By: David Dybdahl March 30th, 2010
Clear communication based on reasonable expectations while following standard industry restoration guidelines will create satisfied customers for the adjuster and restorer. If a job goes wrong, the adjuster will normally side with the policyholder, not the contractor.
Believe it or not, insurance claims adjusters and restoration contractors share a common goal: creating a satisfied customer from a job well done. One major restoration services franchise organization strives not just for satisfied customers but for “delighted” customers, and they achieve this in 60% of their jobs.
This is truly a remarkable achievement, considering most of their customers have had an insurance loss and, no doubt, have endured the stress and inconvenience associated with these kinds of events.
The more a customer, adjuster and restorer get “out of sync” on a restoration project, the more likely it will be that the customer will not be happy and costs of the project will escalate. Seriously unhappy customers may turn to litigation to resolve their differences.
Here are a few of the most common denominators that arise from many liability claims. See if any or all sound familiar:
- The property owner becomes dissatisfied with the restoration services being provided by the first contractor on a project.
- The property owner reaches out to a second contractor, who usually points out to the property owner where the first contractor has made errors in the restoration which, for more money, the second contractor can fix. Interestingly, both contractors are usually working from the same set of industry guidelines.
- The property owner complains to their insurance company about the restoration work and refuses to pay the first contractor.
- The insurance company that recommended the first contractor shuts that contractor down for all future referrals of work until the problem with the dissatisfied customer is resolved.
- In an attempt to get paid for the original work, the first contractor puts a lien on the property.
- Angered by the whole process, the property owner sues the first contractor and the insurance company. This is where the claim for “Johnny not being able to learn in school anymore” as a result of the restoration work will get thrown on into the mix of compensatory damages, increasing the costs dramatically.
- The first contractor ends up paying, or their liability insurance company ends up paying, teams of lawyers to defend them. The first contractor is also responsible under their contracts with the insurance company to pay the defense costs of the insurance company or the claims network that hired them, plus the costs associated with the second contractor. Most restoration firms do not realize that their service contracts obligate them to pay the legal bills and escalated claims costs of multibillion dollar insurance companies on a job gone bad.
- The second contractor gets drawn into the legal mess with depositions and other internal costs and will usually also a have difficulty getting paid. (Only the lawyers win in this scenario, because the legal bills alone will commonly exceed the original job costs by a factor of ten to 100.)