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Blue Shield - New Virtual Blue Plans

The Virtual Blue plans give members (small and large groups) the choice of virtual or in-person care. Virtual care includes $0 unlimited visits to primary care, behavioral health and specialty care through a new partnership with AccoladeCare. In-person care is available through the Tandem PPO network in California and via BlueCard when outside of the state.

The two Virtual Blue small group plans available in PRISM are the Virtual Blue Gold Tandem PPO 1500/45 and Virtual Blue Bronze Tandem PPO 7500/75. These can be identified by ‘Virtual Blue’ in the plan name.

When using the PRISM filter options for Narrow or Broad networks, select ‘All’ networks instead of ‘Broad’ only networks to generate plans for Blue Shield’s Virtual Blue, Trio HMO, and Tandem PPO plans.

If you need assistance, please contact our Quotes team at or 800.696.4543.

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Our Team

Claremont Insurance Services places a premium on having the best talent. We collectively hold more than a half-century of industry experience, and we’ve used that experience to forge partnerships with high-quality carrier organizations and brokerages throughout California. No one else has our network, our experience and our knowledge of the California market. That’s how we’re able to help our brokers and agents grow their book of business, each and every day.

Robert Traynor

Bob Traynor has over 40 years of experience carrying out successful sales, marketing, and management responsibilities. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Blue Cross of California, where he directed a sales and marketing organization that produced nearly $1 billion in annual premiums. In 1985, Bob founded Creekside Consulting Co., a marketing and management consulting service that consulted on the design and implementation of several successful statewide and national specialty managed care organizations. In 1989, Creekside became Claremont Business Group Inc. Currently, the Claremont family of companies includes Claremont Insurance Services and Claremont Behavioral Health.

Bob was educated at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and completed the Executive Program at the Graduate School of Business, University of Michigan.

Ken Ruotolo
Chief Operating Officer


Ken has successfully built and managed entrepreneurial organizations such as Claremont for over thirty years. Prior to joining Claremont, Ken was; a consulting CFO to startups in the software and medical device markets, CFO for ANTs software, a publicly-traded enterprise software company, and a founder of web and interactive developers eStar and era2 Interactive. His successes include; helping to secure over $50 million in financing, setting corporate strategy, building infrastructure for rapidly-growing companies, transforming companies to all-digital operations, negotiating customer/partner agreements, and participating actively with boards of directors. Ken has an MBA from Northeastern University and a BA from the University of California at Davis.

Michael Traynor


Michael has been with Claremont Insurance Services since 1993 as one of its founding members, and he has made a tremendous impact on nearly all aspects of the company’s sales, operations, and overall strategy. Michael designed and installed the company’s information management system, designed and managed Claremont’s web site, and created the concept for PRISM, Claremont’s interactive, online broker service.

Prior to joining Claremont, Michael spent ten years in the printing and advertising industry where he worked for regional and national advertising firms in Northern California. Michael served as President of the Silicon Valley Association of Health Underwriters from 2014 to 2016, and for 2017/2018. He remains active with the chapter board.

He received his BA from San Francisco State University.

Renee McLemore
Vice President, Marketing and Sales


Renee joined the Claremont team with over 20 years of healthcare marketing and sales enablement expertise. Working with Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Medical Center, and McKesson, Renee has successfully developed and executed business building and branding strategies for B2B and B2C markets. Prior to joining Claremont in 2014, Renee directed hospital-segment marketing strategy for McKesson’s pharmaceutical distribution business. Renee earned an MBA from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a BS from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Sue Wakamoto-Lee, CEBS
Regional Sales Manager

925.296.8836, My Calendar

Sue comes to Claremont with over thirty years of health insurance industry and group benefits expertise, including at Zenefits, Gallagher, Mercer, and several tech start-ups.

“Sue is passionate about helping brokers be more successful and leading the California broker community through her work at CAHU. She’s a great fit for Claremont.” said Mark Racioppo, Director of Sales.

In her spare time, Sue likes to perfect her weekly coffee bean roast. She also enjoys smoking/grilling for family and friends. Ask her about her favorite coffee rub!

Nicole Allyn
Regional Sales Manager

925.296.8818, My Calendar

Nicole Allyn comes to Claremont with more than twenty-five years of industry sales management experience, including fifteen years at LISI and BenefitMall. Nicole uses a well-developed team approach working collaboratively with brokers to close business, grow agency presence, solve problems, and provide carrier market knowledge to brokers and their staff. She provides employee benefit sales strategies and service mastery and enjoys helping each of her broker partners win.

When not working with brokers, Nicole spends most of her time with her son Joey and fiancé Don, in addition to playing the guitar and singing.

Heather Chandler
Regional Sales Manager

925.296.8812, My Calendar

As one of our Regional Sales Managers, Heather is helping brokers in both Northern and Southern California grow their books of business through proven sales strategies and solutions. She has over fifteen years of experience in employee benefits including various sales roles at Health Net, BenefitMall, and LISI.

She uses a well-developed team approach to work collaboratively with brokers to close business with their employer clients, solve problems, and provide carrier market knowledge to brokers and their staff.

When not working with brokers, Heather spends most of her time in her second job as a professional scuba diver. She’d love to teach anyone that’s interested!

Danna Nibre
Broker Services Strategist


Danna has been an integral member of the Claremont team since 2006. She began as a Broker Service Representative, and progressed through various roles on the team before being promoted to Broker Services Manager in 2014 and then Broker Services Strategist in 2020. Danna has over 20 years of healthcare industry experience including roles at an ambulatory surgery center and a third party administrator. With each role, Danna gained a broader perspective of the healthcare industry by working directly with various carriers, healthcare providers, brokers, employers and their employees. When Claremont began representing Covered California for Small Business to brokers, Danna played a critical role in ensuring our Broker Services team was fully versed in best practices to support brokers.

Derek Fahlman
Customer Engagement Manager


Before joining Claremont, Derek was a benefits consultant for Brown & Brown Insurance where he delivered cost containment and self-funding solutions to the small and large group markets.  Derek started his employee benefits career with OneDigital Health and Benefits focused on small group, level funded products, and bringing companies into the digital era. Prior to the insurance industry, he was a sales manager in the Denver, CO hospitality industry. Derek attended Regis University in Denver with a focus on Business Administration. A native Californian, Derek enjoys being active in his community as a board member of the De La Salle High School Alumni Association.  He’s also an avid outdoors enthusiast, downhill skier and snowboarder.

Jessie Gonzalez
Customer Engagement Manager

925.296.8835, My Calendar

Jessie comes to Claremont from Anthem Blue Cross, where for seven years he was part of the Anthem large group new sales team. Prior to Anthem, Jessie spent two years with Health Net, also in large group new sales. Jessie also has experience in retail banking and agency insurance sales, having worked at Wachovia Bank as a licensed personal banker and as a products representative with State Farm Insurance. In his spare time Jessie likes to play basketball with his son Santana, enjoy family day trips, and occasionally bang on the drum set in his garage.

Joanne Donnelly
Market Strategist


With over 30 years of industry exposure, Joanne found her passion in ensuring the best benefit solutions for brokers and their clients across many market segments with diverse business needs. Prior to joining Claremont in 2015, Joanne held strategic sales roles with BenefitMall, Lincoln Financial, Lafayette Square Insurance, New York Life and Aetna.  This experience helps Joanne bring an unparalleled breadth of perspective in developing strategic market and customer-specific solutions. Joanne likes to compare her job to that of a Charcuterie board. The next time you see her, make sure to ask her about it!

Kanue Cold
Customer Engagement Manager

925.296.8817, My Calendar

Kanue joined the Claremont team as a Customer Engagement Manager. He is in his fifth year of administrating and servicing group benefits. With a strong technology background, Kanue strives to find more innovative and efficient ways to assist our clients. Kanue is originally from Arizona and attended Northern Arizona University where he studied biology. He is looking forward to working with existing and new clients in the Bay Area! In his free time, Kanue enjoys outdoor activities, as well as yoga, and trying new foods. He is an avid animal lover and likes to volunteer at local shelters as often as he can.

Suzie Wirths
Broker Service Representative


Suzie has over six years of employee benefits experience and has worked with Third Party Administrators as well as brokerage firms. Her experience and knowledge are only part of what Suzie brings to the table. “Her experience and knowledge are only part of what Suzie brings to the table. She strives to provide the best possible experience to everyone that she interacts with and she is eager to make an impactful contribution to our customers. Our clients are already saying how much they enjoy working with her.” said Laura Hogsed, Service Manager.

Suzie loves the outdoors. In her spare time, you may find her hiking, kayaking, caving and exploring the mountains.

Autumn Hersey
Broker Service Representative


Autumn Hersey has been with Claremont since July, 2019 as a Broker Service Representative. Autumn helped transition and train team members on new database and CRM software.  Before joining the team, she worked as a research coordinator for a national research study on Dual Language Learning Preschoolers. There she developed skills of coordinating large teams of examiners across multiple states, and maintaining a database of over 8,000 children over the course of a multi-year study. She graduated with her BA from California State University Channel Islands in Ventura.

Laura Hogsed
Service Manager


Laura Hogsed has over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare industry.  Prior to joining Claremont, Laura held various positions including at companies such as Blue Shield of California and BD Medical. Laura has extensive expertise in pharmacy, utilization, prior authorization and billing. Laura holds an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences for Medical Assisting from Heald College and has been licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy for over 20 years. Laura enjoys horror movies, haunted houses and anything that involves a good scare. Ask her how many days there are until Halloween!

Lea Torres
Broker Service Representative


Lea brings over 5 years of experience in the employee benefits industry having spent that time at an independent brokerage serving as a Senior Benefits Analyst and Account Manager. “Lea has a strong acumen for analyzing benefits and assisting clients to best meet employee and company needs. She will be an asset to Claremont and will provide stellar service to our clients,” said Karlee Navarro, Assistant Manager, Service.

When not working, Lea and her husband enjoy scuba diving, traveling, and spending time with their fur-babies — cats Ava (Tabby) and Otis (Russian Blue), and their Pomeranian puppy Loki.

Crystal Nelson
Broker Service Representative


Crystal joined Claremont in 2017. Previously, Crystal worked in a private dental office for four years coordinating treatment coverage with carriers. Crystal holds an Applied Science Degree in Dental Assisting. Crystal loves spending time with her twin daughters and friends either at home with games and movies or outdoor activities like camping, horseback riding and hiking. Ask Crystal about Snickers, the family Mini Holland Lop bunny.

Kimberly Dantono
Broker Service Representative


Kim joined Claremont in 2015. Previously Kim held various sales and customer support positions at companies including BenefitMall and IBM. When not working at Claremont, Kim keeps her hands full with running after her two small children.

Maria Mallari
Broker Service Representative


Before joining the Claremont team in August of 2018, Maria began her career in health care in 1993 at Health Net.  What started out as a receptionist/switchboard position turned into a 25-year career.  Over the course of those 25 years at Health Net, Maria was promoted to many different roles within the organization.  After briefly providing administrative support for the Vice President and the Human Resources Director, she quickly began her career in customer service by supporting the Small Group account management team. She then began managing her own small group book of business.  In 2004 she began working in the large group market sector where she provided day to day support for many large group clients and then began managing her own book of business in the Labor & Trust division. Personal interests include being with family and friends.  Maria likes to bake, hike, go wine tasting, attend concerts, festivals, plays/ cirque du soleil shows and she loves to shop.

Raquel Contreras
Broker Service Representative


Raquel came to Claremont as a temporary employee. With over seventeen years of small group benefits experience under her belt, she joined the team fulltime in 2019. As a Broker Service Representative, she focuses on the processing and completion of service requests and administrative services. Perhaps it’s blasé, however Raquel wants to be sure that even minor requests are processed and completed, timely and error-free. Spanish-language services are also provided by Raquel, when needed at the office, or requested by a group for an open enrollment meeting. Overall, Raquel enjoys working the back-office. On weekends, Raquel enjoys the quiet life, with cooking, hanging out with friends and family, and enjoying a walk outside or listening to music.

Beverly Daniel-Patton
Broker Service Representative


Beverly grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to California with her family in 1985. Her first position was with California Casualty Insurance Company. During her employment with CCIC she realized how much of an interest she had in the insurance industry. Later she became an independent insurance agent because she wanted to educate families who wanted to protect their families but didn’t understand how, what and why the need was so important.

Chris Kersey
Applications Developer


Chris is Claremont’s Salesforce Administrator. Prior to Claremont, he worked as a database architect and application developer in the B2B technology space, both independently and as an IT employee of several Bay Area companies. As a Claremont developer, Chris works with end users to streamline their interaction with data, setting up automations and generating reports. He creates technology tools that aid in file management, data transformations and automated tasks. When not behind a computer screen, Chris enjoys short camping trips with his family, performing with his band at local venues and spending much of his “idle” time remodeling his home, office and music studio. His current personal project is a foray into audio and video engineering and production.

Kathleen Conner
Accounting Manager


Kathleen joined Claremont in 2010. Previously, Kathleen held various finance and accounting positions at companies including Cigna and the University of Miami. Kathleen holds a Bachelor of Accountancy and Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Mississippi. Kathleen is an active member of SHRM and AFWA. In her spare time, Kathleen is a volunteer at Diablo Day Camp and is a local Girl Scouts board member.

Kim Dinh
IT Administrator


We’re very proud that Kim is the longest-serving member of our Claremont team. In her IT Administration and Data Reporting position, Kim plays a crucial role in keeping our entire team productive and armed with the information we need to best support our customers. Kim’s dedication to her Claremont job is clear to everyone – it’s rare that anyone manages to get into the office before her. But the most important job in her life has been raising her four children. Kim’s fellow parents at Claremont feel very humbled at the devotion, dedication and energy that Kim brings to that job too.

Tracey Lewis
Office Manager


Tracey is Claremont’s Office Manager. She joined us as Administration and Executive Assistant in 2008, and has taken on more responsibilities every year. Anyone who’s visited the Claremont office knows Tracey. She exemplifies the customer focus and professionalism that Claremont stands for. Tracey served on the SVAHU Board of Directors for five years in various capacities including Treasurer. Each year she leads the organization of several local industry events and fundraisers. In her spare time Tracey is a self-confessed home improvement addict. From asbestos abatement to zone irrigation, there’s no job she won’t tackle.