AIASD Member News: Cavignac & Associates Celebrates 25 Years of Managing Risk

(left to right): Matthew Noonan, Patrick Casinelli, Jeffrey Cavignac, Jim Schabarum II, Scott Bedingfield, and Matthew Slakoff

NEWS FROM:  Cavignac & Associates
CONTACT:  Bonnie Kutch, Kutch & Company, (619) 299-1010, bkutch@kutchco.com

Cavignac & Associates Celebrates 25 Years of Managing Risk

SAN DIEGO, CA — (February 8, 2017) – Cavignac & Associates, a downtown San Diego-based risk management and insurance brokerage firm, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, announced Jeffrey Cavignac, CPCU, ARM, RPLU, company president and principal.

A reputation for professional excellence and providing specific risk management services that are not customarily offered by its competitors has allowed the firm to maintain a strong standing within the insurance industry over past years, while laying solid groundwork for the future.  Its guiding mission is to be a service-intensive, risk management-oriented insurance brokerage that puts its clients’ interests before its own.

Led by six principals, each of whom lends a specific area of industry expertise, Cavignac & Associates has been on a steady course of carefully mapped and managed growth, which has allowed the company to continually expand its range of insurance brokerage services. Veteran leaders include Jeffrey W. Cavignac, CPCU, ARM, RPLU, CRIS, MLIS; James P. Schabarum II, CPCU, AFSB; Scott A. Bedingfield, AAI, CIC, CRIS; Patrick Casinelli, RHU, REBC, CHRS; Matthew Slakoff, CIC, CRIS; and Matthew Noonan, RHU, CIC, CHRS, CCWS.

Together, their experience allows the firm to provide commercial insurance, risk control, construction surety bonds, employee benefits and personal lines.  Its client base comprises design and construction firms, real estate-related entities, manufacturing companies, nonprofit organizations and the general business community.

“It made good sense for us to augment our commercial insurance services with a full spectrum of insurance offerings so clients could obtain all their insurance coverage from a single source,” said Cavignac.  “More, it’s allowed us to take a holistic approach to lowering clients’ overall cost of risk.  That is the concept behind our program we’ve branded the ‘TotalRISK Approach,” which involves four steps:  Risk Analysis, Risk Control, Risk Finance, and Risk Governance.”

Cavignac & Associates officially was founded on February 11, 1992 – the day Cavignac walked out the door of the insurance firm he was working for at the time. Initially it was a one-man shop with no staff and no clients.  But what Cavignac did have was a mission statement and a business plan.

The first year had its share of challenges. The economy in San Diego was weak and getting weaker, and the insurance market was spiraling downward. These factors, combined with the normal learning curve associated with a start-up business, made for an interesting first year.

Nevertheless, the fledgling agency was able to get moving in the right direction thanks to some quality insurance company appointments, including Chubb, Continental, Safeco, Aetna, Industrial Indemnity and Zenith. In addition, DPIC Companies (now known as XLCaitlin) switched its exclusive agency appointment in San Diego and Imperial counties to Cavignac & Associates. Most important, a number of previous clients, as well as new clients, elected to place their coverage with the firm.

In 1996, Jim Schabarum and Scott Bedingfield joined the firm.  Schabarum’s background in surety and Bedingfield’s background in real estate were natural additions to the firm’s existing commercial insurance expertise. In January of 2000, both Schabarum and Bedingfield became principals and shareholders of the agency.

Around the same time, the company underwent a major change, evolving from an insurance brokerage firm to a risk management company. The principals realized that the only way to drive down clients’ costs of risk was to reduce the frequency and severity of the claims that drive those costs. With that in mind, it invested in a safety professional, a human resources consultant and a workers’ compensation specialist.  The focus of these three individuals was to work with the agency’s clients to prevent claims from occurring in the first place, and effectively manage the claims that did occur.

In the fourth quarter of 2002, the firm recruited Patrick Casinelli to open its Employee Benefits Department. In 2007, Casinelli became a partner.  Later, in 2013, Matt Slakoff was promoted to partner and, in early 2016, Matt Noonan was promoted to partner as well.

“An important part of our original company mission statement was that we will always hire above-average people who are service-oriented, education-minded, and willing to make a commitment to the company’s objectives,” said Cavignac.  “To do this, we knew we needed to keep employees challenged and engaged by providing an exceptional work environment that makes their jobs both rewarding and fun.”

In various “Best Places to Work” competitions, Cavignac & Associates consistently has been scored high by employees, based on its desirable social environment and staff camaraderie. Picnics, baby showers, holiday gatherings, group tickets to Padres baseball games, company softball games, sushi-making classes, hosted happy hours, beer and wine tastings, weekly catered lunches and more is what has helped the firm recruit and retain exceptional employees.

“Insurance might be viewed as a rather dry and tedious job,” said Cavignac.  “But we don’t allow the work environment here to become stale or boring.  We’re dedicated to being the best we can be, and continually seek ways to improve our productivity, technical expertise, and the services we deliver to clients.”

As for the next 25 years, the company is well prepared to expand in new directions in order to serve its clients better, and to provide even more growth opportunities for its employees.

 

About Cavignac & Associates:

Founded in 1992, Cavignac & Associates is a leading risk management and insurance brokerage firm providing a broad range of insurance and expertise to design and construction firms, as well as to law firms, real estate-related entities, manufacturing companies, nonprofits and the general business community. Company principals are Jeffrey W. Cavignac, CPCU, ARM, RPLU, CRIS, MLIS; James P. Schabarum II, CPCU, AFSB; Scott A. Bedingfield, AAI, CIC, CRIS; Patrick Casinelli, RHU, REBC, CHRS; Matthew Slakoff, CIC, CRIS; and Matthew Noonan, RHU, CIC, CHRS, CCWS. The firm employs a staff of 45 at offices located at 450 B Street, Suite 1800, San Diego, Calif., 92101.  More information about the company can be found on the Web at www.cavignac.com.