Insurance work is a staple source of income for any restoration company.
For the big restoration companies or network groups who have nation-wide presence, getting insurance work is often a given. But the majority of the industry doesn’t work that way – most restoration companies are small- to medium-sized businesses, who are most likely to be hit with a wave of insurance work only after a catastrophe.
While this means that the smaller businesses are rolling in it after a big flood or storm, it also means that it makes the ‘non-flood’ seasons even leaner by comparison. Not only does this affect the yearly cash flow, it also affects other areas of the business such as staffing and operations, not to mention the overall stress levels of you and your team.
So how you can you increase your insurance work and make sure that it forms a more consisent part of your cash flow? Take a look at the 5 tips below which will help you to rethink your relationship with insurance companies, and help you win more insurance restoration jobs.
1. Think big
A 1-off insurance job may just be 1 job among many for you, but for the insurance company it’s about a long-standing working relationship with a restoration company they can trust.
If there’s one thing that really grates on insurance companies, it’s that smaller restoration companies are too quick to look at the dollar value of individual jobs. The insurance sector is always thinking ahead. They like to operate on long-term service contracts, which can last anywhere from 12 months to five years.
Restoration companies need to think long-term too.
Small- to medium-sized restoration companies need to understand that it’s not so much about the individual job as it is about the relationship. You need to weigh up the short term cons against the long-term pros; putting extra time and resources into a low paying job now is worth it to ensure that you are consistently offered insurance jobs in the long term.
Understand that it is not about the individual job so much as it is about the relationship. This means that it’s important to…
2. Understand the insurance company’s focus
Insurance companies are huge. When a catastrophe hits they are dealing with lots of claims with lots of upset and stressed clients, who put pressure on the organisation. So what’s the focus of the insurance company?
They want the job done.
This means that you need to stop worrying about the dollar value of the job. If you complete the job in a timely fashion, to a high standard and with no ensuing issues (ie. customer complaints or subsequent problems with damage) you will get paid. Restoration companies need to recognise that the more they focus on how much and when they will get paid, the less likely they are to win repeat contracts.
Stop focussing on the final dollar amount and worry about the quality of the job. They key focus of insurance companies is keeping their clients happy to make sure they don’t loose business or end up on A Current Affairs or Today Tonight. Restorers need to keep this in mind; keep the insurance customers happy and the insurance company will always be happy with you.
Which brings us to the next point…
3. Work on your customer service
Because you have been referred the work by an insurance company, it’s sometimes easy to think that it isn’t really your customer, and it’s this kind of thinking can be incredibly detrimental to your relationship with the insurance company.
While you’re an independent contractor and not an employee of the insurance company you need to remember that you are a representative of the insurance company.
Big insurance companies put a lot of resources into their brand management, and the biggest promoter of their brand is their on-the-ground staff.
As a contracted restorer you need to remember that it is your responsibility to promote brand of the insurance company in a professional manner.
Ultimately it’s the end user (ie. the insurance customer whose home has been flooded) who will be reporting back to their insurance company and giving feedback on your performance. If the insurance company isn’t recieving top-quality feedback from your services every single time they contract work out to you, why should they continue to give you the work over another c
And then there’s always the unfortunate situation where an insurance customer lodges a complaint about your service – if that happens, you can kiss your insurance dollars goodbye!
4. Get the skills to do the work
We frequently have attendees at our IICRC Water Damage Restoration course who tell us that they have been doing water damage jobs for years. Throughout the three days of training, these attendees are shocked to realise how much they don’t know about water damage restoration, including psychrometrics, how to determine how many air movers to use, and how to identify when the carpet is actually dry.
This means that there are restoration companies out there undertaking insurance work when they’re not actually sure if they are leaving the property dry or not.
It’s the same story for mould remediation, fire & smoke damage restoration, and keeping proper documentation of the monitoring process. Gaining these important skills will not only improve your technical skills, it will also help to give you a point of difference and help you to stand out above your competition.
Gain the relevant IICRC certifications for the work you do and promote them to the insurance companies.
Insurance companies like contracting to restoration companies who have proof of certification because it means they are less likely to caue damage or not complete the job to a quality service. To put it simply, hiring a IICRC certified restoration firm makes the lives of the insurers a lot easier in the long run.
5. Get your staff on board
Of course none of the above points will make any difference to your business and your relationship with insurance companies if you don’t have your staff on board. Your staff are your on-the-ground representatives. They’re the front line of your business and they have the ability to make or break your professional reputation and your brand.
These efforts can’t exist in a vacuum; if you don’t have the support of your staff helping you to gain more insurance work and develop these relationships you’re just wasting your time.
The easiest way to get your staff on board? Make them feel like they’re a part of the process. Sit everyone down and have a brainstorming session about how you can improve your insurance work. Ask your staff what professional development they would like to help them achieve these objectives. Would they like more technical training or would they like you to help them work on their customer service? Investing in your team to make them feel valuable to the success of the company is integral to keep your front-line staff happy and productive ambassadors for your company.
How do you make sure you win and maintain contracts with insurance companies? Share your thoughts in the comments feed below.
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