA president for 1967-68. At the time, Melick was the first son of a former ITA president to be elected to that office, a tradition that was carried on by his son Jerry Melick, who was ITA president in 2005.
To the family of Allen and Carmen Arvig in the death of Carmen’s mother, Irene Frost, in June in Minnesota.

To the family of Finley Engineering CTO Steven Senne, a longtime executive and active participant in the telecom industry, who passed away suddenly in June at his Iowa home. A Finley employee since 1988, Senne progressed through a variety of positions in the company, starting as a project engineer and most recently serving as chief technology officer and vice president. He was also a member of Finley’s board of directors, playing an active role in the company’s vision for the future, and was involved in many industry organizations, including NTCA, APPA, NSPE, IEEE, MTA and ICA. He served as president of the Association of Communication Engineers for two years.

To the family of Jeff Brower, general manager at Modern Cooperative Telephone Co. in South English, Iowa. Brower passed away unexpectedly in May.

To the family of Ellery Aufdengarten, husband of recent Big Bend Telephone Co. retiree Debbie Aufdengarten. He died in July at the family’s Texas ranch.

To the family of Tim Owens, who died in July after a short illness at the age of 55. Owens was the president and owner of Cronin Communications, a premier telecom consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Cronin, Owens was the executive director of the Foundation for Rural Service, the philanthropic arm of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. While there, he was a two-time winner of the prestigious Innovations in Local Government Awards, sponsored by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University. At Cronin’s helm, Owens worked with hundreds of telecommunications providers throughout the United States and was a chief resource to national, state and regional telecom associations.

Fun Facts

May 13th, 2020 by admin

Memorial Day, May 25

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868. The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It marks the start of the unofficial summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Father’s Day, June 21

Father’s Day is always celebrated on the third Sunday in June. Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day has a modern origin. The idea came to Mrs. John Dodd as she sat listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Her father, William Smart, had raised his children alone on his Washington farm after his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. Mrs. Dodd proposed to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA that they celebrate a “father’s day” on June 5, her father’s birthday. The idea received strong support, but the good ministers of Spokane asked that the day be changed to give them extra time to prepare sermons on the unexplored subject of fathers.

The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington, and soon other towns had their own celebrations. In spite of widespread support, Father’s Day did not become a permanent national holiday until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring that it be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June.

Take Your Dog to Work Day, June 26

Created by Pet Sitters International in 1999, Take Your Dog to Work Day is observed on June 26 this year to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage adoptions from local shelters, rescue groups and humane societies. The day offers a fun, summer Friday for U.S. employees to introduce their four-legged best friend to co-workers, and PSI believes that dogless co-workers will be encouraged to adopt when they witness the human-animal bond. There is also increasing participation in TYDTWD in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

The day isn’t necessarily just for dogs, though. In fact, the entire week after Father’s Day is Take Your Pet to Work Week, starting on Monday, June 22, with the official Take Your Cat to Work Day. However, in this day and age of the coronavirus, we encourage you to make it a virtual “take your pet to work” day if you’re telecommuting by posting pictures of your pet on social media.

Telcom Matters

May 13th, 2020 by admin

We would like to welcome the following new members to our Telcom P&C and/or D&O family: Rockwell Cooperative Telephone Association (Iowa), BPS Telephone Co. (Missouri), Stratford Mutual Telephone (Iowa) and Kansas Fiber Network (Kansas).

Upcoming Holidays: Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 25, for Memorial Day. Please report all claims directly to the carrier. If you need claims reporting phone/fax numbers, please dial our main line at 301-220-3200 for a complete listing.

We offer our congratulations to the following Telcom family members:

Jana Wallace, who stepped into her new role as CEO of Panhandle Telephone Cooperative in Guymon, Oklahoma.

Congratulations to the individuals who received NTCA Excellence Awards at RTIME 2020.

Jim Dauby, president and CEO of Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative, was awarded the Manager Life Achievement Award.

Rodney Renner, board director at Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, received the Director Life Achievement Award.

Chad Larson, sales engineer at Consolidated Telephone Co., was awarded the Special Achievement Award.

Kirk Lehman, chief executive officer of RTC Communications, received the Management Innovation Award.

Jim Eaton, vice president of finance and administration at Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, was awarded the Key Employee Excellence Award.

Jill Kohlhaas, senior dispatcher and plant record clerk at Madison Telephone Co., received a Heroism Award.

Jeff Powell, central office technician at North Central Telephone Cooperative, also received a Heroism Award.

Andy Smith, managing director of the communications banking division at CoBank, received the Associate Member Outstanding Achievement Award.

Kurt Gruendling, vice president of marketing and business development at Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, received the Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award.

We offer condolences to the following Telcom family members:

To the family of Nancy Peterson of Wittenberg and Niagara Telephone Cos., who passed away in March.

To the family of Raymond Fisher, CFO at Sandhill Telephone Cooperative, who passed away in March.

To the family of Robin Anderson of Telcom Insurance Group, whose mother passed away in March.

2020 Risk Management Conference

May 13th, 2020 by admin

These are certainly unprecedented times, and the rules of engagement and social distancing are ever evolving to try to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus. Regarding the upcoming Risk Management Conference, currently scheduled for July 12-14, we are hoping that it can happen in some form.

With the safety of our employees and our attendees in mind, we expect to make a final decision in June before the conference is scheduled. That being said, it would probably be best if you delay making travel plans as we all navigate the “new normal.” We will let everyone know once a scheduling decision is made.

The setting for Telcom’s 2020 Risk Management Conference will be beautiful Asheville in the “First in Flight” state of North Carolina, so the theme this year spotlights our role as “First in Rural Telecommunications Insurance and Risk Management Solutions.”

As the property-casualty insurance and risk management arm of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Telcom Insurance Group has designed an educational session that will provide you real-life solutions in handling the current business insurance and risk management needs of your rural telecommunications cooperative or company.

Telcom’s focus is solely on the needs of rural telecommunication companies, so as such we invite you to come to this conference to better understand insurance and the finer details of risk management applications specific to our ever-evolving industry.

Family is important to us. We think of you as part of our great-big family, and we invite you to bring your family along to the event, too.

The 2020 RMC is a great opportunity to network with fellow rural telecom providers and share ideas, learn new insurance and risk management concepts, and have a little fun, all at the same time. It’s also an opportunity to participate in RTIC’s Safety Group training.

About Asheville, North Carolina
Nestled in North Carolina’s southern Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville and its neighboring foothill towns exude quirky charm and character. Forbes included Asheville on its list of “Top Destinations.” Actually, 50% of the U.S. population live within 600 miles of Asheville. The meeting is slated to be held at the Grove Park Inn.

Scheduled sessions
Shirley Bloomfield will discuss the state of rural telecommunications; Peter Elliott will discuss the state of the companies and various insurance topics; the Asheville Service Center will review the current and future benefits offerings of the association; Marilyn Blake will lead a panel discussion on workers’ compensation and its effects; and Craig Rapp will review some of the most common perils that affect both inside and outside rural telecom employees.

Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students, and it has everyone worried, not just the kids on its receiving end. Parents, teachers and other adults don’t always see it. So, they may not understand how extreme bullying can get.

Students are more likely to see bullying first-hand, so we’re asking them to start thinking about ways they can show us, in the form of art, how to help prevent bullying and promote acceptance.

Telcom is accepting artwork submissions that reflect “How to Handle Bullying.” All entries must represent a policyholder and be received at the Telcom office by April 3.

Prizes are $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place.

Age groups are Under 8, 8-10 and 11-14.

Entries must be received at the Telcom office by April 3.

Contest Entry Rules:

  • Must be 14 years old or younger and must represent a customer.
  • All entries must be on a flat medium no larger than 8.5-by-11 inches and must represent some element of showing how you could “Prevent Bullying and Promote Acceptance.”
  • The back of the picture must include: contestant’s name, parent/guardian’s name, age of the artist and telecom company represented.
  • All entries must be accompanied by an entrance form.
  • All entries become the property of Telcom Insurance Group/TISC and may be used in any communications/media known or hereafter developed for noncommercial and commercial purposes. Pictures will not be returned unless specifically requested.
  • Telcom staff members will be the judges of the contest, and all decisions are final.

Send entries to:

Telcom Insurance Group, Attn: Spring Art Contest, 6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 506, Greenbelt, MD 20770

Telcom is also offering a “How to Handle Bullying” coloring book and crayons to distribute either to your elementary school or to your staff/customers who participate in our Spring Art Contest. Just let us know what quantity you’d like by March 6. You can contact us regarding the items by email, MAB@TelcomInsGrp.com, or by fax, 301-474-6196.

 

When: July 12-14
Where: The Omni Grove Park Inn
https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park

Rates: $299, single or double (Run of House)

Hotel highlights:

  • 513 luxurious guest rooms including 14 suites and 28 rooms on a private, adults only Club Floor
  • 18-hole, Donald Ross-designed mountain golf course
  • 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa
  • Multiple casual and formal restaurants boasting panoramic mountain views
  • Three indoor and three outdoor tennis courts
  • 50,000-square-foot Sports Complex featuring weight rooms, fitness classes, an indoor pool and more
  • Two retail promenades

More information about the Risk Management Conference will be available in mid-March.

It’s an exciting time in our industry. Because we know you have a busy schedule, we thought we’d let you know where we’re going to be during the upcoming RTIME Meeting & Expo so that we can connect with you all, our friends and family.

We hope we’ll get to “visit” at one or all of these events:

  • Monday, Feb. 17: Bright and early from 7-8 a.m., our policyholders, board and shareholders are invited to join us for a special “Thank You” breakfast. It is invitation only, and you must respond to the invitation so that we can have enough food and fabulous goodies for everyone. Contact Marilyn at MAB@telcominsgrp.com if you have questions. We are also participating in the Expo Grand Opening and sponsoring the FRS event.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18: TIG and RTIC’s board of directors meet from 8-10 a.m., and the NTC shareholders meet from 10:30 a.m.-noon. This will be followed by the Expo and PAC/RTAF events in the evening.

Please come visit us at Expo booth #66. We’d love to say “hi” and tell you about our annual Risk Management Conference, which will be July 12-14 in Asheville, North Carolina. There will be a raffle for Apple Airpods. Bring your business cards!

Exact locations and times are subject to modification, so please be sure to check out the program when you arrive. We look forward to this opportunity to see so many of our Telcom family members and to get acquainted with some new ones, too.

Telcom Matters

February 12th, 2020 by admin

We would like to welcome the following new members to our Telcom P&C and/or D&O family: Indiana Fiber Network, Farmers Mutual Telephone, Pierce Telecommunications, Titonka-Burt Communications and Nunn Telephone.

Upcoming Holidays: Our offices will be closed on Monday, Feb. 17, for Presidents Day. Please report all claims directly to the carrier. If you need claims reporting phone/fax numbers, please dial our main line at 301-220-3200 for a complete listing.

We offer our Congratulations to the following Telcom family members:

  • Kirk Petty, CEO and general manager of Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative, was named to the Texas Governor’s Broadband Development Council.
  • Eleanor Geraldine Haskin, former owner of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, became the second woman elected to the Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association’s Telephone Hall of Fame.
  • Lyn Kamerman, executive director of the Texas Telephone Association, on his retirement.
  • Shawn Hanson, CEO of PTCI, on his upcoming retirement in April. Also, congratulations to Jana Wallace of PTCI on her promotion to CEO.
  • Mike Whalen of Pioneer Connect on his retirement and the end of the year. Also, congratulations to Jim Rennard, who will be replacing Mike as general manager.

We offer condolences to the following Telcom family members:

  • To the family of Wayne Stowman of Rothsay Telephone, who passed away in November.
  • To the family of John “Big John” Gahlon of Garden Valley Telephone, who passed away in November.
  • To the family of Steve Alexander, Chief Financial Officer of Eastex Telephone Cooperative, on the passing of his father, Bill Alexander, in December.
  • To the family of Trent Boaldin, CEO of Epic Touch, who passed away in January.

2020 is shaping up to be a big year

February 12th, 2020 by admin

We are already a month into 2020 — how are your resolutions going? Many of us set goals to lose weight, to exercise regularly, volunteer in our community or otherwise make changes that improve our lives going forward.

Telcom Insurance Group is no different. The start of a new year is a time for us to look back at our successes in 2019 and set goals for an even better 2020 — and beyond.

I look forward to kicking the year off with one of my favorite events, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association’s annual conference, RTIME. It is an opportunity to meet with our members and get to know them on a deeper level. It is a great time to exchange ideas about our business and an opportunity to hear from each of you.

I am especially looking forward to our Policyholder Breakfast, when I will have the opportunity to talk with you about our reflections on the past year and ways we are working to serve you even better in the future.

One of the ways we are working to serve you better is to continue pushing forward on our long-term goal of shifting our operations to Wichita, Kansas. This plan is still a couple years away from fruition, but we are already setting wheels in motion. Moving our headquarters from Greenbelt, Maryland, to the Sunflower State will mean great opportunities for us and for our customers. This centralized location will allow us to better serve our customers in the western time zone and operate more efficiently.

Unlike the business model used by many of our larger competitors, we are not making this move to save money and boost profits. We are shifting to more efficient operations so we can pass cost savings on to you. This may appear to be a novel approach and one not often seen in the current business environment, but it is a philosophy we firmly believe in. You are more than just a customer. You are more than a claim number. You are a part of our family and a vital component to everything we have accomplished.

As each year passes, technology becomes a greater influence on our daily lives. As our reliance on the digital world grows, so does the threat of cyber attacks. That is why we have expanded our cyberliability coverage to 30 states over the past year. This is a growing segment of our business and the focus on cyber security is a trend we don’t expect will change anytime soon.

While we are growing, we realize that we are not the largest insurer in the market. This means that we are competing against bigger companies with deeper pockets. Is bigger better? Many of you reading this would not exist if that was a true statement. But how small are we really?

A recent review of numbers shows we insure $5.2 billion worth of real property and $7 billion in total value. That is a very impressive number and an achievement we are very proud of. It means we protect not only you and your network but also a big portion of a critical infrastructure of the United States. But we are not finished. We continue to grow, and without you, that wouldn’t be possible. Together we will accomplish great things in 2020 and for years to come.

I hope 2020 is off to a great start for you, and I look forward to seeing you in Phoenix.

October: Fire Safety Art Contest

September 17th, 2015 by admin