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CUNA Mutual adds Esurance as car insurance carrier

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MADISON, Wis. (9/15/10)--CUNA Mutual Group is expanding its MEMBERS Auto and Homeowners insurance program by partnering with Esurance, a direct-to-consumer car insurance company whose mission is to make car insurance convenient and affordable. Current partner Liberty Mutual, which underwrites MEMBERS Auto and Homeowners insurance, is joined by Esurance as insurance carrier for the program, which is a core offering of CUNA Mutual’s MemberCONNECT program. For the past 12 years, MEMBERS Auto and Homeowners insurance has partnered with Liberty Mutual to serve more than 500,000 credit union member households. A subsidiary of the White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd., Esurance has more than 500,000 policyholders. The company launched its website, www.esurance.com, in 1999 and is now the third-most recognized brand among online consumers, according to Greenberg Brand Strategy. “As more consumers turn to the internet for their insurance needs, partnering with a company well known in the space that provides around-the-clock access to customer service and claims representatives makes sound business sense,” said Shad McKnight, vice president of Consumer Products. According to Esurance Vice President of Sales Tom Capp, “Esurance is uniquely positioned to help CUNA Mutual expand its insurance offerings to a broader range of tech-savvy members. We see this as a great opportunity to offer credit union members our ‘Best of Both Worlds’ approach to car insurance.” Esurance provides personal auto insurance direct to consumers online. Its customers can get instant car insurance quotes, view comparison quotes, buy a policy, and print their insurance cards--within minutes. Its policyholders also can make policy changes and file claims instantly online. For more information, use the resource link.

Grant writing topic of MBD Council paper

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MADISON, Wis. (9/15/10)--The grant application process can seem complex and confusing, but a new white paper from the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council. The white paper, “Writing Grants Right: Extend Your Outreach--and Budget” demystifies the grant-writing process and offers practical recommendations on where to look for funding, how to cultivate relationships with grant-makers, and how to craft a winning application. It outlines the elements of a successful grant application, addresses what credit unions must do after they receive a grant, and provides pointers from foundation directors and credit union managers with grant experience. Resources for grant writers are also provided. The paper also offers sample projects that may be funded with grants--from designing an interactive “mini-credit union” at a hands-on museum for children, to expanding the bandwidth of a branch network, to offering low-rate loans for small businesses. Potential funders include government agencies and credit union and community foundations, many of which are willing to answer questions and walk organizations seeking funding through the grant application process, the paper said. “There are a lot of untapped grant dollars out there,” said Staci Zale, associate director of the Texas Credit Union Foundation. “If you are daunted by the grant application process, pick up the phone when you’re applying to a nonprofit organization or foundation for help. Most of them will be happy to walk you through their process.” For more information, use the link.

Joyent partners with Switch on cloud services

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SAN FRANCISCO (9/15/10)--Joyent, a global provider of smart computing solutions, announced that it has partnered with Switch to create the first public and hybrid cloud offering, the Switch SuperNAP in Las Vegas. The Switch SuperNAP is a 407,000 square foot facility and high-density, ultra-scale data center. Switch is a CUNA Strategic Service provider. The partnership will enable Joyent and Switch to meet the demands of high-sensitivity and data-heavy customers, including gaming and media companies, financial firms and government agencies. It also allows Joyent customers access to Switch|C.O.R.E., a multiple carrier telecommunications connectivity hub. It positions Joyent as a founding member of Switch|Cloud I.C.E., the U.S. Inter-Cloud Exchange, to allow a collection of private and public cloud vendors to co-exist and integrate seamlessly alongside the public cloud powered by Joyent Smart Technology. Cloud computing is Internet-based computing where shared resources and other information are provided to computers on demand. Customers will have the option of private and public hosting, and the ability to move data from one to the other, the companies said in a release.