Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Allstate says Philadelphia remains a place where cars collide often

The auto insurer reviewed its claims data to rank U.S. cities on the likelihood of drivers getting invovled in car crash.

Allstate says Philadelphia remains a place where cars collide often

Here’s why Philadelphia, and not Fort Collins, Colo., is the setting for not one, but two cable-television series that revolve around driving in the city:

Accidents do happen here.

Allstate Insurance Co. on Thursday released its latest annual list of cities with the safest drivers. Fort Collins was deemed the safest. Philadelphia, which wasn’t the worst, landed in the bottom 10 of the 193 cities in the rankings.

However, keep in mind that the Northbrook, Ill., company, which controls 11 percent of the nation’s auto-insurance market, reached this conclusion by examining only its own claims data. It’s possible State Farm, Progressive, or Geico could do the same analysis and have different cities at the top or bottom of its list.

Allstate ranked cities based on the likelihood a driver would experience a vehicle crash compared with the national average.

The insurer said a driver in Philadelphia is 53.5 percent more likely to be involved in an accident than the national average. The average number of years between accidents for Philadelphians is 6.5, compared with 10 years nationally.

In last place was Washington, D.C., where a driver is 95.5 percent more likely to get into a car crash than the national average. That’s an accident every 5.1 years.

Far from celebrating fender-benders, Allstate wants the focus to be on safe driving and minimizing accidents. That’s why it calls the report Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report.

So it crowned Fort Collins as the city with America’s safest drivers, where the average number of years between accidents is 14.5 years - not a growth market for tow-truck drivers.

Into the cloud

If 3Par Inc. is the only company you can name right now that’s involved in the cloud-computing business, let me offer up a local player: Alteva L.L.C.

It’s a privately held firm started in 2003 by William Bumbernick that provides telecommunications services to businesses over the Internet.

What’s interesting is that Alteva isn’t housed in some suburban office park, but in the Bourse Building on Independence Mall - an area of the city better known for the American Revolution than for technological evolution.

The firm has 30 employees here and a small presence in Washington, Bumbernick said.

With the company poised for significant growth in the next couple of years, Bumbernick ceded his chief executive duties this week to David Cuthbert, who’s been chief operating officer since 2006.

Why? Bumbernick, 36, said it was a case of taking his own advice that he dispenses to his team: Find out what you really like doing and what you’re really good at.

While Bumbernick said he’s been a good CEO, “I’m not that great at it.”

What he loves is innovation, not running the business side of things. So Bumbernick will take on the title of chief innovation officer and remain chairman. “My heart is always in the technology,” he said.

Cuthbert, who spent 10 years on active duty as a Naval Special Operations officer, has been a “natural leader in our organization,” Bumbernick said.

An example: Cuthbert, 35, instituted a “leadership reading club,” for which he chooses a book about leadership and Alteva provides every employee a free copy. After a month, they all go out to dinner and discuss what they’ve read. Most recently, they read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

“People want to be leaders,” Cuthbert said, explaining that the books and discussions help reinforce a company culture where everyone has the power to make decisions and resolve any problems quickly.

As for that growth, Bumbernick wouldn’t disclose Alteva’s annual revenues, only double-digit percentage growth rates. But he did say he expects that the self-funded company’s workforce will double in the next two years, and that may be the best employment news you hear all day.

Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist