Aug 2018
Issue No. 94
In this issue
 

 

About Us  
Insurance logo 
  A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides the following products: dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and AD&D, dependent life and AD&D, long-term disability, short-term disability, voluntary accident insurance, and Medicare supplement for eligible Church of the Brethren employees .
 
Dental, vision, and Medicare supplement coverage may also be available for eligible retired Church of the Brethren employees.
 
For eligibility information, call Connie Sandman at 800-746-1505, ext. 3366, or contact your human resources representative.
 
Medical and ancillary plans (named above) may be available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.
 
Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities. 

Contact Us 
1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120
800-746-1505
  www.bbtinsurance.org 
  

 
This month we take up a serious and painful topic - how violence in the world can traumatize children. Even children in safe and loving homes cannot be kept completely shielded from the news of bad things that happen in other places or sometimes nearby. And there are many places on this globe where children are put directly in the path of war and destruction. The effect is incalculable and deeply troubling. This month's main essay addresses this.
 
The second article is about a long-time therapist who has worked with children who have endured great trauma. This inspiring account details a creative and effective approach to therapy.
 
There is also a brief article about a Church of the Brethren program called Children's Disaster Services, in which volunteers help children traumatized by disaster. Because the people at CDS are aware of the violence in the world and its effect on children, they have issued a short piece called "From Fear to Hope," with excellent counsel on how to help children understand and deal with violence. You will find this as an attached PDF.
 
Finally, the insurance we are featuring this month is pet insurance. This is a rapidly growing part of the insurance industry, as the number of pet owner grows and the costs of caring for pets increase rapidly. It may seem incongruous to feature this kind of insurance in the same month we are concerned about the much more profound realities of children and violence. May we be challenged as we look at what it is possible for our pets to remember how infinitely more precious a child is. May we consider that we are measured by how we care for the vulnerable in our world.
 
You are receiving this as summer is now in full swing. We hope you are enjoying all the blessings of this season without suffering from its heat and humidity. We wish you an active, joyous midsummer.

 
Time to start thinking about Open Enrollment
 

For clients of Brethren Insurance services, Open Enrollment is only a few months away. But whether you are a BIS client or in another group plan, you should pay attention to when it occurs each year.

Open Enrollment is when you "audit" all of your insurance coverages. Which is just a technical way of saying that it's time to look at what insurance coverage you've got and determine whether it's enough. Every group plan offers this time frame when you can make changes and add coverages. For Brethren Insurance Services, Open Enrollment is from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30.

Because payroll deductions for insurance premiums are tax-free, Open Enrollment is governed by IRS rules, which allow for changes only during the Open Enrollment period.

Do you have enough life insurance? Has a "life" event happened in the past year - marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, the purchase of a house? These affect how much insurance you need.

If you are in the Brethren Insurance Services group, and you're not in one of the following plans, ask about dental, vision, accident insurance, and pet insurance.

Pay special attention to short-term and long-term disability, which replaces your income if you are injured or disabled. Think about long-term care insurance, which covers nursing care if you are incapacitated. If you are retiring and going on Medicare, consider a Medicare supplement plan.

And don't worry - we'll be sure to remind you in the coming months of the importance of Open Enrollment.
Facing into it with them
-- 
An essay on children and violence  --

According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center , 94 percent of teens go online daily or more often, and 24 percent are online almost constantly. 71 percent of teens use more than one social media site. A report released in 2017 by Common Sense Media claimed that children up to age 8 spend an average of 2 hours each day watching some kind of screen. For kids 8 to 12, the average time is, more than 4 hours.
 
Why would an essay on children and violence begin with stats on how much time they spend looking at screens? Because violence is one of the consistent realities in onscreen exposure, whether it is video games, YouTube clips, traffic on Twitter, TV shows, movies, Facebook posts, or news briefs showing scenes of war and school shootings.

Further, children see violence around them in school and community. According to Child Trends in 2014, 38 percent of children 17 and younger were exposed to violence in the previous year either as a victim or an observer. The figure rose to 68 percent for kids between 14 and 17.
 
It probably does not take more statistics to convince us that the violence both real and fictional in the world around us has an impact on our children and grandchildren. Our first thought is: what is this doing to them?
 
The more intense and personal the violence, the stronger the effects. Children who have been victims or have been exposed directly to violence can experience one or more of the following - anxiety, loss of appetite, headaches, stomachaches, disturbed sleep, fear of leaving home, attachment problems, regressive behavior, attention problems, depression, aggression, behavioral problems, academic and cognitive problems. Worst of all, a child who is a victim may eventually become a perpetrator.



If you are wondering what you can do, many of the answers are obvious. Pay attention to how much time your children are spending in front of a screen and give them limits. Teach your kids the ways of peace and show them the power of reconciliation and mediation. Discuss with them what they are watching. If you believe they are seeing a questionable film, watch it with them and talk afterwards. When something happens at school, or there is a terrorist act or a school shooting in the news, take the time to talk with your kids about what they know, what they think, and how it makes them feel (see the attached PDF "From Fear to Hope"). If they are young, maybe invite them to make a drawing. (See the article on "Journey of Life" drawings.) Of course, violence troubles us as adults too. We are able to help our kids only to the extent that we can deal with its effect on us.

It's a long way from violent video games and school fist fights to the brutalization of war, but they all affect the soul and spirit of a child. One of the things we can do for any child is to listen. We can also support people who do the same in conflict areas - they find ways to help children who are upset or traumatized to put their questions, fears, and suffering into words or pictures. We cannot keep this violent world from touching children, but we can face into it with them, holding them in our arms and in our hearts.
Drawing a "Journey of Life" to promote
healing and resilience 

People who have the delicate and challenging task of helping traumatized children often find creative ways of caring for and engaging children in healing activities. Cindy Dubble is a child protection specialist who recently retired from a long professional life of working internationally with children profoundly affected by war, violence and disaster. She discovered many culturally appropriate ways to help children heal and recover from their experiences. The first step was to keep children safe while trying to reunite them with their families and communities. Children were also encouraged to share their experiences and feelings through drawing activities and play therapy.
 
Cindy's role was to train local child protection teams to provide psychosocial help to affected children.

One of the most effective techniques was to assist children to do a "Journey of Life" drawing. This drawing exercise, which helped children share and process the experiences they had suffered, provided useful information to trace relatives, reinforced family memories, helped children to identify their own strengths, and promoted hope for the future.
 
Here is what Cindy wrote about the advantages of drawing activities with children:
  • Drawing provides a "big picture" and is a more holistic way of understanding what happened to the children.
  • Drawing allows children to easily express themselves, and research has shown that drawing activities and discussions provide more information than formal interviews.
  • Drawing activities are participatory, where the child becomes the "expert" (they know best about what has happened in their lives).
  • Drawing helps develop the child's self-esteem and promotes trust between the child and the support worker. The support worker can focus on listening rather than trying to force answers.
  • Drawing is especially useful for young children who think and remember in images rather than words.
 
Cindy trained local child protection staff to help each child to draw his or her "journey of life." First, the children were asked to try to remember all the things that had happened to them from the time they were born until the present time, to list family members, special friends, places they had lived, what they had done, things they were proud of, difficulties in their lives, and what had happened to them during the war or disastrous event. Each child had an allocated support worker (referred to as a big brother or big sister), who helped the child list or sketch everything they could remember. Over several days, a child was helped to make a large Journey of Life drawing in bright colors, with stickers to mark happy and sad events in their lives.
 
These drawings were then used to help the children talk about their experiences, and frequently they would begin to remember more and more as they talked with their big brother or sister. This activity allowed the child to debrief and process what had happened to them, and also provided information essential to tracing parents and relatives. Sometimes siblings or other children would work in groups to stimulate memories, and to reinforce the message that, "I am not alone ... these things have happened to many children, and together we can find a way to stay strong and continue our journey into the future."
 
Here is an example of a Journey of Life drawing made in 2007 by a refugee child who fled from violence and the burning of his village. The child's name and location are withheld to protect privacy.

About Cindy Dubble

Cindy Dubble and her husband, Rob Millman, worked with International Children's Organizations to help children affected by war and disaster.
 
Cindy Dubble, the middle daughter of Anna Mary Dubble and retired Church of the Brethren pastor Curtis Dubble, trained in social work at Manchester University, and then spent a year traveling in Europe and the Middle East.  She subsequently lived and worked in the United Kingdom, where she obtained her master's degree in social work, and trained as a family therapist.  In 1987, Cindy and her husband, Rob Millman, left the UK to undertake international humanitarian aid work, specializing in working with children affected by war and disaster.  Cindy served in more than 20 different countries in Africa and Asia, often in war zones or countries affected by earthquakes or tsunamis, with a wide variety of international charities and UN organizations.  Cindy and Rob continue to support refugee families and children around the world, and remain active campaigners for human rights and peaceful resolutions to conflict situations.
Children's Disaster Services


In addition to being deeply affected by violence and war, children are also vulnerable in times of disaster. They can be traumatized if their life is threatened, their home is destroyed, or their family members injured or killed. Since 1980, Children's Disaster Services, an arm of Brethren Disaster Ministries, has been meeting the needs of children traumatized by tornados, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural and human-caused disasters.

Volunteers are carefully screened and given specialized experiential training to learn to work with traumatized children. They agree to mobilize rapidly when needed.


According to the CDS website , "Volunteers arrive at a disaster location with a 'Kit of Comfort' containing carefully selected toys that promote imaginative play. Volunteers give children individualized attention and encourage them to express themselves, thereby starting the healing process." CDS also provides "education and individualized consultation for parents about their child's unique emotional needs after a disaster."

Click here if you are interested in a current training workshop.
Put pet care on a short leash
-- The case for pet insurance --


Why pet insurance?

At first glance you might ask why people would need pet insurance. But consider this: The American Pet Products Association reports that Americans spent $15.95 billion on veterinary care in 2016 and an estimated $16.62 billion in 2017. According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet. That's 85 million families. Are you one of those?
 
Does it make sense?

Consumer Reports concludes that if you choose wisely, chances are good that your pet insurance policy will pay for itself. Pet insurance is designed to encourage preventive care.
 
Brethren Insurance Services offers two plans

My Pet Protection covers: accidents and illness, hereditary and congenital conditions, cancer, dental diseases, behavioral treatments, therapeutic diet supplements, and specialty and ER coverage. The pet owner may choose any vet, and the annual deductible is $250.
 
My Pet Protection with Wellness covers: all of the above, as well as wellness exams, spaying or neutering, flea and tick treatments, teeth cleaning, shots.
 
Both plans  cover: boarding and kennel fees if the owner is hospitalized and needs pet care, advertising and reward if the pet strays or is stolen, replacement cost up to $1,000 if the pet is stolen and cannot be found in 60 days, and vet expenses at the death of the pet.
 
This insurance is available through Church of the Brethren-affiliated employers, including churches, retirement communities, agencies, camps, 
and districts.
 
If you want more information about pet insurance, please contact  Jeremiah Thompson, Director of Insurance Operations, at 800-746-1505, ext. 3368, or jthompson@ cobbt.org
For Your Long-Term Care Needs
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance all through the year
 
If you're interested in purchasing coverage, you should know that e ligibility for benefits is determined by the inability to meet at least two of these six activities of daily living -- bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, continence, or transferring. Cognitive impairment can also trigger benefits.
 
It's difficult to think about the fact that a debilitating condition or a disabling injury might leave you unable to care for yourself, or that when you reach your twilight years, the time will come when you will need some extra care. Long-term care insurance makes sure that you will get the care you need. It helps assure that the cost of your custodial care will not eat up your savings. Finally, and this is one of the best things about LTCI, it can help protect your children and other relatives from having to use their resources to care for you.
 
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance for all members and employees of the Church of the Brethren and their family and friends; and also for employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities and their families and friends.
 
If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at  insurance@cobbt.org or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal.