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Happy Valentine's Day

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Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!

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Is making that glass claim really worth it?

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Driving Northbound on I-5, I was behind a semi-truck and had a weird feeling that something might happen. From the truck’s tires I could see dirt chips creating a momentary mini cloud of dust on the freeway. Then, I heard a loud WHACK.

At first, I thought, “Wow, I’m lucky, no crack!” But the next morning, the truth was spread across my windshield.

Unless you have one of those $1000+ windshields, making a claim for windshield repair or replace-ment probably isn’t worthwhile. Sure, companies will reimburse you, but even being reimbursed may not be worth the impact to your insurance rating profile and future rates.

Here’s the scoop...

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Missing something?

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If you'd still like to receive our 2018 calendar, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (206) 838-9450.

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A reflection on 30 years in the making

A reflection on 30 years in the making

The furthest thing from my mind 30 years ago was that there would be the opportunity today to reflect on the last 30 years. When I started my agency, at age 24, my first goal was to make it one year. And then to make it to the next year and to learn the fine details of the industry along the way. I believed that if I made it through three years, with a number of positive indicators, that a long term sustainable agency could be built.

Industry-wide, so much emphasis was on numbers back then, crunching the numbers, but for me it really turned out to be counting the relationships that were being built one household at a time. The way I see it, relationships are everything because if you don’t retain your clients you can’t grow your business. As a team, our goal has always been to be approachable and nurture transparency, even more than one might expect. When life throws a curve ball, such as a fender bender or speeding ticket, we always appreciate being the first phone call because it’s our job to provide guidance, confidence and support in the next steps to be taken.

Our ideal client expects support and guidance as life changes, and we love being their advocate during that time. Other agencies put emphasis on an aggressive growing model that’s driven by lofty numbers versus relationship building. Where I believe we differ is we’d rather have fewer clients with strong relationships than far more clients that are simply just a number.

These first 30 years have been priceless, an ever-changing adventure, and we continue to embrace our fast moving landscape every day. I hope that being clients of CTIA has been beneficial to you because you are infinitely valuable to us and what we stand for. A big Thank You to each of you for making 30 years possible! It is because of all of you, your loyalty, referrals and your continued confidence in CTIA guiding you through this ever changing maze of your insurance protection needs. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope that you allow me and my team to continue to serve you for many, many years to come.

Wishing you all the best and a blessed 2018! – Christopher Togawa

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September is National Preparedness Month

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Experts suggest these steps as a good place to begin:

  • Create a family communication emergency plan
  • Have a survival kit for three days in your car, home and office
  • Know where your gas, electric and water shut-offs are and how to use them
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Equifax Breach and Identity Protection

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Here’s a link you might find helpful in understanding the recent Equifax breach and some action items for you to consider.

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Washington's Electronic DUI Law Now in Effect

Washington's E-DUI law, which bans the use of any hand-held personal electronic devices while driving, is now in effect. Violations are reportable to insurance companies! Be informed by visiting the Target Zero website for more details.

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"Elvis" appears at Queen Anne Day

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Valued CTIA client Tony C. (Elvis) and his band were quite the hit at Queen Anne Day last Saturday.

You can catch this must-see act when they perform at the Bite of Seattle this upcoming Sunday, July 23 at 1:00 pm on the Mural Stage.

For more info, visit gracelandmanila.com or search #gracelandmanila.

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Should You Purchase Earthquake Insurance?

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​ The decision whether to purchase earthquake insurance is a difficult one. Homeowners must choose between paying more for coverage or having no coverage for what could be a very catastrophic event. Many homeowners have no earthquake coverage even when living in an area such as ours where there is a possibility of a significant magnitude earthquake occurring some time in the next several decades. Given the increasing values of homes, the decision to purchase earthquake insurance should be appropriately considered. Homeowners typically...
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Safeguard Your Identity

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With summer just around the corner many people are planning vacations and preparing to travel. Traveling can be a time when risk of identity theft increases since we use credit cards frequently. Identity theft is a serious crime that is increasing at an alarming rate. About 1 in 7 U.S. residents over age 16 was a victim in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Misusing someone's credit card account is the most common kind of identity theft. According to a recent survey compiled by the US Federal Trade Commission, more than 3 m...
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Safe Driving Saves Money... Really!

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As the insurance industry continues to change, more than ever we find companies are putting their clients in the driver's seat by offering programs that let them customize their insurance rates. This means the safer you drive, the more you'll save! Safeco and Progressive – two of the companies we represent – offer vehicle telematics programs where drivers can earn up to 30% off their insurance premiums. Recently, a family insured with CTIA participated in a telematics program and saved BIG! This was a great opportunity for an entire family to p...
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The Road More Traveled

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Receiving your auto insurance renewal and seeing that your rates have increased can feel very personal. I know, I've had that feeling on a number of occasions over the years.  Even understanding how insurance rates are set, it doesn't make me feel any better to see a rate increase. Thoughts that may cross your mind: ​ "I've been with the same company for years!" "I pay on time; my driving record's clear!" "But my cars are getting older!" ​ The reality is our region continues to show immense population growth, resulting in more traffic cong...
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Make Old Glory New!

Make Old Glory New!
​In honor of Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July we are offering a free flag exchange. Between May 18th and July 3rd you can bring your not so glorious stars and stripes in to our office and we'll replace them with a beautiful brand new flag with sewn stripes and embroidered stars. Give us a call at 206-838-9450 to schedule a time to exchange your flag. Supplies are limited so please act fast!
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Have a Teen Ready to Drive? Consider This Contract

Have a Teen Ready to Drive? Consider This Contract
Parents often have a lot of questions about when their teens are ready to drive. This is a personal situation that every family needs to consider for each of their children. Some may be ready at an older or younger age than others, depending on their level of maturity and responsibility. Before your teen takes the wheel, it is important to discuss not just the mechanics of how to drive, but also all of the responsibilities, consequences and costs associated with driving. Establishing clear agreements about the rules and responsibilities will he...
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Champions of Community

Champions of Community
Each spring Erwin and his family participate in Boy Scout Troop #375's fish dinner at St. Francis Church. Erwin and a team of adult volunteers prepared 160 pounds of salmon and cod for the feast. This annual event is the troop's largest fundraiser of the year and helps send scouts to summer camps and other outdoor activities. Two dedicated boy scouts and two parent volunteers received Amazon gift cards, provided by CTIA. The recipients exude volunteer spirit, a positive attitude and dedication to the troop and Boy Scouts. The kids and their fam...
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Who Will You Dedicate Your Pledge To?

Who Will You Dedicate Your Pledge To?
Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act Nationwide, 43 states have passed laws to prohibit drivers from texting. In Washington State, lawmakers recently approved Senate Bill 5289 , Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act . This new legislation which will go into effect in 2019 forbids the use of a handheld device and all video watching while a car is moving or briefly stopped. The fine will increase to $245 on the second offense, and distracted driving will be reportable to insurance companies on the first offense, like any other ...
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Distracted Driver Awareness Month

Distracted Driver Awareness Month
​ APRIL is Distracted Driver Awareness Month , a good time to consider facts about distracted driving . Here are a few collected from recent studies: Drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a cell phone, whether or not it is hands-free. Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights. A National Safety Council review of the science  concludes that "hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving." New studies show that using voice-to-text is m...
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The Super Friends Referral Program is Our Way to Support Our Community

The Super Friends Referral Program is Our Way to Support Our Community

Our Super Friends Referrals program helps local nonprofits every time you refer CTIA to your friends and family. Any time you make a referral to CTIA and they contact us, we make a $20 contribution to a local nonprofit organization. Super Friends Referrals is our way of both giving back to the community and finding great new clients.

The biggest compliment you can give us is a referral to your family and friends. We’ll take care of them the same way we do all of our clients: with expert advice, unmatched service and a commitment to long-term relationships.

So be a Super Friend and refer CTIA to your friends and family, and help support local nonprofits that make our community a better place to live.

In 2016 we donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and The 5th Avenue Student Education Program.

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Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is the relationships we build with people. We are grateful to get to know so many wonderful families, often generations deep, as they grow and change. We would like to share a story about one family in particular, by whom we have been especially touched.

In 1994, Lou Gelfand approached Christopher about his insurance needs. He had recently moved from Detroit to Seattle, having retired from General Motors after 48 years. Christopher and Lou hit it off and Christopher made sure Lou had the insurance protection that was needed. They both enjoyed the spontaneous connection that evolved over the years. Christopher always looked forward to their conversations and enjoyed getting to know Lou on a personal level. Through the years Lou shared many things about his life, including his grief when his wife Rose passed away, not long after they moved to Seattle.  Seattle was a special place for Lou and Rose, spending time with their son Jerry and his family, longtime Seattle residents. Over time, the discussions Lou and Christopher shared became more about life than insurance.  “He was truly special,” Christopher said. “I appreciated every discussion we had, especially the life lessons, experiences and stories Lou shared with me.  This is clearly one of those connections that leave a lasting impression on you. I still remember the day I received the call from Jerry telling me that Lou had passed away. In that call, he acknowledged the special relationship his dad and I had shared. That meant a lot, and really made me reflect on all the great talks we had.”

A couple years passed and Christopher received a phone call from Lou’s daughter Judith.   She had just moved to Western Washington from New Jersey and wanted to thank Christopher for the relationship her dad had spoken of over the years. So, it is true, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Judith became a client of CTIA in 2005 along with her two daughters, Laura and Eva.

And the generations continue. Eva continues to insure with CTIA, and as a successful realtor in Seattle, Eva often refers her clients to Christopher and his team. Oh, and when Laura and her then fiancé began planning their future, Judith let Todd know that she had the perfect insurance agent for the two of them. Todd, being a smart son-in-law-to-be, responded with care because he liked his own insurance agent. His name: Christopher Togawa.  Small world…Wow – that’s bringing it full circle!

Getting to know and serve three generations of the same family is a privilege that we feel honored and grateful to enjoy. It is the people we take care of that give meaning to what we do. We thank all of you for entrusting us with your family’s protection.

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Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

One of the most sure things in life is uncertainty, which is why you purchase insurance – to protect against damages that might occur if you experience an accident. Everyone should make sure they are sufficiently protected to cover not only the damages that could occur to their own property, but also the cost of damages (injuries, property destruction, emotional distress, lost wages and more) that could occur to others in the event of an accident.

It only takes one serious accident and a resulting lawsuit to put at risk everything you currently own and will own in the future. If your policy covers $500K in liability and in a lawsuit you are judged liable for $1 million in damages as a result of injuries from a car accident for which you are at fault, do you know how you will cover the additional $500K in damages?

If you have umbrella insurance and your policy covers the incident, the additional $500K will come from your policy. If not, it will come from the assets you have now, such as your home and savings, and from future assets, such as your wages or inheritance.

An umbrella policy gives you excess liability coverage on top of what your other policies provide. If you are responsible for a serious accident, you will need it. Umbrella insurance also gives you liability coverage in situations where other policies don’t, such as driving in a foreign country or renting a boat.

Most financial and insurance experts recommend that everyone have at least a $1 million umbrella policy to provide liability coverage beyond the limits of their auto and homeowners insurance policies, even if they have less than $1 million in assets. That’s because in the rare event people are sued, they could be forced to pay a legal judgment from future earnings as well as current assents. Umbrella policies can also pay for defense costs, which can quickly add up even when cases are won.

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