The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020

VW independent/submitted information

Alliance Automation, headquartered in Van Wert, announced its recent acquisition of all of the assets of SMETCO systems — a well-known corporation delivering equipment for material handling within the pallet industry since 1966.

Alliance Automation says this acquisition only means bigger and better things for customers. The merging of the two companies allows for greater options for business owners. Whether looking for a simple or complex resolution to your pallet and material handling challenges, Alliance Automation and SMETCO have automated pallet solutions to fit the needs of your business.

Alliance Automation plans to continue to service the industry with the same great SMETCO products and services that customers valueand trust, as well as offer new opportunities for businesses to speed up their production processes and cut their pallet and material handling costs. 

Alliance Automation is excited to continue to provide the pallet industry with a wide scale of options for customers.

About Alliance Automation

Alliance Automation has been serving the pallet industry since 2012 and has become known across the United States for its use of advanced robotics and automation in the whitewood industry. The company is a premier supplier of pallet sorting and repair systems, The Urban Sawmill, Robotic Dismantling, and has now added SMETCO products to its growing portfolio. Alliance Automation has three locations within the United States:

  • Van Wert
  • Delphos
  • Wilsonville, Oregon 

To learn more about Alliance Automation, go to http://AllianceAutomation.com.

POSTED: 10/10/20 at 7:11 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies have been awarded the IVANS Digital Insurer Gold Award for both commercial and personal lines business. This is the second consecutive year Central has received this award.

This award recognizes Central for providing connectivity and automated information exchange with its agency partners across the policy lifecycle – from marketing, to quoting, to servicing and renewals. The company is committed to leveraging modern technologies to support the growth of its agency partners. Central was one of only three insurers to accomplish Gold status for both personal and commercial lines. 

The Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in Van Wert in 1876 and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 24 states. Central is based in Van Wert and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1.7 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (Excellent).

POSTED: 10/10/20 at 6:45 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies have announced the promotion of Kurtis Brown to director of national partner relationships. 

Kurtis Brown

In this role, Brown will focus on business development and strategic partnership with the company’s agency partners who operate on a countrywide scale. He will provide direction, resources, and opportunities for a more focused approach toward growth and profitability to enhance Central’s growing national presence.

Brown joined Central in 2014 as marketing manager for western Ohio. Prior to joining Central, he gained experience in the industry as both an independent agent and a marketing representative for Federated Mutual Insurance. He has earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.

Brown resides in Continental with his wife and two daughters. 

The Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in Van Wert in 1876 and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 24 states. Central is based in Van Wert and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1.7 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (Excellent).

POSTED: 10/03/20 at 7:27 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Six real estate professionals affiliated with Straley Realty & Auctioneers Inc. have earned the 2019-2020 Presidents Sales Club awards presented by the Ohio Association of Realtors.

Realtors Warren Straley and Chet Straley has been awarded the Award of Distinction for each having in excess of $2.5 million in sales between July 1, 2019, and June 30.

Straley Realty Presidents Sales Club honorees include (top row, from the left) Jane Germann, Chet Straley, Cassie Bell; (bottom row) Warren Straley, Anne Brecht, and Joe Bagley. photos provided

Receiving the Award of Achievement for $1 million to $2.5 million in sales were Jane Germann, Anne Brecht, Cassie Bell and Joe Bagley.

OAR officially awarded qualifying members the “President’s Sales Club Award” designation in four recognition levels for outstanding sales performance in the real estate industry. Honorees were recognized at the President’s Sales Club Dinner during the OAR’s Annual Convention.  

The Ohio Association of Realtors is the largest professional trade association in Ohio. All OAR members in good standing were eligible for the award.

POSTED: 09/12/20 at 7:09 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

OAKWOOD — To kick off this unique 2020-2021 school year, Cooper Farms provided school supplies and backpacks to over 650 children of team members across all locations of the company. 

The school supply program is something Cooper Farms has done for several years, however this year may have been even more necessary than years past, given the financial state for many families who have taken a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Shown are some of the school supplies Cooper Farms provided to children of team members. photo provided

“It’s such an honor to be able to provide these school supplies and backpacks to the kids,” said Kacy Wagner, human resource manager at the Cooked Meats Plant in Van Wert. “Back-to-school shopping can be a financial burden for many families every year, and this year is potentially worse for many families who may have lost income, so we’re happy to help in that way.”

The list of supplies included the typical pens, crayons, markers, glue, notebooks, and even ear buds and headphones. Some locations elected to provide a gift card for families to pick out their own school supplies. This year, there were notable additions of cloth face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer. 

“Our school supply list definitely looked a little different this year as kids K-12 are now required to wear face masks in the classroom,” Wagner said. “So now we were able to provide the basic school supplies, as well as help with the new safety guidelines required to keep the kids safe.” 

Following distribution of school supplies to individual students, all leftover supplies were divided and sent to area schools.

POSTED: 09/12/20 at 6:32 am. FILED UNDER: Business

Submitted information

Shift Technology, a provider of AI‑native fraud detection and claims automation solutions for the global insurance industry, and Central Insurance announced that Shift will support Central Insurance’s fraud detection and subrogation initiatives. As a result, Central Insurance will deploy Force, Shift’s fraud detection solution to uncover suspicious behaviors in the insurer’s auto and property claims processes. The insurer will also use the technology to identify more quickly and accurately those property claims appropriate for subrogation recovery. 

In business for more than 140 years, Central Insurance has built a reputation for integrity, exceptional customer relationships, and operational excellence. A strong belief in applying both innovative approaches and cutting-edge technology to best meet customer and business requirements has long been a hallmark of the carrier. Recognizing that applying analytics and artificial intelligence to the claims process plays a key role in delivering on its promises to customers, Central Insurance turned to Shift Technology and its fraud detection and subrogation solutions.

“The unfortunate truth is that despite the phenomenal efforts of talented claims professionals, suspicious or fraudulent claims can be incredibly hard to detect,” explained Jeff Lieberman, director of Anti-Fraud and Recovery for Central Insurance. “We are addressing this challenge head on by putting in place best-in-class fraud detection strategies supported by Shift Technology.”

“At the same time, it’s not always easy to identify those claims for which another insurer or third-party is responsible or partially responsible,” said Central Claims Vice President Paul Edwards. “By applying the power of artificial intelligence and data science to these problems, we can avoid paying non-meritorious claims, improve identification of all claims with subrogation potential to ensure proper loss payment recovery, and overall keep premiums lower for our policyholders.” 

In the area of fraud detection, Force uses artificial intelligence and advanced data science to identify those claims which may be an attempt to defraud insurers. The technology can accurately analyze the claim and spot connections, anomalies and behaviors that mark the claim as suspicious. This capability extends to recognizing hidden links between seemingly unassociated individuals or networks of individuals. For subrogation, Force’s detection algorithms and advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities are applied to claims and external data that may indicate another insurer or third-party is responsible for some, or all, of the loss dollars paid on the claim. 

“What we bring to carriers like Central Insurance is artificial intelligence that helps their people make more informed decisions, faster and with greater accuracy,” stated Jeremy Jawish, CEO and co‑founder, Shift Technology. “Knowing whether or not a claim is suspicious, or who may ultimately be responsible for paying a claim is interesting. Knowing why, and how that knowledge can be applied to improve the claims process, is incredibly valuable.”

POSTED: 09/09/20 at 10:26 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies have announced the promotion of Jocelyn Pfeifer to senior vice president of underwriting. 

Jocelyn Pfeifer

In this new role at Central, Pfeifer will lead the entirety of the company’s underwriting organization, including Commercial Lines Underwriting, Personal Lines Underwriting, Loss Control, and Underwriting Operations. She will be focused on executing Central’s strategy to provide its agency partners a more robust suite of specialized products to market in Small Commercial, Middle Market Commercial, Programs, Affluent Personal, and Middle Market Personal Lines.

A graduate of Boise State University with a degree in finance, Pfeifer joined Central in 2003 as a personal lines underwriter in Central’s Southwest Regional Office. She held several underwriter and supervisor roles in both Personal and Commercial Lines during her career with Central, including the role of commercial lines manager in the Southwest Office. 

For the past two years, Pfeifer has led the Northeast Regional Office as regional vice president. She has earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designations.

Pfeifer will be relocating to Central’s Home Office later this year.

The Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in Van Wert in 1876 and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 24 states. Central is based in Van Wert and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1.7 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (Excellent).

POSTED: 07/20/20 at 10:39 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Central Mutual Insurance Company held its annual Policyholders’ Meeting on May 13 at the Home Office in Van Wert.

Newly-elected President Evan Purmort began by addressing the unprecedented times Americans are currently experiencing. 

“There is both a health crisis and a financial crisis occurring simultaneously,” Purmort said. “We’d like to recognize the contributions made by medical professionals, first responders, and all essential workers during this time. We are safer and the communities we serve are stronger because of their selfless actions.”

Purmort noted that COVID-19 has impacted all businesses and Central is no different. The collective response by the company’s 630 employees has been led by a business continuity plan that was established nearly a decade ago and includes plans for the event of a pandemic. 

“Our plan focused on fulfilling our promise to our employees, agents, and policyholders,” Purmort said. “To do so we had to keep our people safe and our systems and service top notch. I’m thrilled to report that we succeeded on all of those fronts.”

Purmort also addressed recent financial market volatility and its impact on the company. Central entered this period in a position of great financial strength, and while the company’s policyholder surplus is not where it stood at the end of 2019, the company’s overall ability to meet its obligations to its employees, agents, and policyholders has not been affected.

“With regards to the COVID 19 pandemic we could not be more proud of how our company pulled together to serve our agents and policyholders,” Purmort said. “And we are proud that our conservative investment philosophy proved to be prudent.”

(more…)

POSTED: 06/05/20 at 10:54 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies has announced the election of Cindy M. Hurless to its Board of Directors.    

Cindy Hurless

As Central’s chief operating officer (COO), Hurless is responsible for oversight of the company’s Services, Claims, Underwriting, and Loss Control operations. 

Hurless, who earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and business administration from Hope College, joined Central in 2002 as manager of the Mail/Supply and Commercial Lines Services departments and was promoted to vice president of customer services in 2004. In 2018, she was promoted to her current position as chief operating officer. 

She has earned the Associates in Insurance Services (AIS), Associates in General Insurance (AINS), and Chartered Insurance Operations Professional (CIOP) designations. She serves on the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation Board, Van Wert YWCA Board, and Van Wert County Foundation Board of Trustees. 

The Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in Van Wert in 1876 and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 24 states. Central is based in Van Wert and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1.7 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (Excellent).

POSTED: 05/16/20 at 2:47 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

BLUFFTON — Citizens National Bank announces that 100 percent of the loans its customers requested through the Paycheck Protection Program have been approved through the Small Business Administration. This represents 652 businesses in CNB’s 10-county service area, allowing them to continue payroll for 12,524 employees. The approved loan total is currently $97,511,807.

“While there were many uncertainties and difficulties going into this program from the SBA, our loan processors and business banking officers really pulled together to develop a system that enabled us to process the applications as smoothly as possible,” said CNB President Eric Faulkner. “I’m so proud of the assistance we were able to provide our small business customers in order to procure the funds they need to maintain payroll and keep their business afloat.”

Customers were very complimentary of the attention and service they received from CNB throughout the PPP process. 

“We very much appreciate all your efforts and help during this time. You immediately reached out to our company with your help and assistance and solidifies the reasons we currently do business with you and hope to grow in the future.” — Ed 

“I want to give a huge thank you to Citizens National Bank, particularly my loan officer, for helping me with all my paperwork during this pandemic! They truly put their customers’ needs as top priority!” — Vallace

As COVID-19 continues to impact local economies, Citizens National Bank is committed to helping its small businesses and individuals with their finances. The bank’s lenders are available by email, its drive-thrus remain open, and online and mobile banking apps allow access to accounts 24/7. Customers facing financial difficulty should contact their local branch to discuss options on an individualized basis.

Watch for updates regarding the pandemic on CNB’s Coronavirus updates page at https://www.cnbohio.com/resources/update-center/

POSTED: 05/11/20 at 10:26 pm. FILED UNDER: Business