Storm damage restoration can be a tremendous source of income…or headaches. The way you navigate the process can mean the difference between a nice payday and actually losing money (or worse yet, your reputation). We’ve discussed in this blog the processes you can put in place in your back office to make sure your storm damage restoration jobs run smoothly and efficiently. The next big step is dealing with insurance companies. They approve the work and cut the checks. They need to be your friends.
The good news is that you can absolutely avoid the headaches and cash-in on SDR. My company makes a big portion of its annual revenue from SDR, and yours can, too, as long as you learn the rules of dealing with the insurance companies. It’s an entirely different process than dealing with other clients – one that requires patience, skill and sometimes a sparkling personality. We’ve come up with three rules that will help you immensely with insurance companies and the all-important insurance adjustor.
Rule Number 1: Don’t Ever Be Mean To The Adjuster
Think of it this way: the insurance adjuster is a strange combination of your new best friend and your boss. He is not the enemy, and even if he’s wrong, he’s right. For example, if you have been in construction for any amount of time, you know that the code enforcement inspection is ALWAYS right. If you argue with the inspector, pretty much nothing good comes from it. Insurance adjusters are a similar breed. They are trained to say no, trained to be contrary, trained to not approve your scope of work. But you still have to be nice to them.
The adjuster is most likely going to disagree with your findings, or perhaps not mark all of the wind-damaged shingles you find. They are also going to discourage their homeowners from working with you at times in an effort to get one of their other (more favored) contractor buddies the job. This will probably make your blood boil, but nonetheless, you can’t lose your temper over it. These things will happen. So remember – be nice. They are just doing their job.
Rule Number 2: Be Willing To Help Out the Adjuster.
Insurance adjusters are compensated in many different ways. Some of them get paid the larger the scope of loss is, some of them get penalized for marking too much, while some of them even have to buy their own measurement tools. Understanding how each insurance adjuster operates will go a long way to discovering how you can partner with them. And you need to think of them as your partners.
For example, we always buy and provide Eagleviews to our adjusters. We work with them on scope so that they know we’re honest and aren’t going to drag them through the ringer by supplementing their proposal for an extra $15,000. In short, we work with them and let them know we are trying to help the homeowner get the most they can without making the adjuster’s life miserable. And they appreciate that. It may not feel like it sometimes, but adjusters are people too, and people appreciate a little help. The more you can make the adjuster feel like your partner in the project and not your adversary, the smoother the process is going to go.
Rule 3: Build Relationships and Ask For Referrals
People, for the most part, like to help other people – especially people they like and admire and adjusters are no different. It’s critical to remember that, in some instances, insurance adjusters may be the ones making first contact with a distressed homeowner who has yet to pick out a contractor. Wouldn’t it be nice if the adjuster recommended you for the job?
Remember what we discussed in Rule #1? Most adjusters are going to come into a job wanting to work with a contractor they know and trust and get along with (the one he wants to replace you with!). You need to work towards being that contractor – the one the adjuster trusts and wants on the job. If the adjuster has built a solid relationship with you – if they like you and know that you will both work with the homeowner and within the scope to get the job done – then you’re going to be the one they call. It’s a relationship that you are building every time you are interacting with them.
And remember to take a tip from your salespeople: ask for a referral. There’s nothing wrong with approaching the adjuster once the job is finished, telling him you enjoyed working with him, and asking him to give you a call when the next job comes along. The more adjusters you can build this sort of relationship with, the more referrals you’ll see coming in!
Working with insurance companies doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Sure, there will always be difficult personalities to deal with, but the more you can remain calm during the process and actually help the adjuster get his job done, the more likely you’ll get a referral for the next job…and the more income you’ll see from storm damage restoration.