New Online Services Align to Safeguard Busy Homeowners


When busy homeowners are overbooked, even the task of planning ahead is something that must be planned. Consequently, disaster preparedness often stays at the bottom of homeowners’ to- do lists leaving them vulnerable to financial loss and endless headaches. From insurance claims to home repairs, many homeowners discover that they don’t have the tools to effectively recover after a catastrophe. But help is here. Encircle has created a free mobile and web app that makes it easy for homeowners to efficiently create a picture library of their homes for insurance purposes. “Although most homeowners know the importance of creating a home inventory, very few have the time to do it. With Encircle, photos are easily captured, organized, and then stored in the cloud where they can be accessed to facilitate an insurance claim,” says Paul Donald, former BlackBerry executive and founder of Encircle. To help homeowners further, Encircle has joined forces with iCheckContractors to help ensure that the contractors hired to do repairs are legitimate. iCheckContractors verifies Florida contractors’ professional licensing, workers’ comp insurance, and corporate status with government agencies giving users peace of mind. “It’s the CarFax for contractors and now it is free,” says Kia Ricchi, licensed contractor and founder of iCheckContractors. iCheckContractors takes the guesswork out of credentialing and allows for quick and up-to-date verification of contractors’ state requirements. iCheckContractors also has an extensive Knowledge Center that helps homeowners navigate the complexities of contractor qualifications. Preparedness is key when it comes to effectively managing busy lives. With technology literally in hand, preparedness is made much easier. To access Encircle Free, visit or download from the iOS or Android app store. Encircle users can access iCheckContractors through their account or go to Kia Ricchi is a Florida licensed contractor, consultant, and author of Avoiding the Con in Construction—winner of three national book awards and included in the Library Journal’s “Best of” list. She is a contributor to NPR affiliate stations, Remodeling Magazine, and, TheStreet. com,, and Endorsements include the National Association of State Contractor Licensing Agencies and the Building Officials Association of Florida. Ricchi was a speaker at this year’s 2013 Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference and accepted the corporate award for her public outreach related to rebuilding after a storm. Paul Donald is a former BlackBerry executive who spent 10 years helping build one of North America’s greatest tech companies. Paul is also a successful entrepreneur and active angel investor. Prior to the founding of Encircle, Donald was COO of PushLife Inc., which was acquired by Google in May 2011. Donald was also the founder and CEO of PeerDirect, which was acquired by Progress Software in 1999.