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LONG LOST DAUGHTER, AND A SON OF THE HEARTLAND

Most people have heard the Biblical tale of the prodigal son. And most people, it seems, think that “prodigal son” means something akin to “long, lost son.”

“Prodigal” actually means “wastefully or recklessly extravagant.” How does that fit the Biblical story? The prodigal son asks for his inheritance from his father, and gets it. He then blows the cash on savory duckmeat burritos; Blanton’s single barrel bourbon; and Fathead gladiator memorabilia. Before long, he’s broke. He spent a big pile of cash on extravagances and ended up penniless. That’s being prodigal.

All of which brings us to Roshell Lee. She used to work at Ashton Tiffany as a member services coordinator. Then she left us for Wisconsin, for what we assumed would be forever. But we were wrong, and she’s come back to us.

Based on the story set-up, you’re probably thinking she returned to AT wearing a barrel and suspenders, with a barren Blanton’s bunker in her wake. But no; she’s not given to prodigality. At a certain point, she just looked around the Badger State and did one of these:

Our response? Well, let’s just say the fatted calves are lowing their goodbyes.

***

Next up on the new employee roster is Mike Abersold from Hamilton, Ohio. If the Midwest produced an All-American Guy action figure, it would be Mike. He likes bowling, chicken wings, football, Taylor Swift, and Saving Private Ryan. Plus, he recently joined Ashton Tiffany as a claims adjuster. That, as anyone who’s seen “Cedar Rapids” can tell you, is a noble calling.

But you want to know the most intriguing thing about Mike Absersold? It’s the prodigious number of meaningful anagrams his name can generate. We’ll string out a handful of our favorites below. Before we do that, though, we just want to say hello and welcome, Mike. We couldn’t be happier to have you.

Now let’s get our Mike Abersold anagrams on!

adobe milkers

blokes admire

elders akimbo

armed obelisk

bedmaker oils

bike earldoms

bleak misdoer

brailed smoke

amber kid loses

milks a rose bed

Feel free to create your own and submit them directly to Mike!

HOW’S YOUR POOL’S FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT? TIME FOR A CHECK-UP

A pool is just an insurance company. Like any other insurance company, if the pool isn’t properly funded, or if its money is mismanaged, it’s putting insureds at risk. But how do you know if your pool’s financial affairs are in order?

The Association of Governmental Risk Pools (AGRiP)—the nation’s foremost authority on public entity pooling—has set forth some useful standards for evaluating this question. Whether you’re a pool administrator wanting to make sure you’ve got your ducks crossed and your Ts in a row, or you’re a board member looking to hold pool staff accountable, here are some things to look for:

…continue reading HOW’S YOUR POOL’S FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT? TIME FOR A CHECK-UP

NEW EMPLOYEES: THE THREE-FACT CHALLENGE

Our burgeoning health benefits practice has attracted two new employees. We’re going to introduce them, as we always do. But in an effort to keep things fresh, we’ll limit ourselves to three salient facts per person.

This is Hannah Olson. (No, that’s not one of the facts.)

Hannah was born on the mean streets of South Covina, California. A precocious child, she managed to crawl her way north a few blocks, then hang a hard left. Though her knees were skinned and her diaper needed changing, she looked around and realized she was home: West Covina.

These many years later, living contentedly in Arizona, she says her favorite leisure activity is hiking cleaning. Yes, she said cleaning. And you know who that reminds us of? Monica on “Friends.” Which leads to our third fact, by way of a transition that no one could have seen coming: Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.

What’s that? It’s the name of a show on which Joey Tribbiani appeared briefly, as Detective Mac Machiavelli. Mac was teamed up with a robo-partner known as C.H.E.E.S.E., which stood for Computerized Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer. (As Joey said, “They really lucked out that the initials spell ‘cheese.’”)

Why are we telling you this? Because of our third Hannah fact: She loves mac and cheese. (Whether she loves Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E., we don’t know. But that would put us in four-fact territory anyway.)

Next up is Mallory Esquibel (seen here giving the classic thumbs-up gesture):

Now, let’s get down to our three facts.

First, if you’re looking for an old man name for your newborn baby—just as a goof—we invite you to consider Murray. Why Murray? Because that’s the Utah town where Mallory was born. (With a population of 18,000, it’s the state’s second largest city.)

Second, Mallory’s favorite movie and the farthest destination to which she’s traveled are the same: Grease. Greece. Oh heck, let’s just call it Fargo.

Finally, imagine this scenario: Mallory’s in the Benelux Union, seeking to enter a majestic convention hall, where she’ll be organizing the world’s foremost conference on conference organization. As she makes her way up the marble stairs, she is stopped by a contemptuous looking security officer in a leather-trimmed uniform:

“You are perhaps lost, madam?”

“No, I’m Mallory Esquibel. This is my event.”

“I see. Your papers please?”

He extends a begloved hand, palm up, and impatiently blows cigarette smoke toward the ash-gray sky. Little does he know, Mallory Esquibel is an internationally certified event planner—and has her papers in order at all times.

WELCOME, MALLORY AND HANNAH!

TOO MANY TO SHARE A SPAGHETTI STRAND

Three new employees! Let’s jump right in.

First, in the great tradition of Arizona Stoudemires, we present Angie Stoudemire:

Angie’s from the horse capital of the world, and the seat of horse government: Lexington, Kentucky. Her favorite food is “Colorado Mexican,” but on a dare she’ll eat chitterlings. She’s very, very excited about next month. Why? March Madness. (And, presumably, St. Patrick’s Day and spring training.) She grew up wanting to be the next Oprah…and if it means new Pontiacs for us, we say keep chasing that dream.

Welcome, Angie.

Next, we wish we had a pocketful of Megan Poese. Here she is.

She’s from the tech hub of Mountain View, California, where you can still find a cozy hilltop cottage for under $40 million.

She loves Mediterranean food (we can’t even imagine what a plate of bottarga and a glass of arak would do to the plumbing); is an avid fan of the underprivileged sports of hockey and soccer; and longs to lose herself in a Fijian bure over the South Pacific.

She acknowledges the following, proudly: “I have dance parties by myself.” That’s right, she dances like no one’s watching, because no one’s watching. But maybe we can join that party?

Either way, happy to have you at AT, Megan.

Finally, Chris Marler: She’s from Worcester, and her favorite movie is “The Rural Juror.”* Chris has an MBA; her favorite band, palindromic or otherwise, is ABBA; and she’s got a little bit of a Diet Coke habit. (We can relate.)

She loves the Patriots–even after the unfortunate events of yesterday evening.

Her dream vacation is a cruise. A cruise to where? “The world.”

Welcome, Chris. For you, the world is not enough.

 

*Not true. Chris’s actual favorite movie is “Dirty Dancing”…which also happens to be Megan’s favorite movie. Nobody puts them in a corner.

 

DO YOU REMEMBER 2008?

Mists of history, sands of time. Ten years ago it was 2008…not a lifetime ago, but not yesterday, either. Here’s some of what was going on that year:

  • A gallon of gas cost $3.39.
  • The New York Giants won the Super Bowl (ruining the Pats’ perfect season).
  • The stock market lost one-third of its value over the course of the year.
  • “No Country for Old Men” won Best Picture at the Oscars.
  • Yahoo’s top search term was “Britney Spears.”
  • Ashton Tiffany was named one of Phoenix’s “Best Places to Work” by the Phoenix Business Journal.

Did you see that last one? It was our first year making the cut, and we were thrilled to be there. But a little success only made us want more.

When we repeated in 2009, we celebrated, and then said, “Dast we dream of three?” Dast that we did; and we were honored again.

Back then, we thought we might have a little momentum going, and we felt good. But we never could have imagined what we’d be saying in 2018:

We’ve been decupled!

That’s right, Ashton Tiffany was recently named one of Phoenix’s “Best Places to Work,” for the 10th year running.

We know it’s unseemly to boast, so think of this as us sharing some happy news about this place and the people who work here—the ones who made it great a decade ago, and who keep it that way today.

CYBER SECURITY: EIGHT POLICIES POOL MEMBERS NEED

“Cyber” has become an all-purpose prefix lately. Because of this, if you’re a self-insurance pool administrator, you may be feeling overwhelmed by your various “cyber-responsibilities.”

The same is likely true for the members of your pool. Depending on the nature, size, and location of these members, they may not have all the resources they need to properly protect their IT assets. Come to think of it, who does?

But let us give you a place to start: establishing critical cyber-security policies. This is something both you and your members should do.

So, what policies are essential? Our in-house IT gurus advocate starting with the following:

…continue reading CYBER SECURITY: EIGHT POLICIES POOL MEMBERS NEED

THESE TWO DON’T DO AUTO-REPLY

What makes the risk management machine run? Excellence. Also, electricity. Actually, it’s mostly electricity. But excellence, too, for sure.

You want an example? Kim Knaff:

Kim recently joined us as a workers’ compensation claims adjuster. She got her degree from Mercer University, which is the oldest private university in Georgia. That’s right…it could have been the oldest public university in Georgia, or it could have been the oldest private university in, say, North Dakota. But Kim demanded more.

You know what else? She demonstrates a powerful intellectual discipline that makes her great at her job. Example: she loves basketball, and her favorite movie is “Love and Basketball.” Had she chosen, “Pan’s Labyrinth,” who could have blamed her? But that would have put the whole system at risk. That’s not how Pam works. And that’s why she works for us.

Then there’s Peter Gregory:

Yes, he’s got two first names, because he wants you to feel comfortable. Ask him about his favorite leisure activity, and he’ll say, “reading history.” You might say, “Nerd alert!”, but oh, how wrong you’d be. Peter has skied in Australia; single-handedly removed the “bore” from Bora-Bora; and sung karaoke in some of the world’s sketchiest gin joints (his go-to number: “Wrecking Ball”).

Growing up, he wanted to be a philosopher. He’s getting there, gradually, doing a little underwriting for Ashton Tiffany along the way. As much as we want to see him in a toga on the public square, here’s hoping he never leaves us.

Welcome, Kim and Peter. Grab some cocoa and a seat by the fire.

THINGS HAPPEN IN TREES

Seriously, ask a bird.

You may have heard, too, about things happening in threes. Those of you who wantonly step on sidewalk cracks probably dismiss this idea as Neanderthal superstition. And yet, we have three new hires, all planting their flags in AT soil at the same time. Makes one think.

Standing in the batter’s box, and bringing big lumber, is Melinda Rhoden. Are you unemployed? Melinda will process your claim. Are you having a Charlie Sheen, “Who am I?” moment from Wall Street? Melinda does lay counseling. Do you need to know the future perfect forms of the word “flay” in Polish? Good luck with that. (But if you need it in Spanish, boom, Melinda has you covered.)

Also, one time she ate a duck fetus.

Here’s Melinda!

Melinda

 

 

…continue reading THINGS HAPPEN IN TREES