At the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association’s (GLASAA) General Meeting in June, attended by SDM, the focus was firmly on the future, with a panel discussion on PERS and the offering's future growth possibilities, as well as the presentation of GLASAA/CAA Youth Scholarship Awards to two extremely talented high school students with bright futures.

First, the panel discussion on personal emergency response systems (PERS) showcased a technology with growing future potential. While PERS have been around for years, generally targeting seniors, evolving technology in cellular communication and GPS-based location services are expanding PERS possibilities.

The well-attended panel included Christopher Baskin, chief executive officer of American Two Way and board member of the Medical Alert Monitoring Association. (M.A.M.A.), Les Gold,  legal partner at Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp and counsel for the California Alarm Association (CAA), as well as the contributing writer of the  Security and the Law column for SDM, and Rick Gombar, president of Rick Gombar Insurance Services, a provider of security industry liability insurance. Collectively the three speakers offered a broad look at the wide range of elements that need to be considered by alarm companies considering entering the PERS space, including the devices and services providers, the legal contracts needed and the insurance considerations that should be considered.

"You have to be under a rock not to notice the growth in PERS,” Baskin told the group. “Why is it accelerating now? Baby boomers are buying for their parents. Baby boomers have affected every industry they have been a part of, including the baby food industry when they were born, the car industry when they started to drive, and now they are taking care of their parents and boosting the PERS industry.”

Baskin stressed mobile PERS as the true explosive area of the industry, explaining that it is moving past a senior-focused offering into protecting children, monitoring lone workers, and more.

Les Gold stressed the care that should be taken when amending or creating contracts for PERS accounts. Alarm contracts will not suffice for PERS accounts.

“With PERS you are protecting the person, not property,” Gold said, stressing that dealers’ contracts should carefully state that. He added that customers must understand that just because the system is provided does not mean they will be protected.

“The system is the service, so dealers are charging prices that reflect the service, not what the service is protecting,” Gold also explained. Dealers are not insurers — and third-party indemnification is critical, he added.

Rick Dunbar shared that the insurance industry is much more reactive than proactive. Insurance agencies are not charging huge premiums yet, but could begin to do so in the future.

“Remember, protection is all handled through the contract. If you don’t have a PERS contract it will most likely be thrown out in a lawsuit. Also, insurance carriers will expect verbiage at your end in the contract that also protects the insurance company,” Dunbar said.

Baskin closed the discussion by stressing the incredible opportunity of PERS, and, more specifically, mobile PERS.

“Mobile PERS, mobile PERS, mobile PERS. I cannot stress enough the vast opportunity it represents,” he said.

Following the PERS panel, attendees enjoyed cocktails and networking, followed by the association’s annual steak dinner and BBQ, as well as the presentation of the GLASAA/CAA Youth Scholarships Award Presentations to Madeline Holcombe and Erica Choi.

Choi, the runner-up, has a grade point average of 4.488 at Crescenta Valley High School and a SAT score of 2400. She is a member of the All Southern California Honor Band, All State Honor Band, a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, Veteran of Foreign Wars Essay Contest Winner, and more. She will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall.

Holcombe, the winner, has a 3.97 at Moorpark High School. She has won multiple academic awards, and she earned first-place finishes in competitive tap, jazz, and ballet competitions. She is the creative editor at “The Edge,” the Moorpark High School newspaper, a member of the Moorpark High School Spanish Honor society, and more. She will attend Emory University in the fall.

“Thank you for contributing to my daughter’s future; and thank you to GLASAA for the opportunity and leg up they have given my daughter. Also, thank you for the partnership GLASAA has with law enforcement. I thank you for what you do every day,” Holcombe's mother said after her daughter accepted the award.

Lisa Davis, director of Community Relations for Vivint, Provo, Utah, a sponsor of the scholarships, attended the event.

“It is Vivint’s deepest honor to partner with our industry colleagues to honor the important impact law enforcement professionals have as parents,” Davis said.

Special guest Michelle Veenstra, Captain of the LAPD Training Division, also spoke, thanking the association for the scholarship awards and stating, “[the security industry is] a forward front for crime prevention.”