November, 2002
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Be prepared

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

The best time to plan for trouble is before you’re overwhelmed by it. This is especially important if you have a family or a small business or are beginning to save for your retirement. But what should you do first? In “50 Simple Steps You Can Take to Disaster-Proof Your Finances,” author Ilyce Glink walks you step-by-step through the things you need to do to protect your family and your money so you can survive any crisis. Topics include:

• Getting organized: What do you have and where is it?

• Banking and credit: The credit, accounts, and emergency cash you need

• Travel: Traveling safer – and for less money

• Insurance and health: How to buy the important policies and save

• Investments: Diversifying to help you weather the tough times

• Family matters: Planning for your children’s and aging parents’ futures

• Estate matters: Wills, living wills, and more

• After the disaster: Finding the emergency aid you need

Written in a friendly, easy-to-read style, the author shows you how to avoid the 10 most common mistakes people make in planning for their future, helps you add up the numbers with simple worksheets, and guides you to the leading Web sites for more information.

Read an excerpt from the book online at www.barnesandnoble.com. The retail price of the book is $14.

Ilyce R. Glink’s other books include “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Personal Finances,” and “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask.”

Who doesn’t need a little help?

The SCORE Association (Service Corps of Retired Executives) “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association comprised of 10,500 volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories. There are 389 SCORE chapters in urban, suburban and rural communities. SCORE members are trained to serve as counselor,s advisors and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. These services are offered at no fee, as a community service.

The SCORE Web site offers practical “how to” information to help you run your business. More importantly, you can also get free and confidential business advice from SCORE with Email Counseling. You can use Find SCORE to find the location and even a map of the location of your nearest SCORE office.

According to SCORE, in times of economic change, you must be diligent in
preparing advance plans. SCORE can provide advice to help you develop or update your business plan.

Through Email Counseling you can pose a business question to one of the SCORE business counsellors. You choose from a list of counselors with expertise in the business areas that interest you and write a question to the counselor who is the best match for your business or industry.

The key qualification SCORE counselors bring to clients is real-world experience. SCORE business counselors have general management and specific industry experience that can benefit your business. SCORE business counselors may be working or retired business owners, business executives or operations managers. All SCORE counselors receive specialized training in counseling and mentoring.

SCORE’s business experts provide general business advice on everything from how to write a business plan, to cash flow management, to developing a small business advisory board. Assistance for aspiring entrepreneurs may involve investigating the market potential for a product or service and assessing the capital needs to start a business. Counselors can provide insight into how to start a business, operate a business, buy a business or franchise and sell a business.

You can contact SCORE a number of ways. Call 800-634-0245 for a referral to the SCORE chapter nearest you and make an appointment for face-to-face counseling. Go to www.score.org to access Email Counseling or to locate a chapter near you complete with address, phone number and a map you can print.

SCORE was formed in 1964 and nearly 4.5 million Americans have used its services.

Floorplan sketcher software for pocket PCs


Apex Software, developers of the Apex suite of property sketch applications, announced the release of Pocket Apex™, a floorplan sketcher for the Pocket PC. Pocket Apex is designed for the new hand-held Pocket PC devices for convenient field data collection. Building and property sketches can be created on the Pocket PC in the field to verify the exterior measurements and total square footage information of a property. Sketches created or edited on the Pocket PC devices can be conveniently synched to the desktop version of Apex Sketch software for printing or additional editing needs.

Apex Sketch is the most popular property sketch and area calculation software used by property insurance and inspection companies, real estate appraisers, and by property tax offices. Users can quickly draw floorplans while the program automatically calculates the square footage for each building section drawn. The Apex suite of sketching products makes site drawing easy and automatic, and includes specialty icons to denote building concerns pertinent to insurance professionals.  Apex Sketch is also available for pen tablet devices running full Windows™ operating systems. Many of the top companies in the nation are realizing the importance of having documented, accurate area calculations for correct premium quotation and a clear, professional looking floor plan on file for efficient claim service. Recent companies choosing Apex include ISO, Fireman’s Fund Insurance, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance, Atlantic Mutual Insurance, Texas Municipal League-Intergovernment Risk Pool, Castle Inspection Service, Canadian Underwriting Services, Reliable Reports, Inc., The Gardner Group, Precision Risk Surveys, and more.

For more information about the Apex Insurance/Inspection Sketch application, visit the company’s Web site at www.apexwin.com or call 800-858-9958.

Disaster info online and offline

A “one-stop” source of resources related to emergency/crisis management, disaster recovery and business continuity can be found online at www.disaster-resource.com.
Find hundreds of listings (with addresses, phone numbers and e-mail links) of non-profit organizations, educational institutions and governmental agencies. Listings are arranged by state and national and international agencies.

In addition, there is a searchable archive of articles and “nuggets,” which are brief bits of informationabout books, groups, Web sites, checklists and more. Both the articles and the “nuggets” are broken down into five separate catagories including Planning & Management,  Information Technology, Facility Issues, Human Concerns and Crisis Communications & Response.