NEWS

Stay on top of all the fascinating developments at Ashton Tiffany and the wild world of risk management.

News

Onward and Upward

As we told you back in January, Ashton Tiffany, LLC, has been acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher and Co. We’re already hard at work as part of Gallagher’s Risk Program Administrators division.

Our offices are staying put, but this website is not. By sometime this summer it will be gone, just like all the cheap wedding venues.

If you’ve been a regular visitor, thank you for the time you’ve spent here over the years. We’ll miss your eyeballs! You can always come visit us at RPA. That’s what we insiders call it.

Remember, a happy life is all about good risk management.

(Oh, and family, and friends, and doing for others, etc.)

Next level stuff

Your occasional visits here have finally paid off: We’ve got news!

Earlier this week, it was announced that Ashton Tiffany, LLC, has been acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher and Co. You can read the Gallagher press release here.

While the name “Ashton Tiffany” will be going away, the people behind it won’t. Instead, we’ll be joining Gallagher’s Risk Program Administrators division, serving public entity pools and other risk programs around the country. (Our offices are staying right where they are, though.)

We’re happy, excited, and eager to get to work. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating.

And his password is not “password2020”

Have you heard the story of None Pizza Left Beef? You can read it here. For you weirdos who are more visually oriented, the following picture sums up the story pretty well:

What got us thinking about this? Alberto Reyna, the new AT claims adjuster:

Cool cat, but an odd one. Like a Pixie-Bob.

Odd how, you say?

He likes pizza…without the sauce. That’s right, without the thing that distinguishes it from toast.

He actively hates watching movies. No, it’s not that he can take them or leave them…not that he thinks Road to Perdition is hot fish guts…not that he thinks phone junkies and dyspeptic tots have ruined the film experience…not that he once lost a filling to a theater Juju Bee. No, he just hates watching movies.

Then there’s career aspirations. Alberto grew up wanting to be…an astronaut? a firefighter? a cowboy? Nope, a lawyer. Wanted to practice law in the area of regulatory standards for printed copies of actuarial tables. We’re not making this stuff up. (Except for the thing about wanting to practice law in the area of regulatory standards for printed copies of actuarial tables.)

All in all, it’s quite a contrarian body of work. You know what Mom used to say, though: “All’s well that ends well.” And things have ended well for Alberto and AT, as we are united in support of his new role as a workers’ comp claims adjuster. Gets to do some good out there: helping the working men and women of the world, and keeping this risk management train chugging toward its destination.

Thanks, Alberto, we appreciate you (as they say in Texas).

Next up is Andre Lugo. This may or may not be his picture:

Why the ambiguity? Andre does IT security for us. In that world, share too much information and your identity is compromised. Once that happens, maybe they let you live, maybe they don’t. If they do, you might wish they hadn’t. The real bad actors will move into your flat, drink your whiskey, eat your Grape Nuts, play kissy-face with your spouse, and affectionately rub your dog’s belly ‘til Fido forgets you ever existed. Real Sixth Day stuff.

With stakes this high, we don’t want to say anything more—other than welcome, Andre.

(Correction: “Andre.”)

RITTER RISING

Meet Bryan Ritter.

He knows the right way to spell “Brian,” but he doesn’t care. When you do this, he does that, thank you very much.

Take your attitude regarding avoidable losses. You careen through life, slipping on wet floors, stepping on rakes, falling down stairs, breaking all your bones. You eat bananas and toss away the peels as if you lived in a garbage dump. You read text messages as you walk across a construction girder 50 stories up. You grab glowing rivets with your bare hands because you think they’re pretty. You chase squirrels in your backhoe.

Bryan sees such behavior and says, “Stop it, you heedless doofus.” And you do stop. You even resolve to be a more heedful doofus. Why? Because Bryan speaks with the authority of his decade in the biz; because he’s a certified safety professional; and because he knows construction risk the way you know chicken wings and beer.

Because of all that, many losses are prevented and controlled.

Bryan has gotten so good at this kind of work, we’ve decided to move him into newer, weightier, and far more boring areas of responsibility: general risk management consulting, client service, vendor relationship management, board materials prep, insurance policy analysis, etc.

Here, he will thrive. Indeed, he is already doing so.

You see him below, standing in the shadow of Messrs. Ashton and Tiffany. But he casts a pretty long shadow of his own. Welcome to your new role, Bryan.

GAG ME WITH A TONGUE DEPRESSOR

This is Denise Walsh:

She recently joined Ashton Tiffany as a clinical nurse consultant. She knows medical care. She’s at ease with claims and data analytics. She can sing like a wood thrush. She’s never lost a staring match with a cat. All in all, it’s an impressive set of skills.

But let’s back up a bit. Some years ago, Denise was attending one of those  awkward freshman dances: Boys on one side, girls on the other. After many uncomfortable minutes of whispering and giggling, a young man mustered the courage to breach the gender divide. Making his way across the floor, he appeared to be walking straight toward Denise. Her heart began to beat just a little faster. She looked to her left…then to her right…then across the floor again. Yes, it was Denise he was headed for, and no one else. As he approached, he swallowed hard, looked down at his shoes, looked up again, and then asked hopefully: “Do you want to dance?” But Denise was too shy to leave the comfort of her friends. Politely, she said, “No, thank you.” Her would-be dance partner responded, “Yeah, me either. I was just taking a poll.”

That young man’s name was George Gallup III.

As you probably guessed, none of this is true. Children of the 80s, however, may recognize it as a re-envisioning of a scene from “Valley Girl.” Back then, Nicolas Cage looked like this:

Now he looks like this:

So he’s holding up well.

Anyway, turns out “Valley Girl” is one of Denise’s favorite movies. Why does that matter? Because it makes her exactly the kind of person we like to hire: copiously degreed, exceptional at her work, well rounded in her personal life…and all without a hint of snobbishness.

Welcome, Denise. Now crush that fly.

AZCENTRAL’S TOP COMPANIES: ONE FOR THE (OTHER) THUMB

Do we have any competitive runners out there? Marathoners? 10Kers? 5Kers? (God bless you, fun-runners, but you and your dog are going to have to sit this one out.)

If you’re a “yes” and you’re a bit older, you’ll understand what follows. When you hit 40, you are dominating. That’s because you’re in the 40 to 49 age bracket. You’re competing against runners up to nine years older. They’re ancient compared to you! It wasn’t that long ago you were still trying out different careers, marriages, etc. You can dispatch runners in their mid-to-late 40s like a housefly on your hot dog.

Yeah, 40 is pretty great.

You know what’s not so great? Years ending in nine: 39, 49, 59, 69, etc. When there’s a nine at the end of your age, you’re competing against younger runners, many of whom can still get out of a chair without wincing. You do not like these people. At all.

Everybody get the premise? Great: Now flip it on its head, and transfer it over to the AZCentral program, Top Companies to Work for in Arizona.

Eh?

Let us explain:

This year, Ashton Tiffany was named a Top Company under the aforementioned program for the sixth year running. We’d be very excited about that under any circumstances. This year, though, for the first time, we were in the 100-999 employees category. Do you know what it’s like being a 100-person company competing against a 999-person company? It’s not easy, brother.

We say, “We bring in someone to give chair massages once a quarter.” They say, “We have a masseur and masseuse on staff. Icelanders. Their androgynous beauty is haunting…yet somehow unthreatening.”

We say, “We have an incredibly generous 401(k) match.” They say, “We purchase a Bahamian retirement villa for anyone who works here more than a week.”

We say, “On your 10-year work anniversary with us, the owners take you on a private trip. Mexico, Germany, wine country…these are all past destinations.” They say, “On your 10-year work anniversary with us, the owners give you the company.”

So, you see what we’re up against. Still, through determination, a can-do attitude, and getting our stuff in on time, we earned a place among the big boys and girls in this category.

We’re proud to be here and grateful for the honor. And yes, we plan to hang around until we’re 999, (graciously) sharing the medal stand with 100.

JAKE WILSON: HIS LIFE IS BETTER THAN YOURS

During all of this pandemic stuff, you think claims are following stay-at-home orders? Not a chance. They’re out raising hell, as always. But don’t worry; Jake Wilson’s on the job.

For the few of you who don’t know his face, here he is:

Jake handles his work a little differently. He’s got a commercial pilot’s license, so he can survey pending claims activity from the air. When the proverbial tea kettle’s about to whistle, he radios the claims Rapid Response Team (RRT) from up in the big blue. (RRT uses cell phones, of course, so they never get his warnings. Still, it’s cool to see.)

Jake may own the skies, but claims are wily. Beat them in the air, and they’ll just take to the ground. With Jake, though, they’re out of luck—he knows Brazilian jiujitsu. Sure, they can try escaping to the water, but Jake’s a scuba diver. Quicksand and outer space are about their only remaining refuge. If it comes to that, though, a rogue claim will usually go looking for a softer foe.

When the day’s done (long after sundown), Jake likes to relax at his favorite hideaway with a handful of Cajun crickets, a smoky-soft Lagavulin 16, a filet mignon with bleu cheese crown, and a Gurkha Black Dragon. For dessert all he needs is the memory of another amazing day taming claims.

Finally, when it’s time to head home, Jake pays his regards to staff and the chef and leaves without a fuss. Still, every eye in the room is on him. Should he nod in your direction as he makes his way to the door, cherish it—that’s Jake Frickin’ Wilson we’re talking about.

Oh and did we mention? He works for Ashton Tiffany now.

COMEBACK? WE NEVER WENT AWAY

Okay, technically that’s not true–we actually did go away for a while. We’re risk managers after all. Prudent risk management dictated that we work from home during the spring months.

Our offices have now reopened, however, and we’re mixing on-site and remote work (following all of the recommended protocols, and then some…our highest priority is keeping everyone healthy).

We hope, and believe, that amidst all the chaos, we’ve maintained uninterrupted, mutually supportive relationships with our employees, customers, business partners, and everyone else that’s part of Ashton Tiffany. In fact, we think those relationships are better than ever.

We also believe that along with health and safety, staying grounded in normalcy is very important. For us that means hard work, optimism, a sense of humor, and a refusal to get beaten down by everything happening out in the world.

We just wanted to let you know we’re here, doing what we do…doing what we’ve always done. Nothing’s going to disrupt that.

Stay safe and healthy, and enjoy your holiday weekend.

HUNKER UP, YOU TWO

Today we’ll start with three questions, moving from easy to medium to hard.

First: Are you familiar with Yuengling?

It’s America’s oldest brewery, located in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. The beer is pedestrian, but drinking something with a nearly 200-year heritage is a kick.

Pro tip: If you really want a boozy, historical thrill, drink a Yuengling in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the U.S.

Next: If we said “youngling,” would you get that reference?

That’s a stupid word invented by George Lucas to describe junior Jedis. Ewan McGregor deserved an Oscar in Episode III for saying “younglings” without grimacing.

Finally, ever heard of Yingling?

This is a Yingling:

More specifically, it’s Stephanie Yingling, who’s helping our employee benefits pool, Kairos, reinvent health care, one Highlights magazine at a time.

Stephanie’s bio is full of surprises. We’ll pick a few at random and make arch remarks. (You know the drill.)

When asked for a fun fact about herself, Stephanie said, “I married my fifth grade boyfriend.” Seems a little young to be making that kind of commitment, but we’re sure it was a beautiful ceremony.

In a woman-bites-dog story, Stephanie says she’s eaten shark and liked it. Better watch your six, stingrays.

Stephanie’s favorite musician is Pink, and her dream vacation is to Italy. Okay, so the Italy trip will have to remain the stuff of dreams for now. Pink, on the other hand, is fully recovered from COVID-19. (Pink and her son Lavender were both diagnosed with the virus in March but are all better now.)

Finally, Stephanie loves her some Shawshank Redemption. She doesn’t need any encouragement from us to get busy living, so we’ll just say welcome, we’re glad you’re here. Oh, and have you met Sherri?

That’s Sherri McLaughlin.

Before we tell you more about Sherri, please note the slapdash staging and framing of the photo, which actively destroy the illusion of Sherri being physically on the beach. At least you know we spend our money managing risk, not on photographic trickery.

Okay, so more about Sherri: Like Stephanie, Sherri is helping Kairos do what it does, one icy stethoscope at a time.

Sherri’s favorite food is German Chocolate Cake, which is a pity, because that’s the Hawaiian pizza of desserts (coconut is the issue here; fiberglass shavings belong on the factory floor, not in food). To be fair, the signature dish of Sherry’s people—the Irish—is pub crisps.

Sherri’s favorite band is Shinedown. They’re from Jacksonville, so yeah, they’ve got a lead jug-blower. But let’s reserve judgment.

Being curious about the name “Shinedown,” we looked up its etymology and found this: “The name Shinedown was inspired by an innocuous comment: Glancing at a painting in then-bassist [Brad] Stewart’s house, [Brent] Smith mentioned that it might look better if it had a light shining down on it.”

Behind the music indeed.

Sherri tells us she’s never left the country. Well, gosh darn it, that’s not going to change anytime soon. But that just means we get more time with her, which makes us happy. Plus, when the storm clouds part and Sherri gets her passport stamped, the journey will be all the sweeter.

Stephanie, Sherri: Thanks for putting your faith in us during these crazy times. So, quarantinis tonight?

HUNKERED DOWN, BUT STILL HARD AT WORK

As the COVID-19 situation progresses, we’ve decamped to work from home for a while. While the health and well-being of our employees and their families is of primary importance to us, we’re doing everything we can to continue providing the highest level of service for our customers and partners, and therefore are taking a proactive approach to maintain business operations and to ensure no interruption in service. In the meantime, make sure you’re following CDC guidelines and doing everything you can to stay healthy. We’ll get through this together.