Just because we can't come into the office doesn't mean that we are going to stop doing our best for all of you. We have adapted to the situation and made the best of this "new normal." We asked our employees to share a little bit about what it's been like working from home. Here is some of what they had to say:
Sharon - “While I certainly miss the social interaction of my co-workers and the occasional “popping in” of our clients; I am so very thankful that we still have the ability and blessing to provide, serve, and be joyful.
I also have to say that one sweet benefit of working from home is being able to share lunch with my husband on the deck in the middle of my workday."
If the commute to work that once was, and will likely be again, but is on hold, can be considered part of the working at home experience, I think this lack of the need to commute is wonderful. Although the environment of our office is very pleasant and visually appealing with all office equipment necessary to get the job done, I have been pleasantly surprised that I have been able to create an environment, different from the office, but one that works well, and seems to be quite efficient and comfortable.
Andy - "With Coronavirus becoming wide spread, and state mandated closures in place, we have adapted by transitioning to working from home. Fortunately the transition has been seamless and allowed us to keep our customers, ourselves and families safe. As it has been for so many, getting used to the “new normal”, took some time, but I have found the joy in it too. I get to eat lunches at home with my wife and kids everyday, drop the dreaded commute, and even get to be desk mates with my kids as they do their school work. This is a challenging time in our world, but I really do enjoy the small blessings that have come with it as a result."
Jenn - "Although I have the luxury of working from home the majority of the time, home isolation with three mini helpers puts a whole new spin on things. Lately everything seems totally out of control and uncertain, all we can do is stop and look at what is certain and controllable. Our attitude. Our relationships. Our capabilities. Working from home on our same computers with our same work family allows us to care for our families and serve our customers without interruption. Being able to be the constant and certain for our customers brings me joy and I’m proud to be a part of such an amazing team, whether we are under the same roof or 200 miles apart."
Matt - "Working from home has not been without it's challenges. The sense of community that comes from working in close quarters with your coworkers gets lost a little bit. Luckily, with our regular Zoom calls, I still get to see them a few times a week! There have been some silver linings in this looming cloud. I get to spend all day every day with my wife (fortunately we haven't driven each other crazy yet). I also get to choose what music I listen to while I work (not that I don't love the music my coworkers choose). While it has been challenging being pent up and away from coworkers, in the grand scheme of things it's not so bad."
Doug - My thoughts on the working from home experience. Well, I have discovered that I hate my desk and chair at home and much prefer the office. One of the greatest perks of working at Lautenbach Insurance is that I truly LOVE everyone there and miss them all terribly. No social interaction is a very definite negative for me. There are some times that I feel like not having any interruptions does allow me to accomplish more work but I still miss the fellowship and the kind smiles from my coworkers. I always felt like I was a little shy and introverted to some degree but maybe I need to rethink that since I do appear to feed off of others…or at least those folks that I know. I say all of this, because my lovely bride of many years unlike me has never met a stranger and will talk to anyone!
Well the bottom line is that I have discovered the online work thing is a viable solution to aid in social distancing and stopping the spread of the virus and at the same time we can still provide excellent help for our customers and their insurance needs."
Jenna - (written by Fred) Jenna has been working with us since last Fall as an intern and is set to Graduate from Colorado Christian University in May. I know that this has been a time of heartbreak for her as the last Semester of her Senior year in College has just vanished before her eyes. Friends and roommates sent home to finish studies and the cancellation of Graduation. The good news for our team is that she will be joining our staff Full-time in June.
Connie - (written by Fred) Connie loves being home reading, and as she says, cleaning everything around her. Her and her husband are enjoying wonderful long walks and spending special time together.
Fred - “I am so glad we were prepared as much as possible to make this transition. Thank you so much to our team and the willingness to be open to change. I have mixed emotions on working from home. While I love spending all my time with my beautiful wife, I do feel a part of me is missing. As most of you know a good team loves to be together and support one another. I guess you could say it is like a Mother Hen wanting to keep all of her chicks around her. I miss having Customers walk in. I miss getting away from my desk and laughing at some ones funny jokes or comments. Most of all I just miss spending time with the best group of employees a team leader could ever have.”
Sharon's Recipe - Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats
Bring to a Boil:
1 cup of sugar,
1 Cup white corn syrup
Remove from heat and add
1 cup of peanut butter.
6 Cups of Rice Krispies
Spread in a 9X12 butter pan,
Drizzle with Chocolate if desired., but oh so good just as they are.
Slice and enjoy!
Does Your Credit Score Affect Insurance Rates?
One study found that people with no credit pay an average of 53% more for car insurance than people with excellent credit.
While the vast majority of insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help determine the price of insurance, it is banned in the states of Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California. Some states only allow it as a factor for property insurance like auto and homeowners insurance. Other states allow it to be used with any type of insurance.
Generally, an insurance company will use a credit-based insurance score as just one factor in its underwriting process. Other factors may be considered, depending upon the type of insurance. For example, with auto insurance, other factors could include your zip code, the age of the drivers, the make, model, and age of the car, and the number of miles you drive annually.
The use of credit scores to determine insurance rates is rooted in research that shows individuals with lower credit scores have higher car insurance losses and claims payouts.
You can ask your insurance company if a credit-based insurance score was used to underwrite and rate your policy, and in which risk category you were placed.
If you want to improve your credit-based insurance score, you should consider taking the same steps you would to improve your credit rating: make timely debt payments, clear up past disputes, and keep credit card balances low.
5 Creative Ways to Avoid Isolation Boredom
With much of the country under orders to stay at home, cabin fever is likely to become a problem for some. Here are a few ways that you can fend off that isolated feeling.
- Live Stream Concerts: You might not be able to go out to your favorite venue and see a show, but musicians are working hard to bring the shows to you. Many musicians have been streaming live concerts from their social media pages for your viewing pleasure.
- Video Call Hangouts: Missing your friends or family? After you're done working from home, get everyone together on video conference app of your choice. Facetime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are some of the more popular choices. Whether it's a happy hour or you eat a meal together, time together makes being inside a little easier!
- Netflix Watch Party: Netflix Party is a cool website that allows you to sync what you're watching with someone else and chat about it. If you want some company while you're binge watching, this is a great way to go.
- Multiplayer Phone Games: Time to dust off the old Words With Friends app. Many board games have multiplayer online or app editions that you can play with friends. These can help you pass the time and stay connected with friends.
- Find a Pen Pal: If all of this technology isn't for you, then you can always just resort to good old pen and paper. Use your new found free time to catch up with an old friend or a relative you haven't spoken to in a while.
While these options are not always as appealing as their real-life counterparts, they can make the isolation a little bit more manageable.
A Home Insurance Claim: To File Or Not To File
Insurance is meant to protect you against financial loss. But is it really meant to protect you from any and all financial loss? When it comes to filing a loss claim on your home insurance, there may be times when not filing may be the wisest course of action.1
According to one study, filing just a single claim could increase your monthly premium by 20 percent, depending on where you live.2
What About My Premium?
Some insurance companies may protect you against premium increases, and in Texas, insurance companies are even prohibited from increasing rates following a first claim. However, if filing a claim means your premium will rise, you may need to decide whether it makes sense to do it.
It may not pay to file a claim if:
- The claim amount is small. Your policy will have a deductible, so even claims of $1,000 to $2,000 may not have a favorable long-term cost benefit.
- You're not covered for a loss. Read your policy first to determine coverage. The simple act of filing a claim (even for a claim that won't be paid) may result in higher premiums.
- You have filed a claim within the last seven years. Since previous claims are tracked by an industry database for seven years, it may result in higher premiums.
Another factor to consider: you may want to file a claim regardless of dollar amount if someone is injured on your property, in order to protect yourself in the event that you are sued by the injured party.
1. Several factors will affect the cost of homeowner's insurance, including the location, size and contents in the home. You should consider the amount of your deductible and level of coverage before purchasing a policy. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
2. National Association of Realtors, 2019