Why would a restoration contractor need to document the claims process? Well, anytime an insured has suffered through any loss, the insurance company needs to understand whether the loss is covered by a peril (event) in the policy. Insurance carriers are not attempting to stall the claim, except when there is not any adequate information relevant to what the carrier should be covering. It is important to identify what caused the loss, how much damage there (caused by the source), moisture readings, PLENTY of PHOTOS, etc. As you’ll read about below, I have been to quite a bit of losses where I never took enough photos for the adjuster to justify paying for a proper repair.
On one of my first jobs working as an insurance restoration contractor, I had a client contact me about their leaking roof. Now, as a new restoration professional, I did not know the first thing about how to document a claim or even how many photos to take. I took what photos I could (on my mobile phone) and headed back to my office. Later, I was working on writing up an estimate for the mold remediation and water mitigation services. I noticed that I did not have enough photos to write my estimate. Additionally, most of the photos I took were blurry. Now, how in the world am I supposed to even begin writing up my scope of work. Not only that, how am I supposed to prove that what I said was damaged, is damaged?
As you see here, I took horrible photos. This was not only irresponsible, but it also was costing precious time for the insured that was waiting on an estimate. I ended up driving back out to the property and took additional photos of this loss. While I was there, I apologized to the client and informed them that I was going to get this out tonight. Could I have saved myself the trouble of this interaction with the client earlier, yes! Most of us today will look at the phone to ensure that our photos were taken properly. Back then, we did not have that luxury. No phone displayed the photos correctly, not even a Blackberry!
So, how can we prevent situations like the above? Our job as restoration contractors is not to just address the situation in the field, but also to document that situation as accurately as possible. Documenting the claim properly aides in the speed of the claim and assists the adjuster with how to apply the coverages for the loss itself. When you turn in your invoice, do you expect prompt payment? If so, you need to ensure that you are documenting the claim properly and are up to current standards by the IICRC. There are applications out there that can assist with these processes (see below).