As they have for a number of year, members of Hochheim Prairie Insurance and assorted guests once again gathered in Cleburne for their annual banquet and branch meeting during which donation checks were distributed to several local organizations.
The group gathered Saturday night at West End Grill.
Hochheim, a Texas-based member owned company also celebrated its 125th anniversary this year.
“We’re a member owned company with a 90 percent retention rate,” Hochheim District Director Brian Gibson said.
The company remains strong, Marketing Coordinator Carol Gloor said, despite a challenging 2017.
“The company paid $59 million in losses on 6,300 claims just from Hurricane Harvey alone,” Gloor said. “We also had 18 other wind and hail events. So, in 2018, we’re hoping and keeping our fingers crossed that we have no major disasters.”
Claims are unfortunate for the company and claim holder alike, Gloor said, but there is a silver lining.
“They do benefit the communities,” Gloor said. “Local businesses such as contractors, carpenters, electricians and plumbers are paid by that claim money not to mention local lumber yards and other businesses and city sales taxes. Hochheim also invests in bonds from the state of Texas only.
Members of the company’s 112 branches in the state make donations to organizations and charitable groups within their areas each year.
“That’s the benefit,” Gibson said. “Is that you all know better than us in the home office in Yoakum what the groups and needs are in your particular areas.”
This year the company donated about $500,000, Gloor said, including $3,400 donated by the Cleburne branch.
“We’re a Texas company and we like to keep that money in Texas,” Gloor said.
The Cleburne branch donated $200 each to the Johnson County Red Cross Fire Victim’s Fund, Johnson County Emergency Support Services, Cleburne Pregnancy Center, Johnson County Junior Livestock Show & Youth Fair, Hill College, the Johnson County 4-H Horse Club and the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County.
“We’re very honored to have been chosen,” CAC Executive Director Tammy King said. “Because there are so many worthy organizations in our area doing good work. Many of those organizations we work hand in hand with,”
CAC employs a team approach, tapping the talents of various area law enforcement, court and other organizational officials to work with assist abused and other children navigate the legal system.
Pam Preston with the Cleburne Pregnancy Center said donations from individuals and Hochheim and other organizations allow CPC to carry out their mission.
“Everything we do is free,” Preston said. “That includes testing, counciling, parenting classes and much more.”
Melissa Walker, a Red Cross captain, said Hochheim’s donation will also help her organization with what they do.
“We see a lot of hard things, people who have lost everything,” Walker said. “But that’s why we want to be there. Sometimes we see people cry just because we gave them a blanket or a bottle of water. They’re so grateful just to have someone to be there for them.”
Donation checks of $200 were also distributed to the volunteer fire departments of Liberty Chapel, Bono, Godley, Rio Vista, Brazos Point, Blue Water Oaks, Covington, Blum, Briar Oaks and Grandview.
Bono Chief Ralph Vaquera distributed the checks and a call for community involvement.
“You know, volunteering is down,” Vaquera said. “That’s not good. I encourage everyone to get involved in some way. I’m not even necessarily talking about volunteer fire departments even though they all need help too. I’m saying everyone should pick something that’s their area of interest, Meals-on-Wheels, working with kids’ sports teams or whatever it is and do your part to give back to your community and help.”