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Keep you and your family safe by preparing for the 2018 tornado season

As the northeast gets hit by yet another winter storm in March, we’re starting to see increased tornado activity in the southeast this spring. A tornado can strike without warning in any season but are prone to happen most often in the spring and summer months. Occurring at all hours of the day and night, data shows that they tend to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Time to prepare!

In the United States, about 1,200 tornadoes strike each year and every state is at risk. These devastating storms can bring severe hail, heavy rain, flash flooding and lightning. The majority of tornadoes in the U.S. occur east of the Rocky Mountains with concentrations in the central and southern plains, the Gulf Coast and Florida.

If you live in an area prone to these deadly storms, three of the most important things you can do to prepare you and your family are:    1 - Build an Emergency Kit

   2 - Make a Family Communications Plan

   3 - Review your Homeowners Insurance

Build an Emergency Kit

Most of the items that will go in your kit are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Also make sure to consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies and medications for pets and seniors. For just a few dollars and minutes of your time, you’ll have a kit comprised of food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.

Visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for more information and to download a printable grocery list.

Make a Family Communications Plan

Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tornado? If not, make one today! Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so having a family communications plan will allow you to know how to best contact one another and reconnect if separated. Make sure to establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for more details on how to best draw up your family communications plan.

Review your Homeowners Insurance

Don’t wait until the next tornado watch to decide to review your homeowners insurance for storm coverage. Whether your insurance helps cover tornado damage to your home depends on where you live, the type and amount of coverage you have and what caused the damage.

One of the biggest risks you may face if your home suffers major damage during a severe storm or tornado is being underinsured. Contact your agent to discuss your policy and if necessary have them verify that the current insured value is up to par. While you’re at it, make sure to have your insurance agent’s number and email saved to your mobile phone.

Additionally, find out what your limit is for Additional Living Expenses (ALE) and how you can expect the coverage to work. ALE covers the increased cost of living due to a displacement, including any extra rent you will have to pay for your temporary home. CRS Temporary Housing works closely with your agent to quickly find the best temporary accommodations for you and your family. With 24-7-365 service, we are committed to help you and provide the absolute best customer service.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/home-insurance/insurance-for-tornado-damage.aspx https://www.thebalance.com/home-and-car-insurance-for-tornado-damage-4026154

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Spring ahead and lose an hour of sleep. Whose idea was this?

Do we love to spring ahead or hate it? In a year filled with 8,760 hours, why do we think it’s such a big deal? It’s just 0.01141552511415525% of a year.

Aside from what you may have heard over your lifetime, farmers are not to blame and it was not created by Benjamin Franklin. Daylight saving time was actually first instituted by Germany on May 1, 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I.

Do we still need it today? U.S. states are starting to decide on an individual basis. The Florida Senate just approved a bill that once they spring ahead on March 11, 2018, they could remain there. The approval means the bill will go to the governor’s desk, but it doesn’t mean the “spring forward” clock change Sunday at 2 a.m. will put the state on permanent daylight saving time.

Currently, states can opt out of daylight saving time to stay on standard time, but cannot make daylight saving time permanent. So, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming weeks.

Most areas of the United States observe daylight saving time (DST), the exceptions being Arizona, Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Whether you love it or hate, know that it’s a good time to do a few inexpensive, routine updates in and around your home.

1 - Replace the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

These alarms save lives! For just a few dollars and minutes of your time, you can economically and quickly replace the batteries and know your family is safer.

2 - Prepare a storm kit for your home and car.

This can be a lifesaver in a power outage or if you get stranded in your car in bad weather. Make sure you have a long-lasting LED flashlight, a reflective vest for walking at night, non-perishable snacks, water and a warm blanket. Go to www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for more detailed kit information.

3 - Check your sump pump.

Spring often brings rain so make sure your sump pump is draining properly. Do not wait until a major snow thaw or rainstorm to find out that the pump’s motor is shot and you have 4” of water in your basement. It’s also a good idea to invest in a backup battery in the event of a power outage.

4 - Inspect the exterior of your home.

Did you just get through a harsh winter? Take a walk around the outside of the house: Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of loose or broken shingles. Look up at the chimney for signs of wear. Check the facade and foundation for cracks or signs of water pooling.

5 - Change your clocks.

If you have any clocks in your home that run on batteries, make sure to set them ahead one hour before you head to bed. If you have an older model car like me, make sure to change the clock on your dash as well. Then when you wake it you’ll be on the right track.

As for keeping your body on track, you know that it’s coming, so maybe hop into bed an hour early on Saturday night.

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Handle your temporary housing like a boss!

 

We are in the business of temporarily relocating homeowners, renters, and those in the insurance industry. We hope to make it a comfortable and seamless process; as long or as short as your stay may be. You’ve most likely found your way here or on to our site looking for answers, so here are 6 tips to help you get started with handling your temporary housing like a boss.  Trying to keep things simple, and find those services that can help make the transition a bit easier, is key to an enjoyable temporary situation. Let’s take a look at the tips!

Rent furnishings

Rather than feeling rushed into replacing your furnishings immediately or having to move all your furnishings from location to another, you have the option to rent quality furniture for your temporary stay. Say you must move again 3-6 months down the road, renting furniture can help you to avoid moving your furniture over again.

Opt for storage

Additionally, if you can manage to live with only the items you REALLY, TRULY need during relocation, you can put the rest in storage for safe-keeping. This will help limit the number of items you need to care for and keep track of. Less stuff means less clutter and more time to spend as a family.

 

Open a P.O. Box

Maintain consistent service of your mail by opening a P.O. box. Depending on location, this could be helpful or may not work out for you.  This will also help to ensure proper forwarding of your mail. You can apply online at usps.com  https://www.usps.com/manage/po-boxes.htm or go to your local post office.

Tip: Pay your fees in advance and use a rewards credit card to collect points.

 

Make sure you unpack & organize

If you followed the advice and opted to keep most of your items in storage, you should still unpack and organize to make your temporary space FEEL more like home. Make it your own. There are many things you can do to add a special touch all your own, we listed a few in our post, Tips for the short term https://www.crsth.com/blog/tips-short-term/.

Plan your meals

The extra $$ spent eating out may not seem to but will add up. Make sure you have the regular kitchen items that you may need, or find ways to improvise if items are not available to you. Rice cookers, Instant Pots, and Crockpots make great everyday meals. Pinterest is a great resource for recipes, most of which can be gathered in a matter of minutes for an entire week of meals -  I’ve done it!

 

Try some of these recipes:  Easy Orange Chicken  via Listotic |  Chicken Alfredo Tortellini  via Listotic |  5-Ingredient Steak Fajitas via Fit Slow Cooker Queen  |  Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna (Ravioli) via Spend with Pennies  |  Slow Cooker Lo Mein via Damn Delicious

 

Tip: Housewares can also be rented through a reputable furniture vendor along with temporary furnishings!

 

Close to home

Keep your temporary house close to home base. Think of all the places you frequent and would allow you to continue to keep your normal day-to-day schedules intact. Compromise on these thoughtfully. Although temporary, you will want minimal inconveniences and to keep commute times as close as possible to normal. In the event of a widespread disaster relocation event, this may be harder to achieve. Remain optimistic! A good temporary housing company can be creative with keeping people close to their home.

 

Did you find this post helpful? Check out Tips for the short term https://www.crsth.com/blog/tips-short-term/

  Sources: Usps.com Recipes: listotic.com fitslowcookerqueen.com spendwithpennies.com damndelicious.net SaveSave
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When decorating your permanent home, embrace big, bold color.

So, you’re preparing to move from your temporary digs back into your permanent home. Congratulations! It’s a much-anticipated event that you’ve been thinking about for a while. If you plan on decorating or painting, why not try something new?

Use color!! Don’t opt out and live in a bland beige and boring world. Humans are more comfortable in spaces with color than in those without. A beige world is underwhelming and understimulating—and that’s stressful.

Small but Mighty

If you’re a little apprehensive and not sure just where to apply your color splash, pick a smaller room and start there. A powder room, foyer or accent wall are the perfect canvas for your first foray into the wonderful world of color.

If you decide to jump in and paint yourself, great! You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your masterpiece sooner since the smaller area will be completed more quickly.

Where to start?

Once you’ve chosen where to paint, now it’s time to choose the color. Do you have a favorite hue you’d like to see on the walls of your home? Head to the paint store or home warehouse and grab a few swatches. (They are FREE, so grab as many as you’d like). Tape the swatches on the wall that you’re going to paint. Make sure to look at the swatches at various times of day as they will change as the lighting does.

Having trouble making a decision because the paint swatch is so small? Purchase a pint of your chosen color for less than $5 each. Using a brush, paint part of the wall in a larger area to help you decide if you like the color.

Moody Hues

Extensive research on “color psychology” has revealed the special “powers” of particular colors. When making your selection, consider the mood of the room and what feelings you want to evoke.

GREEN > Seeing the color green has been linked to more creative thinking—so greens are good options for home offices, art studios, etc.

RED > Having a red surface in view provides a burst of strength, so reds are good choices for home gym areas, etc. Seeing red has been linked to impaired analytical reasoning, though, making it a bad option for offices.

VIOLET > People link a grayish violet with sophistication, so it can be a good selection for places where you’re trying to make the “right” impression.

YELLOW > Using yellow in a home can be problematic. Many people dislike the color, so if you have a lot of yellow rooms in your home or a yellow front door, you may be advised to repaint to get the best price for your home should you sell. An exception: Many people use yellow in kitchens—with no negative sales repercussions. Yellow may be accepted in kitchens because warm colors stimulate our appetite.

BLUE > People are more likely to tell you that blue is their favorite color than any other shade. That makes it a safe choice. Seeing blue also brings thoughts of trustworthiness to mind; always a good thing.

Be bold and brave and don’t shy away from color. At the end of the day, if you hate the hue you’ve chosen, it’s a simple fix to just paint over it.

 

Sources:

www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/10-tips-for-picking-paint-colors www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201504/the-surprising-effect-color-your-mind-and-mood https://freshome.com/room-color-and-how-it-affects-your-mood
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Important wildfire relocation information.

Important wildfire relocation   Experiencing a wildfire can be devastating. Not to mention having to evacuate and not knowing how the wildfire will impact your home, and life for that matter. In our world, we often see and hear of this alongside the first responders and those on the frontlines. While the initial concern is the safety of all involved, secondly, the need to get families temporarily relocated becomes of utmost and dire importance.   Emergency relocation can be a stressful and chaotic scenario. A family needs an immediate place to live while busy claims professionals are tasked to do so quickly. They may often rely on temporary relocation providers to handle and source housing options, especially during a catastrophic event and when there are many policyholders and families to look out for.   Options for temporary relocation after a wildfire can include immediate emergency hotel stays, short and/or long-term housing, commercial property or a fully equipped travel trailer on or near the affected property. The latter can ease the burden of being far away from home and can allow for the homeowner(s) to oversee any construction.   In the event where a large area has been affected, experienced temporary housing companies can deliver these emergency relocation solutions during high-demand times when options may otherwise seem limited. Among other expectations, a relocation provider can use an extensive database of like, kind and quality options no matter the lifestyle; a single homeowner, couple, entire family or business owner.   Providers should also offer a one-stop shop. This will free up the insurance adjuster to focus on handling the claim portion and focus more so on the claim itself. A few options to look for in a temporary housing company:  
  • A knowledgeable service team on hand with 24-hour availability.
  • A point of contact for each stage of the relocation.
  • Access to multiple inventories in different markets.
  • Full coordination of move in, move out and management of services.
  • Flexible billing options and invoicing for claims professionals who may handle multiple accounts.
  • Creative relocation solutions. Does the family need to continue to care for livestock? Are there medical needs? Is there a need for a more high-end solution or a solution for a business owner?
  • Longevity of a provider. A company that has many years in the industry has likely assisted in many catastrophes, large or small.
  There are numerous ways to handle a relocation. While no two are alike, outstanding customer service and provider knowledge should remain consistent.   For immediate assistance and to obtain housing from wildfire damage or loss, provide CRS with your insurance information and claim number (if one has been given to you) and let us handle the rest.  

If you do not have insurance and need housing and rental assistance information:

  Find a disaster recovery center near you - You can text DRC and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to locate a Disaster Recovery Center in your area. https://egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/DRCLocator     Contact your state emergency management agency - https://www.fema.gov/emergency-management-agencies     Locate FEMA participating hotels - femaevachotels.com    
Please reach out for more information or if we can answer any of your questions. We are here to help.
Our thoughts are with you, please stay safe!
 

Adjusters please visit the CRS portal, Call us at 800-968-0848 or email a request to request@crsth.com to submit a housing request on behalf of your policholder.

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Are the upcoming holidays getting you stressed? You can still be jolly and say “No-No-No” this holiday season.

Is thinking about December and the end of the year holidays starting to get you stressed? Join the club!

But, let’s take a step back and maybe not join that ridiculous group. We can make our very own holiday magic by saying “no” more this holiday season. Sound harsh? We don’t need to go full on Grinch, but it might just be worth your while.

Here’s a few things you can, and possibly should, say “no” to this upcoming holiday season.

George Pratt, PhD Psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California

Over-spending

Choose presence over presents. Give and receive gifts with love and gratitude this season but remember that love isn’t inside the box. You can’t prove how much you love someone by giving them a present.

Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Try setting a budget this December, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Be smart and don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend next year trying to pay off.

Over-committing

As your calendar gets a little crammed between now and the end of the year, decide what really matters to you. Spend time each morning or evening and take a good look at your day. What’s important? What’s not? Just because you have empty space on your calendar doesn’t mean you need to fill it with appointments and obligations.

Don’t say no because you’re so busy. Say no because you don’t want to be so busy. Especially in this busier season of work and holidays, down time is more important than ever. Put on your coziest jammies, make some tea and grab a book and enjoy YOUR time.

Over-indulging

Think about if you really need that 2nd plate or 3rd cocktail. Remember how miserable you were after Thanksgiving dinner? Instead of abandoning the things you know are good for you in the name of enjoying the holiday season, dig in deeper. Sleep 7-8 hours a night and spend more time nourishing your body, heart and soul.

Taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.

It’s in the quiet moments, and in the white space that you are open to magic. Create that for yourself. Make room for magic, comfort and joy.


 

Sources:

www.bemorewithless.com

www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/quick-tips-reducing-holiday-stress-get-started#1

www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306655,00.html#stick-with-your-daily-routine

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Fall’s transformation is here, how will you change?

The first day of fall is Friday, September 22

As the leaves begin to fall and the heat of summer fades, we naturally begin to think about how we need to prepare for the changing season. Do we start to replace summer clothes for sweaters, pants, and boots? Is it time to think about putting down the storm windows? When do we move the shovel and salt closer to the garage door?

These are all great questions and items on many people’s lists. But how else can we better prepare ourselves for what else might be coming next?

 

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can

As we prepare for fall, we also come to the end of National Preparedness Month (September 2017). We hope that you have thoughtfully taken steps to prepare yourself, your family and your home for potential natural disasters and national emergencies. With the devastation we’ve recently seen with Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, and the recent earthquakes in Mexico, we know that disaster can strike at any time and any where.

Here’s a checklist to help guide you in making a plan for you and your family:

www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

 

The importance of property insurance

Homeowners insurance not only protects your home, which may very well be your largest investment, but gives you a sense of security. The general assumption is that whatever happens to your home is covered. In actuality, typical perils (causes of property destruction) that are generally not covered are flood damage, earthquake, mold, acts of war and parts of the property in disrepair (including worn-out plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioners, heating units and roofing). A few of these can be added as separate policies.

Educate yourself on what your policy does and, more importantly, does not cover.

 

Home health

It’s also important to consider your home and how to prepare it for the upcoming colder seasons. Here’s a helpful Home Fall Checklist from our friends at Better Homes & Gardens:

www.bhg.com/home-improvement

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How to keep your home safe while on vacation

The kids are out of school, you’ve got time of work and it’s time to pack for your summer family getaway. You’re all set to go, but is your house ready for you to be away on vacation?

A house or apartment left empty while you’re traveling is a tempting target for criminals. It’s imperative that before you go, take a few key steps to keep your home safe and sound while vacationing. These basic preventative measures, which take just minutes of preparation, can work wonders to help you keep your home safe from power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.

— Unplug anything that doesn’t need to stay plugged in, including televisions and computers, to protect them against power surges. This will help you save money as well; many appliances draw energy even when they’re turned off.

— Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by the house randomly (to avoid a pattern or anticipated time) to remove boxes from the doorstep, check the mail, pick up any delivered newspapers and take notices and fliers from the door. Ask them to park in your driveway if they live close by, and  make sure they have all your correct contact information.

You can also place a hold on your mail online at USPS.

house key chain

— Don’t tip off criminals on the web by announcing on social media that you will be leaving your house unattended for two weeks. If the temptation to post is unavoidable, ensure that all possible security measures are in place on all social sites.

— Consider shutting off the water to your washing machine, dishwasher, and toilets if you’re going to be away from the house for longer than a week. This can help prevent nasty, and potentially expensive, shocks when you return.

Another option is to install wireless leak sensors in flood-prone areas like your basement, laundry room, or bathroom, to notify you of leaks before significant damage is done.

— Keep expensive and irreplaceable items such as old family photos, artwork, electronics, and stamp collections off the ground in case of water damage. Store them up on shelves and/or in waterproof containers.

— If you have outdoor furniture, bring glass tables, chairs, and umbrellas inside to avoid wind/storm damage to yard items or the exterior of your home.

— Schedule random light timers throughout your home. This will give the appearance that someone is there and will help to deter burglars and vandals.

— Remove your spare key, that plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you’re away on vacation, it’s likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key.

Most importantly, make sure you look all doors and windows before heading off to paradise. Once you've taken these few precautions, travel safe and enjoy your time away, knowing that you're home is fully prepared for you to be gone for a while.

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Sources:

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/20160724_Vacationing__Tips_for_keeping_the_house_safe_while_you_re_gone.html

Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation: 9 Essential Tips

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Running for Playworks, Because Play Works!

When is the last time you put down your phone or iPad for a few hours and went outside to play, or to volunteer?

At least once a quarter, we at CRS Temporary Housing make it a priority to find a worthy cause to donate our time and treasure to. We call our special

group of volunteers CRS Helping Hands. Employees are encouraged to participate, along with their families, to help these community groups in a myriad of ways.

Playworks Arizona

On Saturday, April 8th, 65 CRS employees and their families, participated in the 5th Annual Run The Runway in Scottsdale, AZ. This one-of-a-kind morning run benefited Playworks Arizona, the only nonprofit organization in the country to send trained, full-time coaches to low-income, urban schools, where they transform recess and play into a positive experience that helps kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity.

The beauty of this annual event is that 100% of race proceeds go to Playworks. Those funds are used to expand their reach to Arizona schools in desperate need of recess and the learning of conflict resolution to help end bullying.

www.playworks.org/communities/arizona  

CRS Helping hands at the Andre House, Larkspur Elementary and St. Mary's Food Bank

CRS Helping hands at the Andre House, Larkspur Elementary and St. Mary's Food Bank

Here are just a few volunteer events that we have participated over the past year:

 

Andre House 

CRS Helping Hands volunteers spent a day in December at the André House, a ministry to the homeless and poor populations of the Phoenix area. Volunteers sorted donated clothing, helped guests select free apparel from the Andre House Clothing Closet and prepared a full dinner for 600 people.

www.andrehouse.org

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Back to School Drive

In August, our school supplies drive collected over 2,000 items for nearby Larkspur Elementary School in Phoenix. That gift of supplies, along with a financial donation, helped to jump-start the 2016 school year for the students at Larkspur.

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St. Mary’s Food Bank  

CRS Helping Hands June event was packing emergency food boxes with non-perishable items, sorting food and repacking bulk produce. Our efforts greatly helped St. Mary’s goal to provide more than 250,000 meals each day to those in our community who need their help the most.

www.firstfoodbank.org

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AZ Humane Society

Over a weekend in April, members of CRS Helping Hands helped make blankets for the sweet fur babies at the Arizona Humane Society and even gave a few forever homes.

www.azhumane.org

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What have you done lately?

Take a moment to think about you love to do and how you can share your time and passion to help someone in need. Whatever your motivation, whether to share a skill, get to know a community or to learn something new, know that both you and the recipient will benefit from your gracious actions. National volunteer week is coming up April 23 – 29, so get out there and make a difference!



www.playworks.org/communities/arizona

www.runtherunwayaz.com

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3 Tools Everyone In The Claims Industry Should Be Using

Insurers can offer more to their customers – more accurate services, applications and better risk predictions. Among them are 3 tools that everyone in the claims industry should be using.

Having “exceptional customer service” isn’t enough to keep high satisfaction ratings or loyal customers anymore. In today’s world, we expect an experience, convenience and expedited services while still being treated as a top priority. While insurers can offer more to their customers – more accurate services, applications and better risk predictions – policyholders still want more. Don’t fail your policyholders, use these 3 tools to make claims easier for you and your customers.

Keys to your own home

Temporary Housing Services

A claim is an emotional event, and services made available to you to ease the process of getting a customer's life back to normal is invaluable. Vendors who specialize in temporary housing services know the particular landscape of the rental and relocation market. They can offer the most cost effective approaches to short and long term property facilitation and fulfill the need as immediately as possible.  

pexels-photo-59197

Claims prevention

Using expertise from previous risks is crucial to early claims prevention.  Also, using software to fight fraud, streamline workflow and control costs is important. According to IRMI.com; Private property and casualty insurers lose $100 billion every year to insurance criminals*.   Just like fitness wearables have been changing the landscape of health care and wellness in the workplace– the ability to use devices in the property casualty industry can help to limit or even avoid an insurance claim altogether. You can monitor a home from a mobile device by receiving alerts to abnormal temperature changes, standing water or increase in humidity and smoke detection. Smart devices for the home can also come with privacy concerns, however with proper actions these risks can be lowered for a more secure home.     SONY DSC

Personalized Communication

It's important to offer personalized communication to insurance customers. You can do this by focusing on relating across the generations. Gen Xers, Millennials, Baby Boomers & Traditionalists all have their own preferences on communication methods. For example, adjusting communication approaches to your customer's style may result in quicker resolution of claims. Some may want phone calls, others prefer to receive an email or better yet, a text message. A company that utilizes text messaging is in tune to providing the best personalized customer service experience.  

If you are in the property and claims industry, contact your CRS Temporary Housing team to find out more about the tools to make your work load lighter.

 

Ways to reach us:

Call us at 800.968.0848 Email us a hotel or housing request to request@crsth.com Sign up for the Placetrak® Center Portal and manage your claims online. Download our mobile app (iTunes | Android)     *Source: https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/the-basics-of-property-claim-adjusting
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