By Ken Wuchner
Chair, Retired Member Ad-Hoc Committee
The California State Firefighters' Association (CSFA) Retired Member (ad-hoc) Committee (RMC) has been concerned about the welfare of its retiree membership. In April 2013, the RMC commissioned a survey to determine which insurance and lifestyle benefits are of use, and which aren't utilized as much. The survey also gauged interests of our retired membership. This survey was completed on-line and also mailed out to a random 150 of the membership for whom we had no e-mail address. The last of the surveys were received in September 2013. What CSFA learned is that it needs to promote itself and its benefits more effectively.
The first and foremost need requested on the survey was for better health care. Retired member needs are different because our retired members live throughout the United States and have a tendency to relocate, necessitating the need to make those benefits portable. We do like to travel, but in this current shrinking economy, we also need to develop additional competitive lifestyle benefits.
In response we have developed some strategies in order to best suit the needs and requests of our retired members. We will be communicating with you through this "Retiree" page in the magazine and on Facebook. We will work with California State Firefighters' Employee Welfare Benefits Corporation (CSFEWBC) to more strongly promote the benefits CSFA already has in place, including dental, retirement planning, estates and wills, life insurance, long term care, auto and home Insurance, cancer and heart insurance.
The survey also told us retired members want to hear more about and from California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS). In response, we will develop a help-line, as well as a question and answer section in the magazine using the CSFA Retirement Issues Committee, CalPERS and the Legislative Advocate as resources to address those questions.
We also need to build on what we offer in our lifestyle benefit area and promote it in a stronger way. CSFA has an extensive list, but if our members don't know about them, they're just idle words.
Additional strategies for our retired members include:
CSFA appreciates the responses from each of the members surveyed and appreciates the opportunity it has to better serve our retirees.
Ken Wuchner, Long Beach FD (ret.), is a former CSFA Southern Division Director and serves as the chair of the CSFA Retired Member Ad-Hoc Committee. He may be reached at KENWUCH@aol.com.