By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s insurance industry holds its 20th annual Independence Gala tonight in Center City and it’s about more than having a swell time, but to improve and maybe even save lives.

This bash at the Lowe’s Hotel has both festive and serious goals, says David Arnold, President of the Insurance Society of Philadelphia. The group and individual members have long sponsored charity outreach including college scholarships to hone the next generation of risk management and insurance majors.

And there’s also a push to raise money for smoke alarms.

“A phone number, a text number will be used. It’ll be displayed on a screen and all 725 or so attendees of this gala can send a text that says how much they would like to pledge, and it’ll show up on screen. What it does is create a nice kind-of-competitive environment.”

Arnold hopes to final tally is $25,000 or more, good for perhaps 1,700 of the new long-battery-life alarms.

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