Asurion Recognized as Corporate Volunteer of the Year

We are excited to announce that Asurion has been named the Mary Catherine Strobel Corporate Volunteer of the Year by Hands on Nashville. Through Asurion’s Compassion Forward in the Classroom program, 137 Middle Tennessee employees partnered with Teach for America classroom teachers in Metro Nashville schools to tutor students one-on-one and in small groups several times a month during the 2013-2014 school year. Here are a few highlights from the program:

  • Middle Tennessee-based employees volunteered over 900 hours across 7 classrooms during the 2013-2014 school year
  • Students in Asurion supported classrooms showed dramatic reading growth—on average 1.6 years improvement
  • 90% of Asurion volunteers felt like they had a positive impact on a student’s life and 100% would recommend participating in the volunteer program

As one of Middle Tennessee’s largest companies, we believe that it is our responsibility to support education, the foundation of children’s lives in our communities. Our employees have stepped into the classroom to do just that, and we are very proud of the positive impact they have made in our community.

We would like to thank all the Asurion employees who gave their time and talent to the Compassion Forward in the Classroom program in partnership with Teach for America. We’d also like to thank Hands on Nashville and the Strobel family for this wonderful recognition.

How to Start Your Connected Home

Smart homes and connected devices seem to be everywhere. You can hardly read the news without a new connected device making headlines, and for good reason. Connected devices in your home are more efficient so they can save you money. They monitor your appliances and electronics in real time so you know when something might break before it goes out, and they help keep your family and your home safe.

While smart home devices may seem prevalent now, only 1 in 10 homeowners own a connected home device (Business Insider). That number is expected to skyrocket in the next few years though, so now is the time to start building your own smart home.

For those looking to dip their toe into the connected home universe, the WeMo Switch by Belkin is a great place to start. Setting up this device couldn’t be easier, you essentially plug it into a wall outlet and you’re good to go. From there, whatever you plug into the WeMo is instantly controllable from your smartphone. Use it to operate a lamp, your coffee maker, the stereo, the options are endless. And at just $50 it’s an affordable starting place to build your smart home.

If you’re looking for something a little more robust, a smart home starter kit might be your best option. Home Depot offers several bundled options depending on what you want to automate in your house. For example, for almost $500 you can get the Wink Home Automation Bundlewith a Nest thermostat and Kwikset door lock. If you’re not in the market for a smart lock, the Wink also offers a cheaper bundle with a Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat and Kidde Smoke and CO alarm for just $300.

If you really want to go big, their most robust option includes the Wink HUB, Relay Smart Home Controller, a Nest thermostat and the Leviton outlet. This option is almost $600 and will automate several parts of your home, resulting in major time and cost savings for you.

Do you have a smart home? What are your favorite connected devices?

Shred or Save? The Smartest (and Safest) Way to Store Your Tax Documents

With online banking, automatic bill pay and electronic account management it’s easy to manage your financial life digitally. Except when it comes to paying your taxes, a task which still requires quite a bit of physical documentation. When working with this type of sensitive financial information it’s important to make sure you store and dispose of these documents responsibly to reduce your risk of fraud.

With tax season upon us, chances are you’ve been collecting and organizing an entire year’s worth of financial documentation. Here are some tips to help ensure you store and dispose of your documents safely.

To Keep, or Not to Keep?        

As a general rule, the IRS recommends keeping copies of your tax returns forever. As for the supporting documentation that goes with each return (like W-2’s), there’s a general statute of limitations that allows the IRS to audit your tax return up to 3 years after you file it. Once the 3 year period has expired, you can securely discard the documents. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so check out the IRS’s website for complete details.

Under Lock and Key

Now that you know what to keep, it’s best to store your financial documents in a fire-proof safe. It would also be smart to keep other important documents like your birth certificate, social security card, the deed to your house, important passwords and banking information in here too.

Here are a few worth checking in to:

1. This Fire-Safe Chest is smaller and a perfect “starter safe”. It can store a few important documents and USB drives.

2. If you have several years’ worth of information to store, consider the Sentry Safe Combination Safe. It’s a little bigger and can accommodate more papers.

3. For maximum security, this Executive Fire Safe offers ample storage, is water and fire proof and can even be bolted to the floor.

Cut it Out Up

When the time comes to get rid of some documents, make sure you do it responsibly. Simply tossing this paperwork in the trash makes you vulnerable to fraud, and identity thieves would love to get their hands on all your personal and financial information. To make it harder for this to land in the wrong hands, it’s always a good idea to shred the sensitive documents.

Cross shredders provide an additional layer of security versus strip shredders, and we like these models for your home office:

1. The Ativa 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder shreds up to 12 sheets of paper at a time and can also destroy credit cards. This would be great if you’re just destroying a few documents at a time.

2. For bigger jobs check out the Fellows Cross-Cut Shredder. It is perfect for household use and has a 5-gallon wastebasket so you’re not constantly emptying it.

3. If you’ve got a big job to tackle or anticipate shredding often, the Swingline Stack and Shred may be worth the investment. It can shred up to 100 pages at a time and runs automatically so you don’t have to feed the sheets in individually.

Use this tax season to get your files organized. Use these tips to responsibly dispose of what you can, and safely store the rest. And don’t forget, tax day is April 15!

Asurion Named Strobel Awards Finalists for Corporate Volunteerism

Asurion is honored to have been named a finalist in Hands on Nashville’s Mary Catherine Strobel Awards for Corporate Volunteerism.

HON Finalists Image

Asurion’s employee volunteer program, Compassion Forward in the Classroom, enabled team members in our Nashville offices to collectively volunteer 900 hours tutoring throughout the 2013- 2014 school year in Teach for America classrooms. Our longstanding partnership with Teach For America is one of many ways Asurion employees have gotten involved in the community and we are proud of the work they are doing across Middle Tennessee to better our neighborhoods and schools.

Click here to learn more about the Mary Catherine Strobel Awards.

The Smarter Way to Secure your Home

The great thing about home security systems is that they’re getting smarter, and even easier to manage. If you don’t already have one, now is the perfect time to set up your smart home security system. Advances in technology have made these systems easier than ever to set up and the expanding list of features makes using a smart security system the obvious choice for protecting your home.

Plus, with summer just around the corner, chances are you’ll be away from home more often, making it even more important to make sure your home (and everything inside it) is protected. Here are a few security systems we like because they are easy to set up, can be monitored remotely and won’t blow your budget.

Piper Home Security ($199)

The Piper is a Wi-Fi enabled system that keeps you one step ahead with some pretty impressive features, including: HD panoramic video, a siren, a motion detector, 2-way audio, environmental sensors, customized alerts, and home automation. With Piper, there’s no service contract, monthly fee or installation. Once it’s up and running, you’ll have a complete view of the security situation in your home, via your smartphone, no matter where you are.

The Piper app offers fully customizable security alerts based on your level of concern. You can ask it to tell you “the front door was opened” or “motion was detected”. You can establish situational rules, too. For example, if motion is detected in your home, video will automatically record. The Piper even gets along well with other technology, integrating with smart devices (like all of your Z-Wave products) to give you a holistic view of everything going on in your home.

Tattletale Portable Alarm System ($339)

What makes the Tattletale awesome is that it is completely portable, plus it’s wireless so you can pack it up and take it along on vacation or when you move to a new house or apartment. It takes 60 seconds to install and you can control it remotely with a keyfob and get alerts on your phone.

There are over 50 sensors users can integrate into their completely customizable system including smoke, motion, door and glass-break sensors. They’ve taken other things into account like a pet button that allows your pets to roam the house without setting off any false alarms. There’s also a hot button that will monitor “high target” areas like a gun safe or your child’s windows even if the Tattletale is disarmed.

Skylink Connected Home Alarm Starter Kit ($149.99)

Skylink lets you protect your home with a smart system you can control from anywhere. Arm and disarm your alarm through the Skylink app, get push notifications when sensors are triggered and see a live view of your home at any time all from your phone. The system also comes with a keychain remote, perfect for kids or grandparents, that lets users arm/disarm the alarm and press the panic button if there’s an emergency and they aren’t near a phone. The live video monitoring built in to the system also provides 2-way audio and can support up to 10 wireless cameras.

Expanding your system is easy, and there are several options. Use your security system to automate your home by turning lights and appliances on/off straight from the app. Simply integrate the HomeControl Receivers into your system and you’re set. You can also get a garage keypad, solar outdoor sirens, outdoor cameras, water leak sensors and more.

Irish or Not Luck Isn’t on Your Side When it Comes to Phones and St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is known for a day of celebration, drinking pints of green beer and festive parades. Don’t let it also be a day of broken phones. Asurion typically sees about an 8% increase in claims filed for lost, stolen or damaged phones on St. Patrick’s Day. Irish or not, there are still some unlucky people who will have their phone lost, stolen or damaged during today’s celebrations. With the average smartphone costing well over $500 out of contract, that phone is worth more than a pot of gold!

Protect your device, and leave luck to everyone else.

Spring Break Travel Tips

Many families and students across the country are packing their bags for spring break. Whether you’re heading to the snow or the sun, no doubt your cellphone will be in tow.

Our electronics have become essential to travel, especially our smartphones. 75% of people say their device is very important to have while travelling. 50% use it to check in for flights and get status updates like gate changes and delays, while 40% use it to store travel documents like their boarding pass, itineraries and confirmation numbers.

Phones aren’t just for getting us there, they play an important role in helping us navigate a new city and stay entertained throughout our entire vacation. 41% of people have up to 5 travel-related apps on their phone ranging from apps that help you navigate, make reservations, document your trip and more.

How we use phones on vacation

With all this functionality we’ve come to rely pretty heavily on our smartphones and it’s hard to imagine your trip going successfully without it. Unfortunately, one third of travellers have had to face this reality when their device, or a close family member’s, was lost, stolen or damaged while on vacation. Don’t let your trip get derailed because of an incident with your phone.In addition to getting comprehensive smartphone insurance from your carrier, here are a few tips to ensure your phone survives spring break:

  • Invest in a good protective case for you cellphone or tablet. This will help prevent damage to your device if it’s dropped or smashed.
  • Pack extra chargers for your electronics, including portable battery packs that can juice up your devices even without a power source.
  • Use a screen protector to ward of scratches and superficial dings and dents to the surface of your phone or tablet.

Asurion Recognized with 3 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Last weekend Asurion was recognized with some of the world’s top customer service and sales awards at the 9th annual Stevie Awards For Sales and Customer Service Gala. Asurion was chosen out of more than 1,900 nominations across over 50 categories and was evaluated by a panel of 139 judges around the world. Specifically, Asurion was recognized in these three categories:

  • Award for Innovation in Customer Service
  • Contact Center of the Year
  • Best Use of Technology in Customer Service- Computer Software and Service
The Asurion team at the Stevie Awards Gala
The Asurion team at the Stevie Awards Gala

Asurion Sponsors TWISTER Scholarship to Support Women in Technology

Women in Technology of Tennessee (WiTT) is a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for women to pursue careers in technology and science. Asurion is proud to support WiTT and recently helped sponsor the TWISTER (Tennessee Women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Researchevent) event. This daylong professional conference for high school girls is presented by women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The scholarship Asurion sponsored was awarded to a high school senior who plans to major in Molecular and Cellular Biology when she starts college in the fall.

Asurion TWISTER scholarship winner
Winner of the Asurion sponsored TWISTER scholarship with a member of Asurion’s technology team

As a Corporate Partner, Asurion is proud to support WiTT and their work to empower women in technology through education, outreach, mentoring and networking. Careers in science, engineering, technology and math offer tremendous opportunity to change and improve the lives of people around the world, and we are pleased to see such a strong interest in these fields from so many young women in Tennessee.

Congratulations to all the applicants of this year’s Twister Scholarship!