CSAA-Verisk Initiatives Deliver Great Member Benefits  

By Drew Doleski, Verisk Insurance Solutions

Two exciting opportunities are available to help security- and alarm-system providers find additional value from their data, and potentially expand insurance discount benefits to their customers, thanks to Verisk’s ongoing partnership with Central Station Alarm Association International (CSAA).

CSAA-affiliated system providers can participate in a CSAA-Verisk study that evaluates whether deeper insurance discounts are warranted for their customers beyond the ‘check box’ discounts provided today. System providers will also have an opportunity to participate in Verisk’s data exchange solution for the confirmation of current, active alarm systems. Homeowners insurers who participate in the exchange will be able to verify if a customer has an active monitoring subscription. This will potentially create additional recurring monthly revenue (RMR) opportunities for system providers and could also improve system retention rates by triggering deeper homeowner policy discounts that would make retention more attractive.

Insurance industry aggregate discount study

Now underway, the insurance research study will develop insights that help insurers determine the extent to which discounts should be adjusted to truly reflect the benefits of alarm systems. The analysis draws from the combined alarm system data contributed by the industry, as well as from Verisk’s proprietary policy and claims/loss records that span the United States homeowners market. Verisk will provide advisory information to insurers and insurance regulators that supports discount-level adjustments within the industry.

Status of the study

  • Verisk and CSAA have finalized the process to securely encrypt and transmit necessary alarm company data and are ready to begin the analysis.
  • Two companies, Vector Security and Alarm Detection Systems, have signed on to participate in the research initiative.
  • CSAA-affiliated alarm system providers are encouraged to support the study by contributing information—data volume matters and we need the support of the full industry!

Alarm system data exchange

Verisk is partnering with alarm companies to create a database that matches alarm system subscriptions with homeowners insurance policies. Insurers, who seek accurate and timely information on households, use this database to systematically verify that customers qualify for alarm system discounts. For every match, participating alarm companies receive a royalty for the use of their data.

“The potential benefits of participating in the exchange for alarm companies are decreased attrition and boosted RMR,” noted Pam Petrow, president of CSAA. “Interested members are encouraged to reach out to Verisk.”

The Verisk team will attend CSAA’s Annual Meeting in October and looks forward to meeting and speaking with anyone who wants to learn more about Verisk’s CSAA initiatives. For more information, please contact Drew Doleski, product manager for Internet of Things and the Connected Home, at adoleski@verisk.com.


Capitalize Your Customers’ Experiences: Meet CSAA Annual Meeting Speaker Dennis Snow

Snow, Dennis- HR PhotoNoted speaker, trainer and consultant Dennis Snow is the author of the book Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life. His customer service abilities were honed over 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company. There, he developed his passion for service excellence and the experience he brings clients and audiences worldwide. Today, Snow helps organizations including banks, universities and hospitals achieve goals related to customer service, employee development and leadership. He will present the featured session “Capitalizing Customer Experiences” at the CSAA Annual Meeting on October 25 in Marco Island, FL.

CSAATell CSAA members how you came to be interested in customer service.
Snow: My passion for the subject comes from my years working at Walt Disney World. The philosophy at Walt Disney World is this: “We’re not selling rides. We’re selling an experience.” And the service provided by every cast member is a big part of that experience.

CSAA: What can CSAA Annual Meeting participants expect from your session, “Capitalizing Customer Experiences”?
Snow: They’ll learn about the core elements of an outstanding customer experience, tools for improving the customer experience, and how to engage their employees in continuous service improvement.

CSAA: What will CSAA members will take away from your presentation?
Snow: Specific tools they can apply in their organizations.

CSAA: Can you share a sneak preview of a data point that you use to help managers/companies evaluate their customer service? 
Snow: A study showed that 68% of customers who defect from a company do so because of poor service. When that 68% was asked to define poor service, they defined it as “an attitude of indifference on the part of the company.” We can never take our customers for granted. It’s the difference between doing our work with a task mentality (which makes customers feel processed) versus doing our work with an experience mentality (which makes customers feel valued).

Marco-Island-Logo_vertCSAA: What is something you have found really surprising in your work with companies in your career?
Snow: I think the biggest surprise is the number of companies that have never really defined what they want the customer experience to be. There’s no clear vision of what’s expected, and the result is inconsistent performance.

CSAA: Are you an alarm system owner? 
Snow: I’ve been an alarm system owner for 26-years, and in all that time have triggered the alarm accidentally only about four times. I’m very proud!

CSAA: Tell us something about yourself that drives or influences the way you do business.
Snow: I have many, many books about Walt Disney, and when I need a dose of inspiration I know I can always open any of those books to any page. Walt died when I only seven years old, but no one else (other than my family) has such a big impact on my life.

Register now for the CSAA 2016 Annual Meeting.



Guilford County PSAP Reports on ASAP Implementation


Guilford County (Greenboro, NC) is one of the most recent PSAPs to implement the ASAP service. We recently checked in with Clay Kennedy, Guilford Metro 911 Systems Administrator, on how the implementation went and what results he’s seen since.

ASAP: Why did your PSAP adopt ASAP?

Kennedy: We implemented this because Guilford Metro 911 looked at is as a revolutionary interface. Any time we can streamline calls with accurate information ruling out human errors is always a plus. This interface has already proven to be faster than the old way of reporting alarms to our 911 agency.

ASAP: What your experience with the process of getting connected?

Kennedy: The overall experience was good. The biggest issue was trying to implement a production and a training side. Within NC, this is not possible because the state switch only routes it to one ORI. Once we put this interface into production, we did not migrate it back to training. All test calls with new alarm companies were sent to the live side. Bill Hobgood is one heck of a consultant and is knowledgeable about how the setup is between our CAD system and the ASAP-to-PSAP interface. The most time-consuming piece is the address verification between our PSAP and the alarm companies of what they have in their database. With this being a newish interface, our CAD vendor’s implementation team had somewhat of a learning curve. Once it was set up and running, it was solid. We do have to restart our message switch if the State of NC does anything on their end that is state-switch related. Our alarm company, in the ASAP program, notifies us of failed responses from our systems when the State does switch maintenance.

ASAP: What have been your initial findings since ASAP has been implemented? 

Kennedy: Our agency’s calls via ASAP-to-PSAP average three seconds to route the call for dispatch. We currently have Vector Security; nine more are connecting to us soon. I would say we are still in our beginning stages to see a significant decrease in call volume. Our telecommunicators prefer the ASAP-to-PSAP method and we are keeping with the industry trends, resulting in a win-win overall.

ASAP: Any other thoughts on the process or outcomes?

Kennedy: Bill Hobgood does an outstanding job coordinating and communicating between the PSAP and the alarm companies. I love how the interface looks on SunGard’s end. The Nature Code Translation table is easy to set up and get to. If we want to create rejection rules for areas or specific calls then we can do so. Even though the phone call is not there in this interface, our telecommunicators, field responders, and Alarm Companies can communicate via messaging through the CAD system and across the PSAP and state message switches. Streamlining processes, cutting back on human errors, and faster response times with quality information are items that should be embraced in the field of 911 technologies.



Find out more about ASAP.


Cyber Security is Focus of Just-Announced Technology Session at CSAA Annual Meeting

Don’t miss this just-announced technology session at the upcoming CSAA Annual Meeting. Haven’t registered yet? Early bird rates end September 9 — register today!

Cyber Security is a Business Risk (Not Just an IT Risk)

Wednesday, October 26
10:45 am–12:00 pm

Presenters: Justin Bailey, COO, AvantGuard; Todd Neilson, President, Secuvant Security Services; Sascha Kylau, Vice President of Central Station Solutions & Service, Onetel; Steve Butkovich, Chief Technology Officer, CPI Security Systems

When your security is compromised, it’s not just an IT issue, it’s a business issue. Poor security management can lead to loss of business revenue, profits, customers and reputations. The costs to mitigate a breach, address potential lawsuits, provide proper notification, and pay fines can be painful. You need to be prepared!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Many business owners are in the same situation. This session focuses on how to get started on building an effective cyber security plan for your business. Technology helps us identify and manage many of these issues, but is only a portion of your overall security maturity or posture. Effective cyber security is also dependent on security policies, awareness training, insurance protection, incident response plans, effective data storage backups and access to security experts when needed. Our four experts from the security industry will share their knowledge about these elements and help you prioritize and develop an action plan for your business.



JBailey (2)Prior to entering the security industry, Justin Bailey spent more than a decade developing technologies for some of the largest companies in the world including Walmart and Honeywell. Since joining AvantGuard 6 years ago, he has learned the industry through experience in both technology and operations. He led the technology teams responsible for creating the state of the art redundancy employed among AvantGuard’s locations, and he guided the central station through a marked improvement in operational efficiency while more than doubling total accounts monitored.  In March 2014 he was named the COO of AvantGuard and is now responsible for all functions.

Steve Butkovich headshotSteve Butkovich is a security and information technology leader working for CPI Security Systems headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.  As a 16-year veteran of the security industry and current CTO for CPI Security Systems, he has directly managed Service Operations, Customer Care, Central Station and Information Technology Teams during his tenure at CPI.  Today Butkovich works to manage technology service providers, vendors and manufacturers to identify, develop and maintain technology solutions allowing CPI to better serve its customers with superior service and high value security and home automation solutions for their homes and businesses. He understands the importance of technology to all facets of the business and works closely with CPI Leaders in Accounting, Marketing, Sales, Installation, Monitoring, Quality Control and Service to utilize and implement new technology tools and solutions to support the goals of the business.

Sascha Kylau headshotSascha Kylau has 18 years of experience in the security field specializing in communication technologies. He started as an engineer with Sur-Gard and held various positions including sales engineer, global product manager and global sales manager. He recently joined Onetel Security, a services company which builds custom voice and data services for the central station market. He is a seasoned public speaker on such topics as central station receivers, VoIP, IP Technology and telecommunications. Kylau is keenly involved in the security industry and participates as an active member of AICC (Alarm Industry Communications Committee), SIA (Security Industry Association) and CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering.

Todd Neilson is the Co-founder and President of Secuvant Security Services located in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Secuvant is an independent cyber security serviceTodd Neilson Head Shots firm specializing in risk management, business enablement and managed security services for the SMB and mid-market.  Neilson has been a security professional for over 30 years working for Sprint, US West, Nokia, Computer Associates and IBM.  Prior to co-founding Secuvant, Todd was the VP of North America for CA Te
chnologies Security Practice, advising Fortune 100 clients around the world on their Cyber Security needs. Neilson has many certifications, recognitions and awards including being a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).







CSAA Committee Meetings Schedule at 2016 Annual Meeting

CSAA committee chairs have expressed their desire for more cross-communication between committees. To accommodate this request, at the upcoming CSAA Annual Meeting several committees will meet jointly.

The committee meeting schedule is:

Sunday, October 23, 2016,  9:30am-12:15pm

9:30am – 11:00am           Membership/NRTL/Five Diamond/Marketing & Communications
9:30am – 11:00am           Education/Legal Affairs/Technology
9:30am – 11:00am           Government Relations/PSLC/Standards
11:15am-12:15pm             Associate
11:15am-12:15pm            ASAP Outreach/Business

Still need to register? Visit CSAA Annual Meeting.


How to Be a Bankable Leader: Interview with CSAA Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker Tasha Eurich

Marco-Island-Logo_vertCSAA is pleased to present Dr. Tasha Eurich, keynote speaker at the upcoming Annual Meeting in Marco Island, FL. “Tasha Eurich understands the importance of our industry. She and her family have been devoted alarm users for more than 30 years,” says Security Central, Inc. (Centennial, CO) President Jordan Jackson. “Her personal security experiences blended with her professional leadership expertise make her the perfect keynote speaker for this year’s conference. We have been utilizing the leadership principles she shares in her fantastic book Bankable Leadership, and what a difference it has made! Don’t miss your opportunity to transform your business with Tasha Eurich’s intriguing insights into leadership, business, and security!”

Read on to find out what you can learn from Dr. Eurich in Marco Island in October, and register now for the CSAA Annual Meeting!

CSAA: So just what is a “bankable leader”?

Eurich: As an organizational psychologist, I’ve devoted the last 15 years of my life to making bosses better—from start-ups to the Fortune 100, and in almost every Tasha Eurich low resindustry. And no matter their level or position or business, there’s one common denominator that all leaders face: the tension between engaging and retaining their people and driving results for their business.

Bankable Leaders, put simply, successfully manage the tension between people and results. And even though the best leaders do both, this balancing act is easier said than done. Most leaders tend to favor one over the other: some favor the people side—what I call the Cool Parent leaders—who are so focused on making sure everyone’s happy and that everyone likes them that nobody gets anything done. But even more fall on the other side, favoring results—the Trail of Dead Bodies leaders—who focus on outcomes at all costs. And though they might produce short term results, it’s not a matter of if their results will crumble but when. My belief, supported by decades of academic research—is that not only are most leaders out of balance, but they rarely know that this is the case!

CSAA: Tell CSAA members how you came to be interested in helping leaders.

Eurich: My purpose in life is to help leaders become more successful and self-aware, and in so doing, create value for their employees, customers and shareholders. When I was a child, shortly after my parents’ divorce, my mother started the first business in the country that trained and placed nannies in the homes of single parent and dual paycheck families. My mom would often take me to the office with her, where I watched her solve problems, coach employees, and communicate her vision. Even at a young age, what she had accomplished wasn’t lost on me. Not only was she supporting our family, she was supporting the families of the 25 people who worked for her.

Thus began my lifelong leadership obsession, which eventually led me to seek my doctorate in organizational psychology. Over the last 15 years, I’ve studied and applied the scientific principles of human behavior to help leaders and companies succeed. At its most basic level, my work is about helping leaders learn the skills they need to be successful at work (or, as a client of mine recently quipped, “Leadership is my Everest, and you are my Sherpa”). I’ve worked with people at all levels, in most industries, all around the world: from family businesses to the Fortune 100; from salespeople to engineers; from frontline leaders to CEOs.

CSAA: What can CSAA Annual Meeting participants expect from your session, “Bankable Leadership?”

Eurich: We will answer three general questions. First, what are my personal preferences as a leader between people and results? Second, what does that mean for the engagement and performance of my employees, the happiness of my customers and the success of my business? Third, what are a few actionable strategies I can use to accelerate my business goals through my leadership (not just my own, but also through the leaders who report to me)?

CSAA: Can you share a sneak preview of a data point that you use to help leaders evaluate themselves? Or some finding about leadership that you find particularly interesting/illuminating?

 Something rather amusing that I often hear is that “leadership is a soft skill.” To be blunt, that’s just plain wrong and there have been decades of empirical research showing just how wrong it is.

One of my favorite studies looked at over 30,000 leaders and showed that leadership has a direct economic impact on the bottom line. Specifically, the bottom ten percent of leaders had (on average) $1.2 million of net losses in their functional area while the top ten percent showed (on average) $4.5 million in net profit! There is also a direct, causal link between leadership effectiveness and employee and customer satisfaction.

But in spite of this powerful impact, most organizations do precious little to prepare their leaders to lead, and as a result, 50 percent of leaders are ineffective. If executives aren’t closely tracking and growing the leadership effectiveness within organizations, they’re likely suffering more for it than they realize.

CSAA: What is something you have found really surprising in your work with leaders over the last 15 years?

Eurich: Especially over the last five or so years, there’s been a lot of talk about the “great person” view of leadership—that is, that great leaders are born with more charisma, or vision, or skill than others. But psychologists have known for almost 80 years that leadership isn’t about traits—it’s about skills. Why is this distinction important? Because it means that leadership is largely learnable, no matter what your style or personality. In our session, you’ll learn why 96 percent of leaders can dramatically improve their effectiveness (and why the remaining 4 percent can’t).

CSAA: You’ve mentioned that you have an alarm system for a long time. Bet you have an alarm story to share!

Eurich: Some might call my family paranoid, but we prefer the term “security conscious” (or, for CSAA purposes you can think of us as “forever customers”). My family and I have been proud Security Central customers for more than 30 years. And not only have Jordan Jackson and his team kept us safe in by our count more than ten houses, they have treated us as part of their family. Our relationship with Jordan and his team goes far beyond just business—he and the entire company truly care about our safety and well-being. I couldn’t be prouder to be addressing Jordan’s colleagues this fall!

CSAA: Tell us something about yourself that drives or influences the way you do business. 

Eurich: Before I decided on a career in psychology, I was a professional actor and a classically trained singer. As a double theater and psychology major in college, then, I had quite a fork in the road to navigate. Of course, I chose psychology, not just for the inspirational reasons I mentioned earlier in this interview, but also because I wanted to, you know, have health insurance and make a livable wage. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss theater, but there isn’t anything in the world I’d rather be doing than what I’m doing now.

CSAA: What do you hope CSAA members will take away from your presentation?

First and foremost, I want folks to leave with a no nonsense strategy to improve their leadership effectiveness when they get back to work: both to accept their current reality as well as a few new things to try to accelerate the performance of their employees and their business. Just as importantly, I hope that they feel a sense of excitement and inspiration about what it will mean if they do.

CSAA Brings ASAP Message to PSAPs at APCO 2016

Interest in ASAP was high at last week’s APCO 82nd Annual Conference & Expo in Orlando. ASAP Subject Matter Expert Bill Hobgood and CSAA staff spoke with many interested PSAP representatives at the ASAP booth in the exhibit hall.


Bill Hobgood gives PSAP representatives from Kentucky an overview of ASAP.

CSAA also hosted a session called “ASAP: A Win-Win No-Brainer for Public Safety and the Alarm Industry.” Hobgood, Boca Raton PSAP IT Manager Cindy Cevallos, CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn, and Duff Wheeler, representing Houston’s Emergency Center, described the agencies that participate in the program, projected implementation outcomes, and showed a live demo with alarm signals from Vector Security. Participants were able to see how the program reduces 9-1-1 processing and response times to alarm events while eliminating telephone calls and miscommunication errors between alarm monitoring companies and 9-1-1 PSAPs.

“The ASAP-to-PSAP educational session on the last day of the conference was well-attended with approximately 40 individuals,” reported Hobgood.”The attendees asked some very good questions at the end of the session. Aside from the excellent testimonials from the presenter panel, the session concluded with a live demo between Vector Security and the City of Richmond which could not have gone better. I am sure that the ASAP program will reap additional interest from the PSAPs as a result of this session.”

The Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) is a national service that is the next generation for the processing of information from alarm monitoring stations needing emergency dispatch. This protocol was founded through the joint partnership of APCO, CSAA and Nlets. “CSAA would like to thank APCO, and Executive Director Derrick Poarch, for sponsoring the ASAP booth special session at the 2016 conference,” said CSAA’s Hauhn. “The event was a great opportunity to bring the ASAP message directly to people we need to reach at PSAPs around the country.”

Alarm companies can find frequent updates on ASAP on this blog, in CSAA Signals, in CSAA Dispatch, and on the CSAA Website.