The California El Camino Chapter of the CPCU Society serves the San Fernando Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and San Luis Obispo County.  The California El Camino Chapter is an offspring of The Los Angeles Chapter,  which was originally commissioned in 1945 as The Pacific Chapter,  and started out in 1984 under the leadership of our first Chapter President, James J. Buttitta, CPCU.

2021 Year in Review - El Camino CPCU Chapter:

On behalf of the El Camino CPCU Chapter, we recognize this was another very challenging year.  We hope the New Year will continue to move us forward and in a more positive direction for everyone!  Despite the challenges we faced this year, we have discovered new opportunities and different ways of serving our industry developed by innovation, focus and our personal desires to do well in what we do.

There are two main features education & networking within our industry via technology that has been proven to be advantageous in maintaining communication and staying connected with our chapter members.

This past year our CPCU Chapter continued to offer a mix of interesting meetings and events for everyone in the industry.  Here are some of the highlights throughout the year.

Update 4-25-2022 This chapter was issued Platinum level for the 2021 Circle of Excellence.

In January, we kicked off the New Year with a great presentation via Webinar with Stephan DiBiase, Senior Forensic Engineer and Vehicle Dynamics Specialist with Momentum Engineering Corp.  Stephen gave us a great session on “The Basics of Accident Reconstruction”.  He took us through the dynamics of how an engineer may be able to help in various auto accident cases, what information is necessary to gather, and how you can be better prepared. Also, a discussion of black boxes or Event Data Recorders and highlighted some real-life examples.

In February, we had not one but two great sessions that were provided to our chapter members and other insurance professionals.  The first webinar on February 10th featured “The CPCU Road Show” was brought to us compliments of the CPCU Society’s Interest Groups. Representatives of Gamma Iota Sigma conducted a dynamic discussion with five future insurance leaders for us to learn more about the world of insurance and risk management from a student’s perspective.  It was extremely impressive to hear their insight & views of the insurance industry and their perspective on how the industry will evolve over time.   

The second webinar training class on February 18th was presented by Betsey L. Brewer, CPCU.  Betsy is a Principal of EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants and has served in many different CPCU Board positions on the local and international level including Past President as the International President & Chair of the National CPCU Society.  Betsy’s topic “Volunteering and Engagement in the CPCU Society” was a very thought-provoking talk about her insurance society experience and career.  We learned how she became involved with the CPCU Society and used it to grow her opportunities through engagement and volunteer leadership. 

Our chapter also furthered its goal of continuing education by sponsoring a virtual classroom preparatory course for CPCU 551 course on “Commercial Property”.  The course was conducted by Tessa Lucero and started on February 4th and concluded on May 6th.  

In March for Ethics month, Brian Foote, National Account Manager at BELFOR Property Restoration provided us with a thought-provoking session on “Ethics for Insurance Professionals” that facilitated an understanding of the importance of sound ethical decisions in the insurance profession.  The course covered the importance of general ethical guidelines and the motivations to be ethical, as well as addressed specific ethical concerns for all insurance industry professionals.

In April, Sally Noma, Founding Attorney of Noma Law Firm and Jessie Banuelos, Owner of the Jessie Banuelos Insurance Agency gave us an interesting session on “Building Inclusive Organizations – Everyday Opportunities for Professional Growth”. This topic was aimed at insurance professionals who want to ensure inclusion is a key value expressed in all levels of the organization which includes every-day interactions and relationships with policyholders, colleagues, and vendors. The speakers provided us with some simple and effective tools to keep inclusivity top of mind as we build relationships that will benefit both the insurance carriers and policyholders.

In May, Robert (Bob) Cretel, CPCU, CLU, ChFC/Claims Group Manager with the Auto Club of Southern California presented us with a captivating session on “The Insurance Industry (R)evolution: what impact COVID has had on Consumer Behavior”.  Bob took us through the evolution of insurance and how the speed of change in personal lines insurance is accelerating exponentially.  Our industry is ripe for technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and we’re just beginning to recognize the potential.  COVID-19 also had a significant impact on all of us including drastic changes in consumer behaviors, like the way we shop, eat and drive.  Much of these changes have had a direct impact on insurance sales, premiums and sped up the acceptance of technology in every facet of the industry.  This presentation helped us recognize and understand the forces that have the most impact on our future.    

In June, we had Jerry Sullivan, Chairman of G.J. Sullivan Co. Reinsurance talk to us about. “The State of the Insurance Industry”.  Jerry drew upon his vast experience of over 60 years of in-depth and extensive experience in numerous aspects of the insurance business including regulatory, investment, company, claims, program manager, reinsurance and as a wholesale intermediary to provide us with an interesting and insightful session covering the current trends in the insurance marketplace.

In July, Brian Gray/Director of Classification Education and Development with the California WCIRB who has over 30 years direct experience in the California Workers Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan-1995 (USRP) presented us with “An overview of Significant Changes to Simplify the Multiple Enterprises Rule”.  His session included recently approved changes to the California Workers; Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan-1995 that will significantly change and simplify the Multiple enterprises Rule. 

We were dark for August this year.

On September 9th, we co-sponsored a joint networking mixer event for an evening of conversation and fun at the Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills.  It was so nice to network in person over drinks and appetizers.  During this event, we welcomed some the New Designees from both chapters and everyone enjoyed a great time networking with other CPCU’s & other industry professionals.  We really miss the in-person interaction with each other, and it was great to see some new faces during this social event.  We’re looking forward to doing it again in 2022!

Also, beginning September 9th, the chapter sponsored a virtual CPCU 552 course on “Commercial Liability Risk” with Tessa Lucero as the course instructor.  The course concluded on December 2nd.   

In October, we held two great events that we look forward to each year.  On October 7th, we held a Community Event which was our Sixth Annual Educational Meeting and Panel Discussion chapter meeting with Dr. David Russell and his students attending CSUN who are pursuing a degree and career in the insurance industry.  The focus of the session was on “INSURANCE CAREERS: INDUSTRY PANEL DISCUSSION”.  This continues to be a unique opportunity for us to give the CSUN students a new perspective of the insurance industry.   We had several chapter members participate in a panel discussion addressing their views, journey & careers within the insurance industry. This session gave a brief overview of the main Function within with insurance company.  Our esteem panelists included Victoria Roach/Underwriting with California FAIR Plan Rong Rong/Actuarial with Swiss Re, Derek Ferrendelli/Finance with Farmers Insurance, Jon Wilson/Licensed Broker with The Hartford, Tam Samson/Premium Auditing with the Workers’ Comp Rating Bureau, Rasheed Oliver/Claims with Farmers Insurance and Katherine Thomas/Process Leadership with Progressive Insurance. The panel discussion, also focused on career perspectives, how the CPCU designation can help achieve higher goals and why learning does not end with a bachelor’s degree.  We are looking forward to the 7th annual CSUN event in September 2022.

Then on October 21st, we celebrated our 76th Annual All Industry Day Conference in a virtual format with all the California and Hawaii Chapters joining us as sponsors once again for this long-standing CPCU event.  For 76 years, the CPCU Society has been offering education and opportunities to insurance industry professionals to grow and advance in their professions.  It was great spending the day with other insurance professionals online and learn about the latest trends and hottest topics from our panel of industry leading speakers. The topics this year covered Risk Management, Cryptocurrency, Regulation, Diversity & Inclusion, and we had an engaging Open Roundtable Discussion.  We also had a special recognition ceremony honoring the New Designees of the hosting CPCU Chapters and each chapter announced various award recipients.  The El Camino Chapter also granted a $500 Scholarship to one lucky CSUN Student who was attending the conference.   Together, we had close to 500 attendees from all over the country including 3 Past National CPCU Society Presidents.  The 76th Annual “Virtual” Conference was a major group effort and a big success for our chapters.  It is always a privilege to put together such a high caliber industry conference and at the same time recognize our chapter’s New Designees.   Save the date for the 77th Annual CPCU All Industry Day Conference scheduled for Thursday, October 20, 2022!

We were dark in November this year.

In December, we held our Annual CPCU Holiday Luncheon, Toys for Tots Drive and Installation of Officers and Directors meeting for the El Camino chapter. 

Welcome our 2022 Board of officers:

Ed Combs – President

Christina Fenimore – President Elect

Derek Ferrendelli – Vice-President

Tami Singer- Secretary

Donna Munsch – Treasurer

Immediate Past President – Jon Wilson

Chapter Directors: Alice Chien, Paul Cunningham, Carol McDonald & Vanessa Toureau

If you’re interested in getting involved in the chapter as a volunteer, please attend our events, contact any of our chapter leaders, including our 2022 Chapter President Ed Combs, CPCU  or Chapter Director Carol McDonald, CPCU AIM to discuss opportunities, or complete a Contact Us form.

Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy Safe & Prosperous New Year from the California El Camino CPCU Chapter Board to YOU!