When Superstorm Sandy swept through Long Island, Allstate agency owner Christina Shaw was six months pregnant with her first child. Although her home was flooded with several feet of water, without electricity and heat for many weeks, and her Bellmore agency was also without power, Christina still put her customers first. She and her staff operated outside their agency, powering their laptops and mobile phones with their vehicles to maintain service during this critical time. She also made herself available to customers at the Allstate National Catastrophe Team’s Mobile Claim Center unit set up in Freeport. Christina and her staff were so appreciative of the NCT claims support and dedicated efforts that they made sure to bring food and coffee to each of them to show their gratitude.
Christina was one of many hundreds of New York–, New Jersey– and Connecticut-based Allstate agency owners who made personal sacrifices to put their customers first in a time of disaster. We heard of many Allstaters setting aside their own losses during Hurricane Sandy to assist their friends, neighbors and customers. But Christina’s story stands out because it continues beyond the initial tragedy.
In August 2013, Christina continued to help people prepare for and recover from catastrophes by volunteering at The Allstate Foundation’s SaferLives Good & Ready event at Eisenhower Park. More than 400 attendees received catastrophe kits and Christina’s passion for preparedness was evident, as she was selected as a local spokesperson to convey the reality behind being “Good and Ready” on Long Island. Doing what she does best, Christina helped educate consumers who were building kits about the importance of being prepared, and advised them of the steps they needed to take to prepare their homes and families after they took their catastrophe kits home.
In late October of 2013, on the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Christina Shaw was also one of 70 Allstaters who helped rebuild the Little Hands playground in Freeport, New York, which had been inundated with seven feet of water during the storm. Christina and others like her are working together to help their communities recover and be better prepared for any new challenges that may confront them.
In 2011, Allstate and The Allstate Foundation forged a multiyear partnership with Feeding America to support the organization’s effort to provide much-needed food and supplies to families impacted by natural catastrophes. Matt Winter, president, Allstate Personal Lines, spearheaded the effort; he had been involved with Feeding America’s Phoenix, Arizona–area member food bank as a local board member and currently serves on the organization’s national board of directors. He has also been involved in numerous hands-on initiatives, leading Allstate participation in food collection drives and other campaigns during Allstate’s Week of Service.
“When dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophe, people should not have to worry about where their next meal will come from,” said Matt Winter, president, Allstate Personal Lines, and Feeding America board member. “I am honored to be personally involved with this cause, and I am proud of the support Allstate is providing to help address this important need.”
Through this partnership, Allstate and The Allstate Foundation are providing $1 million to Feeding America ($250,000 per year over the course of four years). In addition, we will provide up to $1 million of additional contingency funding (with a maximum of $250,000 per year) through The Allstate Foundation in the event of significant natural catastrophes.
In 2013, Allstate continued its long-term partnership with Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, working on a long-term, countrywide basis to alleviate hunger. Allstate’s support enabled Feeding America’s National Office to provide 135 truckloads containing 3.5 million pounds of food and grocery items and to coordinate Feeding America staff support for member food banks.
Allstate focused specifically on Feeding America’s Disaster Relief Program, which works through member food banks to ensure that they are able to respond to disasters in the communities they serve. Feeding America’s network served communities and individuals impacted by Texas storms (May 2013); Oklahoma tornadoes (May 2013); Colorado floods (September 2013); and Washington, Illinois, tornadoes (November 2013).
In addition, Allstate employees and agency owners showed their commitment to Feeding America through the annual Allstate Week of Service event. This year, more than 1,000 Allstaters took part in 133 food drives and warehouse projects that helped provide 345,000 meals to families at risk of hunger.
“The commitment of Allstate Insurance Company enables Feeding America to build capacity in disaster preparedness and provide a consistent level of response to disasters of any scale,” said Feeding America’s Senior Vice President of Development, Leah Ray “Allstate’s support has allowed the organization to strengthen member food banks’ capabilities, place dedicated disaster relief boxes in strategic locations throughout the country, and reinforce relationships with key partners such as the Red Cross and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.”
Ray added, “What is perhaps most crucial is that Allstate’s ongoing commitment helps ensure that Feeding America can respond quickly to any event in any community, even if it fails to generate the media attention or dedicated fundraising of a Superstorm Sandy.”
Natural catastrophes are the ultimate moment of truth for Allstate, our customers and our communities. We empower customers with the tools not just to recover from loss, but to help prevent it from happening. Our agency owners are actively involved in educating consumers about how they can protect their homes from extreme weather events, wildfires and other catastrophes.
Looking for information on what to do when a tornado approaches? Want to know how to prevent ice build-up on a roof after a heavy snow? Need tips on how to safely drive a motorcycle? Allstate’s Be Aware and Prepare
website provides easy-to-use, hands-on advice on a wide range of safety topics. Allstate agents also appear on radio and television to promote safety and disaster preparedness strategies. Here is Allstate agency owner Pete Fernandez sharing cold-weather tips on Chicago’s WGN: View video
What do families need to survive a major disaster—an extended power blackout, for instance, or a hurricane, tornado or flood? The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that 85 percent of Americans are not prepared for potential disasters. To help more people prepare for disasters, The Allstate Foundation is a founding supporter of Good & Ready, a collaborative disaster-preparedness initiative, convened by Points of Light, designed to help more Americans prepare themselves, their neighbors and their communities for a disaster.
In 2013, the Foundation and Points of Light equipped 5,500 families and personally educated more than 10,000 people in 14 cities in assembling their own disaster preparedness kits. The kits included items like a hand-crank radio/flashlight, water bottle, dust mask, garbage bags and hand sanitizing wipes among other items.
At events across the country, Good & Ready representatives educated people about what they would need in case of disaster and provided a fill-in-the-blanks household emergency plan and cards to download, print and keep close to hand.
Allstate helped form and lead ProtectingAmerica.org, a public voice addressing natural catastrophe preparation and recovery policies. The ProtectingAmerica.org coalition advocated for special catastrophe funds to aid recovery and rebuilding in the event of disaster, as well as better prevention and mitigation through stronger building codes.
ProtectingAmerica.org was a strong advocate for the Homeowners and Taxpayers Protection Act of 2013, which would use money from private insurance premiums to finance catastrophe-loss funds and disaster prevention and mitigation programs. Protecting America.org raised awareness of disaster preparedness issues through media events accompanying the bill, and drew attention to the start of hurricane season and the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.
Understanding extreme weather and other hazardous events can help policyholders prepare for them better. Allstate works closely with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to gain insights into common household risks and share them with policyholders.
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