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Old 09-21-2009, 11:24 AM   #1
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Insurance Repair Contract


I am looking for a contract that alows me to provide my customers with a free estimate but would assure me the work after I provide them with the estimate. I have been killing myself giving free estimates only to have the home owners say they are going to do the work themselves or some out of work family member. How can I protect myself from this practice. I have attempted to charge up front for the estimate with the amount being taken off the price of the job once contract is signed, but this was meet with no success. Pease advise on a fair and reasonable solution.
Thank you for any help
GC45011
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:02 PM   #2
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Sounds to me like you're are giving too much information, perhaps you are spelling out a scope of work. After they read the scope uncle Harry figures he can do it.

EG: Don't explain any aspect of the job.
Word it like this ... "Per job site visit (or words to that effect) we agree to do the work" for $X,***.XX

Prior to the start of any work we will have to enter into contract
which will spell out scope of work, specifications, prices and terms.

For a fee of 10% of our estimated cost we will gladly start the contract process. All fees paid for our services shall become a part of said contract. In the event that you do not accept the contract, fee above shall be forfited.

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Old 09-24-2009, 02:23 PM   #3
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Quote:
Originally Posted by GC45011 View Post
I am looking for a contract that alows me to provide my customers with a free estimate but would assure me the work after I provide them with the estimate. I have been killing myself giving free estimates only to have the home owners say they are going to do the work themselves or some out of work family member. How can I protect myself from this practice. I have attempted to charge up front for the estimate with the amount being taken off the price of the job once contract is signed, but this was meet with no success. Pease advise on a fair and reasonable solution.
Thank you for any help
GC45011
I pull out one of my contracts and sign them up, with the contigency upon satisfactory insurane settlement!
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:00 PM   #4
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


I have thought of, nor found a solution to this problem other than try, try again. First and for most, they must like you to buy from you. Work on the sales presentation in the mean time. Always ask a client what they are looking for in the project or what thier thoughts are about the project.

So, how can you give a client enough information about the estimate and work to make an intelligent decision to buy but not give it away to the ones that will never buy and just use you for knowledge and estimates? hmmmmm.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


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Originally Posted by Plumber_Bill View Post

For a fee of 10% of our estimated cost we will gladly start the contract process. All fees paid for our services shall become a part of said contract. In the event that you do not accept the contract, fee above shall be forfited.
I like that.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:18 PM   #6
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


I charge for the estimate plain & simple, the insurance company can reimburse them
The charge depends on the damage & the amount of time required to complete it
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:56 PM   #7
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Hello,GC45011:

Are you still looking for some feedback on your posting?

I have worked both sides of the insurance fence for the last 16 years: both as a restorer and adjuster for 39+ different carriers, throughout the country. I have worked every type of property damage loss possible. After watching the insurance carriers really abuse the people of Florida after the 2004-2008 Hurricanes/Tropical Storms, I quit being an adjuster.

I am now back on the restorer side and, also act as a consultant to homeowners, contractors and have spent the last year getting involved with Florida insurance reform. To be more exact, I also consult for contractors and can prepare estimates on all types of losses taking place anywhere in the country (contractors provide me with info that I request, measurements and photos). My closure rate is 99% on the first submittal.

From what I have read, let me say that getting involved with insurance property damage claims is a specialized field. Everything in the insurance world is based on documentation, photos and a computerized line item, unit price (ea, sf, lf) estimate.

I believe your biggest problem is understanding the methodology in how to deal with an insurance claim..........it is not new construction...........it is not new construction, and it is not remodeling.

I get 99% of the work I go after and my estimates (scope of work) are always approved for payment.

Let me know, or anyone else if I can help.
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Old 05-15-2010, 03:56 PM   #8
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


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Originally Posted by Insuranceclaims View Post
Let me know, or anyone else if I can help.
So why don't you write an e book ?
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:33 AM   #9
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


This is a very long post...........too many cups of coffee this morning.

The insurance restoration field is a multi-billion dollar business and is not for all contractors. I enjoy sharing information with others, so get comfortable, or better yet, make a pot of coffee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GC45011 View Post
I am looking for a contract that alows me to provide my customers with a free estimate but would assure me the work after I provide them with the estimate. I have been killing myself giving free estimates only to have the home owners say they are going to do the work themselves or some out of work family member. How can I protect myself from this practice. I have attempted to charge up front for the estimate with the amount being taken off the price of the job once contract is signed, but this was meet with no success. Pease advise on a fair and reasonable solution.
Thank you for any help
GC45011
Work Authorizations/Contracts
I want to expand on my previous post, where I mention the methodology of securing work involving insurance restoration. First, I will briefly describe the possibilities that lead up to the work.

Most insurance losses involve some sort of water damage to the property, including water, wind, and fire losses. In this case, Emergency Services is required to either extract and dry the structure; provide a roof cover-up; or a board-up. During Emergency Services, time is of the essence. These services need to be initiated within hours of the call. All property owners are supposed to take whatever action is required to mitigate the loss from further damage.

The contract you are looking for is two-fold. For the Emergency Services, you need, what is called in the industry, a Work Authorization. For those that specialize in insurance restoration, this form is generic in one form or another, depending on the vendor. This form gives you: 1) permission to take whatever action is necessary to protect the property (structure and contents) from further damage, and restore the property to its pre-loss condition, and authority to discuss this claim with whomever necessary to approve and pay for the services rendered. In addition, the form can state that you agree to perform the work for the "insurance agreed scope of work". If you understand the industry, you should know what you can and can't do to ensure that you get paid. If not, ask first! You always want to know if the homeowner is insured; not all losses are covered. Dont' be afraid to ask for help! (Note: This post will not discuss how various states look upon this work authorization. Yet, I know for a fact that all insurance restorers use this form across the country, and it is recognized by all carriers.) 2) The Work Authorization and or your marketing of your business may state that you will the bill the carrier for all work performed. Some restorers require a deductible payment; some don't. Usually, Emergency Services are billed 100%. Then, you wait 30-90 days to get paid. The repairs are paid in draws depending on the size of the job and whether a lender is involved. The only out-of-pocket expense to the insured is their deductible. In addition, your form will have a paragraph authorizing you to received direct payment. In the last two years, a 2nd form authorizing a direct payment may be required. Some carriers can pay the vendor directly for emergency services. Some lenders require that their name be listed on all checks. (Note: Dealing with the lender is another post in itself.) 3) Another paragraph will discuss how the "insurance agreed scope of work" is reference in Attachment A (usually Xactimate....a computerized, line item scope of work based on unit pricing (ea, lf, sf, sq). 4) A fourth paragraph may have a Stop Work-Hold Harmless clause, which refers to the insured stopping your work, during Emergency Services to mitigate the loss. 5) The last paragraph may discuss legalities, as far as liens, collections and attorney fees if you are not paid. 6) The form also has lines for the insured contact information and adjuster/carrier information.

I, personally, have used a one-form Work Authorization/Contract for 10 of 16 years and have never had a problem. This form is all inclusive to secure all work if you so desire.

Now, I mentioned that a contract for emergency services is two-fold. When it comes time for the repairs, most lenders disburse funds 30-30-40%. The lender will automatically disburse 30% to start. A home inspection is required by the lender for all other funds. As such, and, depending on the size of the job, you may want an Attachment B for a repair contract, which details what repairs will be made with a cash flow projection. This will allow you inform the insured and lender how you are requesting draws. (Note: There are multiple options available in dealing with lenders on releasing funds; not discussed here).

Homeowner Attitude
Dealing with property owners after a loss is not the same as dealing with property owners wanting new construction or remodeling.

Before you even meet with the insured, you must understand that their lives "have been turned upside down", no matter how small the loss. One of the key points to signing the insured is to have and show empathy to your customer. Property owners can sense whether your are there to help them or just make a buck. You need to be educated during the initial meeting as to "what your going to do for emergency services and why, how you will prepare your scope of work for the adjuster/carrier to review, and how you will make repairs.

The #1 complaint that I hear from homeowners across the country is: "I didn't know what to do; No one explained anything to me!" This includes the contractor and adjuster/carrier.

During your initial meeting, you only get one chance to sell yourself.

Free Estimates or Not
I can relate to everyone's experience. During the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, I and the company that I worked with would charge a % of the gross loss for a scope of work. This would be applied to the job if we were not used. Most property owners do not realize the time involvement to prepare a proper scope of work, which involves a computerized estimate, photos and backup documentation.

While the following statement applies to any field, it really applies to insurance losses, when you are trying to secure the job, "Knowledge is power." Knowledge, coupled with communication skills can be a winning solution to securing the job. Empathy....you must put yourself in the customers shoes! Sometimes, you only get one shot to secure a job. If people are not comfortable with you, during the initial meeting, and you are not able to properly explain what you will do during the entire claims process, you will not get the job. Coming on 17 years in the industry, I am still going to school to keep up with the industry.

As I have grown in the insurance industry (restorer/adjuster), I inform people that I don't give free estimates. I will meet with them and sell myself with information, confidence and empathy. When people ask for a free estimate, I inform them why I don't give free estimates; "you either use me or you don't; my references speak for themself." I will walk the job with them, and, once, they see that "I have the answer, before they have the question, they know that they have the right person for the job.
I close 99% of the jobs that I go after.

Insured or Family Members Want to do Part of Work
This can be a tricky matter. There are many variables involved here. Here are some bullet points to have the homeowner think twice about this:

---Rule #1: never used friends or family.
---If I can't sue you, I can't use you.
---If there is a lender involved, you must inform the insured that you may receive a 1099, and can only sub out work to licensed and insured subcontractors.
---Even if the family members are insured and licensed, they must meet your standards for work. You will ask the insured to sign a Hold Harmless Waiver for family members being used.
---If the homeowner wants to do part of the work, you must outline this as a change order and, again, have the insured sign a Hold Harmless Waiver. In addition, you also have two options if the insured, themself, wants to do part of the work: 1) you can give them all of the line item charge or allot them a percentage of because the line items has burden built into the line item and 2) you must explain, during the initial meeting, that, if any of the line items are not done or are performed by the insured, option #1 will apply, but you get to keep all material tax and profit/overhead. If they ask why, it is because of your time and experience to prepare and provide a proper scope of work. You may want them to sign a separate form that they agree to this. Don't put on any form, which would go to the carrier. This is between you and the insured.

Insurance work can be very fast paced and requires you to be able to adapt, immediately, to any situation as the job progresses.

Again, gaining the comfort zone and confidence of the insured is essential before a work authorization, estimate or contract is even discussed.

If anyone has the opportunity to secure an insurance loss, I don't mind giving advice. If my involvement requires estimates or a full claims package, that can be discussed.

I can email a copy of my current work authorization/contract on an individual basis, but, I will not post for public view. I will ask each person/vendor to sign a form that my form is only being provided as a guideline and for personal use only and will not be publicized. Each vendor should check the legality of this form for their particular location. I, again, will say that various degrees of this form are used by restoration contractors throughout the country.

I hope this post answers some of the methodology in securing insurance work and why some "regular contractors" have a problem securing work involving insurance claims.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:38 AM   #10
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Good idea, We Fix Houses!

I have briefly looked into this avenue. I currently provide a program to individual property owners that educates and expedites the claims process in the event of a loss. Yet, I am trying to sell my program to the Florida State Legislature. Of course, I also need to find out who is going to pay me. Dealing with publicist and marketing firms can be very expensive for upfront costs.

I am always open to suggestion. Thank you.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:42 AM   #11
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Quote:
Originally Posted by Insuranceclaims View Post
This is a very long post...........too many cups of coffee this morning.

The insurance restoration field is a multi-billion dollar business and is not for all contractors. I enjoy sharing information with others, so get comfortable, or better yet, make a pot of coffee.



Work Authorizations/Contracts
I want to expand on my previous post, where I mention the methodology of securing work involving insurance restoration. First, I will briefly describe the possibilities that lead up to the work.

Most insurance losses involve some sort of water damage to the property, including water, wind, and fire losses. In this case, Emergency Services is required to either extract and dry the structure; provide a roof cover-up; or a board-up. During Emergency Services, time is of the essence. These services need to be initiated within hours of the call. All property owners are supposed to take whatever action is required to mitigate the loss from further damage.

The contract you are looking for is two-fold. For the Emergency Services, you need, what is called in the industry, a Work Authorization. For those that specialize in insurance restoration, this form is generic in one form or another, depending on the vendor. This form gives you: 1) permission to take whatever action is necessary to protect the property (structure and contents) from further damage, and restore the property to its pre-loss condition, and authority to discuss this claim with whomever necessary to approve and pay for the services rendered. In addition, the form can state that you agree to perform the work for the "insurance agreed scope of work". If you understand the industry, you should know what you can and can't do to ensure that you get paid. If not, ask first! You always want to know if the homeowner is insured; not all losses are covered. Dont' be afraid to ask for help! (Note: This post will not discuss how various states look upon this work authorization. Yet, I know for a fact that all insurance restorers use this form across the country, and it is recognized by all carriers.) 2) The Work Authorization and or your marketing of your business may state that you will the bill the carrier for all work performed. Some restorers require a deductible payment; some don't. Usually, Emergency Services are billed 100%. Then, you wait 30-90 days to get paid. The repairs are paid in draws depending on the size of the job and whether a lender is involved. The only out-of-pocket expense to the insured is their deductible. In addition, your form will have a paragraph authorizing you to received direct payment. In the last two years, a 2nd form authorizing a direct payment may be required. Some carriers can pay the vendor directly for emergency services. Some lenders require that their name be listed on all checks. (Note: Dealing with the lender is another post in itself.) 3) Another paragraph will discuss how the "insurance agreed scope of work" is reference in Attachment A (usually Xactimate....a computerized, line item scope of work based on unit pricing (ea, lf, sf, sq). 4) A fourth paragraph may have a Stop Work-Hold Harmless clause, which refers to the insured stopping your work, during Emergency Services to mitigate the loss. 5) The last paragraph may discuss legalities, as far as liens, collections and attorney fees if you are not paid. 6) The form also has lines for the insured contact information and adjuster/carrier information.

I, personally, have used a one-form Work Authorization/Contract for 10 of 16 years and have never had a problem. This form is all inclusive to secure all work if you so desire.

Now, I mentioned that a contract for emergency services is two-fold. When it comes time for the repairs, most lenders disburse funds 30-30-40%. The lender will automatically disburse 30% to start. A home inspection is required by the lender for all other funds. As such, and, depending on the size of the job, you may want an Attachment B for a repair contract, which details what repairs will be made with a cash flow projection. This will allow you inform the insured and lender how you are requesting draws. (Note: There are multiple options available in dealing with lenders on releasing funds; not discussed here).

Homeowner Attitude
Dealing with property owners after a loss is not the same as dealing with property owners wanting new construction or remodeling.

Before you even meet with the insured, you must understand that their lives "have been turned upside down", no matter how small the loss. One of the key points to signing the insured is to have and show empathy to your customer. Property owners can sense whether your are there to help them or just make a buck. You need to be educated during the initial meeting as to "what your going to do for emergency services and why, how you will prepare your scope of work for the adjuster/carrier to review, and how you will make repairs.

The #1 complaint that I hear from homeowners across the country is: "I didn't know what to do; No one explained anything to me!" This includes the contractor and adjuster/carrier.

During your initial meeting, you only get one chance to sell yourself.

Free Estimates or Not
I can relate to everyone's experience. During the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, I and the company that I worked with would charge a % of the gross loss for a scope of work. This would be applied to the job if we were not used. Most property owners do not realize the time involvement to prepare a proper scope of work, which involves a computerized estimate, photos and backup documentation.

While the following statement applies to any field, it really applies to insurance losses, when you are trying to secure the job, "Knowledge is power." Knowledge, coupled with communication skills can be a winning solution to securing the job. Empathy....you must put yourself in the customers shoes! Sometimes, you only get one shot to secure a job. If people are not comfortable with you, during the initial meeting, and you are not able to properly explain what you will do during the entire claims process, you will not get the job. Coming on 17 years in the industry, I am still going to school to keep up with the industry.

As I have grown in the insurance industry (restorer/adjuster), I inform people that I don't give free estimates. I will meet with them and sell myself with information, confidence and empathy. When people ask for a free estimate, I inform them why I don't give free estimates; "you either use me or you don't; my references speak for themself." I will walk the job with them, and, once, they see that "I have the answer, before they have the question, they know that they have the right person for the job.
I close 99% of the jobs that I go after.

Insured or Family Members Want to do Part of Work
This can be a tricky matter. There are many variables involved here. Here are some bullet points to have the homeowner think twice about this:

---Rule #1: never used friends or family.
---If I can't sue you, I can't use you.
---If there is a lender involved, you must inform the insured that you may receive a 1099, and can only sub out work to licensed and insured subcontractors.
---Even if the family members are insured and licensed, they must meet your standards for work. You will ask the insured to sign a Hold Harmless Waiver for family members being used.
---If the homeowner wants to do part of the work, you must outline this as a change order and, again, have the insured sign a Hold Harmless Waiver. In addition, you also have two options if the insured, themself, wants to do part of the work: 1) you can give them all of the line item charge or allot them a percentage of because the line items has burden built into the line item and 2) you must explain, during the initial meeting, that, if any of the line items are not done or are performed by the insured, option #1 will apply, but you get to keep all material tax and profit/overhead. If they ask why, it is because of your time and experience to prepare and provide a proper scope of work. You may want them to sign a separate form that they agree to this. Don't put on any form, which would go to the carrier. This is between you and the insured.

Insurance work can be very fast paced and requires you to be able to adapt, immediately, to any situation as the job progresses.

Again, gaining the comfort zone and confidence of the insured is essential before a work authorization, estimate or contract is even discussed.

If anyone has the opportunity to secure an insurance loss, I don't mind giving advice. If my involvement requires estimates or a full claims package, that can be discussed.

I can email a copy of my current work authorization/contract on an individual basis, but, I will not post for public view. I will ask each person/vendor to sign a form that my form is only being provided as a guideline and for personal use only and will not be publicized. Each vendor should check the legality of this form for their particular location. I, again, will say that various degrees of this form are used by restoration contractors throughout the country.

I hope this post answers some of the methodology in securing insurance work and why some "regular contractors" have a problem securing work involving insurance claims.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:48 AM   #12
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Quote:
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Dear Insuranceclaims,

I'm interested in a copy of your current work authorization/contract and anything else that would be useful. You can e-mail me at beautifulrenovation@yahoo.com

Thanks again.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:12 PM   #13
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Excellent reply to the query... I couldn't have said it better myself. I've been in the CAT Loss restoration industry for over 30 years and I'm always looking for better ways to enhance our services and business. I feel I have a solid Advance Work Authorization but, I would appreciate you forwarding me a copy of yours.

I'm never so confident, as to think there's no room for improvement. I'm always tweaking and making adjustments as required.
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:22 AM   #14
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


PM sent interested in viewing your authorization/contract

thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Insuranceclaims View Post
I can email a copy of my current work authorization/contract on an individual basis, but, I will not post for public view. I will ask each person/vendor to sign a form that my form is only being provided as a guideline and for personal use only and will not be publicized. Each vendor should check the legality of this form for their particular location. I, again, will say that various degrees of this form are used by restoration contractors throughout the country.
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:36 PM   #15
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Quote:
Originally Posted by creativebuild View Post
PM sent interested in viewing your authorization/contract

thanks
Thanks, I appreciate you sharing your Authorization Document. You can contact me directly at - jaOntiveros@assuranceTeam.com. If you would like for me to share my "Advance Work Authorizaiton and my Direct Payment Authorization," just let me know.

As mentioned previously, I feel like I have a solid document... "but, I'm always open and interested in other suggestions."

Thanks,

John
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:40 AM   #16
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Quote:
Originally Posted by jaOntiveros View Post
Thanks, I appreciate you sharing your Authorization Document. You can contact me directly at - jaOntiveros@assuranceTeam.com. If you would like for me to share my "Advance Work Authorizaiton and my Direct Payment Authorization," just let me know.

As mentioned previously, I feel like I have a solid document... "but, I'm always open and interested in other suggestions."

Thanks,

John
I know this topic is old but I would like to look over your Advance Work Authorization and Direct payment documents if at all possible, because my current forms may not be so solid.
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:15 PM   #17
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Old topic but those of you doing insurance claims can probably benefit from this software, I know I did... it is called SimSol. They have it for Adjusters and Contractors, Commercial and Residential, pricing by region, etc. You can browse it here: http://www.simsol.com/
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:35 AM   #18
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperGlazier View Post
Old topic but those of you doing insurance claims can probably benefit from this software, I know I did... it is called SimSol. They have it for Adjusters and Contractors, Commercial and Residential, pricing by region, etc. You can browse it here: http://www.simsol.com/
It seems as if Xactimate is the most commonly referred adjustment pricing software.

Could you explain the differences between Simsol and Xactimate or alternative adjustment software line item price listing software packages, such as Craftsman and MS & B, (Marshall Swift and Boeckman)(sp?)

Ed
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Old 11-29-2010, 12:02 AM   #19
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


There is about half a dozen vendors promoting insurance estimating software. While I will not discuss all of them, I will say that Simsol and MS & B are two of these softwares, yet, Xactimate is the most widely used in the industry.

In my opinion, Craftsman books and software are a lighter version of Xactimate, Simsol and MS & B.

In addition, costs, quality of the product, learning difficulty, accuracy of the product and acceptance of the product by carriers all come into consideration.

I have been using Xactimate for 15 years, and, yes, it is the most widely used in the industry. While there are many reasons for this, a short reason would be politics.

Xactimate is a very powerful program with a big learning curve. Let me rephrase. Like any other tool, time, repetition and good study habits are mandatory to learn how to properly use this software........Otherwise, you will lose both time and money............time in submitting proper estimates....and.....money in not properly documenting all job related costs, that may involve, Emergency Services, Demolition, Repairs, Contents, etc.

As I stated in one of my earlier postings, performing insurance restoration work is a specialized field and takes years of training.

Throughout my travels and working of insurance claims throughout the country, I have found that most "regular" contractors give consumers a lump sum figure with very little detail of the work to be done.

To save a lot of negative feedback from everyone, I do acknowledge that there are also many contractors, who prepare detailed estimates with the appropriate legal jargon, according to their state.

In the insurance world, all paperwork is computerized and based on "line item/unit pricing (sf/lf)". Estimates also included computerized sketches of floor plans, elevations and roofing as needed. Photos are also mandatory. Sometimes I may take 200 photos on a loss and submit 75-100.

The insurance world functions on paperwork and documentation. This is why a computerized software program is used, plus also allowing historical cost data to be referenced.


NOTE: Please contact me if you have any other questions concerning insurance estimating software or converting your regular estimate into an insurance estimate.
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Old 11-29-2010, 12:24 AM   #20
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Re: Insurance Repair Contract


Some time ago, I wrote a lengthy reply concerning "Insurance Repair Contracts."

This post is for several reasons:

1) I want to thank everyone for their feedback or efforts to use my contract and or recommendations.

This site has allowed me to have networked with contractors throughout the country.

On the other hand, let me say that I am very big on communication. I expect people to return phone calls.

I always get frustrated, when I provide a copy of my contract; yet the inquiring party:

1) never replies to my request for contact information,
2) never gives me any feedback to my inquires, and
3) never replies, when I explain that discussing the matter by phone would be easier and faster.

Another eyesore is when someone takes the time to ask a question, but never replies, when you try to help...............what a waste of time.

It's a shame, when I am trying to help someone grow their business, and, they can't even return a phone call or e-mail.


INSURANCE ESTIMATES OR QUESTIONS: I can be reached 24//7 for any help.

Well, that's it at midnight..........time for another pot of coffee.

Thank you again for everyone's feedback.

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Last edited by Insuranceclaims; 11-29-2010 at 12:28 AM. Reason: Add additional text
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