ERIE, Pa., Sept. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For the third year in a row Erie Insurance, along with businesses throughout the region, raised tens of thousands of dollars for Erie-area nonprofit organizations through the Erie Insurance Charity Challenge Golf Tournament. This year, 27 area businesses competed for a share of $72,000 for local charitable organizations. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20041112/ERIELOGO) This year's winning team – Shaffner, Knight, Minnaugh & Company P.C. – earned $12,000 for its charity of choice, the Visiting Nurse Association of Erie County (VNA). "When I organized the first Charity Challenge three years ago, I was looking for a way to combine two of my great passions – community service and golf," said Terrence Cavanaugh, president and CEO of Erie Insurance. "Because ERIE underwrites the tournament, every penny of the entry fee can go to charity. With such a wide variety of charities benefiting, it really is a win/win for the community." "Thanks to the Charity Challenge our patients are able to remain at home and receive the medical care and support they need so they can reach end of life in the comfort of their homes," said Jim Jaruszewicz, executive director of the VNA. "We truly are grateful that Erie Insurance hosts this event each year and thank Shaffner, Knight, Minnaugh & Co., P.C. for selecting the VNA of Erie County as their charity of choice." For-profit businesses are invited to participate in the tournament, with each team picking a charity. One hundred percent of the entry fees were donated to charity, with the tournament itself underwritten completely by Erie Insurance. Teams placing in the top spots received the highest contributions with the remaining dollars divided among all charities. Every charity received a minimum of $750. Since its inception, the Erie Insurance Charity Challenge Golf Tournament has raised more than $160,000 for local charities. According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 15th largest homeowners insurer and 12 th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 20th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has nearly 4.5 million policies in force and operates in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company. Erie Insurance is proud to be named a J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 Customer Service Champion. ERIE is one of only 50 U.S. companies so named. Erie Insurance is also recognized on the list of Ward's 50 Group of top performing insurance companies, which analyzes the financial performance of 3,000 property and casualty companies and recognizes the top performers for achieving outstanding results in safety, consistency and financial performance over a five-year period (2007-2011). News releases and more information about Erie Insurance Group are available at www.erieinsurance.com.