When Cynthia Cabaza, CIC, VP/Shareholder with Shepard Walton King Insurance in McAllen, Texas, first saw a presentation about UFG’s Worth It campaign, it stopped her in her tracks.
She took the pledge. She wanted a cool t-shirt.
“I am one of the worst offenders I know,” she admitted. “I am a multi-tasker by nature, so when I am in the car I feel like I am not doing anything and I am bored and I have to be on the phone. I had gotten to the point where I was texting myself.”
“And then I had a couple of close calls and I kept telling myself ‘I have to stop, I have to stop,’” she added. “When I saw the Worth It campaign, I thought this is perfect, this is what I need. My son works here with me and he agreed I am one of the worst offenders. I told him that is exactly why I am committing to this, so that I can force myself to stop.”
Now that she’s taken the Worth It pledge, she’s noticed what a truly huge (and dangerous) issue this is. “Now that I’m not driving distracted I can see that when I am driving on the expressway, 70 miles an hour, I am looking at people and they are looking down. I see this being a serious problem in our area, and it’s not something I see law enforcement enforcing.”
So Cabaza felt a tug to do something about it.
“I am a mentor and the manager here in our office, so I asked the other producers if they wanted to do this as community outreach,” she said, noting that this is something that directly impacts their business. “I was happy to hear they were all excited about it.”
“When we brought it up to the producers here, it just made sense,” said Steve Urbina, Producer at Shepard Walton King Insurance who is working closely with Cabaza to roll out the program in their area. “Everybody had a story. My own wife has almost been hit while out on an early morning bike ride. When Cynthia brought this up, it really brought it home for me. I am not as good a driver as I think I am. I could be that guy who hits someone’s wife that is running or riding a bike. Worth It is making you aware of just how scary it is to drive distracted. And once you are aware of it and put that commitment in front of you, it makes you think about it often.”
Cabaza said they promoted the initiative in their own office first with presentations and getting employees committed to Worth It. From there, they began reaching out to community partners, including school districts — who see the program as being a great fit for teacher/staff in-service as well as student — and area hospitals.
“Right now we are working on a high school that is interested in bringing it to their 200 staff members,” said Urbina. “Eventually the principal wants us to present for the high school students.”
The team at Shepard Walton King Insurance also plans to reach out to their own customers, utilizing the resources UFG provides along with developing some of their own materials to use on social media. “UFG did just a great job putting it together so that it is easy for us to go present it and they are allowing us to add our logo to materials as well,” said Urbina.
With the initial positive response they have received, Cabaza said her team is excited for what’s ahead. “What excites me is being able to have an impact on my neighbors and in the community where we live,” she said. “This is not going to be just for one month, this is going to be something we do throughout the whole year. And it’s exciting because this goes beyond a blog post or creating a video on safety that we send out by email. That doesn’t go far enough. UFG’s Worth It campaign has you actually signing and making a pledge and that hits you right in the face. You are saying you are really going to do it and not forget about it. It’s going to change our habits.”
Urbina agreed. “This is a national safety issue,” he said. “In the presentation, they point out that when seat belts were coming out no one wanted to pay attention to the need for them. But then the insurance companies started to put on some pressure and push that change. Today, we don’t think twice about putting on our seat belt. Now, this industry needs to do a better job of pointing out that texting while driving is an epidemic and it is a national safety issue. Insurance companies should be spearheading it and pointing it out to the community and be the voice that says something needs to change.”
“I wish more agents would join the Worth It campaign, too,” added Cabaza. “We have to start somewhere. Our industry, the insurance companies, we have to do our part. We are talking about saving lives.”