We’ve seen all kinds of mind-blowing disaster situations, and we’re still learning along with our clients. Although we haven’t lost the capacity for surprise, it takes pretty unusual circumstances. For most businesses, however, new or unusual disaster circumstances that lead to unwelcome surprises are commonplace. And the circumstances aren’t always only related to the recovery from the loss itself. In fact, they often come up when it comes time to start the rebuild phase of a project.
But what does this mean for you?
If you’ve never been through a rocky recovery process, it’s hard to appreciate how things like poor communication throughout the claims processes can cost you and frustrate your customers or tenants. But the reality is that recovery and claims processes are often complex and all it takes is a simple misstep or two for things to “go sideways.”
In this post, we explore a quick scenario based on situations we commonly see to illustrate how relying on experts and pre-planning with your restoration provider, insurance carrier and other key players in the recovery process can save time and money.
Going from a Fast Start to Slow Finish
In the restoration business, it’s not unusual to see jobs sit idle for weeks or sometimes even months after emergency response services are completed. The issue often boils down to who’s writing the scope of work for the rebuild and getting approvals. In many situations, the insurance adjuster or a consultant writes the scope of work. This means that the timing depends on the adjuster or consultant’s workload, which is likely heavy.
Once the scope is finished, all parties, including your team and your restoration provider’s team must review and approve the scope. It’s not unusual for this process to take weeks for small jobs and months for bigger, more complex situations. If your restoration provider or general contractor writes the scope, the situation may not improve much since negotiations and approvals still need to happen before work begins again. And all the while, the costs add up.
Consider what happens in a large apartment or office building, with 20 floors, when a fire breaks out or a pipe breaks on an upper floor.
Here are a few common scenarios:
- Water from the pipe, sprinklers or fire hoses will flow through walls and into units and common areas, staircases and elevator shafts all the way to the bottom floor.
- Depending on the volume of water and the extent of the damage, a majority of tenants could be impacted and require secondary housing or locations.
- Situations where tenants are severely inconvenienced often attract media attention as tenants look for opportunities to vent their frustrations.
- The longer the recovery and rebuild process drags on, the more business losses and secondary housing will cost.
Jobs come to a stop for a variety of reasons and at many points during the recovery process. For example, your restoration provider may come in and quickly dry out the building, helping to limit the extent of the overall damage and reducing potential liability related to microbial growth. But the process often grinds to a halt after the emergency response. Sometimes, a restoration provider may not provide general contracting services, so you need to find and vet another provider. Or your insurance company may insist on writing the job scope for the rebuild. In both cases, the lost time is money that will be forever lost to your business and insurer.
Eliminating the Holdups
So how can you avoid these types of costly situations? Depending on your insurance company’s policies and your restoration provider’s business model, it may be difficult.
We’ve used the lessons from thousands of jobs to refine processes, build trust among the parties in the claims process, and accelerate recovery.
When we partner with businesses, we emphasize pre-planning as a way to reduce the costs and headaches of recovery. For example, with our portfolio approach, we work to build a “circle of trust” among your company, your insurer, your property management company, and us. Establishing trust enables us to establish policies and approaches that benefit all parties.
How else does pre-planning benefit you?
The pre-planning, in turn, enables us to work faster and more efficiently. In the case of the scenario above, we could write rebuild estimates before units are even dried out and then transition seamlessly to the rebuild as soon as the building is ready. This approach would put tenants back in the building weeks or even months faster, resulting in a better situation and lower overall costs for everyone involved.
If you’re looking for ways to accelerate recovery after losses, you should consider many factors based on your specific business, number of locations, etc. Working with an experienced provider like us helps ensure that you are fully considering the big picture to unleash efficiencies in the recovery process.