Having Trouble Getting Paid For Category 3 Water Jobs?

Play the “Risk Management Card”

As I sat at lunch with a restoration contractor, the familiar story unfolded: “I did the Cat 3 water loss according to the IICRC S500 and the adjuster only wants to pay me for a Cat 2 loss. 

She knocked $1,000 off my bill. The job was from a backed up toilet in a home, I had to perform a Cat 3 water restoration. I had invoiced the job according to Xactimate software. What do I tell the adjuster in order to get paid the $1,000 they owe me?”

I have heard that scenario a lot over the past 10 years, not getting paid more for a Category 3 water loss than a Category 2 loss – it must happen a lot. This situation should never happen at all. If the insurance claims adjuster and contractor are on the same page and both are using the Xactimate software accurately, both would arrive at the same value of the job.

If the property owner and claims adjuster had any idea of how risky it is not to follow the IICRC S500 Professional Water Damage Restoration Standard and that they are completely uninsured for the resulting risks arising from not following the industry standards, I suspect there would be many fewer disagreements whether to follow Category 2 or Category 3 water loss protocols on a Category 3 water loss. 

There are common denominators in every case I am familiar with where a claims adjuster or property owner did not want to pay the contractor for the extra work necessary to eliminate the bacteria-related loss exposure on a Category 3 job:

  1. The customer and the contractor were not in agreement at the beginning of the job on what level of restoration would be necessary as determined by the IICRC S500 Standard.
  2. It was very risky for all the stakeholders to perform restoration work below the IICRC-recommended protocol.
  3. Neither the property owner nor claims adjuster had any appreciation for the uninsured risk they were taking on in their decision to not remediate according to the IICRC Standard
  4. Once Category 3 water entered the picture, both the property owner and the insurance company were totally uninsured for losses arising from their decisions on the level of remediation to be conducted.

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