Travelex Insurance Services’ first corporate mission trip a success

first_imgJanuary 17, 2019 (OMAHA, NE) – Staff and partners of Travelex Insurance Servicesreturned Sunday from the company’s first-ever corporate mission trip with smiles on their faces and dirt on their shoes. The group of 50 volunteers spent two days helping with hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Over a year since Hurricane Maria, which The New York Times called the deadliest storm in over 100 years to hit the islands, many locals are still living in uninhabitable conditions, especially those in rural and impoverished communities. Volunteers painted a former, local school building, which is functioning as temporary housing to shelter displaced families in the rural, mountain community of Bartolo, Lares, located about 78 miles southwest of San Juan. Bartolo residents have been working to transition the old school building into a multi-purpose resource center to fulfill the community’s educational, clinical and alimentary needs. Thanks to financial support from sponsors and individual donors, Travelex purchased painting supplies for the service project, as well as a stove, washer, freezer, power tools, gardening supplies, shelving units and blankets for the residents of Bartolo. Volunteers also helped with reforestation efforts at historic Cueva Maria de La Cruz park, reestablishing a variety of native trees in danger of extinction as a result of hurricanes Maria and Irma. In addition, each volunteer distributed gift cards to Puerto Ricans in need that they encountered to purchase necessities at local stores. Travelex Insurance Services’ President & CEO Michael J. Ambrose said: “It’s been a wonderful experience for our team, as well as a number of our partners. It was good for our souls to work for others and provide them with goods and services benefiting their lives. I can’t thank our partners and our sponsors enough for providing us with the support needed to accomplish our mission. It was truly an American effort!” Working on the ground in Puerto Rico is San Agustin Relief and Recovery Mission’s Dr. Maria R. Procaccino, Ed.D, who coordinated with Travelex in preparation for the mission trip. Catholic Charities USA was instrumental in connecting Travelex with Procaccino and the residents of Bartolo. “You can see the before and after of 7,000 people who were trapped on top of this mountain as [Hurricane] Maria passed for two weeks and what they’ve accomplished with your help,” Procaccino said to volunteers. “We thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts.” Fox World Travel’s Vice President of Meetings and Incentives James “Keller” Keller made the travel arrangements and participated in the service projects. “Volunteer tourism is a growing trend in corporate travel,” Keller said. “Whether the sole purpose of a business trip or simply a component, companies like Travelex Insurance Services enjoy giving their employees the opportunity to experience the excitement of helping those in need.” Travel industry partners participating in the trip included Travelex’s underwriter and claims administrator Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, owner and leading Australia travel insurance provider Cover-More, and travel assistance provider On Call International. Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for On Call International Melissa Tollie said, “We take calls from travelers all over the world experiencing natural disasters, and to come here and see the devastation itself was truly eye-opening.” Mission trip corporate sponsors (in alphabetical order): Aradius Group, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, Hemphill Search Group, Incentives Marketplace, Interstate Printing Company, Kistler Tiffany Benefits, Marriott Vacation Club, McGrath North, Sanders Travel, Signature Travel Network, Strong Travel, Tierpoint, TRX, Vernon Graphics & Promotions, and Virtuoso Travel Network.  Travelex Insurance ServicesA leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Travelex Insurance Services was founded in 1996 when the Travelex Group purchased Mutual of Omaha Companies’ travel insurance distribution services. Travelex Insurance Services became a subsidiary of Cover-More Holdings USA, Inc. in November 2016, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zurich Insurance Group Limited (“ZIG”), headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Travel insurance plans are underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. Travelex Insurance Services delivers a wide range of travel protection plans through travel agencies, tour operators and at travelexinsurance.com. San Agustin Relief and Recovery Mission is part of a coalition of community-based organizations known as the Mutual Support Center. For the past months after Hurricane Maria, the Mutual Support Center has focused its best efforts on the homeless and landless social segment, which has had special medical and economic survival needs. The urgency for shelter and assurance of a safe home has been the priority for the coalition.last_img read more

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If we take action now we can address climate change and build

10 Things You Need to Know About COP21. Credit: United NationsUN News Centre: What is the best outcome possible from COP21?Janos Pasztor: We are expecting a package of outcomes and it will have four elements – they’re interrelated but they’re different. The first one will be the national plans for climate change of each country, for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Those are plans that are developed “bottom up” by the countries – this is what they can do. The second element will be the actual agreement. It will contain the rules of the game on how countries will assess the impact of the totality of the national plans on the objective to keep warming below 2 degrees. And then they will review and assess what it takes to raise the ambition to make sure that we keep below those 2 degrees of global warming. That will be the core of that agreement. The third part is climate finance. All of this will require financing, public and private finance, and there will be some parts of this package of finance that will go into the agreement. And the fourth is the action agenda – a collection of actions on the ground to do either mitigation or adaption, and it’s to demonstrate that it’s already possible, it’s already happening and to showcase what are the good partnerships between private sector, public sector and civil society to actually do the work on the ground. UN News Centre: What are the main challenges ahead? If we take action now, we can address climate change as we move toward a low-emission economy and build a sustainable future. The more we delay, the more we will pay. Janos Pasztor: The main challenge ahead is to negotiate the agreement. That’s the bottom line. And we have very little time. In fact, the last negotiation week finished recently in Bonn [Germany]. What we now have left in terms of formal negotiation time is only that period during the actual Conference of the Parties [COP] in Paris, the first two weeks of December. UN News Centre: Can you give us an overview of key issues that are left to be negotiated – what different countries are claiming?Janos Pasztor: There are quite a few of those and the most important one seems to be related to what is referred to as the differentiation – the differentiation between the developed and developing countries. Some countries would like no formal differentiation and they would like all rules to apply to everybody, every country, with maybe a certain flexibility to reflect the capacities of different countries. Just days away from the kick-off of the 21st United Nations climate change conference — widely known as COP21 — the UN is reminding its main actors that this conference must be a turning point for climate action.Beginning on Monday in France’s capital, Paris, world leaders will be negotiating a new climate change agreement that aims to keep global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — beyond which climate experts say there will be irreversible impacts. The two-week conference, the 21st Meeting of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also aims to send a loud and clear signal to citizens, markets and the private sector that the transformation of the global economy is inevitable, beneficial, and already under way. To find out more about COP21 and the UN’s expectations, the UN News Centre met with Janos Pasztor, the UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change. Since January, Mr. Pasztor’s work has focused on supporting efforts towards a new climate agreement and mobilizing global climate action on the ground.Climate change affects us all, but our actions affect climate change.UN News Centre: What is the importance of the upcoming 21st United Nations climate change conference – COP21?Janos Pasztor: There are at least two major points. First of all, if we have a good agreement it will allow us to move towards a low-carbon, low-emission future, where there are lots of opportunities for new technology developments and new ways of organizing ourselves. That is an opportunity we must take. Secondly, climate change is already happening. The impacts are already visible. If we take action now, we can address climate change as we move toward a low-emission economy and build a sustainable future. The more we delay, the more we will pay. UN News Centre: Why do we need to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius? Janos Pasztor: If we allow warming to go beyond that, scientists tell us there are likely to be potential irreversible impacts on people, on natural ecosystems, and therefore, on the economies of the world. Now the 2 degrees is not a very hard level. Many are saying that it actually has to be much less than 2 degrees for the small island developing countries whose land might become completely inundating with a sea level rise. Already 2 degrees is way too much. So, it must be remembered that when we talk of 2 degrees, it is the maximum. It must be kept as much as possible below that. Interview with Janos Pasztor, UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change. Credit: United NationsOther countries would like to maintain the existing grouping of countries in the Convention to developed and developing countries, and then have rules that refer to these different groups. So that’s quite important because it has implications, not just on the conceptual issue of having divisions like that, but in terms of financing.But there are other challenges – such as climate finance. Developed countries have committed to providing $100 billion dollars per year by 2020 to developing countries. The $100 billion doesn’t have to be on the table in Paris, but what does need to be on the table is a politically credible mobilization trajectory towards this $100 billion. Some progress was made in October, but there is still work to do and there are still announcements that hopefully will be made by some countries. So these are just two examples of difficult issues that still need to be resolved but there are others as well. UN News Centre: You mentioned the last round of negotiations in Bonn. What came out of those discussions?Janos Pasztor: What we have is a document that has grown in size. While the actual size doesn’t matter – what matters is the content – clearly the longer the text, the more time it takes to negotiate and that’s our biggest challenge. The text is some 55 pages long and it will take some time to go through the different elements. What we ended up with at the Bonn negotiation is that countries added into the original draft which was much shorter – specific things that they wanted to see in the final text and there wasn’t enough time to negotiate all that in Bonn. So we still have lots of options in there and those will still need to be negotiated both in informal discussions and during COP21.UN News Centre: What is the significance of COP21 in light of the new 2030 Development Agenda, and how predominantly does climate change figure in it?Janos Pasztor: The new Sustainable Development Agenda—or Agenda 2030 – is extremely important for the implementation of the climate agreement. First, we have a goal – Goal 13 – which focuses on climate change. But what the other goals are even more important. There are 12 goals [out of 17] that have very specific climate related targets on energy, on forests, on food security, on education – these are all things that will feed into successfully implementing the climate agreement. The main challenge ahead is to negotiate the agreement.But what is really important is that if we don’t achieve the 2 degree objective, then none of the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved. And in order to achieve the less than 2 degree objective, we need to do all the things that are in the Sustainable Development Goals. That’s the challenge but that is the beauty: these two different processes that are negotiated through separate processes are now coming together at the level of implementation. And this is where the UN system has a very important role also, because we are there to support Member States to help them to address these issues in a coherent and integrated way. UN News Centre: Just days ahead of COP21, what is your message to world leaders?Janos Pasztor: World leaders have a very important role in guiding their ministers and negotiators on the broad economic implications of climate change and actions about climate change. So their role for the negotiations is very important. If they don’t give clear guidance to the negotiators then they don’t know what to agree upon. So that is why the UN Secretary-General has been much engaged with Heads of States and Governments so that they own this process and clearly guide their ministers and their negotiators. UN News Centre: What do you want to convey to the public?Janos Pasztor: Climate change affects us all, but our actions affect climate change – all of us. We are all responsible for what we do in our daily lives – how we vote, how we engage, how we run our companies, how we run our civil society organizations. We all need to be conscious of this, and we all need to do our [email protected] only screen and (min-width: 760px), screen9 {#PhotoHolder3 #PhotoCrop { max-height: 770px; /* sets max-height value for all standards-compliant browsers */ width: 134%; margin-left:-161px; margin-top: -330px;}#story-headline{ font-size: 3.6em; line-height: 1.2em; color:#fff; position: relative; top: 200px; xtext-align:center; text-shadow: 1px 1px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.8); width:45%; xmargin-left:55%;}}#sidebar {display:none;} div#story-content .span8 {width:100% !important} #fullstory p { font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.6em;}strong { font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.7em; xfont-family:Georgia, “Times New Roman”, Times, serif;}blockquote { font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.5em; font-style:italic;}.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0;}.videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;} read more

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