Blog

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo.

Preparing for the Super Bowl….of your life.

Now that January has come to a close and Super Bowl Sunday is just days away, fans will cheer on the Patriots and Falcons in the final game of the 2016-17 NFL season. Less fanatic fans will be glued to the set during commercials to see which company has the best Super Bowl 51 ad, including the first ever LIVE Super Bowl commercial: www.adweek.com/news/live

Quite often I get bored seeing every commercial try to outdo the next, especially knowing the exorbitant number of dollars being spent, and find myself switching over to the Puppy Bowl (www.puppy-bowl). This year, Fox is reportedly asking up to $5.5 million for a 30-second spot. That’s a shocking $183,333.00 per second. (And that amount is only the fee paid to Fox for the time slot. Companies often spend upwards of a million to have their commercial produced.) To help put that into perspective, in 2016 the median cost of a home in the U.S. was $193,800.00. How incredibly marvelous would it be if just one company pledged their $5.5 million to put 30 families-in-need into homes?

The majority of us, minus an elite, exceptionally-talented few, will never have the experience of playing in and winning a Super Bowl...or an NCAA Championship, or maybe not even a softball league. With that slightly humbling reality check, what is the Super Bowl of your life?

Was it buying your first car or maybe getting married? Could it be owning a home or being blessed with children? And most significantly, were you genuinely prepared?

There are so many things in life that take us by surprise that we couldn’t possibly prepare for. But for the events you know are coming, preparing financially, mentally and physically will help to reduce your stress and help to ensure your success.

Do any of the following three phrases sound familiar?

1.“Don’t worry, I’ve got everything covered.”

Lets be honest, you really don’t. Write down your goal with action steps to help stay on track. If your life event is coming in the next 6 months, work backwards and write down all of the items you need to check off to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Ask a friend or family member to review your list.

2. What could possibly go wrong...?”

Successfully preparing for a life event is about critical thinking to foresee bumps in the road then determining how to handle them. This is another way of ensuring you’re fully prepared and entering into the change with your eyes wide open and solutions in your back pocket. Try to think of various scenarios and how you might handle them. Are you planning a honeymoon or vacation of a lifetime? Think about purchasing trip insurance.

3. Trust me, I can handle it myself.”

No, you can’t...you’ll need your people. When making a huge life change, you must know that times will get tough and situations will challenge you. There will be moments when you completely melt down and wonder what in the world you got yourself into. That’s when you call in the troops...your support team of like-minded people. Turn to others to pick you up, dust you off and help get you back on track.

At CRS Temporary Housing, we understand that an unexpected calamity can destroy your home. Weather-related disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and floods, along with other incidents such as a house fire or pipe burst, can thoroughly disrupt your life. Repairs and/or reconstruction of your home can be a long haul and challenging process to endure. We strive to do our very best to reduce the stress of our customers’ temporary living situation by listening to their needs and expectations to create comfortable solutions.

Try to remember: “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ― Erma Bombeck

Try to remember: “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ― Erma Bombeck


Sources:

www.huffingtonpost.ca/cheryl-muir/3-ways-to-prepare-yoursel_b_7295334.html

www.fortune.com/2017/01/17/super-bowl-li-ads-fox/

www.zillow.com/home-values/

Read more No Comments

Hotel or Housing: What’s Best for the Insured

There are many factors that go into choosing a temporary living situation for a policyholder after a property loss. You take into consideration their coverage, loss of use amount, damages, the timeline of repairs, family dynamic, and current living arrangements. So, how do you determine what the best option is? Here are some quick tips from our expert staff to help you decide.  


 Hotel

We suggest a policyholder and, if any, family members can stay in a hotel when repairs will take less than a month. However, it is important to know their Loss of Use and understand that hotel prices can fluctuate and may not always be available for extensions. Also, depending on location, hotels with kitchens or kitchenettes might be scarce, in which case food costs can incur. When placing an insured in a hotel, always over estimate on the time. This way you can get the best rate, and checking out early is always better than not knowing where a family will stay.  

CRS Advice: Depending on location and length of stay, ask about vacation rentals. Sometimes they are easier to extend and usually have a set weekly or nightly rate. 

Housing

When repairs will take 30+ days, ask for housing immediately. Temporary housing is a process that includes searching (based on the insured’s criteria), viewings, lease terms, furniture orders and delivery (if needed). It ma0y sound like a ton of work, but once the insured accepts a property, the move-in process can be done in less than a week, depending on available move-in date of course. Choosing to place an insured in housing is the best option to save money and guarantees the policyholder a committed stay when repairs are taking longer than expected. Temporary housing will less likely have fluctuations in pricing and it is typically easier to extend on a month-to-month basis; ensuring a place to stay.

 CRS Advice: Temporary Housing is typically more cost effective than a hotel, however, it is important to keep in mind that extensions can usually only be done in 30-day increments. 

 

 

 So, a good rule of thumb to decide between a hotel and housing is this: anything less than 30 days, go with a hotel. Anything more than 30 days - ask for housing as soon as possible. 

Read more No Comments

What you need to know about short term leases

  PowerWe strive to keep your policyholders comfortable and keep their families together. While most would assume there is a secret database of thousands of rental homes that meet the criteria of their insureds', I hate to break it to you; but there's not. The truth is there is a lot of work that goes into getting a short term lease. 

1. It’s not as easy as we make it look

There are thousands of rentals online, but 99% of them are for 12 months or longer, vacation rentals rarely have full months available with the ability to extend and corporate apartments aren’t for everyone.

Finding properties that will work with a short-term lease takes a lot of patience, hundreds of calls and a person who could sell ice to an Eskimo. I would know, I’ve done it. It took every tactic in the sales world including sob stories, turning on “the charm”, and of course offering more money. After the blood, sweat and tears that went into getting a house on a short-term lease, presenting to the policyholder felt victorious. However, most of the time, a policyholder will decline the first property for various reasons. For instance, it could be the location, neighbors or they don't like the carpet. Whatever the case, Residence Specialists do not give up. They have the tenacity of a bulldog and will try to give the insured everything they want in a home.

2. You will pay a higher rent

I mentioned in fact #1 that I would offer more money for a lease, and that is a standard in the industry. Very rarely will you find a landlord that will rent at the same rate for a 2-month lease as a 12-month lease. Why? Because they make more money on a 12-month lease over the short term.

If do the math, you'll find out 9 times out of 10 that you're going to save more money renting a home with a premium than a hotel's nightly rate for one month.

Example: Policyholder loves a house that’s $2,200 on a month-to-month basis including furniture and 2x’s the refundable deposit with a $500 fee. The house is $800 over the market price on a 12-month lease. The hotel they are staying at is averaging at $250/night for 30 days. So, what do you do because the rent deposit and fees seem high right? They’re not. Here’s the breakdown: 3/2 House: $2,200 rent + $500 fee + $4,400 deposit = $7,100 cost up front. When you get the deposit back here’s the final cost for the house after 30 days: $2,700 1 Hotel Room: $250 x 30 = $7,500+/- and that’s just if it stays at $250, hotels rates can fluctuate depending on availability and time of year. That doesn’t even include food costs and other amenities that wouldn’t be incurred if you stayed in a rental.

So, before dismissing an expensive or incomparable option, we want you to know that we have done the calculations for you and know it will be a more cost effective option.

3. Fees and deposits are (typically) mandatory

If a landlord is going to do double the work and make less, they will want guaranteed money, who wouldn’t? Fees are a great incentive because it means that they just get paid for renting the home without adding to the rent that usually goes towards a mortgage, property taxes, etc.

Deposits can be tricky, especially when the policyholder is responsible for paying out of pocket. Not everyone has $5,000 to pay in deposits and fees after a disaster, so be honest with your customers about costs upfront. Knowing their limits will help you have a more realistic expectation and timeline of their housing options.

4. Have pets, pay more

Finding a rental that will accept a large dog is hard normally, finding one on a month-to-month basis is nearly impossible. I remember one of my first claims that I handled, the family had a 200 lb Mastiff and extremely high expectations of what their 30-day rental should be. When we eventually found a home that complied with the rental terms and accepted this very large animal, the policyholder had to pay the deposits. It took a lot of negotiating and increasing the rent amount to finally come to an agreement.

The point is, if your insured wants to bring their animals, there will sometimes be astronomical fees and deposits because of the short term. Landlords want to accept small to no animals all the time because animals smell, have accidents, destroy yards, carpet, walls, or can even be considered a safety and insurance issue.

If your policyholder is in a hotel without their fur babies now, let them know they have alternative options like pet boarding.

5. Restrictions do apply

Pet restrictions, Occupancy Law, HOA, and applications can all restrict a policyholder from moving into housing.

Breed, weight, type and number of pets can limit a policyholders’ options for housing. There are certain tactics used, but they don’t always work or like previously mentioned, the policyholder can’t afford any deposits or fees. I’ve had insureds turn down the perfect properties because they couldn’t take their animals.

Each state has their own provisions when it comes to occupancy laws. For example, a family of 9 that lives in a 3-bedroom home cannot necessarily rent another 3-bedroom home. Most of the time these laws set limits on the number of heart beats per room. So instead of a 3-bedroom home we now need to locate a 5-bedroom home. Even though the house is not similar in size to what they come from, typically the cost savings is still substantial compared to the cost of 4 rooms in a hotel.So happy we moved into our new house

If a policyholder likes a home in an HOA, don’t expect them to move in. HOA committees in neighborhoods, condos, and townhomes control everything, including lease terms.

A family finds a home, loves the home, starts filling out the application, then suddenly realizes they don’t have the credit to rent or they’re 25-year-old son is a convicted felon; what happens next? There are a series of things that we can do, but it takes cooperation from all parties. We can’t make the application just disappear, due to fair housing laws. A majority of the time, we can provide ways around this issue, but they typically increase cost in deposits, rent or fees.

6. It won’t be perfect, but it will be worth it

A rental home is rarely “perfect”, but you make it work, especially when you’re on a time restraint. The idea around a policyholder having the perfect layout, area, and amenities is 1 in 100. We cannot build a home or force rentals, what is on the market is what’s available. If you see a rental online, look back at fact #1, because it’s probably a long-term lease, does not accept all the 12 cats or the Residence Specialist has called multiple times and always heard, "no".

Read more No Comments

Resolution Revolution!

Do you make one or several New Year’s resolutions each December 31st only to break them in the first week? Why not give yourself a break this year and have a Resolution Revolution!

Resolve to better yourself in a way that is attainable, realistic and sensible. Goals are good to have, but actually hitting those goals is stellar.

Set attainable goals

Some common resolutions are to lose weight, get in shape, quit smoking or save money. Instead of making a general plan to “lose weight”, try to more clearly define your goal. For example, are you trying to lose a specific amount of pounds, or slim down 2 sizes? Breaking down your goal into more manageable, bite-size pieces makes hitting those milestones achievable.

Be realistic

Have patience. Making lasting behavioral changes takes time. Keep in mind, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t expect to go from eating badly to eating perfectly healthy overnight. Take small steps to change your diet gradually, thoughtfully and mindfully.

Don’t give up, get up

When you slip, and you will, get up and get back on track. Don’t quit! If you missed a day of exercise or you had that whole pint of ice cream instead of just a half cup; don’t punish yourself. We are human and we mess up. Resiliency is the key.

All or nothing

If you have a financial emergency and can’t save your full 10% this month, just save what you can. Any effort towards your goal is better than no effort at all.

We at CRS strive to improve our services based on customer feedback. By listening carefully and continually improving our processes, we hope to better serve families in need of temporary housing.

Do your best in 2017 to be a part of the 8% of resolution-makers who actually attain their goal.

_____

Sources:

www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/50-new-years-resolution-ideas-and-how-achieve-each-them.html

www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2016/01/03/making-new-years-resolutions-stick/#1b9b37c81807

Read more No Comments

Give the gift of housing.

Give the Gift of Housing

 

Why make your policyholders celebrate the holidays in a hotel?

Instead, give them the gift of housing with all of the comforts of home. 

  See what one family had to say about their experience with CRS Temporary Housing during the Holidays. It is important to us to get all of our families set up in housing, when possible. Contact us to get your policyholder into a housing option if they are currently in a hotel. Give them the gift of housing.   "Our experience with CRS was first class. CRS exceeded all expectations and single handily put the joy back into our lives again, right in time for the holidays. Our new temporary home is walking distance to our home and fully furnished with no out of pocket expense. We can do laundry again so we can have clean clothes and even put up a Christmas Tree or make a home-made meal. All these things we can easily take for granted, but CRS understands this is real life and in traumatic moments, it really does matter. It will feel like the Holidays once again, and we owe this new feeling of joy to our CRS team that we consider family."  - Policyholder testimonial   

Let us help your policyholders find comfort this holiday season.

Request Housing Now

800.968.0848

Read more No Comments

Veterans Day, November 11: A Day to Remember all Who Have Served

By CRS Guest Blogger, Vince Salazar, CRS Customer Care Specialist



 

Originally, Veterans Day was called “Armistice Day,”

and the date was chosen to commemorate the signing of the armistice with Germany that ended hostilities during World War I.

Many observe Veterans Day by simply flying the U.S. flag at their house, having a picnic or cook out with friends and family, and watching war movies or other patriotic programming on TV. Many also donate to veterans' causes and show appreciation to veterans they meet or are already acquainted with, and some veterans will donate their military uniforms on this day, making themselves “easy to spot.”

Four ideas on what to do in the U.S. on Veterans Day are:

  • Attend, or at least watch on television, the Veterans Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. You can watch the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You may also wish to respectfully walk through the cemetery, where over 40,000 veterans and their families are buried.
  • Watch America's Parade, originally “the Veterans Day Parade,” in New York City. This is the largest Veterans Day parade in the country, bringing in around 25,000 attendees each year. It is held in Manhattan and has been running since 1919. There are also some other large parades to attend, including the biggest one west of the Mississippi River in Albany, Oregon, and there are many smaller parades as well.
  • Tour the memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C., that are related in some way to veterans. There are too many to list, but look for the DC War Memorial, which honors local World War I veterans, the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
  • Spend the day, or part of it, volunteering at a local VA hospital or even just chatting with veterans who are there as patients. Many VAs will have special lunches on Veterans Day for the veterans, and they welcome volunteers to help prepare the meal.

Veterans Day is an important time to remember those who risked their lives to defend the freedom of others, and you will find there are many festive and patriotic activities to take part.

On this day of remembrance, we would like to acknowledge and thank our CRS employees who have proudly served our country: Acacia Oudinot, Vince Salazar, Lionel Jerry, Richard Macias, Mindy Campbell and Dennis Allen.



About the writer, Vince Salazar

Born in Michigan (Go LIONS)

Served in the US Army Band between 1980-1986

Forged a career on stage as an actor, singer, dancer and musician ~ performing in over 200 major theatre touring companies over 20 years.

Headlined the show LEGENDS IN CONCERT in Las Vegas for over 10 years doing the Blues Brothers.

Recovered from a head-on car accident (left me in a wheel chair for over 2 years), and recently survived cancer.

Read more No Comments

What to know before bringing your pet to a hotel

If you are staying in a hotel for temporary placement or are on vacation, you want your family with you, including your pet. While there are pet friendly hotels that seem like a good option, here are some things to ask yourself before sharing a room with your furry friend.


How many pets are you bringing

Most hotels will have a maximum number of pets allowed in one room and will charge additional fees. If you plan on bringing more than one pet, ask the hotel to see if they have a maximum number or if there are any charges for having more, if there are any pet deposits or nonrefundable fees and if they charge a daily pet fee. Depending on your budget or coverage, this could be a factor to consider.

Type, size and breed

Always ask/find out to see if the hotel has restrictions on cats, dogs, birds or any other critter you'll be bringing with you. Many hotels will not accept pets that exceed a certain weight or are on the restricted breed list. They can also ask you to kennel or cage your animal when you are not in the room.

Length of stay

Are you staying for a few days or a few weeks? Think about the space of a hotel room and if other people will be staying with you. Will your dog become anxious for a long period of time in a small space or will he/she be okay for a few days? You know your pet best and what will be a comfortable living situation for them and everyone involved.

Your pets needs

Cat and Dog together resting on bed of hotel room.

Never try to sneak unapproved pets into a hotel room. You could incur additional charges or even worse, be asked to leave the hotel.

Your furry friend is accustomed to a certain lifestyle and sometimes can have behavioral issues when their routine is disrupted. Here are just a few questions you can ask yourself before deciding a hotel is the best option. "How old is your pet?"  In most cases, puppies are more of a liability than an older dog or cat. A puppy needs constant attention, can be more destructive and ultimately cost you more in damages to the hotel room than you'd probably like to pay. "Are they well trained?" If you have a dog who chews or cat that scratches, you may be in for a lot of charges from the hotel. "Do they make tons of noise?" If you answered yes to the question, you're most likely going to be getting noise complaints. If a hotel finds your pet to be disruptive to other guests, they will ask you to leave. "How often will they be alone?" The best way to avoid damages is to be around your pet. They are in an unfamiliar place where, most likely, other animals have stayed before. They may become more anxious and scared, which can lead to behavioral problems. "Is your pet primarily outside or use a doggy door?" Think of the space they're used to, their energy level and where/how often they potty. Chances are, if they don't ask to go outside at home, they won't in a hotel room.  "How do they interact with strangers?" Remember, you will not have a lot of space between you, other guests and their pets in a hotel. If your pet is known for aggressive behavior or has territory issues, it's probably in both of your best interests to not take them to the hotel.

Alternative options

Pet boarding

The best peace of mind, knowing your fur baby is safe and well taken care of. Most boarding places will provide food, treats, walks and play time, veterinary assistance (if needed) depending on what you pay for and where you go. Look into different facilities and options that are best for your budget and pet. If you are in a hotel due to displacement from your home, ask your insurance carrier about coverage for pet boarding. You'll want to provide the facility with any information or requirements (type of food, walk schedule, behavior, etc) to ensure the best care. While boarding your pet may seem costly, think about how much you could be spending in fees and possible damages.

Pet sitters

This is a great option if you can leave your animal at home or know someone who is willing to care for it. In some cases, a sitter can even watch your pet at their home. National Association of Professional Pet Sitters is a great place to start to learn more about pet sitters and what to expect.

Vacation rentals or temporary housing

If you plan on staying for more than a few days, look into pet friendly vacation rentals. They usually will have lighter pet restrictions and can provide a larger and more comfortable space for your animal. If have been displaced due to a property claim, talk to your insurance provider about using a vacation rental or if the stay will be 30 days or more. If so, a temporary home can provide the amenities you and your pet(s) need to be together comfortably.
Read more No Comments

What if a flood happens in my community?

pexels-photo-29095

As we begin to approach the end of summer and continue to see the widespread flooding in Louisiana and growing fires in California, we ask ourselves, “what’s next, and will my community be affected?”.

It is important to know that we are still in the midst of hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recently increased their hurricane estimate from 10 to 16 named storms to 12 to 17. They are now expecting five to eight of those storms to become hurricanes.

Much of the US will feel the impact of these storms. Are you prepared? Does your family have a plan in place in case your home or community are flooded? Do you have flood insurance?

Even if you’re located in a part of the country not commonly impacted by hurricanes, sudden microbursts, severe thunderstorms and melting snow can also lead to flooding. Don’t hesitate to prepare in advance; the best time to put a flood plan in place is when it’s not flooding.

Here’s a few tips on what you can do now to be better prepared for flooding throughout the year:

- Know your flood risk. (www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flooding_flood_risks/understanding_your_risk.jsp)

- Make a flood emergency plan. (www.ready.gov/make-a-plan)

- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. (www.ready.gov/kit)

- Consider buying flood insurance.

- Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground, the highest level of a building, or to evacuate.

- Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.

How will I know when a potential flood is coming?

The last bullet point above advises us to stay informed by phone, TV and radio for weather updates. It’s necessary to understand the terminology you are hearing:

Flood Watch = “Be Aware.” Conditions are right for flooding to occur in your area.

Flood Warning = “Take Action!”  Flooding is either happening or will happen shortly.

Educating yourself and your family about potential flooding can be one of the most important things you do.

This graphic is called "3 Fast Flood Facts," and features tips on how to stay safe during flooding. The text reads as follows: 3 Fast Flood Facts Heavy rain can bring dangerous flash flooding. 6 inches of moving water can knock a person down. 2 feet of moving water can sweep a vehicle away. Whether you're walking or driving, stay clear of floodwater. Share these facts with friends so they're safe too.

Sources:

www.newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/08/17/hurricane-season-2016

www.ready.gov/floods

www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/before_a_flood.jsp

Read more No Comments