As REALTORS® across the country come to grips with the effect that the coronavirus pandemic will have on their families and their businesses, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has provided resources to help our members stay safe, manage the crisis and begin to rebuild afterwards.
Shortly after it became clear that the situation was worsening, we set up a coronavirus information page on our website. I thought it was important to establish a place where members could rely on the latest, most accurate information as it relates to their families and their businesses. The page is updated regularly and includes up-to-the-minute information about federal legislation to address the pandemic.
As a team, we launched weekly crisis meetings and began sending regular coronavirus updates to state and local associations. We set up a hotline, 800-874-6500, to connect members with support representatives who can assist with their coronavirus-related questions.
But we also began brainstorming ways that NAR can impact REALTORS®’ lives in a positive way during this uncertain time.
First, we re-launched our Right Tools, Right Now initiative. Launched initially in 2009 amid the housing crisis, Right Tools, Right Now makes new and existing NAR products and services available at no cost or at significant discounts—right now. For instance, a member can visit the site and sign up for webinars on topics that range from managing finances during this time to staying updated on technology trends. We’ve also made webinar recordings available if you miss one. The program has education courses to help members expand their skills as their businesses evolve post-pandemic, as well as timely market reports to inform their business.
The Right Tools, Right Now toolkit will continue to be updated during this time so we can stay as agile as possible in addressing the needs of REALTORS®.
One significant update to the toolkit has been the inclusion of Members TeleHealth, an expanded telemedicine benefit for members. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends utilizing telemedicine for non-emergency medical care. This limits your potential exposure to COVID-19.
In an effort to provide REALTORS® and their families as many resources as possible to stave off this horrible virus, the NAR Leadership Team took the unprecedented step of offering two months of the telemedicine benefit at no cost for our members who did not have access to that coverage.
Thousands of our members signed on in April to begin receiving 24/7 access to a network of more than 2,300 U.S. state-licensed and board-certified physicians who are professionally trained to provide medical treatment through smartphone, tablet or computer.
These are doctors who are able to treat a number of non-emergency ailments like allergies, asthma, rashes, joint aches, nausea, infections, and more. They even have the ability to send prescriptions to a member’s local pharmacy if medically necessary.
We knew this benefit would be popular today and into the future, so we went ahead and negotiated coverage at a significant discount for members who might be interested. Members can sign up for telemedicine coverage for themselves and their family members for just $7/month (a 50-percent savings over the original pricing). We also negotiated a temporary waiver of a previous enrollment fee for this coverage. The NAR plan includes no co-pays and unlimited visits.
Each day, I watch the news and my heart aches for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by coronavirus. But I know that we are a resilient country. The nation’s 1.4 million REALTORS® will get through this, and NAR will be with them every step of the way.
Bob Goldberg is CEO of the National Association of REALTORS®.