April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
25 Apr 2018

Do You Distribute An Electronic Newsletter? This Is A Must Read!

E-newslettersNICA’s Associate Member Mary Gillen is an exceptional web developer and internet “go-to professional.” She always stays up to date with the ever-changing landscape of the internet. If you send out electronic newsletters, this article, written by Mary, is full of important and time-sensitive information.

New European Privacy Rules – The General Data Protection Regulation – take effect May 25, 2018.

These regulations were passed by the European Union in 2016, setting new rules for how companies manage and share personal data. In theory, the GDPR only applies to EU citizens’ data, but the global nature of the internet means that nearly every online service is affected, and the regulation has already resulted in significant changes for US users as companies scramble to adapt.

The GDPR sets a higher bar for obtaining personal data than we’ve ever seen on the internet before. These requirements include:

  1. Any time a company collects personal data on an EU citizen, it will need explicit and informed consent from that person.
  2. Users also need a way to revoke that consent, and they can request all the data a company has from them as a way to verify that consent. It’s a lot stronger than existing requirements, and it explicitly extends to companies based outside the EU. For an industry that’s used to collecting and sharing data with little to no restriction, that means rewriting the rules of how user info is collected online and stored.

Most importantly, the GDPR gives companies a hard deadline: the new rules go into effect on May 25th, 2018 – so if you’re not following the rules by then, you’re in trouble. The result has been a mad dash to adapt current practices to the new rules and avoid one of those crushing fines. 

You are probably thinking, “I just do local home inventories, so this doesn’t apply to me.” This is addressing what happens to information when someone signs up for your newsletter. Since there is no control over who subscribes (or from where), it is imperative to abide by these rules.

What You Need to Do Now If You Have an Email Newsletter Subscription Form on Your Website

Email consent needs to be separate. Never bundle consent with your terms and conditions, privacy notices, or any of your services, unless email consent is necessary to complete that service. A solution is to add an (unticked) checkbox to the bottom of your subscription form just before the Submit button. The explanation needs to be simple and understandable. The checkbox needs to be a required element on the form, which means the user will not be allowed to submit the information on the form unless the checkbox is selected.

What You Need to Do If You Have Contact Forms on Your Website

Add an (unticked) checkbox to the bottom of your Contact Form just before the Submit button with a consent message to collect and store the data.

GDPR not only sets the rules for how to collect consent but also requires companies to keep a record of these consents. It is important to know that this does not only apply to signups that happen after May 25th, it applies to all existing subscribers on your email list as well.

If your existing subscribers have given consent in a way that’s already compliant with GDPR—and if you kept a record of those consents—there’s no need for you to re-collect consent from those subscribers. If your existing records don’t meet GDPR requirements, however, you have to take action.

What to do:
  1. Audit your existing email list. Figure out who on your email list already provided GDPR-compliant consent, and ensure that you have a clear record of those consents.
  2. Implement a re-permission program. If for any of your contacts you don’t have GDPR-proof of consent—or if you are unsure about whether or not their consent is compliant—you’ll have to run a re-permission campaign to refresh that consent or remove the subscriber from your mailing list.

This is a lot to digest. Please feel free to contact Mary with your questions. Also, please pass this information on to other website owners you may know. It is important that they receive this information as well.

If you need help implementing these changes on your website, Mary can help you, and can also assist you in creating a mailing for a re-permission program. Please don’t ignore this. Make these changes before the May 25th deadline.

11 Apr 2018

Colorado Member Achieves Industry CIS Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Mandy Wiedeman for achieving the Certified Inventory Specialist designation.

certifiedPRESS RELEASE – April 9, 2018 – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Mandy Wiedeman, owner of Hearts Ease Home Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Completing this accomplishment confirms her knowledge that enables her to provide quality residential and small business contents inventory services.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for professional inventory service providers.

To earn the CIS designation, Wiedeman successfully completed required courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a minimum number of Continuing Education Units. She then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

Having an industry certification is not required for the contents inventory industry. Choosing to invest in continuing education shows a desire to learn and excel as a personal property inventory professional. Earning these credentials informs clients that she has gone the extra mile to ensure that Hearts Ease Home Inventory provides quality inventory services.

Wiedeman stated, “It was firsthand experience, serving as co-executor of a friend’s estate, that laid the foundation for Hearts Ease Home Inventory. In the aftermath of losing my friend and settling her estate, I carried a weight that abruptly exposed itself in the form of persistent, overwhelming anxiety and depression. Thoughts of responsibilities and identical commitments made to serve in this capacity for others stimulated a desperate sense of urgency to get my own affairs in order, and do so in a way that would alleviate potential impacts this process holds for surviving family and friends.”

Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Hearts Ease Home Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services for disaster preparedness and recovery, estate planning, estate settlement, and separation of assets for homes and businesses.

04 Apr 2018

A Great Time To Start Your Home Inventory Business

Nationwide Inventory Professionals LogoWith April being National Home Inventory Month, Associate Member Nationwide Inventory Professionals believes it’s a great time to start your home inventory business. Many subscribers to the NICA newsletter are researching the industry. For those who are planning to start your inventory service, this awareness month is a perfect time. With fellow professionals promoting the industry more than usual, the attention created will give a catalyst to get started.

And you say that April is just a few days away, right? With the Nationwide Inventory Professionals Business Package and License Agreement, you can be ready to do business within 30 days…before Home Inventory Month is over! You’ll receive:

  • Personalized website
  • Personalized newsletter distributed for you to your database
  • Shared logo that helps create brand recognition
  • Private website with a downloadable manual as well as business and marketing templates
  • Support and mentoring from the founders
  • And very important –1st year membership in NICA and all courses required to achieve certification as a CIS

What great timing … starting your home inventory business during National Home Inventory Month!

Nationwide Inventory Professionals is not affiliated with or endorsed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

31 Mar 2018

National Home Inventory Month – April 2018

Home Inventory MonthNICA, as a member-driven association, has made great strides in bringing awareness about home inventories to the general public. To increase this awareness, a committee worked with Managing Director Cindy Hartman to establish National Home Inventory Month. One more shout-out to the committee members Debra Palmer, Jo Soard, and Tricia Hoekwater for a job well done – and in a very short time!

A press release was distributed mid-March, announcing that NICA declared April as National Home Inventory Month. We are very pleased that many other press release sites picked up the article and posted it on their sites. Members also shared the press release on their social media accounts – thank you to those who took the time to help promote it. The press release is also published on the News page of the NICA website, so you can easily share that article on your social media posts.

As April is just a few days away, the committee would like all home inventory professionals to watch for the NICA social media posts and share the information. There is also a prepared list of posts for members to share on their social media accounts along with graphics created specifically for National Home Inventory Month 2018.

Please visit the page dedicated to this awareness month on the NICA website. There is a brief section telling visitors the reasons for establishing this special month, followed by a list of activities every home inventory professional can embrace to help share the information and inform their followers.

National Home Inventory Month will be as successful as each home inventory professional decides to make it. This is a great opportunity to pull together and make a concerted effort as an industry to bring attention to the services each home inventory professional offers.

Let’s see the month of April full of activities, social media posts, press releases, and efforts to share the opportunities to create awareness. Please send photos of what you’re doing. If you don’t have photos but would like to share what you did to contribute to our industry’s recognition, send an email. We’ll include all member photos and contributions on the News page of the website and in the May newsletter.

12 Mar 2018

NICA Designates April as National Home Inventory Month

NHIM LogoPRESS RELEASE — The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) announces that April has been designated as National Home Inventory Month. NICA provides education and certification for home inventory service providers who create written and photographic documents that serve a variety of life events for homeowners and renters. The focus of National Home Inventory Month (NHIM) is to raise awareness of the value and benefits of a home inventory.

NICA’s mission is “To provide awareness and education.” Establishing a specific month to focus on the need for a home inventory supports this initiative. NICA members agree that a concerted effort by the association and all inventory professionals together will raise awareness of the many life events that require or benefit from having this information prepared.

“Bringing home inventory professionals together through a universal curriculum and industry certifications has resulted in a cohesiveness in what was once a very segmented industry, explained Managing Director Cindy Hartman. “Establishing a National Home Inventory Month is very exciting for our members. Additional awareness throughout the US will benefit each professional as well as the homeowners and renters who now understand and see the value of having a document of what they own.” 

Recurring disasters, increased thefts, and a growing desire to protect one’s assets have encouraged the growth of this service industry. In addition to helping policyholders remember and prove ownership when filing an insurance claim, home inventory documents also assist with estate settlement, financial and estate planning, separation of assets, pre-nuptials, and documenting collectibles. Busy lifestyles have encouraged many to hire an inventory professional to compile this information for their residences, vacation homes, apartments, and off-site storage units.

NICA welcomes all home inventory professionals, members and non-members alike, to participate in this initial campaign of National Home Inventory Month during the month of April 2018. Social media hashtags are #HomeInventory and #HomeInventoryMonth. A page dedicated to this event has been added to the NICA website.

12 Mar 2018

Southern California Inventory Professional Achieves Industry Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Michael Hill for achieving the Certified Inventory Specialist designation.

certified blue check markPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Michael Hill, owner of Inventory Management Systems, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms he has gained knowledge to provide professional residential and small business contents inventory services.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

To earn the CIS designation, Hill successfully completed required courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a minimum number of Continuing Education Units. He then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

Having an industry certification is not required for the contents inventory industry. However, choosing to invest in continuing education shows a desire to learn and excel as a personal property inventory professional. Earning these credentials informs clients that Hill has gone the extra mile to ensure he provides quality inventory services for homeowners, renters, and business owners.

Based in Palm Springs, California, Michael Hill and Inventory Management Systems offer residential and business asset inventory services. 

 

08 Mar 2018

NICA Establishes National Home Inventory Month

CalendarThere was a great deal of interest from our members for NICA to pursue establishing a special day, week, or month designated for Home Inventory.

With your support, we have decided to pursue establishing a National Home Inventory Month, with the intent to help create awareness of the need for a home inventory and the benefits of being a NICA member.

The Committee members who determined the feasibility of this initiative and who are currently working on this program are:

The committee chose April to be the month designated as National Home Inventory Month. The committee agreed that instead of recognition just for a day or week, having the entire month would be more beneficial. This will allow all inventory professionals to promote their services for a longer period of time, which will help gain more recognition.

Another factor in choosing April was to avoid other established awareness months for related industries: National Safety Month (June), National Preparedness Month (September) and National Fire Prevention Month (October). It is also a “spring cleaning” season, which often ties into wanting an inventory once old items are discarded.

The focus for NICA as an association and each member as a professional home inventory service provider are:

  • To help develop awareness and understanding of the need for a home inventory.
  • To provide education to the public regarding the value of having thorough documents of one’s belongings, including how the insurance claim process works and why an inventory is essential for an equitable settlement.
  • Promote the many reasons for a home inventory: disaster preparedness and recovery, estate settlement, financial and estate planning, divorce/separation of assets, and pre-nuptials.
  • This will be achieved through one-on-one conversations, social media presence, scheduled speaking opportunities, and introducing this service to insurance agents, estate attorneys, personal property appraisers, and financial planners. 

The committee has a lot of work to do in March to be prepared for an April 1 launch of this special month. Thank you to these members for stepping up and serving our association and industry.

22 Feb 2018

Massachusetts Photo Documentation Professional Achieves Industry Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Marsha Harris for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS).

certifiedPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Marsha Harris, owner of  Photo Documentation Services LLC, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents inventory services.

 

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

 

To earn the CIS designation,  Harris successfully completed required courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a minimum number of Continuing Education Units. She then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

 

Choosing to invest in continuing education shows a desire to learn and excel as a personal property inventory professional. Earning these credentials informs clients that Harris has gone the extra mile to ensure that Photo Documentation Services provides quality inventory services to those in the Sutton, Massachusetts area.

 

In addition to residential and business asset inventory services, Photo Documentation Services offers collection photography, drone documentation, document scanning, virtual tours, and construction photography. 

18 Jan 2018

Tennessee Inventory Professional Achieves Appraisal Examiner Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Jenny Cossett for achieving the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner.

certified blue check markPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Jenny Cossett, owner of Lighthouse Inventory Services, LLC, has recently earned the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE). Growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for contents inventory professionals to serve as Appraisal Examiners.

 

The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service. This enables appraisal firms to locate and subcontract certified, qualified examiners to assist with the collection of descriptions and photos of items to be appraised. The appraisers are then able to create an accurate Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant certified report from this information provided by the inventory professional. Additionally, the home inventory professional is able to grow their businesses through additional revenue opportunities.

 

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer an appraiser. The CAE designation signifies that these contents inventory professionals have the knowledge required to collect and then submit the necessary information for an appraiser to assign value. This allows for a two-way referral opportunity between these two industries.

 

To help ensure that the inventory service provider is prepared to serve the appraisal industry, the NICA Education Committee, consisting of NICA members, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors, determined the requirements to achieve an Appraiser Examiner Certification.

 

Only those who have earned their Certified Inventory Expert (CIE) or Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation are eligible to apply for this additional level. The inventory professional is also required to successfully complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. The Appraisal Examiner course was co-written by a property appraiser to ensure integrity and provide hands-on processes for accurate collection of information.

 

Based in Decherd, Tennessee, Lighthouse Inventory Services offers residential and business asset inventory services and appraisal services to the metropolitan areas of Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Knoxville, and Nashville. Other states served are West Kentucky, North Georgia, and North Alabama.

11 Jan 2018

Texas Inventory Professional Achieves Industry Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Angela Austin for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

Red Ribbon-CertifiedThe National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Angela Austin, owner of  Austin Inventory Specialists, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents professional inventory services.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

To earn the CIS designation,  Austin successfully completed required courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a minimum number of Continuing Education Units. She then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this distinction.

Having an industry certification is not required for the contents inventory industry. Choosing to invest in continuing education shows a desire to learn and excel as a personal property inventory professional. Earning these credentials informs clients that Austin has gone the extra mile to ensure that she provides quality inventory services.

Austin stated, “Over the past 16 years in the insurance industry, we have witnessed many catastrophic claims. Many of the clients were not prepared for such devastation. Insurance companies often require an inventory of items stolen, ruined or damaged. We recognize the importance of a client-centered inventory experience, which inspires us to create strong and long-lasting bonds with each of our customers.”

Based in  Denison, Texas, Austin Inventory Specialists offers residential and business asset inventory services in the Texoma area.