How To Keep Your Policyholders

Posted Monday, July 30th, 2018

Your relationship with your policyholder

The claims process can make or break your relationship with your policyholder. There’s a good chance that if a claim goes south your policyholder may be shopping for another provider. On the flipside, if your policyholder has an out-of-this-world experience, you may have created a cheerleader, earning you more business from referrals.

A great relationship with your policyholder is the foundation to keeping them happy and wanting to continue to use you as their insurance provider.

Here are 5 ways you can add extra value to policyholders:

Give Them What They Want
Whatever the situation is, filing a claim with your insurance provider always has some level of stress associated with it. Whether it’s a small auto claim or a large property damage claim, your policyholders are looking for reassurance in knowing that you have their best interest in mind. Giving them the attention that they need and helping them in any way will definitely strengthen your relationship and create cheerleaders.

Stay In Front Of Them
Email is an easy and cost effective way to stay in front of your policyholders. Monthly email newsletters, tips, and videos are great ways to stay engaged with your current policyholders as well as follow up on new leads.

Email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact provide user friendly ways to build, manage, and analyze your email marketing campaigns and most of them come with built in automation features that let you send a series of emails based on how the recipient interacts with your emails.

Be Easily Accessible
This one is pretty self explanatory. Nothing is more frustrating when you are looking for answers but can’t get ahold of who you need to. Being prompt in returning phone calls and emails will build trust between you and your policyholder, even if your response is a quick “let me check on that and I’ll get back with you soon”.

Connect With Them On Social Media
Social media is another communication tool you can use to stay in front of your policyholders and provide them with extra value such as links to interesting articles, blog posts, or even as a way to notify them of flood warnings, cold snaps, and other severe weather that may impact their homes or businesses.  

It’s also a great way for you and your customer to learn about each other. You may share certain interests such as camping or music that you can bring up in a casual conversation. These types of shared interests can only help strengthen your relationship with your policyholder and give them yet another reason for them to continue to use you as their insurance provider.

Choose The Right Restoration Company
You may only get one chance to make a first impression. If your policyholder has a loss, you should make sure the company you are sending out is qualified, reputable, and customer focused. I imagine it would be pretty devastating to spend so much time building this great relationship with a policyholder only to have it damaged by a company who does not meet your or your policyholder’s expectations.

Modernistic has been helping Michigan homeowners and businesses recover from water, fire, wind, and storm damage for over 45 years. Our certified restoration team is dedicated to providing 100% Customer Delight to every customer, every time.
Want to learn more about our expert professional restoration team? Click here!


Here’s How Much Damage Water Can Do To A Basement

Posted Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

how much damage water can do to a basement

99.99% of the time, you don’t have to worry about water damage in your basement. A dry basement is a fantastic family hangout spot, almost always available for your family’s use. Unfortunately, if you’re one of the 60% of homes at risk for basement water damage (according to the American Society of Home Inspectors), your dry comfortable family hangout room might be at risk for flooding – and it could cost you thousands. You may be asking yourself “How much damage can water do to a basement?” The answer: more than you might think!

Water Categories: Clean, Grey, Black

Floodwater comes in three different categories of contamination:

  • Category 1 – Clean water
  • Category 2 – Grey water
  • Category 3 – Black water

As you can probably guess, Category 1 – Clean water is the least contaminated type of floodwater. Clean water can come from faucets, bathtubs, or fresh rainwater and has been sitting for less than 24 hours.

Category 2 – Grey water has non-pathogenic contaminants. While not immediately dangerous, these contaminants can still cause illness or discomfort. Washing machine overflows, aquarium water, and washing machine leaks are all examples of grey water flooding.

Category 3 – Black water has pathogenic contamination and is unsanitary. Sewage, chemical waste, and any water sitting for over 72 hours are all considered black water situations.

Time is of the essence when it comes to floodwater, because even Clean water can become Grey and then Black water if it sits for too long since contamination happens over time.

Flooded Basement Damage Timeline

The damage water can do to a basement isn’t limited to contamination, however. Water itself can be very destructive. Here’s how a flood will damage your basement over time:

In 60 minutes…
Water begins saturating porous materials, like wood, drywall, and carpeting. Anything made of cardboard or other paper products is destroyed. Carpet and carpet padding become saturated with water, spreading moisture into areas not affected by the initial flooding.

In 4 hours…
Furniture and other wood materials begin to delaminate and swell at this point. The increased humidity begins amplifying any organic odors present in the basement, giving off that telltale “musty” smell. Drywall often becomes unsalvageable after this amount of time.

In 1 day…
Mold and other contaminants can start growing in as little as 24 hours and can spread to unaffected surfaces. Wood will start to warp, leaving hardwood floors damaged beyond repair. Paint and wallpaper will begin bubbling and peeling.

In 1 week…
Mold and other fungi will saturate any porous materials they come in contact with and will become hazardous to an occupant’s health. Category 1 water has become Category 3 at this point, and any materials it has affected will either need to be thrown out or need extensive restorative work. The entire basement becomes a biohazard, significantly increasing cleanup costs.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wait

Needless to say, the easiest category of water to clean up is Category 1 – Clean water. Cleaning up clean water flood can be as simple as extracting and placing drying equipment. As water moves up the contamination spectrum, restoration costs rise significantly. Extra contamination means extra risk for your family and your home, significantly increasing how much damage water can do to a basement – and your wallet!

To prevent this escalation of cleanup costs, call an emergency water mitigation professional as soon as you notice water damage in your basement! The last thing you want to do is wait too long and end up with a lengthy and costly repair process.   

Modernistic has been keeping Michigan’s basements dry for over 45 years! Click here to learn more about what you can do to prevent water damage in your home, and contact us right away if you have a flood in your basement!


Spring Weather Causes Burst Pipes

Posted Thursday, March 15th, 2018

It always happens around this time of year. Our Michigan springs are notoriously volatile, with temperatures ranging from sunny and warm one day, to cloudy and freezing the next. While Detroit and Ann Arbor residents don’t have to deal with lake effect like Grand Rapids and Lansing, they still have to contend with weather systems pushing up from the south, which can leave them even colder than the rest of the state! (minus the U.P., of course, since they’re basically tundra until May). Springtime in Michigan certainly isn’t gentle, and this fluctuating weather can be incredibly harsh on your indoor plumbing. This sort of spring weather causes burst pipes, leaving us Michiganders with water in our basements and a mess on our hands.

Freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw – the weather cycle we experience in spring causes a major strain on your water pipes. Why does fluctuating weather cause pipes to burst? Well, when water freezes, it expands. Ice will take up more volume than water, which is a huge problem in confined spaces – like your plumbing!

If you’ve ever had the ice cubes in your ice tray freeze together, you’ve experienced this effect. Even though you put the exact right amount of water in the tray (and it didn’t overflow), the cubes all froze together on the top when you pulled it out of the freezer. What gives? When the water froze, it pushed upwards and out. Having this happen in your ice tray is a minor inconvenience; having this happen in your plumbing can be a disaster!

Expanding ice will push against the barriers of the piping, and, given enough pressure, will actually split the pipe. Not good. The worst part is that you won’t even realize it until the water thaws and starts flowing again. Even a tiny, ⅛ inch split can spill up to 250 gallons of water per day!

Luckily, there are a few Simple & Quick steps you can take to help prevent burst pipes from happening:

  1. Locate and insulate any vulnerable plumbing
  2. Keep your thermostat at a steady temperature – day and night
  3. Let your faucets slowly drip when the temperature drops
  4. Close the garage

That’s why Michigan spring weather causes burst pipes; the up-and-down temperatures make it more likely that your pipes will freeze, which puts them at risk of bursting and causing a massive flood in your basement. Or bathroom. Or kitchen. Or any room that plumbing runs through. While you should be vigilant all year long (like in the winter, for example), springtime is prime time for burst pipes and water damage in your home.

From burst pipes to flooded basements to toilet overflows, Modernistic has been helping Michigan recover from water damage for over 45 years.


Ask Modernistic: Pet Safety Tips for Flooded Basements

Posted Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

If my basement floods, is my pet safe?

Dear Modernistic,

My dogs love being in the basement. Ever since they were puppies and were kept down there during potty training, they prefer to eat, sleep, and play down there most of the time. One thing I worry about is how safe it is for them to be down there in the event of a flood. Sometimes the drain backs up and parts of the basement get wet. It hasn’t gotten too bad yet, but with as wet as the weather has been lately, I just don’t know. Are there any pet safety tips for flooded basements?

Sincerely Worried,

Debbie L.

—-

Dear Debbie,

One thing we really care about at Modernistic is family, and some of the most adorable and vulnerable members of our families are our pets. Making sure your home is scoring high on the pet safety meter can be a full-time job, so let’s help set your mind at ease with these crucial pet safety tips for flooded basements:

1. Keep your pets away from the drain!

Even with common drain backups that may only result in a small amount of water, there are still things you can do to protect your dogs, cats, and other pets. Let’s say for instance you had a light rain, or your washer backed up and you have some dirty water sitting around the drain. Yes, this isn’t a serious flood situation, but even in this scenario, you may want to attach a small steel cage cover or barrier that extends at least a foot around the drain. This will help prevent your pets from drinking any contaminated water that could get them very sick.

2. Make sure they aren’t locked in!

If you are in the situation every homeowner dreads and your basement is fully flooded, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to keep your pets from drinking the water. What you can do though is take some precautions to make sure they aren’t stuck treading water.

One surefire way to make sure your pets aren’t forced to swim for their life is to make sure they have an exit plan. Now, more than likely your basement has stairs, but not all basements have landings on that stairway. If your stairway to the basement does not have a safe space for your dogs to rest on a landing above the flood waters, then make sure to leave the basement door ajar. This is a huge pet safety tip. If your dogs like to get into stuff and show their unruly side in the rest of the house, then we recommend some sort of pet door or gate to keep them out of the rest of the house, while still allowing them to escape the basement in times of emergency.

3. Elevate food and water!

The easiest way to prevent your dogs from trying to drink any contaminated flood water or eat any random floating objects is to make sure their food and water are safe.  A flooded basement can bring up all kinds of nasty things you don’t want your dogs (or anything else) to be eating; things like half-used paint cans, unsecured flammable liquids, dead rodents, and any number of things your imagination can come up with. It’s a good idea to put your pets’ food and water in a safe, high place away from the rising floodwater. Places like the top of the stairs, or a landing if you have one, are perfect.

4. Keep them out of the basement!

…if you can, anyway! If your basement is prone to flooding or you live in a high-risk area, it might be wise to keep them upstairs at all times, just to be safe. In our 40+ years of restoring homes after water damage, we know one thing for absolute certain: You never know when a flood might happen!

If you can follow some of these pet safety tips for flooded basements, your dogs will be just fine. One great thing about technology today is that there are all kinds of in-home cameras you can install to keep an eye on your little furry babies when your away from home too. We hope this helps Debbie!

Sincerely,

The Modernistic Mitigation Team

We love our pets here at Modernistic, and we want to help keep yours safe too. Contact us 24/7/365 for all your emergency water damage and flooding needs!


How To Prevent Ice Dams

Posted Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

“If you seek an ice free roof, just look above you.”

Ice dams on your roof, if you don’t already know, can cause major damage to your shingles, gutters, or even worse, the inside of your home.

The problem is, “What causes ice dams?”

Whether it’s in your home or business, insulation is one of the key factors in how to prevent ice dams.

So What’s An Ice Dam?

Without getting too technical, an ice dam is a buildup of of ice that typically form along the eaves.

how to prevent ice dam

As snow on your roof melts, it drains down the roof towards your eaves, a part of your roof that is not insulated.

With Michigan winters being cold as they are, the water passes over the cold eaves and freezes, causing an ice dam.

Over time, more and more snow melts, causing larger ice dams and more risk for water damage to leak into the interior of your home or business.

 

What Causes Snow To Melt On My Roof?

Just look up….no… not at the sun, in your attic!

Under-insulated attics are one of the major contributors to the formation of ice dams.

If your home or business doesn’t have the proper amount of insulation, heat will escape into the attic, causing the attic temperature to increase. As the attic temperature increases, the roof begins to warm.

Once the roof begins to warm…BOOM!, you have yourself some melting snow, one of the main ingredients for the start of an ice dam.

Now that you know what causes them, here’s how to prevent ice dams from forming.

Got It! Now How Do I Prevent Ice Dams?

Adequately insulating your attic is one of best way to prevent ice dams.

According to the EPA, the average homeowner can save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs by properly insulating their home.

With the proper amount of insulation, more heat will stay in the inside of your home or business, keeping the attic temperature closer to the temperature outside. This will help keep the snow from melting, which will help prevent ice dams from forming.

But before you hire a contractor to inspect your insulation, take a peek for yourself.

  • Check the height of the insulation. If the height of the insulation is at or below the top of the joist, you should add more.
  • Make sure it is even. Check to make sure that the insulation is distributed evenly across the entire attic. High or low spots can be corrected by either adding or removing insulation.

The right amount of insulation will not only help your heating and cooling costs, it will also help prevent thousands of dollars worth of repairs caused by water damage from backed up water in your attic or walls.

Next, learn how to get rid of ice dams if they have already formed.

How To Get Rid Of An Ice Dam

Too little, too late, right? Not so fast! If you spot an ice dam, there are some steps you can take to help keep it under control, or better yet, eliminate it.

If you know that warm weather is in the near future, don’t wait! Yes, warmer temperatures will help snow melt, but when temperatures start to drop, the melted snow will freeze and you’ll end up with more ice dams.

The name of the game is to be proactive and start working at those ice dams now.

  • Rake the Roof! A good way to prevent water runoff from freezing and creating an ice dam is to simply remove the snow from your roof. A roof rake is a safe and common tool used to remove snow from a roof from the safety of the ground. No ladders!
  • Use Panty Hose. Yes, you are still reading about ice dams! Filling panty hose with calcium chloride ice melter and laying it vertically across the ice dam will slowly melt the snow and ice, providing a channel for water to run down the roof and into the gutter. Safety note: Using a ladder when there’s snow on the ground is dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Fight the Cold with Cold. For a temporary fix, place a box fan in your attic and point it at the area of the roof where the ice dam is forming. The idea here is to use the fan to cool the warmer area of the roof that is causing snow to melt.
  • Just DON’T Do It! Avoid using ice melt for sidewalks and driveways. Runoff from these products can damage your plants and other vegetation in the area.

Also, never use a chisel or any other sharp tool to chip the ice dam away. Not only is dangerous to be on ladder at that height in the winter, chipping away at ice can damage your shingles, gutters, and other parts of your roof.

Conclusion

Ice dams can give you fits! With these tips, you should now be familiar with ice dams and the dangers they pose. Of course, it’s always best to get a professional to evaluate your particular ice dam situation before following any of this advice.

Poor insulation, snow accumulation on the roof, and warming and cooling temperatures are all key ingredients for the formation of ice dams and the potential for water damage in your home or business.

If it’s too late and you’ve experienced water damage from ice dams, call the professional mitigation team at Modernistic. For over 40 years we’ve been helping Michigan home and business owners with their water, fire, and mold restoration needs!


Why Customer Delight Matters

Posted Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Customer Delight

In our 40+ years of serving Michigan’s cleaning and restoration needs, we’ve learned a few things about customer satisfaction; namely, you’ll never go out of business if people love your service! That’s why one of Modernistic’s core values is Customer Delight. We want to do whatever it takes to make our customers happy, and that extends to all our mitigation and reconstruction services.   

Info When You Need It

When it comes to customer satisfaction, effective communication is key. Losses can be extremely stressful on a homeowner, and the last thing they need to worry about is if their contractor and their insurance company are on the same page. That’s why we go the extra mile and provide regular updates to not only the customer, but to the agent in charge as well. That way, everyone’s informed and up to date with the progress of the claim. Our goal is to make sure nobody’s left out of the loop!

One Point of Contact

Another way we help facilitate good communication is with dedicated claims coordinators. Have you ever tried to find out the status of a project and had no idea who would have the information you need or how to contact them? Very frustrating. That’s not Customer Delight! That’s why Modernistic assigns a claims coordinator on each claim to act as a point of contact for homeowners, agents, and everyone in between. That way, specific, up-to-date project info is only a phone call or email away! No waiting for a receptionist to relay a message, or getting lost in phone menus; just one call or email to the assigned claims coordinator puts you in touch with the person that has the info you need.  

One Goal

Everything we do here at Modernistic is focused on one thing: Providing service that makes our customers, clients, co-workers, vendors, and everyone else we do business with go “Wow!”. If that falls in line with your business’s goals, let’s have a conversation. Contact your local Modernistic office today!